The path to selecting an ERP platform is not an easy one. A high risk, high reward decision featuring long implementation windows and high customization costs, ERP software can position a business for sustainable and strategic growth—but only if it’s done right. Every ERP is broken down into smaller parts, customized to your organization’s unique needs.
Financial Management: The Backbone of Business Management Software
Whether this is your first project or you’ve made this decision numerous times, you likely know that the financial management module is at the heart of the application. Any additional module or functionality needs to flow seamlessly with financial management so that decision makers can act, strategize, and drive their business further. Knowing this, it’s not the only part of the equation, and in the coming weeks, we will look at additional functionality that an ERP should have (or at least offer).
Today, we would like to share with you one of the most important parts of your day-to-day operations and something that should be a driving force in your ERP decision making.
Cash Management: One Key Part of Your ERP Decision
An ERP application is the sum of its parts. Throughout your ERP decision-making process, you will need to weigh the functionality that is most important and decide if each vendor has the ability to handle your unique needs. Some functions can be worked around, others can be tackled by software designed for that specific purpose (e.g. budgeting, invoice management, etc.), but there are certain must-have functions that an ERP should do well. One of these is cash management.
What is Cash Management in ERP?
Cash management provides information relating to cash flow of the organization, by processing and analyzing all cash and bank transactions, arising out of payment of supplier’s invoices, receipt from sales invoices, standalone payment and unallocated payment / receipts.
Cash Management in ERP software is designed to give you a complete view of your cash flow, allowing you to track balances across all bank accounts, currencies, and entities to gain a better understanding of current and future cash needs. This functionality helps you understand cash requirements, enhance cash forecasting, and see the bigger picture by integrating with applications within and outside financial management.
Why is it So Important?
At the core of any strong business is its ability to manage its cash, knowing exactly what it has, what it can spend, and where the money is coming from at any given moment. This makes cash management one of the key features of any strong ERP, as businesses who can see where they stand can make faster, more informed decisions on how to spend their money.
Things to Look For
Not all cash management solutions are created equal. Some of the most important cash management functions include the following:
- Petty Cash Management
- Remittance and Payment Instructions
- Processing Centers for Collecting Cash
- Ability to Handle Multiple Currencies
- Enhanced Security Functionality
- Customizable Cash Account Reports
- Audit Trails for All Cash-Related Transactions
Acumatica Cash Management: Part of the Acumatica Financial Management Module
Acumatica delivers a full suite of integrated business management applications unlike any other ERP solution on the market today. Offering a wide range of products for unique industry needs, Acumatica ERP features a strong cash management application for businesses who need a flexible, adaptable, and robust ERP solution that will grow with them.
Acumatica Cash Management is part of the Acumatica Financial Module and integrates with other necessary functionality based on your industry and unique needs. Learn more about Acumatica Financial Management, your path to making an ERP decision, and contact us to learn how we can help you.
What’s on the horizon for businesses in 2019? More change. From finding and supporting new customers to dealing with new technology and data challenges, the coming year will require businesses to take a different look at the way that they operate, leveraging technology to get there.
Six Trends Businesses Need to Watch in 2019
A recent Microsoft report looked at the challenges, opportunities, and risks that finance will face in the rapidly approaching year. This report looks at six key trends that businesses will need to look into in 2019, and we will provide a brief look below.
Growing Importance of Finance
Throughout the organization, finance has continued to become more important to the entire business. No longer just tasked with managing money and approving budgets, the finance organization has found its way into operations, IT, and risk management; Microsoft found that Sixty-four percent of CFOs reported being asked to take on broader operational leadership roles beyond finance. This will require a new skillset to adjust, but technology will ultimately improve the way finance tackles these tasks.
Evolving Expectations of Customers
As Millennials pass Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. and Generation Z enters the workforce in larger numbers, it also means that companies will have a broader set of customers or purchasing managers with whom they will work. Globally-minded, well informed, and passionate, they will push businesses to operate with greater transparency and create more sustainable products.
