Best time of the year to make the switch to C-suite from FIMS

Hello,

We are planning our conversion timeline and would like to reach out and ask what was the best time folks actually went LIVE. Year end? First quarter?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


Marnie Christopherson

DSACF - Duluth, MN

KaraAdamsJesikaEllis

Comments

  • We went live in the 3rd quarter after starting trainings and prep work in quarter 2 which worked very well for us.

    Jana Moreno

    Austin Community Foundation

    KaraAdams
  • We went live at the beginning of our fiscal year (May) and were parallel in our old and new system for one month. We reconciled that month in both systems, compared the information and worked in CSuite only after that.

    KaraAdams
  • LaurelShulmanLaurelShulman
    Voter U.S.A. 25 Likes First Answer
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    Our fiscal year is July 1 - June 30. We went live in September and did no dual entry. That gave us access to FIMS through the end of the calendar year in case we needed to compare information from both systems.

    Truthfully, there was no "ideal" time for us, given monthly, quarterly closings, board meetings, busy grantmaking time, etc. September was the least interruptive time in our schedules.

    JesikaEllisKaraAdams
  • KarenWolfKarenWolf
    Indoorsy U.S.A. 25 Likes First Answer
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    I was not involved with the process when the Foundation transited in 2017. However, I do know they dual entered data in both systems May and June and then fully transited July 1(start of our fiscal year). I know they kept FIMS for quite some time as when I started in May 2018 it was loaded on my computer. However, I never had to reference it.

    Karen Wolf

    Operations Coordinator

    Email [email protected]

    Web www.cfcwi.org

    Facebook www.facebook.com/cfcwi


    KaraAdams
  • JesikaEllisJesikaEllis
    Dog Person 25 Likes First Anniversary
    ✭✭✭

    @MarnieChristopherson We also have a fiscal year of July 1 - June 30 and had a very similar conversion timeline as @LaurelShulman.

    HOWEVER, this was last year - 2020 - and we were originally supposed to go live in July, and originally planned to do dual entry through the month of June. Then Covid lockdown hit in late March and our in-person training was axed, we were suddenly working remotely, and ended up doing Covid rapid relief grants 24/7 for the rest of spring. Like SO many other things last year, our best laid conversion plans went right out the window! 🤷‍♀️

    As it ended up, we went live at the beginning September (last 1/3 of our 1st fiscal quarter) and did NO dual entry. All our training with our awesome CSMs, Holly and Lauren, happened via Zoom (and many, many emails!!!), and in addition, all staff completed additional training via courses/videos offered on Foundant's site.

    Frankly, in retrospect, this timeline was perfect-as-could-be, all things considered, and we were ultimately very glad it worked out the way it did (though not, of course, for the reason it had to...).

    • September is not crazy busy for us
    • We still had wiggle room through October with our FIMS licensing, allowing us to finish up our audit out of FIMS
    • It was just the right amount of time for staff to get accustomed to using CSuite and to tweak our depositing before end-of-year donations hit!
    • It allowed us to take our time setting up the online donation portal and push the donor/advisor portal launch off into this year
    • There were no pressing grant or scholarship cycles to complete around that time
    • It was far enough away from when we send out fund statements (March) that we were able to spend a good amount of (needed) time finessing our CSuite fund statement template and learning how to run those out of the system (a BIG change for us).

    SO I would say, take a good look at your general calendar of mailings, statements, donation spikes, grant cycles, audit, and every other possible function, and then try to plan for the time that gives you at least a month of buffer (on both ends) from any of those things! More easily advised than done, I am sure! 😄 Good luck!!

    KaraAdams
  • I would say to base it at least 3 months prior to when your FIMS contract ends if you can. We went live on 11/1/2020 so we had a quick month of doing real work in CSuite before the year-end giving and our FIMS contract ended 12/31. We were constantly referring to our FIMS records and wish that we had them a little bit longer. We were cloud based so we knew that we would lose our access on the end of contract date.

    It seems there is never a perfect time, as there is always something going on, whether it be audit, scholarship season, budget or year-end! I think the 3rd quarter is a good time as mentioned above. Doing it at that time, gives you time to have a basic understanding before your audit begins as well.

    We did not run dual systems, but as I mentioned, we did use FIMS for reference quite a bit in the beginning. We began our migration while working remotely and it was quite a bit of work, but so worth it! Our auditors were so pleased with our improved reporting from CSuite. They had to do quite a bit of manipulation of our exports from FIMS to get the information that they needed.

    Good luck!

    Michele R. Jeican, Finance Coordinator

    Northern New York Community Foundation

    131 Washington Street

    Watertown, NY 13601

    KaraAdams
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