How to Streamline Your Multi-Entity Financials

How to Streamline Your Multi-Entity Financials

The question, “How’s business?” isn’t quite right. Most of the time, it really should be, “How are your businesses?” Many, if not all sizable business concerns, are actually running multiple, separate business entities. Even if the corporation looks like one company from the outside, the inside will invariably comprise a multi-entity structure. Accounting in a multi-entity environment can be a challenge without the right tools. It is possible, though, to streamline your multi-entity financials.

What is a Business Entity and Why Do Companies Run Multiples?

A business entity is a legal structure that allows one or more people (You know, human beings…) to establish a business that can conduct business. Typical examples include the S Corporation, C Corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC). A business entity is self-contained. It receives capital investment from its owners, earns and spends money and pays taxes on its profits. In the eyes of the law, a business entity is like a person. It can enter into contracts, open bank accounts, buy assets like real estate, sue people and so forth. In the United States, business entities are formed and governed through state laws.

In practice, most companies set up more than one entity to do business. For example, a company that’s known to the public as Acme, Inc. might actually consist of Acme, a California Corporation and Acme, a Delaware Corporation. There are many different reasons for doing this.

Drivers of multi-entity business structures include differences in local tax laws, requirements to incorporate in a specific state in order to do certain kinds of business there, licensing requirements and so forth. Other factors involve a desire to bring different groups of investors into separate entities. This is common in real estate, for example, where each building or development project is a separate entity. Some companies may run wholly owned subsidiaries and foreign subsidiaries.

Challenges in Multi-Entity Accounting

Accounting and financial reporting in a multi-entity business can be challenging. While each entity has to report its own, unique profits and losses to taxing authorities, at a high level, it’s still really one big business. In fact, one variant of the multi-entity construct is to have a single holding company whose whole reason for existence is to own stock in all the subsidiary entities.

On a practical basis, much of the time, even if there are multiple entities, there is just one accounting department. And, even if each entity has a separate bank account, in actuality, there’s just one big checkbook, so to speak, to pay the bills. Multi-entity businesses are constantly shuffling money between entities to pay the bills.

Multi-entity accounting is therefore somewhat complex and labor-intensive. Financial reporting and closing the books on a period can be a big chore.

Streamlining the Multi-Entity Accounting Process

Financial management systems like Acumatica offer features that are designed to help make multi-entity accounting and reporting easier and less time-consuming than traditional alternatives. Examples of how this happens include:

  • Entity setup – Acumatica and platforms like it have simple, streamlined tools for setting up business entities in the system. Acumatica can manage finances for multiple business entities at the same time through the same interface.
  • Access controls – Not everyone on the accounting team needs to be able to access every entity’s books. A financial management platform should enable entity-specific access controls.
  • Consolidation – This is a big one. Shareholders and senior manager want to see a consolidated view of the multiple entities. The system should make consolidation easy, ideally on an automated basis. At the same time, the system needs to provide independent balance sheets and separate tax reporting information on demand for each entity.
  • Payments – Multiple entities often deal with the same vendors. To keep the process of managing payables streamlined across multiple entities, the financial system should enable cross-entity views of accrued payables, purchase orders, budgets, payment schedules, approvals and related information.
  • Cash management – Even through there may be more than one business entity, a multi-entity business will want to manage cash coherently and efficiently across the entities. The financial system needs to make this possible in order to streamline multi-entity financial management. Learn more in ERP Decision Making: The Importance of a Powerful Cash Management Solution.
  • Automated reporting – To keep multi-entity financial management streamlined, the financial system has to automate reporting. The accounting team will usually run the same reports every period, e.g. consolidated cash flow statements. It’s a waste of time to do a custom setup for this report to run every period. It should be automatically preset to run.