Further, these customers will have different expectations in the delivery models and customer service requirements, and organizations will need to explore new ways to embrace this group of customers.
Finance has continued to embrace better technology. This has presented finance leaders the opportunity to free themselves from the struggles of manual processes and the poor control or visibility, contributing more to the strategic decisions of the business. In 2019, businesses will continue to leverage more data, building a ‘culture of data.’ 2019 will mark a time when companies become smarter about how they use data, the data itself is also becoming smarter, with AI and machine learning providing instant intelligence and enabling automated processes.
2018 was a year with great uncertainty, and trends suggest that 2019 will be no different. From financial regulations, tax changes, and trade policy to Brexit and data protection, finance leaders will once again be forced to navigate through great uncertainty in a turbulent, highly-politicized environment.
New Generations in the Workforce
While Millennials and Gen Z will represent a bigger part of your customer base, they will also play a more important role within companies. As businesses face an increasing skills gap in 2019, they must seek new ways to fill critical roles, including re-training older employees, seeking foreign labor, and tapping the emerging gig economy to meet temporary labor demands.
New Challenges and Risks
As discussed in point one, finance will be focused more on risk management. However, it goes beyond the basics of technological risk, as organizations face additional regulatory risk as well.
Be Ready for 2019: Dynamics 365 Business Central & Acumatica
If you are looking to continue driving your business further in 2019 and beyond, you can’t afford to be held back by manual processes and lack of visibility. Be ready with the next generation solution like Dynamics 365 Business Central or Acumatica. For more details, please contact us.
While you go through the process of selecting ERP software, you face a wide variety of decisions. From deciding on important functionality to making your decision on vendor and partner, the path to purchase is rife with politics, detractors, promoters, and exaggeration. That said, even if there are many gray areas in the decision process, one area exists that is a bit more black and white: Money.
It’s likely you have a budget and timeframe in mind, with expectations on what a software will bring you over its useful life. There are many direct and indirect costs and benefits that appear—from training costs to automation savings—all of which should be estimated, weighted, and understood before making the final decision.
Two Areas Where You Need to Prove ERP ROI
In order to forge towards a final decision, one of the most important things you will need to do as a decision maker is to prove that the move to new ERP software will benefit your company and that the specific software you choose is going to pay for itself. To do this, one of the most effective ways to compare software is to analyze the potential return on investment of each software to weed out the options that pose high risk or little reward.
This calculation plays a role in two parts of the decision process. First as part of the Project Justification and second as part of the final decision.
Project Justification: Why Do We Need to Make an Upgrade at All?
Before you even start looking at the available ERP options, you first need approval to proceed. Even if end users and department managers know it’s time to make a switch, you still need to sell the idea of an ERP project to the C-Suite or leadership team.
In order to make an effective pitch to the people who sign the checks, you will need to prove that any change will pay for itself—and that the status quo isn’t beneficial. This analysis is broader than later ROI calculations as it is designed to prove the value of any project that you look to complete.
Often, this will take a broad look at the following:
- Purchase and Implementation Costs
- Ongoing Costs and Changes from Current Costs
- Benefits from Making the Switch
- Cost Savings and Cost Avoidance Provided by an ERP Software Upgrade
- Increased Revenue Opportunities
- Indirect Benefits
While there is no “generic” ROI analysis, your solution provider or consultant can help you with cost estimates and suggest benefits and returns as experienced by other customers. It is important to complete the ROI calculation for a reasonable lifecycle for the system – at least 5 to 7 years – and include all identifiable ongoing costs as well as one-time purchase and implementation costs.
In addition to discussing the benefits of a new system, one of the most important things you will need to communicate at this time is the cost of not moving forward, highlighting the ongoing maintenance costs, labor costs, and other areas where old software is holding you back.
The Decision: Which ERP Platform Will Bring Us the Most Value?
With approval from the board, you now have a budget in mind and can begin narrowing down your potential vendors based on their ability to provide features and functionality, ultimately ending with a shortlist of candidates who you think can provide you the best software for your unique needs.
