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Gilbert McHarg, Sage Consultant at Chess, explains what you need to consider when moving to a new finance system.


Sage for Education
Moving finance systems can often seem daunting. It's not an everyday task and, quite often, not something that a school Chief Finance Officer or Business Manager has been through before. We've laid out some key points to think about when looking to change your finance system, as well as some other considerations to look out for.


What to look for

This might seem obvious, but when looking for a new finance system, you need to ask if you are looking at a best-of-breed finance solution from a vendor with a legacy in this area? To understand this, a few key questions you need to be asking are:

  • Is the solution scalable if you're a growing Multi academy trust? 
  • Can you get the reports you need? 
  • Can you gain new functionality to help improve your working practices? 
  • Is there a good support team behind the product to help guide you?



It's important to consider your expectations around timescales. Moving any system requires the correct planning and testing. The best way to look at this is to work back from when you want to go live. It's also vital to have holidays and busy periods in mind. For example, if you want to be successful in going live in September – start in January!


Reviewing data and processes

Moving finance systems is a great opportunity to clean up the data in your existing system. For example, if you have not traded with certain accounts, you don't need to bring them across to your new system. 

It's also a great chance to review your processes, such as:

  • Are you printing paper when it's not needed? 
  • Do you need to perform all those tasks, or can they be automated? 

Take this fresh start to look at new ways of doing things to increase productivity and save time.


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Testing the system

So, you have your new system up and running; your data is in, users have their logins. The next stage of the implementation is testing the system. 

This is an opportunity for all key users to ensure they can complete their daily and weekly processing. If anything isn't quite right, consider changing settings or processes until you're happy with the output. Once you're confident you can complete all your usual tasks, you're ready to go live.


A Successful 'Go Live'

The key to a successful go-live is understanding the change involved and accepting that unforeseen circumstances could still exist. This is normal. Think about this is in other everyday life, the first time you try something new, you don't always get it right the first time. However, follow the recommendations in this article and ensure you have a good support team behind you. Then, your go-live will be relatively painless.


The power of automation

You've probably heard of Microsoft, but are you familiar with Power Platform? Power Platform is a very efficient tool used for automating and reporting. 

Using Power Automate and Power BI, you can:

  • Receive notifications for tasks
  • Schedule authorisation emails to be sent
  • Receive consolidated reports

Power Platform also provides graphical, web-based dashboards which are fully configurable and fully integrate with Sage for Education.

Integration of multiple systems is essential today. Once upon a time, people would look to source one single product which would cover every aspect, such as finance and MIS. Now, with the available APIs, schools can source the best tool for a specific job. Then use an integration tool to tie the products together, resulting in the ultimate solution for you. 


How Chess can help

Here at Chess we're a Strategic, tier 1 Sage and Microsoft Partner. We have a team of Sage experts, most of which are ex Sage employees and some of the best Microsoft experts in the country. We also partner with top Sage developers in the UK to provide the best possible solutions to fit budget and requirements.




If all of this has sparked an interest, you can book a free consultation session with our experts to explain everything you need to know, demonstrate the solutions and show you the art of the possible. Click here to book your free session, and we will be happy to enable you on your first steps to moving to a new finance system.

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Gilbert McHarg

Gilbert McHarg

Gilbert McHarg, Sage Consultant at Chess, has years of experience working with Sage software, gained at both Sage UKI and within the Sage UKI Business Partner channel. He helps our customers improve and grow their business through the use of Sage Business applications, Specialising in Sage 200.

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