How do you successfully implement Calxa across an accounting practice? Once you’ve decided that it’s the right tool for you, how do you get the rest of your team up and running? Follow our 5-step guide and you’ll be well on the way in just a few days.
5 Key Steps to Rolling Out Calxa in your Accounting Practice
To help you deliver a smooth roll out of Calxa in your firm, you need to consider some key points. You may already have done the work for some of these transition points, so that should make your life a bit easier. As a result, you can choose to spend more time on some areas than others:
- Ensure you have fully evaluated Calxa and confirmed that it meets your needs.
- Appoint a change champion to co-ordinate the implementation.
- Organise basic education in Calxa for all team members.
- Assign a client to each team member for their first set of reports.
- Facilitate daily discussions on progress.
1. Accounting Practice Software Evaluation
If you haven’t determined the needs of your practice and confirmed that Calxa is the right solution, your implementation will be hampered from the start.
Do a Needs Analysis
A good evaluation always starts with a needs analysis. Essentially, this will identify the problems you are trying to solve. It’s important to talk to your team on this to make sure you identify all your needs.
- Consider the range of clients you have. Are they simple or complex? Businesses or Not-for-Profits? Bigger businesses or sole proprietors?
- Ask what reports they need. Is it just for better management or do they need to provide reports to a bank or other external body?
- Are some of the requirements simple? Some complex? Consider if they are reporting on just one company or many, if they are reporting on projects or departments.
Finally, when you can clearly articulate what you need, you are then in a strong position to find the right solution.
Listen to Recommendations
Once you have your needs analysed, the next step is to find the right solution. Starting with something that has been recommended by a colleague is always a good start. However, it shouldn’t be your ending point. Your colleague’s needs are not necessarily the same as yours. There is a good chance that if you are in the same industry, there will be an overlap.
Consider Market-Leading Solutions
Similarly, it makes sense to at least consider the market-leading solutions. There are usually good reasons for their popularity. Though sometimes, it is just a case of better, or more, marketing. We’ve done a round up of some of the top Xero Reporting Tools to give you a start, and more detail on some of them.
You don’t have to do a 30-day trial of every candidate but it’s worth doing that with at least one or two to make sure the product matches the marketing claims. If you’ve done that and compared the features you need with what’s available, you can be confident that you’ve made a good choice. We have a helpful evaluation guide that may be useful to you. With this checklist, you can compare solutions side-by-side. The better providers are happy to give you a demo before you start your trial so you can do a quick evaluation before deciding if you should progress further. This will also give you a good indication of the style of the company and how they talk to their prospects and customers. If they don’t treat you well at this stage, when will they?
2. The Change Champion in Your Accounting Practice
Having one change champion to manage your implementation gives a single point of contact for other members of your team. Their role is to plan the implementation and make sure it is successful. For a change champion to succeed, they need the right skillset and conducive environment in which to operate in. Here are some key points:
- They need to be fully supported by senior management,
- It helps the cause if the individual is well-respected within the organisation,
- Willingness to acquire good knowledge of both the previous solutions and the new one,
- Be a good communicator, with an ability to explain new processes to everyone and listen to feedback,
- Above all, they need to be able to manage the impact of the change across the practice.
In most practices, the change champion is the person who has done the initial evaluation but that’s not essential. In some accounting practices, a senior manager may do the evaluation and then delegate the change champion role to a trusted colleague and team member
3. Education for your Accounting Practice Team
The better your team understand how to use Calxa, the easier they’ll find working with it and using it for their client reporting. Sounds obvious but often managers forget to allocate some time towards learning in the day-to-day of a busy accounting practice. To make this efficient, the change champion will usually co-ordinate the learning that each person needs.
There’s more than one option for your team to gain Calxa knowledge
- Get them to attend or watch the recordings of our Basics webinars and peruse the resources on the Calxa Getting Started Page
- If you’re confident, present your own training sessions to your team, tailored to their needs,
- Ask the Calxa team to work with you on a series of Zoom sessions to get everyone started.
While education is important in the early days of implementation, it shouldn’t stop there. The change champion should co-ordinate ongoing learning to expand and deepen everyone’s knowledge. Some practices choose just one person to be the local expert in some of the more advanced features, like report designing or custom KPIs.
4. Start with Real Reports
There is a temptation to use sample data when learning a product like Calxa but we don’t recommend it. In the best practice implementations we have seen, each team member works on one of their own clients. There’s then a familiarity in the data that’s used. You’ll know what numbers look right and what doesn’t make sense.
Having some knowledge of the client’s business makes it easier to produce a sensible budget. You might start from the previous year’s figures but, if you’re familiar with the business, you can easily make changes that incorporate more recent changes and plans.
5.Discuss, Review and Improve
Every good project is a work in progress. Above all, remember that you won’t know all the answers on the first day so it is important that there is regular, daily communication between all the members of the team. The change champion should co-ordinate these discussions. Depending on your size and distribution, this could be a:
- Quick stand-up meeting each morning,
- Daily 10-minute Zoom or Teams meeting
- Or, a written collaboration channel like Slack.
The important thing is that the change champion should advise everyone of their next steps in learning and implementation. For example, team members should have the opportunity to provide feedback and discuss roadblocks. The change champion may not have immediate answers to all issues, but they will be able to discuss them with the customer success team at Calxa and work on solutions.
In conclusion, by keeping open, 2-way communication within the team, you’ll have an efficient and successful implementation of Calxa. Don’t forget to reach out to our team. We believe in customer support, so our team is here to help you, your team and, in particular, your change champion. Your accounting practice success is our end goal.