It is at this point that you will once again look at potential ROI. This time, however, you will have much more specific information on which to base your decision. By this time, you may have quotes in hand from your vendors and can make ROI analyses with real numbers to determine which software will provide you the most value over the course of its life.
Much like the initial ROI analysis, this will look to compare costs and benefits of an ERP replacement, but instead of hypothetical numbers and generic estimates, you now have the power to make a well-planned and realistic comparison.
Calculating Return on Investment: Free Whitepaper from Acumatica
For many companies, expectations from software are higher than ever, and the ROI analysis is vital throughout the decision-making process. These analyses take into consideration a broad range of costs and benefits from implementation throughout the useful life of the product.
To help you make a smarter, more confident decision, our friends at Acumatica have written a free whitepaper, The ROI Analysis of An ERP Replacement, which looks at the many ways to compare ERP solutions. This whitepaper details the many ways you can quantify ERP decisions including Return on Investment, Gain on Initial Investment, Payback Period and Time to Value. We invite you to download the whitepaper here.
Looking for even more information? Get to know more about Acumatica, read up on the different “editions” of this true cloud ERP platform, and see what’s new in the latest update (R2 2018). Additionally, This ERP Systems Comparison will help you to understand the basic selling points, features, and benefits of each ERP solution as you progress from long list to shortlist.
Contact us for a free consultation and to learn more about the many solutions we implement and support.
Selecting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is a major decision, with choices driven by numerous smaller decisions ranging from “what are our must-have features” to “who can we trust to implement the software?” The path to selection is stressful, politicized, and filled with salespeople trying to promise more than they can deliver.
There’s nothing easy about the decision process, but there are ways to whittle down your list of potential vendors based on their ability to provide what your unique business needs. From unique functionality to industry experience, research often points to usability as an unsung hero in ERP implementation success stories.
Usability: How Accessible is Your Software?
One of the most critical components of an Enterprise Resource Planning Application is whether or not it is user-friendly. According to Nucleus Research, “What’s the point in having the best functionality if few people within the business can actually use it?”
Functionality may be one piece of the puzzle, but if the software features a steep learning curve or presents challenges in the overall uptake, users will opt for workarounds or ignore an implementation altogether.
This is where usability comes into play. Especially in the ERP world, where software touches a wide variety of users, the platform must give each user easy access to the data and insights he or she needs. In 2018, software needs to integrate, unlock value of the connected applications, and unlock data for end users, decision makers and executives.
Nucleus Technology’s ERP Technology Value Matrix 2018
In their recent Value Matrix report on Enterprise Resource Planning software, leading analyst firm Nucleus Research compared vendors by functionality and usability to compare vendors. This report is unique, as it discusses the impacts of a software implementation on end users and compares vendors on how well they provide solutions to customers.
“In this Value Matrix, Nucleus evaluates ERP market vendors based on their product usability and functionality and the value that customers realize from the capabilities of the product. As a snapshot of the ERP landscape, this research is intended to help inform consumers about how well vendors are delivering value to customers, and what a prospect can expect moving forward based on the investments vendors are making today.”
Using functionality and usability, this report provides a different look than many others in the space, finding which solutions have succeeded in verticalization, customizability, innovation and delivery to decide which vendors can provide the most value to customers. Companies are broken into four quadrants—Leaders, Experts, Core Providers, and Facilitators—based on their ability to provide functionality and usability (in relation to other comparable products):
- Leaders: High Usability, High Functionality
- Experts: High Functionality, Low Usability
- Facilitators: High Usability, Low Functionality
- Core Providers: Low Usability, Low Functionality
Acumatica Achieves Leader Status, Receives Top Usability Ranks on Nucleus Research
Following the company announcement of the new functionality provided in the 2018 R2 Release, Acumatica recently announced that Nucleus Research recognized them as a “Leader” in the 2018 ERP Value Matrix for both high usability and functionality, topping all others in usability while improving their status in the functionality rankings as well.
