Companies are adopting innovative enterprise solutions to help them stay ahead of their competitors. Nevertheless, many still rely on spreadsheets to perform vital financial functions. It is not a promising way for companies to remain relevant in this new digital economy.
One inherent drawback of spreadsheets is that they rely on manual input processes, and hence are error-prone. If an error is made, there are few effective ways to detect and track that error. Once the data is rolled up, top executives can hardly drill down the numbers to the detailed. Using spreadsheets also creates a system of fragmented data and does not facilitate quick action.
A typical spreadsheet-based system can take up to 30 days or more to complete a consolidation. It leaves you with very little time to do any useful analysis. Moreover, spreadsheet-based data normally enables backwards-looking analytics only, not the kind of forward-looking information that companies need.
Furthermore, if you have businesses across multiple locations, intercompany accounting is challenging and time-consuming without a proper system in place.
It is often hard to tell which accounting software is better than another, yet somehow the most suitable solution must still be found. Making the right choice can be divided into three aspects: your business, the software, and the software vendor. Here are the various factors to consider when choosing an accounting software.
In a study conducted on 3000 accountants worldwide by Sage People in 2018, 67 per cent of the participants stated that they "have their heads in the cloud"; and more than half of them have already adopted cloud-based solutions. It is time for your accounting function to be transformed digitally with cloud accounting software.
Traditional (on-premise) accounting systems require businesses to set up physical data centres. This, in turn, results in hefty upfront investment in hardware, IT personnel as well as time and effort to install and maintain the solution.
Cloud-based accounting solutions, on the other hand, store businesses' data in the cloud. Users can obtain financial information anytime, anywhere as long as they are connected to the Internet.
From a simple bookkeeping capability to sophisticated forecasting and budgeting functions, today's cloud accounting systems have drastically evolved to accommodate every business' needs. Cloud accounting also offers a straightforward pay-as-you-go method and a highly secured environment to protect organisations online.
Cloud accounting software eliminates the need for manual system installation. Users can tackle their day-to-day activities from any device, at any time.
Furthermore, the cloud-based system can be scaled up or down in an instant, has a fixed monthly subscription fee, and requires no upfront capital expenses making cloud accounting the most cost-effective solution for businesses regardless of size.
In addition to these advantages, cloud accounting software also possesses these five exceptional benefits:
Cloud accounting providers will take the responsibility of maintaining the periodic software backups and updates, freeing the organisations up for other mission-critical priorities. What's more, the maintenance and upgrades are carried out simultaneously across the organisation.
Therefore, instead of waiting for weeks or months for the latest iteration, cloud accounting software provides businesses with endless possibilities and unparalleled agility. The maintenance is already included in the monthly subscription fee.
Cloud accounting systems provide a quick snapshot into the business' most recent activities, thus, creating a more precise picture of how well the company is doing and empowering managers to make more informed decisions based on the latest financial situation.
Managers can easily monitor people's activities and access according to their responsibilities and level of authority. Once they have their access granted, users can only view information within their role, preventing them from viewing sensitive information when they should not.
Cloud accounting software is frequently backed up and continuously monitored, the chance of a security breach occurs is very little.
Data stored in cloud accounting software is up "in the cloud" and can be retrieved anytime without any physical obstructions. Thus, organisations can function as normal despite the calamity.
Cloud accounting software ensures leaders regularly collaborate with the accounting professionals to avoid any mishaps as well as ensuring the process of tax filing happens smoothly.
Purchasing a new management software can be confusing. To ensure the success of your cloud accounting software implementation, there are do's and don'ts you need to consider before committing to buying.
Nobody knows the current system better than the members of your accounting team as they use it day in and day out. If you want to learn about the strengths, weaknesses, pain points of the existing solution, definitely call out for these experts.
There are “can’t live without” daily modules in the existing system that your accounting staff expects to experience something similar, or better, with the new solution.
On the other hand, there are also rarely used features or processes that are causing too much friction, and you wish that these processes could be automated.
Understanding at which step that halts your productivity puts you one step closer to identifying the suitable cloud accounting solution for your organisation.
The needs analysis allows you to dig deeper into the present pain points and discover new details like the latest industry-specific needs and policies.
To successfully conduct an accounting system needs analysis, you can start with a few questions below to determine must-have features, modules, or add-ons in the new accounting solution.
It probably has been a while since the last time you looked for a new IT solution. Current software available on the market today may overwhelm you with rather compelling features and technologies. But what matters is how well they cater to your specific requirements.
There are various software comparing tools as well as online review sites that can help you to objectively evaluate each solution/ vendor, read real reviews from organisations that experienced the same solutions or simply to ask questions.
Cloud accounting software offers a more predictable pricing model which enables businesses to control their budgets better. The pricing plans that organisations will typically encounter when purchasing cloud accounting software are annual/ monthly subscription (users are charged a flat rate periodically) and freemium (users are charged for using features outside of the original agreed package).
