Core Benefits of Accounting Software
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
- Ledgers—especially the general ledger—are the core component of every financial management solution. Their design and capabilities are critical to overall functionality across the complete financial management software suite.
- The GL is the primary ledger and provides a master line-by-line collection of all completed financial transactions. For each transaction, GL records usually include: the associated amount, account, date, description, transaction number, and type.
- Financial management software should include sub-ledgers to the GL, aligned by divisions, plants, locations, countries, or major projects. Sub-ledgers improve accounting accuracy and financial transparency for tax payments, budget and finance planning, as well as financial analysis and reporting.
Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR)
- Accounts payable and accounts receivable drive debits and credits across financial management systems.
- The ability to quickly and accurately process payables and receivables impacts cash flow, month-end close, year-end close, and most periodic financial processes. Connecting to OCR and other automation technologies speeds processing and improves accuracy of AP and AR processing.
- 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.
- 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 applications in financial management systems automate and audit compliance with standards and regulations like
ASC 606 and IFRS 15.
- 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.
Reports Needed from an ERP System
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.
Better Performance and Financial Planning
Ideally, a financial management system does more than just manage the monetary mechanics across debits and credits and publish a few reports.
A well-designed financial management system improves business performance and profits by streamlining operational processes and aligning them to best practices. It also helps employees be more productive as they invest their time and effort into strategic (rather than tactical) activities that can transform companies and institutions.
Beyond the General Ledger
As organizations add new markets, expand into new geographies, and adapt to marketplace disruption—especially if they are the disruptor—their financial management solutions must rapidly scale to accommodate added legal and reporting requirements, additional assets, new short-term and long-term liabilities, more qualified suppliers for goods and services, and infrastructure that addresses employee payrolls and policies in different countries.
Planning for the Next-Generation Workforce
As today’s workforce starts to retire and millennials are recruited to take their place, attracting the next generation of employees becomes a priority. Financial management systems must also meet the expectations of a digital workforce, with an intuitive user interface, easy-to-use design, as well as embedded social media and other social tools that millennials have already embraced.
Oracle’s Modern Software and Solutions for Financial Management Systems
Oracle delivers modern, cloud-based financial management solutions that help 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 Oracle 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 Oracle owned, designed, and managed global infrastructure, utilizing state-of-the-art data centers built with Oracle’s industry-leading database. By leveraging this infrastructure, Oracle financial management solutions fully support requirements for in-country data residency.
- Extreme Scalability—Oracle's 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—Oracle delivers 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, Oracle delivers 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.
- Best Practices—Covering more than 180 business processes, Oracle Modern Best Practice improves financial agility. Oracle financial management software is aligned with these game-changing processes to help organizations to accelerate productivity, reduce close times, discover real-time insights.
Cloud Considerations for a Modern Finance Management Solution
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 than 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.
- 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.
The Cloud Is Driving Next-Generation Financial Management Systems
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.