Among the highlights from the report:
- Acumatica continues to lead the way in usability, serving a wide variety of unique verticals.
- The company has seen continued triple-digit growth with no signs of stopping.
- Following their latest funding round, Acumatica now has more resources to invest in AI and machine learning, two critical components of the future of ERP.
- Acumatica continues to deliver on promises while improving the core product—notable improvements include more automation, improved multi-entity accounting, increased focus on verticals, better mobile accessibility, and adaptability to the current competitive landscape.
Better yet, Nucleus notes that even with three years of consecutive success as a leader under its belt, the company still has momentum, noting that “[the] focus on usability and customer value should continue to serve the vendor well in future editions of the Value Matrix.”
We invite you to download this research report here to learn more about Acumatica, its ability to provide both usability and functionality, and compare the platform with others you may be considering. Ready to learn even more? The team at IBG is a trusted Acumatica implementation partner who knows what it takes to help your business thrive with true cloud ERP. Get to know about Acumatica here, and contact us for more information.
For more than a decade, Acumatica Cloud ERP has been the true cloud ERP for growing and established businesses. Feature rich and user-friendly, Acumatica has continued to add new features and functionality in twice-annual releases based on user requests, industry trends, and regulatory needs. These updates keep the platform ahead of the competition as one of the leaders and fastest-growing ERP platforms on the market today.
As one of the leading resellers and implementation partners of Acumatica for organizations in Florida and throughout the Southeast region, the team at Integrated Business Group is pleased to share with you the latest news about the update and invite you to a special event at which you can discuss the latest improvements and innovations with your industry peers.
What’s New in Acumatica 2018 R2?
Released on September 19, 2018 Acumatica 2018 R2 provided a wide variety of enhancements to the core platform and each industry edition, with updates focused on customer satisfaction, usability, and compliance.
Mobile Functionality Improvements
If there is one thing that customers expect when they move to the cloud, it’s this: anytime, anywhere access from any device. Acumatica has always provided a strong mobile product, but the 2018 R2 update provides significant enhancements to the mobile experience. n 2018 R2, users will see usability improvements such as push notifications, smarter navigation, and easier customization. In addition, the user interface now includes targeted pop-up notes, branch navigation, and improved date management.
Another improvement that will make life easier for users comes in the form of reporting enhancements. Reporting now displays pivot tables along with the Generic Inquiries. Also, you can add a side panel in the Generic Inquiry function that allows users to manage the details of specific records in an inquiry using the same screen.
Further, if you create and distribute regular reporting packages, the new release allows you to string reports together by creating multiple reports and merging them into a single package before sending them as an HTML or PDF file.
From the ‘across-the-board’ enhancements to the following made to each module, Acumatica has focused on making many compliance-based improvements pertaining to GDPR, contracts, and more, as well as enhancements that make users’ jobs easier.
At the core of the Acumatica platform is the Financial Management module, and the company has made significant enhancements.
- Multi-Entity Improvements Make Closing Easier: Acumatica 2018 R2 makes it easier to close financial periods by company by providing different financial periods to manage books separately for each company in the same tenant. This means multi-entity companies can now close books independently of one another.
- Wider Variety of Tax Management Integrations: Additionally, the company is providing a Tax Calculation Integration Plug-In to support a choice of sales tax calculation providers.
- ASC 606 Readiness Enhancements: With new standards taking place for private companies in 2018, Acumatica is offering more functionality to support ASC 606 compliance in deferred revenue recognition.
Project Accounting Improvements
Acumatica Project Accounting is a strong player for professional services firms in need of complete visibility and better profitability, and the update makes it easier to collaborate, create quotes, and more. Among the improvements:
- Payroll Integrations for Project Costs: Making it easier than ever to bill, Acumatica 2018 R2 now offers labor cost rates and project labor cost accounting integrated with payroll,
- Simplifying the Opportunity-to-Quote Process: New project quotes (convert opportunity to project) simplify project sales and pricing by supporting complex quote processes. This usability enhancement supports a connected business in which people on the road can work collaboratively with project managers to create quotes and easily convert them to projects.