Most vendors will offer a demo version for clients, either online or on-site, to test out the solution before committing to purchasing. This is a critical step in determining if the solution is the right one for your organisation.
How well the vendors’ sales teams understand your organisation plays a vital role in determining the success of the implementation project. Have your list of concerns and requirements on-hand and ready to ask questions when possible. The cost of software delivery can vary based on the result of the demo.
The prospective vendors should also be able to talk you through a typical implementation process and provide you with their proven success to back up their claims of delivering what they promise you.
Post-implementation, you and your staff will encounter various issues from simple to complex that might require support from the vendor. A service provider that cares about their client’s success will help their clients to make the most out of the new software.
Hotel accounting needs to corral different revenue streams but manually compile data is no longer a viable approach. Today’s accounting departments need automation to eliminate disparate, siloed information.
Hotel's accounting software needs to be powerful enough to handle the influx of data hotels generate on a daily basis, and then extract insights from these data to make strategic business decisions.
The reporting tool is essential in showcasing daily rates, occupancy levels, seasonal trends. Many accounting solutions come with pre-built, industry-standard report templates that offer greater flexibility for accountants to quickly dive into details that matter to all key stakeholders.
Dashboards are where critical performance metrics and financial information are visualised and displayed based upon each viewer's role and responsibilities. The visualisations on dashboards allow managers to acquire fast answers at just a glance.
Automated data integration and consolidation
Hotel chains that manage multiple business units require to see the bigger picture via one standardised, integrated report. A tool that enables hoteliers to do just that will help them to utilise their limited time to focus more on mission-critical tasks instead of combining and re-formatting different reports.
Furthermore, accounting software that is capable of communicating flawlessly with third-party systems, such as the reservations management system, POS machine, housekeeping function, or asset management system not only can help hoteliers eliminate silos, it can also empower them to make better decisions based on accurate data.
This feature allows managers to compare data through different variables (time, department, cost centre) and different scenarios, thus, enables them to plan for the future in detail.
Even in cases that require detailed planning for the smallest cost item, an accounting function that allows users to divide a fixed amount of your main account line into sub-accounts and distribute over a defined period would be hugely beneficial.
Accounting software that allows simultaneous connection across the organisation can ensure that only relevant personnel will be involved in the process, and guarantee reports are done on-time and complied to industry standards.
Some property management systems also integrate smart features that offer tighter control over housekeeping functions, facilities and asset maintenance as well as event bookings. Linking the accounting software and the central PMS is highly useful in ensuring hoteliers and revenue managers gain visibility of the entire business.
Integrating labour scheduling into accounting software allows managers to control costs and employee expenses better by ensuring minimum staffing, containing overtime hours, and scheduling the best performing staff during the busiest times/ seasons.
The forecasting and budgeting functions in some accounting software allow managers to predict future needs, special events, or menu changes based on variances in expected versus actual ingredients used, spoils, mistaken orders, and other inefficiencies.
A dedicated function to handle relationships with both current and future customers will empower hoteliers to offer more tailored services. The customer's information stored in CRM feature and their spending recorded in the accounting software is also useful for future marketing campaigns.
The financial services industry in the post-crisis era is still rife with challenges, both old and new, including extensive regulatory changes, technology disruptions, and a greater demand for trust and transparency. Financial services firms operating in such a contested environment need an accounting software solution that can deliver top-notch industry-specific capabilities.
As the financial services market is one of the most globalised industries in the world, the right accounting software needs robust multiple-language, multi-entity, and multi-currency capabilities.
Besides, how easily the finance professional teams can collaborate across multiple locations is also a critical aspect to consider.
Financial managers should be able to obtain quality insights in a timely manner with the help of advanced deep analytics capabilities to make informed decisions. Therefore, financial services organisations should look for accounting software that can accelerate the consolidation process while still maintaining the data's integrity and credibility.
Dashboards are an essential part of any financial services firm. Financial professionals need to be able to grasp critical insights - statistics, KPIs, charts, graphs, reports, etc. - at a glance, in real-time, and on the go.
Financial institutions should look for accounting software that allows them to create multiple dashboards to accommodate their needs in addition to allowing them to set permissions.
Integration capabilities are crucial for reporting and analytics. As financial data is stored in different formats and different systems across the organisation, the accounting software needs to have strong integration capabilities in order to pull data from multiple sources to prepare, analyse, and transform data into actionable insights.
Suitable accounting software will streamline various processes including month-end close, consolidation, management, and financial reporting, thereby, helping the firms to improve not only productivity but also help them to reduce costs.
The accounting software should also allow financial firms to generate and customise ad hoc reports with specific capabilities.
As the financial services industry is heavily regulated, the accounting software must stay compliant with the latest standards and regulations.
Cloud-based accounting software, such as Infor SunSystems, complies with multi-GAAP, IAS, and IFRS which ensures organisations stay on top of any legislation change, always comply with the industry standards and local and international accounting regulations.
