A Brief Guide to Accounting Software
What your accounting software should do...
No matter where in the world they operate, companies today are faced with an uncertain economic outlook and fast changing market conditions. Within their organisations they are often experiencing high rates of change also, with pressure to reorganise, move to flatter management structures, adopt new technology, streamline processes and cut costs. Many markets are once again experiencing mergers and acquisitions - even in the public sector! - and there is a demand to innovate product and service offerings. All of this means that companies and their technology infrastructure must become more flexible in order to respond to these changes quickly and effectively.
Clearly this presents a massive challenge for the finance function in every organisation. In particular, their accounting software must be able to support this relentless internal and external change, with ease.
Five key areas you should expect from accounting software
All reputable accounting software on the market should cover the basics:
- General ledger, sales and purchasing ledger, project ledgers etc. – ideally within a unified ledger design to allow for real-time accounting:
It should be real time to allow your finance team and management to understand your financial situation up to the minute - and be able to see the implications of any changes before or as they happen, not weeks afterwards.
- 'The multis': Multi-currency, multi-company, multi-lingual capabilities:
Your accounting system should cope with the day-to-day complexity of your business, without difficulty. However, beware - not all handle these areas well.
- On-line, real-time enquiry and browsing
Browsing you accounting data should be straight-forward. For quick enquiries your accounting staff should be able to just query the system and get a quick, and up-to-the-minute result.
- Simple reporting and easy-to-use but powerful analysis functions
Accounting data can be complex, but with modern reporting and analysis tools you should be able to run report and make sophisticated analysis quickly and easily. You should be able to give access to these tools to line managers and budget holders so they can change and run reports themselves, freeing up accounting staff to do other work.
- Standard integration utilities, using the latest technologies, like web services.
Accounting software today should be able to integrate with other administrateive and operational systems, allow you to automate basic processes and to deliver information securely across the organization, across your supply chain, anywhere in the world.
What they FORGET to tell you about accounting software
There's one thing that most vendors and experts in accounting software forget to tell you. The most critical feature of your new accounting system:
6. Ability to cope with change!
Given the challenges organisations face, as we listed at the top of the page, your acounting software must be able to handle change. That means it must let you restructure your business, make new reports, demand different analysis, enter new markets, launch new products - easily. With a few clicks of the mouse. Too any accounting and other business software packages require you to do programming to make changes, which means asking IT or getting external consultants in. That's costly and takes too long.
So find out how the system copes with change.
UNIT4: Thirty years' experience in delivering accounting software
UNIT4 has been developing accounting systems for three decades, and offers a range of highly powerful, yet easy to use solutions aimed at different markets and technologies.
Agresso Business World and Coda Financials are its two main, global software brands. Agresso is an ERP solution aimed particularly at people and project based organisations. Its financial management solution is tighty integrated as part of a suite with HR and Payroll, for example, as well as other application areas. It is widely used for public sector accounting and by services organisations around the world.
Coda Financials is a best-of-class accounting software package aimed particularly at organisations with specific operational systems in place that may have been developed or tailored to suit the business, but with complex accounting challenges. Commercial organisations in sectors like retail, financial services, transport & logistics use Coda for their accounting system needs.
One aspect links all of our solutions.Our philosophy. It is summed up in our strapline, Embracing Change. We design all of our solutions to be easy to change, not just before you implement them, but years afterwards. Which is why so many of our users stay with us for years.
Need Help Choosing Financial Software?
Read our guide to choosing and implementing financial software & discover which option is best for your business, best-of-class or ERP?
Find out more about UNIT4's Accounting Software solutions
Information on Agresso ERP and Coda Financials