A powerful CRM platform that integrates with ERP—that’s what customers get when they choose Acumatica. Among the improvements:
- Outlook Integration Improvements: Outlook integration enhancements that will link email activities with any contact in the system.
- Better Branch Management within CRM: The new Portal setup by branch allows users to display financial documents associated with all companies and branches, which enables organizations with multiple companies and branches to better control information that is visible to specific customers.
- GDPR Compliance Tools: This release also includes GDPR Compliance Tools to safeguard handling personal data. These tools let users protect personal data and restrict its processing.
Industry Edition Enhancements
Acumatica is known for its industry editions, unique solutions designed to help companies in specific industries to do more with a custom-tailored product. Knowing this, each release features unique improvements to each industry edition—distribution, manufacturing, field service, and commerce.
Updates to Acumatica Distribution Management in R2 2018 include several ease-of-use improvements designed to make the end user’s job easier.
- Discount Functionality Enhancements: Improved discount functionality will save time in sales, order management, purchasing, and accounting.
- Landed Cost Improvements: New landed cost document types capture and allocate landed costs while streamlining purchase receipt processing. They also provide landed cost allocation capabilities.
- Smarter Returns: The purchase return process enhances control over returns, including the necessary accounting transactions. Improvements to shipping functionality enable you to accurately match freight costs to shipments and reduce operating costs.
Acumatica Manufacturing Edition has always been a strong player in the Manufacturing ERP game, and 2018 R2 adds a variety of improvements:
- Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) Improvements: Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) updates equip manufacturers with the ability to consistently and cost-effectively set accurate and reliable delivery dates.
- Engineering Change Control provides additional revision status controls in the BOM to help you simplify and control product changes, improve product design, and reduce costs.
- Production Management enhancements streamline production of a stock item and simplify production management. For project-centric manufacturers,
- Tighter Integration with Project Accounting: Project Accounting integration improves project visibility while reducing operating costs over multiple production runs so that businesses can determine profitability for large jobs and contracts.
Field Service Edition
Field Service companies face unique challenges and need to leverage a wide variety of features to support customers. R@ delivers the following improvements to the Field Service Edition:
- Easier Process to Create a Sales Quote: 2018 R2 Makes it easier to create a sales quote and a service order from an opportunity, along with the ability to easily copy notes and attachments into orders.
- Allocation and Tax Calculation: Service orders can allocate items and display calculated tax amounts. Updates to pre-payment and tax calculation on orders make it possible for field workers to complete transactions while on the job. Improved cost tracking provides insights on service order profitability.
- Inventory Allocation: To address the needs of repair and maintenance companies, Acumatica added inventory allocation controls and scheduling improvements that will help organizations ensure parts are ready when appointments are scheduled.
In 2018 R2, Acumatica has provided additional sales order processing workflows so that transactions originating from online systems with up-front payments can be processed and calculated differently from transactions entered by salespeople with payment terms.
Learn More about 2018 R2: Acumatica Roadshow Hits Orlando
Are you an Acumatica customer or prospect who would like to get a first person look at the enhancements made to Acumatica in R2? Look no further than an Acumatica 2018 R2 Launch Event! There are many reasons to attend one of these events, which provide a personal introduction to the platform, allow attendees to network with their peers and ask questions, and understand more about how each new enhancement works.
The Acumatica 2018 R2 Roadshow will hit Orlando, FL on October 18, 2018. Learn more about this event and register here.
At Integrated Business Group, we only work with the software we feel is best for our unique clients, designed to make their operations smarter, help their processes work better, and empower their people to work more strategically. Whether it’s Dynamics GP, Dynamics 365, Dynamics CRM or one of the many integrations and customizations we specialize in, we believe in the power of our products. Knowing this, over the course of the next few weeks, we will explore the basics of each product before discussing how they improve your business.
