Data Migration 4: Best Practices - Financial Information

Links to other Data Migration Articles: 

Sending this article to your bookkeeper? Be sure to forward along this Bookkeeper FAQ article as well as our Accounting and Financial Management YouTube Playlist

When it comes to migrating your accounting information,  it is best to make a "clean break" whenever possible. Many legacy accounting systems (e.g., Quickbooks) do not support non-profit accounting concepts, so anything you bring over will inevitably copy over the various workarounds that are no longer necessary in MonkeyPod. 

Making a Clean Break (Recommended)

Making a "clean break" means two things:

  1. Switch to MonkeyPod for bookkeeping at the start of a new fiscal year. That means that any financial reporting from prior fiscal years will need to be run from your old system, but everything going forward can be done with MonkeyPod. This approach allows you to make a fresh start with a clean, streamlined chart of accounts that is consistent with nonprofit accounting principles and best practices.
  2. Import only those legacy transactions that are useful from a relationship management standpoint. That usually means importing your legacy donations and any legacy sales so that donor and customer relationships are enriched with that full historical context. You can probably skip bills, checks, or other expense-related transactions. 
Switching to MonkeyPod for bookkeeping at the start of a new fiscal year:

To start using MonkeyPod bookkeeping at the beginning of a new fiscal year, the first step is to set up a clean chart of accounts, entering  opening balances as of the last day of the previous fiscal year. From that point on, just record your transactions as they happen, reconcile your bank and credit card accounts monthly, and you should be in good shape.

Importing legacy transactions for relationship management purposes:

The goal here is to (1) capture all historical transactions that can help you understand the full context of your relationships with donors and other stakeholders and (2) do so in a way that does not distort your financial records going forward.

  1. First, create an Asset Account called "Legacy Transactions". To do this, go to "Your Company Name" and select "Chart of Accounts" under "Accounting".

  2. Your "Legacy Transactions" account can be any subtype of asset account that you like, although we generally recommend making it a "Bank" account as shown in the example belowChart of Accounts - Add Bank Account
  3. Next, make sure you have already imported or created (in MonkeyPod) any and all relationships that might show up in a legacy transaction. If you miss one, it's not a big deal; they'll be created automatically as needed. But creating these records in advance allows you to attach many more details, such as contact information, etc. Check out the section below, Best Practices - Migrating Relationship Data, for more information on how to create relationships. 
  4. Then, use the CSV import tool to bring in all your historical (i.e., before the start of your bookkeeping in MonkeyPod) donations, sales, and other relevant transactions. Whenever the importer asks for an asset account, make sure you use the Legacy Transactions account! 
  5. Finally, after everything has been imported, you'll need an adjusting entry to offset the accounting impact. Create a journal entry with these lines:
    1. Credit Legacy Transactions for the full balance as of the last day of the prior fiscal year
    2. Debit each income account that you used in your imports for the combined amount of the associated transactions

Once that's done, your Legacy Transactions account should have a $0 balance at the start of your MonkeyPod bookkeeping. You won't need it going forward, so you can go ahead and de-activate it so that it doesn't show up in reports or as an option when recording new transactions.

Importing Everything (Optional)

If you're dead set on importing your entire financial history, MonkeyPod makes that possible. There are CSV templates for most transaction types. Just make sure you follow the order that they're laid out on the CSV imports page:

  1. First, import accounts, entities, and tags  
  2. Then import "primary transactions" (e.g., donations, sales, etc.).
  3. Finally, import "secondary transactions" that refer to a previously imported primary transaction (e.g., deposits, bill payments, etc.).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How should I best migrate recurring donors?
    1. Check out this article explaining the best way to do this

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