FinOps Forum

Forum Fireside Live: Transitioning to Netsuite

Post by
Sarah Pinkham
Forum Fireside Live: Transitioning to Netsuite

Forum Fireside Live

Transitioning to Netsuite

Watch the video linked to find out more. Passcode: fR0MM+zd

In our first live FinOps Forum Fireside, we focused on a crucial moment in the life of a growing finance function – upgrading your accounting software. Most startups begin using Xero, but eventually, you outgrow it. This could be because you grow internationally, need to consolidate, or you require more functionality from your software. 

NetSuite is the ERP system of choice, but it’s not a straightforward process. There is a lot of planning and implementation involved, not to mention the jump in cost (£30 per month for Xero compared to £3,000+ per month on NetSuite).

To discuss how best businesses can migrate to NetSuite, we assembled a team of experts:

  • Ben Nanson – Financial Controller at JustPark, who has first-hand experience of transitioning to NetSuite
  • Chilufya Mulenga – Financial Controller at Realife Tech, who has faced the aftermath of a Netsuite migration
  • Ross Latta and Stephen Campbell – co-founders at MacroFin, experts in the design and implementation of NetSuite systems

Here are some of the highlights of the conversation.

Why move to NetSuite?

Before you undertake such a lengthy and costly process, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. One key challenge that Netsuite solves is Xero’s lack of consolidation.

‘If you know there will be scaling, think about moving sooner rather than later, before you have the burning need. The most successful moves to NetSuite are when clients forecast growth and want to get ahead of it.’ – Ross

If you’re got a group structure and run Xero, you’ll have to do consolidations in Excel. Xero isn’t built to deal with group structures and each subsidiary will necessarily have its own Xero instance. With NetSuite, there is just one instance across the whole group, which gives consolidated group data in real-time. 

This is only made more complex where you have operations abroad. Consolidating international entities with accurate foreign exchange gains/ losses in Excel is no picnic. 

NetSuite automatically sources exchange rates and applies them in real-time, across the group. This makes consolidated reporting a breeze - giving a single source of truth, so everyone across your group knows where they stand.

How to move to NetSuite

Once you’ve decided to migrate to NetSuite, what happens next?

First of all, you need someone to help you. 

NetSuite has an in-house set of consultants, SuiteSuccess, who can help build out the functionality you need from the software. This is the minimum level of support advised: you will need to manage the process internally and give the team the requirements yourself.

Alternatively, you can hire external consultants, such as MacroFin, who offer a premium white-glove service that takes you through from start to finish.

At Quantico, our approach is to support you to deliver the implementation programmes in-house, always utilising the SuiteSuccess team, to provide the best of expertise and value.

‘Before you engage NetSuite, take some time to understand your own processes - where they’re going wrong and how they can be improved upon. If you don’t take the time to think, it’s difficult to know what will work.’ – Stephen

You need to set aside 3-4 months for the migration to take place, from beginning to end. There are two approaches to a NetSuite implementation.

  1. Start with ‘alignment’, where you go through how it works and you can start to get a picture of how it will work with your processes. You can then agree which features you will need. 
  2. Get set up initially on the standard NetSuite system to get used to it. Then, as you get an idea of how you are going to use NetSuite, they can add or take away features.

The aftermath of moving

It’s obvious, but it still needs saying. NetSuite is totally different from Xero. Because of this, the migration is never going to be 100% smooth. You and your team are going to have to adapt.

NetSuite isn’t Xero with a few extra features. Believe it or not, there are some things Xero does better than NetSuite – dealing with bank feeds, for example. What you lose on one side, you gain on the other.

It takes time to get your automation up and running correctly. You will need to make adjustments to the system as you go. Invest the time now and get the returns later.

‘It’s an ever-evolving kind of beast that you’re going to have to constantly review and tweak to ensure you get the best out of it.’ – Chilufya

Training is key. Make sure you and your team know how to use the system correctly. You’ll need to train the people in the team now, and make sure there is on-going support for new hires.

Find out more

Thanks to all our speakers for giving us such a lot to think about. 

‘Think about where the business needs to be in 24 months’ time and think about what, as a finance team, you’d like to be able to deliver to the business – and how much or little effort you’d like to have to put into delivering it. Get ahead of the game.’ – Ben

To find out more about the FinOps Forum and make sure you’re there for the next Fireside, visit our web page today.