Today, we will start with Acumatica, one of the true leaders in Cloud ERP, who has helped thousands of organizations around the world to transform their business with powerful software, anytime access, a unique pricing structure and so much more.
Who is Acumatica?
Acumatica is the fastest-growing provider of Cloud ERP software for small- and mid-sized businesses. Built on the world’s best cloud and mobile technology, the company provides adaptable and integrated applications deliver modern solutions for ERP and CRM.
When businesses choose Acumatica, they gain the ability to streamline processes, gain visibility over operations, and accelerate business growth. Better yet, Acumatica is designed for the modern business, providing complete mobility so that business users can securely access the software from anywhere on any device at any time. Acumatica’s unique pricing model offers flexible licensing and deployment options and is easily expanded for a growing organization.
What Does Acumatica Have to Offer?
Whether you need a unique industry solution (e.g. Construction, Commerce, Manufacturing, etc.) or need a product customized to your unique needs, built from a combination of modules and applications, Acumatica has what you need.
There is nothing generic about your needs, and Acumatica is built with customization in mind around the following core applications. During the decision and implementation phase, you will work with your implementation partner to find out what you need and how to make it work, building your perfect solution around the following tenets of the Acumatica ERP:
- Financial Management: From on-line accounting for smaller local businesses to feature-rich global financial applications for larger, complex businesses, these accounting applications are designed to grow with you and support your needs today and in the future. Get to know more about each of the features here.
- Reporting, Dashboards, and Data Analysis Toolkit: Gain greater insights into your organization with self-service tools from Acumatica to generate reports and analyze trends easily and in real time. Learn more about the powerful Acumatica BI software here.
- Customer Management: Includes standard CRM functionality for managing leads, contacts, opportunities, and more. In addition, post-sales service and customer portals help improve the total customer experience. Get to know Acumatica customer management here.
- Project Accounting: Know the actual costs of internal or external projects. Manage budgeting, time sheets, project inventory, and complex billing. Project reporting lets you compare actual project costs with original and revised budgets using visual dashboards. If you’re a project based business, learn more about the power of the software here.
Some industries have unique needs and need an even more specific template for their software. Acumatica has designed its application around each of these, providing specific solutions for construction, commerce, distribution, manufacturing, and field service:
- Manufacturing Management: Integrate production planning, material purchasing and shop floor scheduling with customer management, sales orders, inventory, purchasing, and accounting for real-time coordination of multi-plant activities. Get to know the power of Acumatica Manufacturing Edition
- Field Service Edition: Service Management tracks and simplifies every process of your field services operations. Service orders, appointments, contracts, warranties, routes, staff skills, equipment capabilities, preventative maintenance schedules, and a drag-and-drop dispatch board are all available. Learn more about Acumatica Field Services Edition here.
- Commerce Edition: Deliver a consistent customer experience across all your sales channels with complete integration between your online, mobile, and in-store service. Take control of all your channels. Learn more about Acumatica Commerce Edition!
- Construction Edition: Gives you project control from estimating through close-out on construction projects enhancing profit margin and reducing waste using construction accounting software from Acumatica. Their newest industry edition, Construction has proven itself to be one of the top solutions for growing and global construction companies. Get to know more about Construction Edition here.
- Distribution Management Edition: Administer quotes and orders, track inventory, automate purchasing, and improve customer service. Acumatica Distribution Management fully integrates with CRM, financials, manufacturing and project accounting for complete visibility across the entire organization. Acumatica has long been one of the top solutions for distribution firms, and this powerful solution has gained accolades from industry leaders. Learn more about Distribution Edition here.
Acumatica: True Cloud ERP
When it comes to ERP, you have many options, but often there is only one perfect fit. Get to know more about the Acumatica Product, how it works, how it’s priced, who it helps, and why it might be the best for you by discussing it with our highly experienced staff. Contact us for a free consultation and stay tuned for upcoming blogs to learn more about how the product can improve your business.