NetSuite is a feature-rich ERP system that can transform the way your company handles its financial management. However, with great power comes a potential downside: how do you ensure your system is always running at optimal performance? The seemingly endless ways to customize and integrate NetSuite software could lead to a chaotic accounting environment that slows performance and leads to a negative user experience. Addressing such issues can cost you valuable time and money, and might even threaten your compliance with accounting regulations.
As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. By establishing a routine list of regular NetSuite maintenance tasks, you can ensure that your system is running smoothly. Even better, you’ll be able to spot and rectify problems before they arise.
Understanding the Basics of NetSuite Maintenance
Regular system maintenance offers multiple benefits. Firstly, it can save you time and money, as it helps your system become more efficient, secure, and free from glitches. NetSuite maintenance lowers the risk of system outages, bad integrations and inefficiencies, while preventing bottlenecks and visibility issues.
Secondly, it means you can refine and improve NetSuite’s capabilities without disruption to your accounting practices. After all, a well-maintained system has the flexibility to evolve with your business. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that want to grow. An optimized system means you won’t have issues adding new users, or integrating and customizing features.
Finally, it’s a great way to ensure that your finance team stays up to date with the software, and gets hands-on experience, while identifying areas that may need improvement.
Where to start
Before you draw up a NetSuite maintenance schedule, conduct a software health check. This will allow you to diagnose issues, and identify areas that can be improved. A health check is a review of your system, to clean up unnecessary customizations, and implement best practices.
Your health check should include the following:
- Identify and remove inactive users
- A clean-up of saved searches, unused scripts, and unused customizations
- Optimization of field descriptions
- Problem-solving strategies to help you make any changes
Once you’ve completed this process, you can establish regular tasks for NetSuite maintenance.
Daily NetSuite Maintenance Tasks
While some tasks can be completed less frequently, there are several maintenance tasks you should do daily.
Data review and validation
NetSuite administrators can build data valuation rules into a system, which are checked when the conditions in forms are met. However, this means that data entered into NetSuite must be error-free.
It’s also important to validate this information, for data integrity and accuracy. Data validation ensures that the information logged in NetSuite is consistent, accurate and complete. There are several different ways to do this:
- Check the data type and format. For example, fields that track only numeric data should only contain number values. This is particularly relevant for contact information or date ranges.
- Check the code. Here, the selected data field must be from a valid list, with established formatting rules.
- Check the range. That way, you can ensure that data falls within a predefined range.
- Ensure consistency. Your data should be entered logically and consistently across the NetSuite system.
- Check uniqueness. This will ensure that you do not have multiple entries or duplicates of the same information.
Monitoring your system speed and response time is relatively straightforward with NetSuite SuiteCloud Application Performance Management (APM). It allows you
up-to-the-minute statuses of all of your accounts, by keeping track of system errors, performance times, and any standards that need to be updated. APM also lets you analyze runtime metrics like page and script execution timings to identify performance issues.
Moreover, it generates charts illustrating response times for a specific record type. This includes options for average response times, usage over certain timeframes, and the impact of user workflows.
By understanding what is affecting system performance, you can make the necessary changes to optimize performance.
Weekly Maintenance Tasks
User access and security checks
Reviewing your NetSuite user access logs includes ensuring that the appropriate permissions are in place for different roles. The easiest way to do this is through the NetSuite Audit Trail. This is a system feature that monitors and documents any data changes within your system, making NetSuite maintenance easy. It captures details like usernames, times of changes, and exactly what was changed.
The audit trail can be accessed through the ‘Reports’ tab, and created for any specific time frame – for example, the previous week.
This helps you identify any unusual or unauthorized activity, while ensuring that your team maintains high levels of security and compliance. In addition, the report is valuable if you need to resolve any potential issues, as you can easily trace the sequence of events that led to any problems. It’s also worth remembering that you can set up alerts for any suspicious activity, under the ‘preferences’ field in the report.
Backups and data recovery
Ideally, your NetSuite data should be backed up weekly. Thankfully, the software is cloud-based and features daily automatic backups. Moreover, the software offers data recovery options in the event of a disaster, to help with NetSuite maintenance.
