10 Tips for a Successful Conversion to Your Institution’s New Core System

  • Article

By Maria Beelen, Manager, Financial Institutions Group

In a world of ever-evolving technology, core systems have played significant roles in housing highly interconnected parts, including branch, online, mobile and ATM channels. Whether your financial institution is looking to upgrade, or your current system is sunsetting, there are many key elements to consider when evaluating your options. 

Doeren Mayhew’s Financial Institutions Group offers 10 helpful tips to consider if your financial institution is considering, or in the process of, converting to a new core system.

1. Start early. Look at your current workflow and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Are you still moving paper around or are you digitally organized? 
  • Do you have an established daily and/or month-end checklist?  
  • Are your processes documented and up-to-date?

2. Review your chart of accounts to address the following:  

  • Eliminate duplicate accounts. 
  • Sunset retired accounts.
  • Review for accuracy.   
  • Identify new general ledger accounts for new products, services or fees.

3. Make sure all balance sheet reconciliations are up-to-date and reconciling items are resolved. In addition, identify reports needed to reconcile key general ledger accounts and processes.

4. Be aware of your current business practices relative to the following accounts:

  • ACH/In Clearing
  • Debit and credit card processing
  • Official checks

5. Evaluate the vendors who have paid via automated clearing house (ACH) or auto settlement:

  • Compile a comprehensive list of vendors currently providing ACH settlement services.  
  • Develop a vendor communication plan. 
  • Establish new authorizations or payment detail updates with each vendor.
  • Review the specific general ledgers receiving the ACH transactions for better tracking and reconciliation.

6. Assess workload and skill requirements for the accounting department. Note, if the staff is struggling with workload using the current core system, rest assured they will struggle with the new core system. 

7. Propose staffing recommendations to management. Be sure to explain the rationale behind the suggested changes and emphasize the benefits to the institution. When the accounting department is appropriately staffed there is less risk of loss because of the conversion and untimely reconciliation. When evaluating the need for staffing:

  • Review current assignments.
  • Conduct time studies.
  • Identify current workarounds that will change, or be eliminated, with the new core system.

8. Set-up recurring meetings with other operational support departments to ensure continuity.

9. Every team member in the accounting department should be involved in conversion activities. Be sure to:

  • Schedule training times.
  • Schedule team meetings.
  • Assign team members to participate in conversion project teams across the organization.

10. Ensure accounting has a clear voice in the core conversion. Be sure they have a strong representative(s) in key meetings and are involved in making important decisions.

Here to Help

Selecting and converting to a new core system is a large undertaking for your financial institution. Done right, it can boost efficiencies, revitalize financials and more. It is important to involve all individuals and departments who will play a critical role in not only selecting the new system but working to partake in the conversion project as a whole. Doeren Mayhew’s Financial Institutions Group offers accounting solutions that help take the burden off your team members. If you’re exploring a core system conversion, we're here to serve as your accounting conversion consultant. We’ll help take you from start to finish and align your institution for long-term success.

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