Nonprofit organisations do not put any product or service on sales but instead accept contributions in various forms (grants, donations, gifts, etc.) to fund their activities. As a result, having an accounting system in place that allows the organisation and their contributors to obtain complete visibility of the entire business performance is utmost important.
Utilising Excel spreadsheets may be sufficient when the nonprofit first started. However, as the business grows and more contributions keep pouring in, the financial aspect will also become more complex.
In order to gain knowledge of how well the money is spent, both the organisation and stakeholders need to be equipped with highly reliable data. Suitable accounting software will be able to do just that; breakdowns of every spending, incoming contributions are recorded in great detail, which ultimately prevents transaction duplications and strengthens public trust.
Manually inputting data using spreadsheets can be extremely time consuming and a waste of effort. Accounting solutions are created to minimise clutter, provide one single source of the truth instead of carrying scattered documents that can negatively impact the business bottom line.
In some occasions, nonprofits obtain funds from overseas which is in different currencies. Suitable accounting software that enables Account Payable/ Account Receivable Automation can significantly simplify the finance process and maximise the team control over the organisation spending.
The beauty of implementing accounting software is the ease of compiling and tracing back every transaction in case of an audit or a public inquiry regarding the organisation's funds. Thus, ensuring the business is always following the local compliance.
Insightful data is beneficial in many ways. By accurately documenting inventories, revenue streams, and expenditures, nonprofits will have a more robust understanding of their current situation before shaping the business strategy.
As other sectors, such as retail and manufacturing, have fully digitalised many key areas of their operations, oil and gas companies are also betting on improving their financial and operational performance. And their financial management systems lie at the core of this effort.
For oil and gas companies, cloud computing offers a much more flexible and manageable subscription-based cost structure. There is no hefty upfront software licence fee. Plus, investment in hardware and other infrastructure is kept at a minimal level. Therefore, CAPEX is sharply reduced.
Instead of spending time and money on software customisation, oil companies should opt for solutions that can quickly be adapted to their specific requirements.
With Infor SunSystems, for instance, you can easily configure the system for different types of oil and gas businesses, such as joint venture accounting.
Businesses in the oil and gas sector often require strong support for international growth. SunSystems can support a transaction with at least four currencies. The number of currencies that can be stored within the system is unlimited, providing automated currency conversion when entering a transaction.
Gaining real-time insights into key financial and operational information is critical. Built-in multidimensional analytics allows you to easily keep track of key performance indicators such as lifting cost per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE), working capital interest and profit per BOE. You can customise these indicators to better match your business changes.
The oil and gas industry has highly complex reporting requirements – local statutory reporting, management reporting, joint venture/joint interest billing (JV/JIB) reporting, AFE reporting and tax reporting. They can be simplified significantly when you have multiple views of your data from a single source of truth, i.e. a unified ledger.
Infor SunSystems for Oil & Gas is widely deployed among upstream oil companies because of its many industry-specific features such as:
Infor SunSystems, among the first Infor’s products hosted in the cloud, is about to have some more major upgrades: smoother integration with other systems, better security, and functional enhancements.
The most noticeable change is SunSystems is now part of Infor OS – the next-generation enterprise technology platform. This means the solution will be able to better integrate with a host of other Infor’s products such as Infor Birst, Infor HCM, Infor HMS (Hospitality Management) and Infor CRM.
In another sign of SunSystems’ increasing importance to Infor, the development of the reporting tool Infor Q&A will again be assigned to the SunSystems development team.
Security will also be significantly bolstered in future SunSystems releases. Infor OS provides a common security model for an increasing number of its solutions including:
Infor even employs an ethical hacking team whose sole job is trying to break into the Infor systems.
The system allows you to accomplish financial management task seamlessly, transcending borders and languages, that would’ve otherwise slowed down the functioning of your growing business.
The SunSystems can be easily modified to fit your business goals, with a proven step by step implementation process and a post-implementation review, to ensure your success. You save time and money since from just a few clicks you can automatically capture and archive any type of business documents, such as invoices.
With Infor SunSystems, you can streamline consolidation, reporting, and analysis of data from third-party organisations, gaining insight into every aspect of your business that matters to you. As a result, you’ll be able to simplify your budgeting and spending to implement your decisions vigorously.
Infor SunSystems 6.4 is not just a new version of the venerable accounting system, it represents a quantum leap in enterprise software. Fully packed with capabilities far beyond what a traditional financial management suite can deliver, Infor SunSystems 6.4 can be the catalyst for your business’ digital transformation.
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Security is a major concern in our industry. Using Infor solutions was instrumental in ensuring we were delivering features with a high level of security and data privacy.
Howard Phung Fraser Hospitality Australia
TRG provides us with high-level support and industry knowledge and experience. There are challenges and roadblocks but it's certainly a collaboration and partnership that will see us be successful at the end.
Archie Natividad Aman Resorts