Integrated Business Group offers streamlined multi-entity financial management through Acumatica. To learn how we can help you with managing multiple entities, visit https://www.integratedbusinessgroup.com/services/consultation/

Push and Pull: Two Paths to ERP Innovation

Push and Pull: Two Paths to ERP Innovation

During the first forty or so years of ERP, innovation was rarely one of the words used by analysts and pundits to describe such a platform. ERP was designed to simplify tasks and provide stability to businesses, doing enough to satisfy the needs of a company for the decade or so they will use it. However, with the rise of the cloud (and multiple yearly updates that came with it), the market changed.

Today’s software still offers the functionality and stability that companies of all sizes need, but adds a layer of innovation as well—vendors will respond to user requests and update the software as such while adding functionality that provides them a competitive edge.

This said, there are two unique paths to innovation in the cloud—push and pull—that vendors need to balance if they want to grow their business. A recent report from leading analyst firm Mint Jutras looked at the two strategies before outlining how Acumatica is focusing on each to deliver the highest levels of innovation and satisfaction.

Responding to User Requests: The First Step

One of the most important things a vendor can do for its clients is to listen—who knows better about how to improve a product than the people who use it every day?

To address this, many vendors, Acumatica included, offer an idea website: a place where customers can submit feature requests, letting other customers vote on whether they believe this can and should be added. In their announcement of R1 2019, Acumatica CEO Jon Roskill touted the company’s ability to deliver on customer requests in each new version:

“We’ve continued to listen to feedback from our customers and partners since the release of 2018 R2 last fall, resulting in continuous refinement and improvement of Acumatica’s cloud ERP offerings,” said Roskill. “This product release of 2019 R1 continues our independently-recognized industry leadership in usability and customer satisfaction across multiple business sectors.”

Answering user requests is one thing. It gives vendors a good reason to keep billing companies and it gives the companies good reasons to keep paying. While this is amazing for companies already using an ERP platform, it’s likely that if you’re on this blog, you’re in the market for new ERP software. This is where the other half of the equation comes in.

Staying Ahead of the Market

We’ve long said that functionality is key. It’s why we have a once-monthly deep dive into each key process that ERP should deliver. However, it’s also well known that one of the biggest detriments to a company is complacency—just look at all of the legacy ERP companies trying to push fake cloud solutions after getting caught on their heels by true cloud vendors.

In order to stay ahead of the competition, vendors need to think not only in terms of succeeding today, but delivering products that give them an edge in the coming years. Features still need to be pragmatic, adding some form of real value. “Cool” features are just that—nice to have additions that aren’t going to add a ton of value.

In the Day 2 Keynote at Acumatica Summit, Roskill outlined Acumatica’s path for 2019 and how developers are working on delivering real-world solutions to real-world problems. “We love technology, but it’s not technology for technology’s sake. It’s technology and how we can apply it to very pragmatic problems in the real world,” Jon said. “I think that’s what Acumatica is really, really good at.”

Free Report: The Push and Pull of Acumatica’s Innovation

If you are looking to see what’s on the horizon and read what leading analyst firm Mint Jutras had to say about what’s next, we invite you to download this free report, The Push and Pull of Acumatica’s Cloud ERP Innovation, which explores the following:

  • Why it’s no longer enough for cloud ERP vendors to collect customer feedback.
  • How Acumatica goes the extra mile to transform simple customer suggestions into breakthrough features.
  • How AI and ML technology in Acumatica software can benefit your business.
  • What Acumatica is doing with drones and augmented reality solutions.
  • Why you should demand much more than just new features from your cloud ERP vendor.

Download the entire report here.

Learn More: Acumatica and IBG

When it comes to ERP, you have many options available. You need a vendor who not only can do the basics right, but who can also deliver expected (and unexpected) innovations that become a way of life in the near and distant future.

At IBG, we are skilled in the implementation, customization, and integration of Acumatica Cloud ERP, designed for users to do more with what they have. Learn more about why this solution stands alone, get to know more about your path to ERP purchase, and contact us for a free consultation.

