What Is A Financial Management System?

Watch the video: What is a Financial Management System? (1:15)

Designed for creating, connecting, storing, and reporting many different types of finance transactions, a financial management system ultimately has one core purpose: counting money.

Quite simply, without some kind of accounting software, an organization would not survive. At the most basic level, every organization needs systems to manage the flow of money in and out of the business. But a truly effective financial management system can do more: optimize profitability, measure cash flow, determine tax obligations, ensure compliance, and maintain long-term enterprise sustainability.

Accounting software core benefits

Financial management software includes the tools and processes that manage and govern income, expenses, and assets. An overarching goal for any financial management solution is to not only maintain an organization’s daily business, but to maximize profits and continuously protect financial data from fraud and theft. At a basic level, an accounting system provides the following benefits:

Error-Free Financial Stewardship

Today’s organizations need more than a digital version of tactical bookkeeping with spreadsheets. Beyond just recording transactions, financial management software should help finance teams maintain their fiduciary stewardship, reducing accounting errors, shortening invoicing cycles, complying with ever-changing tax laws and regulatory requirements, and optimizing daily, monthly, and yearly cash flow.

Compliance with Current and Future Accounting Standards

National and international accounting standards set rules for private and public enterprises. With set rules, definitions, and processes, these standards normalize financial information. But these standards change frequently. In the last few years, new standards have come into effect, including IFRS 15 and ASC 606. A financial management system should be able to handle the latest accounting standards, with the flexibility to adapt to new changes as they are adopted.

Accurate Financial Data

Financial software should do more than just basic accounting; it should be able to help organizations to: Reduce records redundancy, deliver better budgeting, forecasting, and planning, enable a thorough and properly categorized expense management, provide seamless integration into banking systems, enable more accurate audits, and keep detailed tracking records of all assets and liabilities.

Data and Systems Security

The accounting, finance, and audit activities must also offer comprehensive systems security with absolute data integrity integrated across the entire financial management solution.

Connected Enterprise Operations

For larger companies, financial management software is part of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that connects financial and other data across inter-company, inter-plant, or inter-division boundaries. Consolidating financial data aligns corporate processes and reduces complexity.

Scalability for Growth

As companies grow, their systems and processes increase as well. Which means that their financial management software must have the ability to rapidly and easily scale to handle growth—across markets, geographies, and products.

Data and Systems Security

As money is tracked and managed across the enterprise, financial management systems should help protect critical data against theft, fraud, and other criminal mischief. When financial management solutions include risk and compliance management, companies can leverage these capabilities beyond audit trails and error checks to include the segregation of duties and mapping of roles to responsibilities across the enterprise.

Core functionality of a comprehensive accounting system

Financial management systems deliver accurate financial information across the organization. By leveraging this data, financial management software can further help organizations in the following functional areas:

Ledgers: General Ledger (GL) and Sub-ledgers

Eliminate the need for additional hardware and middleware
Reduce installation and implementation costs

Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR)

Financial software should do more than just basic accounting; it should be able to help organizations to: Reduce records redundancy, deliver better budgeting, forecasting, and planning, enable a thorough and properly categorized expense management, provide seamless integration into banking systems, enable more accurate audits, and keep detailed tracking records of all assets and liabilities.

Asset Management

For complete financial statements, knowing the value and condition of assets is a requirement for inventory management. Financial management software needs capital and operational data with descriptive information related to assets to deliver accurate financial statements related to appreciation and depreciation.

Collections Management

Managing collections involving suppliers and customers is an important financial management software capability. With comprehensive collections management, it is easier to rank customers, establish collection strategies, manage collection payments, and initiate late-stage collections for bankrupt customers.

Employee Expense Management

Generating and processing employee expense reports is a core requirement of a financial management system. Key functionality should include the ability for employees to make self-service entries and map those expenses to projects and travel accounts.

Reporting and Analytics

Retrieving, organizing, and analyzing data from financial management solutions provides meaningful insight into a company’s operational performance and point-in-time financial situation. To be most effective, financial management software should have embedded native reporting solutions.
When financial management solutions also provide multidimensional reporting platforms with self-service reporting and data visualization capabilities, companies can further improve their financial performance by giving users access to real-time information.

Revenue Management

Revenue management applications in financial management systems automate and audit compliance with standards and regulations like ASC 606 and IFRS 15.

Risk Management

To monitor and protect companies from internal and external theft and fraud, financial management solutions offer internal controls and audit tools to manage segregation of duties (SOD) and payment rules.

