Integrating Sales Invoices and/or Sales Data Part 2: Analysis of the Market and SolutionsJamie Allen
During my previous blog on this subject, we discussed the issues around integrating your sales and operational data into your finance systems and the various elements to be considered in making this purchase or upgrade to your back-office systems/finance department.
Whether you have scaled back your business looking to rebuild or simply set a new company on a great trajectory, getting the right solutions in place for your business while not pulling up what you already have built is very important. Change takes time, money, disruption, and effort so getting the right solution and implementation is critical to a solution’s success.
The temptation for many businesses is to go and get the biggest, best and/or most expensive system available. It’s almost like when you go and buy a TV. The eyes light up, you see the pretty screens and a salesman paints a wonderful vision of you curled up by the fire in front of your favourite shows with the ultimate visual experience.
It is true in some circumstances that you get what you pay for, but not always.
In the finance world, the biggest and best would be considered an ERP. A NetSuite, Business 365, or SAP B1. In some circumstances, these might be the right option depending on your business, industry, and situation. But as mentioned, it comes at a price and there are often mid-market solutions that will be more suitable and provide better value for money, so long as you can get the integrations necessary. Options in this sphere would be Accounts IQ, Xledger or Twinfield.
Some of your decisions in terms of what to use will come down to cost but it is also relevant to make sure you only purchase what you need and avoid duplication. Where you duplicate data, you will always create a need to reconcile. Somehow differences always happen. Therefore, if you have already created an operational analytics system, you don’t need to duplicate this data in your accounting system. Instead, it might be worth considering how your finance system will integrate into/supplement what you have built already.
One of your other options is of course to try and get more out of the existing systems you have, such as SAGE, Xero or QBO. Many finance teams will have built something pretty good that just needs a little tweak. Depending on the integrator you use, it is possible that how the data is posted and where it is analysed, can be changed which will remove some bottlenecks. As an example, accounting systems can often become bulky when accountants try to use them as reporting tools. They create tracking categories and reporting criteria that need allocating, and this creates an administrative burden.
Shifting this process slightly and how it works can remove this burden and enable you to continue with what you have whilst simply moving the point of focus for certain tasks. Systems sensitive to transaction volumes can have their lifespan extended by changing the way the data is posted/integrated without losing any insights into your business performance.
With all this, the devil will be in the detail and there is a wide range of solutions on the market. One thing that should be a necessity is making sure the posting and analysis of your sales data is being completely automated. Many businesses will still be using Excel models or importing information and this is not only error-prone but totally unnecessary in a lot of situations. Whatever system you use, if it is cloud-based, there will be a way to automate the posting of any sales data in some format. So, we would encourage you to seek this out. If it still doesn’t seem optimal, consider changing the restrictive pieces but only what is necessary and preferred.
If you have any questions or you’d be interested in finding out more about how 4PointZero can help, stay tuned for our next article of the Sales Invoicing series or get in touch today at www.4pointzero.co.uk.