New Features in Acumatica 2019 R1: Exciting Changes Ahead

New Features in Acumatica 2019 R1: Exciting Changes Ahead

For more than a decade, Acumatica has become one of the fastest-growing ERP solutions in the world by delivering innovation to customers and continually committing to product improvements. These improvements are delivered in twice-annual product updates, R1 and R2.

2018 R2 brought it’s own set of improvements to each module, including ASC 606 readiness, improvements to multi-entity closing, better project management and more, as we discussed in a blog on the update here.

2019 R1 follows up on this, adding a wide range of improvements across the board to the platform, focused on usability and continued improvement. From the ‘across-the-board’ enhancements to the following made to each module, every module of Acumatica’s cloud ERP solution has been enhanced in some way in Acumatica 2019 R1.

Announced and discussed in full at the Acumatica Summit 2019, 2019 R1 brings the following improvements:

Financial management

  • Predefined list of currencies: Acumatica cloud ERP now provides a predefined list of all currencies included in the ISO 4217 standard.
  • Different Start Periods for Companies in the same tenant: Companies using Financial Management and having multiple legal entities can now have different fiscal year-end dates. Now, an organization can accelerate implementation; simplify maintenance for companies that share vendors/stock items/employees; run consolidated operational reports; and facilitate the preparation of consolidated financial statements.

Order management and Inventory

  • Automated Warehouse Operations (WMS): WMS gives users the power to complete warehouse operations with inventory items, such as picking, packaging, PO receiving, putting away, transferring, and physical counting by using barcode scanners or mobile devices.
  • Ship-to info: Multiple shipments or orders with different addresses are included in the Sales Order invoice.

Project Accounting

  • Multi-currency project accounting: Users can enter project transactions in different currencies and maintain projects in both the base currency and the project currency. With multi-currency project accounting, project managers and accountants have the ability to calculate project profitability in both the project currency and the base currency, and present costs to the customer in the customer’s currency.
  • Project budget forecast by period: With project budgeting by period, users can forecast original and revised budget amounts and quantities for existing project budget lines for financial periods of the master calendar. Each project can have multiple budget forecast revisions.
  • Company-Specific Financial Periods in Project Accounting: Companies using project accounting within the same tenant can have different fiscal year-end dates with this functionality.

Field Services

  • Calendar boards: With field service management software, customize the calendar board by rotating the members vs time axis. Users can change the time range to show schedules for one week or one month. The user now can also reassign an appointment from one staff member to another on a different date, viewing the agenda for a group of staff members on a particular week or month, or viewing the availability of rooms on a particular week or month.
  • Location Tracking: Using mobile device of the service personnel, the GPS location of any location can be tracked.
  • Generate Invoice: From the Field Service application, the service personnel can now directly generate an invoice from a service order or an appointment.

Improve Your Business with IBG and Acumatica

Whether you are an Acumatica customer who is looking to understand the wide range of improvements available (and maybe find a new partner to support your day to day operations) or you are a prospect looking to see the latest features, the team at IBG would love to help. We have completed hundreds of successful implementations and know the benefits of this software for your business. We invite you to learn more about our work, read up on other features from the new update, and contact us for more information.

ERP Decision Series: Tax Management

ERP Decision Series: Tax Management

Many different things go into the ERP decision and selection process. Often a necessary change for business, the path from decision to implementation is often a complicated journey for businesses, filled with risk. However, with the right planning and help, you can make a decision that benefits your business for years or even decades to come.

Financial Management Deep Dive: Breaking Down the Features of an ERP

During your path to purchase, it’s important to get to know the different features that exist in your ERP solution, understanding how they work together to create the solution you will likely use for at least five to eight years.

Following our deep dives into accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash management, and currency management, we would today like to discuss something at the top of many minds as we enter the month of March: Tax Management.

