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Six must-have features of a new financial software solution

Changing your financial software is no small undertaking. There’s the cost to consider, as well as the fear of potential disruption.

Bound up in the decision-making process is not only the solution itself, but how well it fits with your organisation and business procedures. The chances are, you have grown and diversified as an organisation over time. Growing businesses face new challenges and complexities, some of which you could never have predicted. So you need to find a financial solution which is as adaptive to change as you are.

Whatever your unique circumstances, there are some functionalities that all financial solutions must deliver. We call these the ‘Six Must-Haves’.

Accounting

All systems will have basic accounting tools, such as purchase and sales ledger. However, you should consider whether you need additional features, and if the system you’re interested in can provide them. Have you thought about asset management tools (so you can track the abundance and depreciation of your assets), as well as board pack tools, which organise all your documents seamlessly for board meetings? You might also require cash flow forecasting tools, credit control tools, and sales and purchase contra tools, which helps ‘contra’ transactions with suppliers who are also customers. It might also be worth considering automated bank reconciliation tools, and green accounting tools, to quantify your carbon footprint and identify waste – something customers are increasingly interested in.

Payroll

It’s fairly common for medium to large sized organisations to have a dedicated module for payroll within the financial software solution. The main functions it should incorporate are legal compliance, employee records, e-payslips, absence and automatic enrolment, which ensures you can easily handle all pension-related tasks.

Stock management

Does your organisation hold stock of any description? If the answer is ‘yes’, then your system must account, analyse and report on all crucial aspects. After all, too much stock is bad for business. Your software should be able to handle sub-analysis, bar codes and serial numbers, logistical costs, price matrix, stock allocation, updating and forecasting.

Billings and sales

Billing and sales are the lungs of your organisation, giving you the liquidity you need to live and breathe. You need a system that supports this seamlessly, highlighting all inconsistencies and errors. It is good to consider elements such as sales ledger, which gives you insightful supplementary information at the click of a button. Order processing is critical too, as is sales analysis matrix and consolidated orders.

Costing

These days, real-time costing data is an invaluable tool, giving insight into how capital is being used and, more importantly, how it might be used more effectively. Features should include compulsory costing, centralised information, integrated budgeting and work-in-progress analysis.

Purchasing

It’s absolutely critical that everyone in your organisation has visibility and appropriate control over purchasing. After all, unnecessary stock holding or asset acquisition restrict cash flow. Your financial solution should include, purchase requests, purchase order processing and the complete purchase-to-pay cycle, which should be streamlined to tailor with the size of your business.

To find out more about choosing the right financial solution, including what questions to ask of your own organisation and potential vendors, download our whitepapers today.

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Author: Mark Hallett, 4 January 2016

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