Despite this, it’s important to have a comprehensive data backup and recovery plan in place, including storing backups in a separate location. That way, your company can prepare for a worst-case scenario. For instance, NetSuite may experience problems at one of its data centers, which can be tracked on its website.
You can easily check the integrity of your backups with the RMAN Validate command in NetSuite.
Monthly Maintenance Tasks
NetSuite maintenance with regard to system updates is quite easy – after all, the software releases two updates annually which are automatically sent to your account. Also, with SuiteFlow, you can use the mass updates functionality to update several fields simultaneously.
When implementing updates, be aware of possible impacts on your customizations and integrations. However, if your NetSuite implementation follows NetSuite Leading Practices, you shouldn’t have issues with updates and customization.
However, regular backups will ensure that any potential challenges can be fixed timeously.
Audit Trail Review
As mentioned above, NetSuite’s Audit Trail Review allows you to access changes made to your data, by time or user. It’s good practice to check these reports after any updates, to ensure that no errors creep into your reporting.
These reports should also be reviewed monthly to ensure that your team stays compliant with internal policies and external regulations, to ensure transparency and compliance.
Quarterly Maintenance Tasks
If any part of your NetSuite software has been customized for your unique needs, it’s worth conducting quarterly reviews to ensure that these are still necessary and functioning well.
Relying too heavily on customization of your software can make NetSuite maintenance challenging. Remember that custom options can slow system performance, and present user challenges that require training.
As such, we advise that you optimize NetSuite customizations. To do this:
- Assess the necessity. Do you still use the custom scripts, workflows, or objects?
- Assess relevance. If a custom item is outdated or no longer relevant, it should be updated or removed.
- Optimize the scripts. Your custom scripts should be efficient, which can require fine-tuning so that they only initialize when processing.
- Establish governance procedures. Ensure that your governance control points (like SuiteScript or other units) are used effectively to avoid execution errors or limits.
Integrations health check
As with customization, NetSuite can be integrated with an almost endless supply of other applications.
So it’s important to evaluate the performance and reliability of these integrations, and make changes or updates where necessary.
To do so, you’ll also need to perform data cleanups. Eliminating duplicate, redundant, or unnecessary data will decrease the size of your database and improve performance. If you need updates, make sure that your team receives the necessary training, to avoid user errors.
Annual Maintenance Tasks
Comprehensive system review
A thorough review of the entire NetSuite environment can help your finance team increase its efficiency.
Consider the following aspects:
- Workflows and scheduling. Are your workflows functional, and not too complex? Are there any redundancies that can be removed, or processes which can be streamlined?
- Dashboard optimization. Evaluate your widgets and delete any that are not used.
- User-friendliness. Help users make the most of NetSuite by reducing the number of custom fields or forms, and recommend saved searches rather than custom reports for data that’s accessed frequently.
- Hardware. Check that your hardware can support NetSuite software requirements for optimal efficiency.
Remember that you can also use the system’s Customer-Scheduled Maintenance for NetSuite maintenance without interrupting business processes.
Planning for scalability and the future
NetSuite maintenance isn’t just about ensuring that your system functions well now – it also includes making provisions for future ease of use. With that in mind, check that your hardware and network infrastructure can support your current system, along with a scaled system in the future. You may need to incorporate content delivery networks to ensure that you won’t have latency issues, especially if your team grows across geographical regions.
Training and documentation updates
For optimal NetSuite performance, your team must receive training for new features or updates. This includes updating your standard operating procedures (SOPs) and internal controls.
Best Practices for NetSuite Maintenance
To ensure that your business benefits from NetSuite maintenance, it’s important to schedule the activities listed above. By adhering to a schedule, and reviewing the audit trail to ensure your schedule is followed, your team will be able to avoid costly errors down the line.
When in doubt, you can use NetSuite’s many support resources.
Another option is to consult a NetSuite partner. This gives you access to the necessary training and guidance, maintenance, as well as best practices for your NetSuite system.
For help with your NetSuite maintenance, schedule a Discovery Call with one of our NetSuite CPAs.
The information presented in this blog article is provided for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute legal, accounting, tax advice, or other professional services. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the information contained herein. Use the information at your own risk. We disclaim all liability for any actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this blog. The use or interpretation of this information is solely at your discretion. For full guidance, consult with qualified professionals in the relevant fields.