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Going-Live Not in Alignment with the Fiscal Year End vs. Going-Live in Alignment with the Fiscal Year End:
Which Scenario is Best?

Timing is everything and can greatly influence the outcome for basically every activity. This also holds true for the timing of the go-live during an implementation project.

The go-live is a crucial phase of every implementation project. There are several considerations to be taken when timing the go-live.

In the following, considerations to be taken in different go-live scenarios will be investigated. Namely, the go-live not aligned with the fiscal year end as first scenario as well as the go-live in alignment with the fiscal year end as second scenario will be examined. Advantages and disadvantages of both options will be presented.
Concluding, various aspects to be considered in terms of the go-live scenario will be tabled, singled out, and contrasted regarding the estimated effort.

The Factors to Be Considered When Opting or a Go-Live Scenario

1) Go-Live Not in Alignment with the Fiscal Year End

On the one hand, a go-live after/before a fiscal year end is technically possible. Once the system is set up, there is no need to wait until the fiscal year end and no need to wait for a certain time to pass.

If the implementation is not planned in alignment with the fiscal year end, the business users will not have to face workload additionally to the regular period end activities.

Though, especially in the financials and controlling area, a go-live which is not aligned with the fiscal year end, can cause an excess of data migration efforts.

If the go-live is not in alignment with the fiscal year end, data has to be migrated over the course of the year. Particularly in terms of asset accounting, going live after the fiscal year end is much more complex. Looking at asset accounting, data consistency is a crucial factor. If the go-live data is not in alignment with the fiscal year end, problems such as issues regarding reconciliation might occur.

Moreover, the new and the old system might have to be operated simultaneously: In case of an intra-year go-live, the new system will only show balances and will not provide a detailed view of documents that have already been processed in the old system. Thus, whenever a higher granularity is needed, the old system has to be accessed to get in-depth information. This will only be the case for the partial year of the first go-live year. In the following fiscal year, all information will be represented in the usual manner in the new system and a further parallel use of the old and new system to access a detailed information will not be necessary anymore.

Likewise important, the taxes for the current year have not been terminated yet. It must be considered that tax positions cannot be migrated using the workbench. Over the course of the year, a higher amount of manual workload will occur.

2) Go-Live in Alignment with the Fiscal Year End

On the other hand, the extend of data to be migrated is kept on a minimal level, when the go-live is aligned with the fiscal year end, or a monthly closing.

In this scenario, the ledgers are closed and the (annual) audit can be processed without any major problems.
Besides the points mentioned before, soft facts in favor for a go-live in alignment with the fiscal year end include that the business starts the new period with the new system. Thus, confusion among the business users is avoided.
But it also has to kept in mind, that during these periods, holiday seasons set in, which might lead to difficulties regarding the availability of manpower.

The Quick (Effort) Guide

Summed Up

All in all, the specific business requirements should determine the go-live date, whereby particularly the migration of data and balances represent the main challenge during the go-live phase. In order to successfully master the go-live phase of the implementation project, it is essential to examine the one and the other go-live scenario regarding both, advantages as well as disadvantages, bringing them into context of the specific business requirements, and to finally make the decision which suits best.