Integrating with ERP/Accounting Systems
Written By: Steve Pietrzak
How does one achieve sustained business success? The sales folks will tell you it’s because of them. And yes; they keep growth coming, but the real backbone of ANY successful business is the accounting process.
Yes, the bean counters. Without someone accounting for all the ins and outs, the pluses and minuses, and making sense of it all, it would surely be chaos. In addition to the counting, a successful endeavor requires a financial infrastructure. There needs to be rules and procedures followed so that the whole organization understands where things are financially, are on the same page and driving towards the same goals. True success is only achieved when things are measured, managed and acted upon. It’s then that all the aspects of a company can work together to achieve that success.
Part of the financial infrastructure of any organization are the accounting processes and controls. Sometimes these are included as part of an accounting package in the ERP system. Sometimes they are added by the financial professionals manually to enhance what is already there. When you have multiple financial and accounting systems managing various parts of the accounting process, there can be an issue of duplicate efforts or overlapping controls which creates inefficiencies and costs time and money. On the other side, which can be worse, is gaps in the controls for these processes which creates an opportunity for errors or fraud which can cost the company money, inventory, reputation or even the whole business.
One of the ways to manage this potential issue is to be able to integrate various systems so that process and procedures that create valid data in one area can be seamlessly delivered to another area. What this is able to achieve is:
- Data Integrity
- No manual intervention
- Reduced instance of fraud
- More efficient overall processes
- More timely and accurate accounting and financial data
When an organization decides on a certain software package or component solution for a particular function, they must ensure that it is able to “talk to” or integrate with the primary ERP/Accounting system as well as any other ancillary systems for support. Many technologies today are “open” in that that they can easily perform this “handoff” while others are able to program a file to be delivered. In either of these cases, the less manual intervention the better. This allows for better financial control over the data. No matter what, you want to avoid having to manually rekey any data from one system to another.
Clearly anything that affects cash is a major area of concern and certainly where you want very solid, integrated controls. Most cash in a company goes out via 2 areas, payroll and accounts payable. Most company’s payroll processes are outsourced today to a number of industry providers that specialize in this accounting function and have very robust systems to handle the complexities. Additionally, these systems are subject to outside review and audit to ascertain the validity and accuracy of the data they generate, and the cash disbursement being approved.
Similarly, accounts payable is another area that has specialized software solutions and process providers that focus on the complexities of this major cash area of any company. You want a partner that not only can provide this area of expertise, but also be flexible enough to meet your specific and changing business needs and scalable enough to grow with you. With these automated solutions in place, you can add business without increasing costs and people to achieve that. Again, it is critical that this process solution be able to integrate into your ERP/Accounting/Supporting systems.
As part of any review or audit of the overall financial integrity of a company, the review and testing of these controls is critical. A well documented, automated process presents the best control and most accurate data infrastructure to manage your business. With this information, you can now have a clear picture into you company’s financial health and make better management decisions for your continued growth and success.