Difficult to format reporting and finding strong users of Sage 300 resulted in conversion to QuickBook Enterprise


A private school in the heart of Vancouver chose QuickBooks Enterprise (“QBES”) because of recommendations from senior business advisors. The school used Sage 300 but found that report customization was limited and difficult. The solution was to create a new Chart of Accounts in QBES and utilize the “class” function to assist fund accounting. QBES exports data into Excel with little to no field merge or complex formatting. The process took about three months to assess the Sage data, plan the project, build a new company file, load ten month-end balances, and train the staff upon kick-off.

The Problem

Unlike less complex Sage systems like Sage 50, there is no direct conversion for Sage 300 to any QuickBooks product provided by Intuit. It is a manual process and involves a custom solution. Sage 300 is regarded as an enterprise resource planning system, or “ERP” for short. It is compelling and customizable, but very costly to set up and maintain. It is usually found in manufacturing and construction companies with several hundred million dollars of annual revenues. With the popularity and ease of using systems like QuickBooks Enterprise, people with experience in Sage 300 are becoming harder to find. The continued support of Sage 300 in a smaller organization may be hard to find and costly to maintain.

The Business

Founded in 1934, this private community day school enrolls about 400+ students each year and is a registered non-profit organization located in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Solution

The selection of QuickBooks Enterprise was already made before the engagement. The senior financial officer for the private school wanted to have a Chartered Professional Accountant with the experience for a QBES implementation.

Over a few initial planning meetings and sharing of financial statements (like budgets, forecasts, chart of accounts) plus evaluating list items (like products or services, sales taxes, employees, and more), we developed a project plan and guided the team throughout the system conversion.

Created a new company file, and from the planning conversations, we set the system’s preferences to best fit the school’s normal operations. The most complex part of the build and usually the first component is the Chart of Accounts. The reason for focusing on this piece was that the ordering and nesting of accounts (a “parent-child” database relationship) is the format required by the users for their reporting needs.

Visit our best practices page to learn about the general setup sequence for QuickBooks.

After setting up the major functional areas of QBES, the project required the loading of month-end financial balances for ten months of data. When reaching system kick-off, we built a custom-macro to flatten (or translate) 115,000 lines of a complex Sage Accounts Receivable report into a filtered report identifying only the 750 outstanding A/R transactions that we could then load within minutes. Our consultants use Microsoft Excel VBA programming and special software approved by Intuit to assist in the loading/editing/deleting thousands of transaction lines without much need for manual entry.

In the end, our consultant provided customized training sessions along with a guide for general best practices and examples for the school’s unique use-cases.

Visit our best practices page to learn about how to maintain QuickBooks for optimal performance.

The process for accounting system conversion is very complex, sometimes more than the original vendor can manage. We are Chartered Professional Accountants, certified in all QuickBooks platforms, with over a decade of software selection, design, and implementation experience. No software conversion or setup is straightforward; we provide customized solutions to bring it in line with your business.

Summary of Best Practices

The key takeaway to this project is to reconsider your accounting system’s total cost of ownership every 3-5 years or when the system is nearing its optimal capacity (and size). Visit our best practices page to learn how to maintain a system for optimal performance.