Tax Management: One Part of the Larger Financial Management Decision

With the calendar year tax filing deadline nearly upon us and your personal income taxes due shortly thereafter, there is a lot of talk about taxes right now. Knowing how challenging it is to accurately prepare and file your taxes as a business, and knowing how painful an audit is for businesses, it’s vital to stay up to date on your business taxes to avoid challenges now and in the future.

Taxes are inevitable, and whether they’re sales taxes, corporate taxes, or property taxes, your business needs to accurately track, collect, report and in most cases prepay at the Federal, State, and sometimes Local level in the US. Add to this the challenges that come from operating internationally, and you need a solution that delivers the control and visibility you need.

What is Tax Management in ERP?

In ERP, tax management streamlines and automates the tasks involved with configuring, collecting, managing, and reporting tax. Necessary for businesses to avoid costly fines or other penalties, tax management integrates with the rest of an ERP platform suite to allow businesses the opportunity to centralize information and easily generate the tax filing reports that are required of your business.

From sales tax to VAT and reverse VAT taxes, different localities have different requirements, and tax management should be able to automatically configure reporting requirements, generate summary reports, and prepare required information quickly and easily.

Why Is Tax Management Important?

Today’s businesses face new challenges in compliance. With audits already painful for businesses, the larger a business gets, the more likely that a business who underreports taxes or gets caught will face media and public scrutiny from watchdogs and others willing to bring to light a business’s failure to pay.

Added to this new challenges for ecommerce businesses in the wake of Wayfair, and today’s business needs to take proactive steps to collect and report on an increasingly complex tax landscape.

What Should You Look For?

Tax management is a necessary feature for businesses, and finding the right solution could make or break your ERP decision. With so many different jurisdictions to work with and tax codes to work under, consider the following features and benefits when comparing ERP solutions:

  • Flexible Configuration: One of the hardest parts of the tax equation is the configuration process. Tax management should support sales, use, withholding, VAT, and reverse VAT taxes—anything by which you may be required to collect, report, and pay. Specify multiple rates with different start and end dates, minimum and maximum tax amounts, and calculation on each line item or the entire document amount.
  • AP Integration and Automatic Offset: We’ve mentioned before how important it is that an AP solution integrates with the rest of an ERP platform; tax management included. With AP integration, you can easily prepare for tax payments, automatically calculating and generating a bill in accounts payable on a frequency you choose.
  • International Readiness and Localization: While planning for and paying taxes is one thing, collecting them is another. Tax management functionality should automatically calculate taxes based on the tax zone assigned to the customer, employee, or vendor record, and the tax category assigned to inventory items.
  • Drill Down and Analytics: Maintain a complete record of each tax transaction, including the originating module and transaction, the taxable amount, tax, reference number, and document type. Reconcile calculated tax with general ledger postings and drill down to the original transactions.
  • Audit Trail: Maintain a complete audit trail of all tax-related transactions. The system maintains the details of all tax-related documents, including the originating module, reference numbers, and date of the record. Adjustment can only be made through auditable transactions.

Part of the larger Financial Management Suite within Acumatica, Tax Management ensures you stay compliant and reduce any risk that comes about when collecting or paying taxes.

Acumatica Financial Management: Delivering Tax Management and Much More

Finding a solution that is user-friendly and functional is a key decision process in the ERP evaluation stage. 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.

Learn more about Acumatica Financial Management, your path to making an ERP decision, and contact us to learn how we can help you.

Acumatica Takes Home PCMag Award for Best ERP Software

Acumatica Takes Home PCMag Award for Best ERP Software

With 2018 an outstanding year for Acumatica, which celebrated its 10th year in existence, and a swath of awards from journalists and accolades from analysts, the company has continued its momentum into 2019 with its latest award: an “Excellent” rating of 4.5 and inclusion as one of three vendors receiving an Editors’ Choice designation.

