The NetSuite Accountant

Should I implement NetSuite before or after an IPO?

Paul Giese Jul 2, 2018 8:02:00 AM
Paul Giese

Almost all startups use QuickBooks as their initial accounting software. With good reason too. QuickBooks is an easy-to-use, affordable tool that works great for accounting teams of one or two people.

If your organization is planning an IPO in its future, you should consider upgrading your accounting software to NetSuite. This begs the question - should I implement NetSuite before or after an IPO? Below are a few questions to consider:

  • How much historical data do I have? The less historical data you have, the easier your implementation will be. Waiting an additional 18 months to implement means you will have 18 months of additional data to import. Bringing historical data into a new system manually can be a heavy load on a team adjusting to life as a public company. Consider working with intheBlk to import your historical transactions into NetSuite. Once you are public, the auditors will be making audit requests quarterly instead of annually. With intheBlk's approach, you can have all your financial transactions in a single system, no matter what time of year you implement NetSuite.
Related Article: case study on how intheBlk imported all of Akouos' historical financial data from QuickBooks to NetSuite. 
  • How much bandwidth does your team have? There is never a good time to do a system implementation, but certain times of the year are better than others. During the planning phase, discuss timelines with your implementation team. Oftentimes, you can work around key deadlines if there is advanced notice. Keep in mind, as a public company, your team's margin of error on the financial close is much tighter than when private. Don't jeopardize your ability to close the books because of a poorly executed system implementation. Consider adding a consultant, such as intheBlk consulting to assist with the data conversion process.
  • How fluid are your processes? When a team is small, processes tend to be fluid and flexible, because the environment is constantly changing as the company grows. Challenges with systems and processes arise when you ask the system to work around your process, rather than working your process around the system's functionality. If you implement early, you can build your process around what the system does well and avoid building customized software built around your processes.
  • How comfortable is your Board with a significant deficiency in internal controls? One downside of QuickBooks is the lack of system controls. Your external auditors will note this deficiency and bring this to the attention of your board and/or audit committee. While this issue is to be expected as the company transitions from private to public, your board might not like the sound of a significant deficiency. Depending on the mindset of your board, you may want to consider this in your decision. Regardless, your external auditors and board will want some kind of transition plan after going public.

The decision to implement NetSuite is a decision that should be thoughtful and thorough to ensure success. The NetSuite implementation timing should be weighed against the pressures of an IPO. When possible, we recommend making this transition before your planned IPO instead of after.

Contact intheBlk to migrate your financial data from QuickBooks to NetSuite. We have the tools and experience to ensure all your data is accurate and will free you and your team up to focus on running your business and preparing for an IPO.

intheBlk consulting provides data conversion services for organizations implementing NetSuite. Check out our NetSuite data conversion page to see the options and pricing.

Topics: Initial Public Offering, NetSuite, Implementation