Financial management software—reports and analytics

Most financial management systems do a good job of providing dynamic visibility into enterprise data. In the last century, ERP software excelled at capturing very large sets of business data, but had difficulty producing reports. That was then.

Today’s organizations want the ability to put their financial data to use to improve profitability, streamline operations, and improve decision-making. In recent years, capabilities for reporting and other data output and monitoring have become much more important to organizations. Reporting requirements for financial management systems have rapidly evolved to keep pace with that demand.

At a minimum, all companies need reports that cover month-end close, quarter close, and annual close, along with basic financial statements for income, expenses, and balances. While these outputs were always available, it wasn’t easy to adjust these reports or add derivations for other needs.

In our fast-paced business environment, the ability to generate prebuilt reports as well as easily create ad-hoc outputs, isn’t just something that’s nice to have—it’s a critical requirement for financial management systems software. Add in requirements for in-depth data analysis, information visualization, more operational visibility, and narrative reports, and companies quickly discover that their ERP software solutions need to easily work with advanced reporting systems like enterprise performance management (EPM) solutions.

Finance management—on-premises or in the cloud

In addition to the design principles mentioned above, there are three core operational concepts that are driving the move of financial management software from on-premises to the cloud. They include:

Software that works; not software that makes work

Old school financial management systems required a lot of maintenance from staff and consultants. These on-premises ERP and EPM packages constantly needed bug fixes, patches, and upgrades—often involving back-to-back projects to stay current and secure. With cloud-based financial management software, the heavy lifting of tracking, diagnosing, installing, and testing fixes shifts from customer to vendor. Instead of having you work continually to fix the system, the system continually works for you.

Avoiding expensive diversions

Legacy systems require a great deal of time, effort, and money just to keep them running. With cloud-based financial systems, upgrades, disaster recovery, hardware refreshes, backups, and custom code management are all handled as part of the service.

Accurate Financial Data

Financial software should do more than just basic accounting; it should be able to help organizations to: Reduce records redundancy, deliver better budgeting, forecasting, and planning, enable a thorough and properly categorized expense management, provide seamless integration into banking systems, enable more accurate audits, and keep detailed tracking records of all assets and liabilities.

No more shelfware

The old practice of buying extra licenses for future users and potential projects ends with modern financial management software. With the cloud's SaaS subscription model, companies use the licenses they need and add more users or products as they grow. Capital expenses for shelfware is another IT relic consigned to the computer science practices of the last century.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is driving next-generation financial management

Clearly, financial management solutions have evolved to meet the demands of a digital world. And the cloud has been key to this transformation. The cloud has elevated ERP and financial solutions from basic, back-office accounting software to a comprehensive, mission-critical, integrated solution designed for innovation. As companies encounter new disruptive forces and competitive pressures, modern financial management systems built for this new normal can enable them to achieve financial strength for the future.

Future of financial management

Delivering a modern, cloud-based financial management solution helps organizations compete in a digital economy. These comprehensive solutions include the following capabilities:

Revolutionary Reporting

Robust, real-time reporting for prebuilt and ad-hoc reports, along with prebuilt integrations into EPM Cloud applications. With more agile and accurate reporting, companies can move beyond disconnected spreadsheets and fragmented reports to respond faster and align planning across the enterprise.

Secure and Global Infrastructure

Embassy-grade security through an owned, designed, and managed global infrastructure, utilizing state-of-the-art data centers built with the industry-leading database. By leveraging this infrastructure, our financial management solutions fully support requirements for in-country data residency.

Extreme Scalability

Our cloud solutions deliver high-volume, high-velocity scalability. During testing, complex sets of financial transactions were clocked at over 360 million transactions per hour.

Comprehensive Financial Management

We deliver the most comprehensive financial solutions available, with applications for core accounting and finance, expense management, risk management, compliance, direct and indirect procurement, and project portfolio management (PPM).

Intuitive User Experience

Backed with modern design paradigms and social tooling, we deliver a modern user experience that helps maximize productivity and encourage collaboration.

Complete End-to-End Enterprise Solutions

Eliminate data silos, capture better business insight, and build consistent workflows throughout the enterprise with prebuilt, native integrations to all common business functions including: human resources (HCM), supply chain management (SCM), manufacturing, sales force automation (CRM), and services support.

Financial Best Practices

Covering more than 180 business processes, Modern Best Practice improves financial agility. Our financial management software is aligned with these game-changing processes to help organizations to accelerate productivity, reduce close times, discover real-time insights.