What PCMag Celebrated

Acumatica was one of three vendors to receive a 4.5 out of 5 stars or higher, with PCMag author Ted Needleman celebrating the software for its easy navigation and browser-based design to make mobile access easy. Needleman added, “With its easy-to-follow navigation, robust reporting, and unusual pricing model, accounting software Acumatica is a good choice for growing small to midsize enterprises (SMEs).”

Dashboard-Based Navigation with Easy-to-Define Roles

While PCMag offered a wide range of reasons for the high rating, the first thing mentioned was the use of dashboards, a core component of Acumatica and other highly-rated applications. With easy-to-define roles and dashboards customized for each role, users are shown the information they need to see when they log in.

“It’s easy to define roles and permissions since this is done by checking or unchecking the appropriate entries in configuration boxes. This simplifies navigation because only the areas in which a particular user is allowed are shown.”

Needleman adds that the dashboard-based design makes task assignment, KPI tracking and configuration easy, as a user can simply click the dashboard he or she is allowed into and complete a task such as approving a bill, purchasing equipment, or running depreciation. Added to this, Acumatica was celebrated for its search functionality, in which a user can simply type a task into the search box and be shown related tasks.

Customization and Freedom

As a born-in-the-cloud solution, Acumatica is known for its extensive customization abilities. While PCMag does note that it is best to work with a partner to “do the heavy lifting” for you, there are hundreds of reports available for users to search and filter.

Another key selling point is the amount of customization allowed, as your decision to purchase Acumatica gives you access to the source code, giving you or your partner more freedom to customize it for your unique needs. Added to this, the app is written in Microsoft .NET, a much more accessible and easy-to-learn platform than many ERP solutions are written on.

APIs and Integration

A major part of a postmodern ERP strategy is integration. Often is the case, while a solution may give you nearly all the functionality you need, it doesn’t get you 100% of the way there. To address this, companies leveraging a postmodern ERP strategy need to find ways to integrate an ERP application with others through APIs so that data can flow between this and other applications.

Acumatica makes import and export easy with Open Data Protocol (OData)-compliant functionality allowing for the use of representational state transfer (RESTful) APIs. This makes it easy to connect Acumatica to a wide range of applications, with PCMag noting its tight integration with Microsoft Power BI.

Ready for You Whenever and Where You Are

Due to its browser-based nature, Acumatica is easily accessible—whether in the office or on the go. Acumatica empowers users to make decisions wherever they are using either a web browser or Acumatica’s Android or iOS apps.

“The mobile apps for Android and iOS are identical, and have a different UI than when you access the app in a browser. The app has icons for specific tasks such as entering time cards, expense claims, expense reports, sales orders, or purchase orders (POs). I accessed the iOS app on an Apple iPad Mini and the Android app on a Lenovo Yoga convertible tablet, but they’re really structured for smartphone access.”

The Unique Pricing Model

While explained as “unusual,” Needleman does celebrate the Acumatica pricing model for its ability to help growing businesses pay only what they need. Unlike other leading cloud ERP providers, Acumatica’s unique pricing structure bases fees on resource consumption versus per-seat licensing. Users can choose SaaS Subscription, Private Cloud subscription, or Private Perpetual License—all of which disregards the number of users and focuses on the volume of key transactions for a user’s business.

Learn More: Acumatica and IBG

When it comes to ERP, you have many options available. This award, in addition to other awards and recognition in 2018 (including the SIIA CODiE Award for Best Cloud ERP Solution and Best Manufacturing Solution, highest customer satisfaction in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant, and highest in usability in Nucleus Research’s ERP Technology Value Matrix, to name just a few), exemplifies what sets Acumatica cloud ERP apart from other ERP solutions.

At IBG, we are skilled in the implementation, customization, and integration of Acumatica Cloud ERP, designed for users to do more with what they have. Learn more about why this solution stands alone, get to know more about your path to ERP purchase, and contact us for a free consultation.

ERP Decision Series: Currency Management

ERP Decision Series: Currency Management

So many decisions go into the process of selecting ERP software for your business. A high-risk, high reward proposition, companies that make the right decision position themselves for comfortable growth, ease of life, and smarter decisions. However, a poorly planned or executed implementation project is also very likely to fail—in fact, up to 75% of all implementations do.

The bigger and more diverse your business gets, the more complicated this becomes, and for those with international subsidiaries, vendors, or customers, today’s topic is especially important.

As we’ve said in previous blogs on this topic, we aren’t trying to scare you away from making an upgrade—we wouldn’t be in business if that was our intent. Our goal is to help you understand your path to purchase, learn the features and how they can help you, and give you tips for a successful transition from your current system to a solution that positions your business for the future.

After our last article on laying the groundwork for an ERP implementation and deep dives into cash management, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and business intelligence, we would today like to discuss another core component of financial management.

Financial Management: A Continued Deep Dive

As we continue our series on the financial management features and functionality you should consider in your ERP solution, we would today like to explore two necessary components of this software designed to handle two of the complex processes that businesses must face in their ongoing operations—currency management.

The process of managing different currencies is often a challenge. From exchange rates to prepayments, vendor payments to value-added tax, businesses need an accurate and auditable picture of their financial standing to understand where they are and what they will need to do.

Currency Management: Minimizing Growth Risk

Whether you are looking to expand internationally or are already well established around the world, one of the biggest challenges and risks faced by growing businesses is that of financial risk. From inflation to instability, trying to calculate exchange rates why working with international subsidiaries, suppliers, and customers becomes harder as the volume of transactions increases.

What is Currency Management in ERP?

Currency management is a tool within financial management that simplifies the process of calculating realized and unrealized gains and losses, performing account reevaluations, and translating financial statements.

Currency management isn’t just about automating calculations as you work in different currencies around the world. It’s also about minimizing your growing midmarket company’s financial risk when currency values change dramatically.

Why Is It So Important?

Currency values change, and exchange rates fluctuate by the day, creating financial risk for companies operating across borders. While hyperinflation is rare, the sheer scale of your business means that a small percentage change in currency could result in tens of thousands of dollars. With this in mind, it pays to know where you stand and make calculations so that you know where your business stands.

What Should You Look for in Currency Management?

Currency management is a unique feature in ERP because it evaluates your business’ standing no matter where you are. Among the key things you should look for in this functionality:

  • Unlimited Currency and Rate Types: Take control of the exchange rate by assigning different rate types to customers and vendors using the same foreign currency. Solutions should at least provide options for the locations in which you operate, but ideally will provide an unlimited number.
  • Control of Decimals and Rounding: With different rates of variability in currency, being able to adjust the number of decimal places you count and handle rounding differences matters. Drill down into reports to monitor fluctuations.
  • Automatic Calculation of Realized Gains and Losses: Automatically calculate realized gains and losses from foreign currency transactions entered into any financial module, whether they are from customers, to vendors, or between accounts.
  • Plan to Adjust Unrealized Gains and Losses: Automatically prepare auto-reversing entries in General Ledger for all open documents recorded in foreign currencies.
  • Simplify Financial Statement Translation: Manage subsidiaries in a wide range of currencies or prepare financial statements in the currencies you need, while automatically calculating gains and losses thanks to tight integration with General Ledger.

Acumatica Currency Management helps you increase your volume of international business while staying in control of your finances. Advanced features let you support all your international subsidiaries, vendors, and customers. Learn more about why this is so important for growing businesses here and read the Currency Management data sheet for more information.

Acumatica Cloud ERP: The Usability Leader

Finding a solution that is user-friendly and functional is a key decision process in the ERP evaluation stage. As we continue to break down the smaller components of ERP and why they matter in the bigger picture, we invite you to learn more about your path to purchase by getting a free ERP evaluation and comparison checklist from Acumatica here.

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 Accounts Payable 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.