3 benefits of a cloud ERP for finance

 

When it comes to making the move to a cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, you might have noticed that talks are often peppered with words such as ‘streamlined’, ‘optimised’, ‘agile’ and even ‘revolutionary’. And for good reason – the shared insight of a cloud ERP is that it eliminates silos and assimilates business processes so an organisation is better positioned to work as a unified whole. And while the benefits truly extend to every corner of a business, there’s one specific area of an organisation that arguably reaps the most rewards from cloud ERP – the finance department.

 

The finance challenge

Bogged down in multiple cumbersome spreadsheets, forced to enter and re-enter data, creating complex workarounds to seemingly simple processes – these are the wartime stories of finance workers working sans ERP.

Today, we want to air these struggles and talk about how to do away with them once and for all with an ERP for finance.

 

1. Spaghetti systems

For smaller companies with just a few people managing finance, many begin with an entry level accounting system – think Xero or MYOB. Soon though, operations increase in complexity and requirements far exceed the capabilities of their existing system. To avoid shelling out too much or undergoing a complete ERP implementation, several separate applications are installed to plug the problem. Short term, it works. But eventually these disjointed systems become more of a burden than a solution. Finance workers spend their days entering data manually, which inevitably leads to errors and frustration.

 

This common scenario is solved when all data is kept in a central ERP repository, such as NetSuite. Even if there are multiple systems, as long as each system is integrated with the ERP, finance workers can always access a snapshot of the overall financial health of the business, freeing them to keep tabs on cash runway, or rapidly respond to audits and other timely financial performance data.

See our integrations in action > Live Better, a not-for-profit community service organisation, came to Annexa facing similar challenges that were easily overcome with their new NetSuite solution. You can read their full story here, including how they saved countless hours with an integration between their automation and invoice management software, Stampli, and NetSuite.

 

2. Clouded vision

Let’s talk about visibility. Or should we say, a lack of visibility?

Time and time again, our customers approach us citing this very problem. The repercussions of no visibility are serious too – an incomplete view of the levers of profitability, time wasted searching for the right information and never quite knowing the big picture financials of an organisation. If you haven’t got visibility about where you are right now, it’s particularly difficult to make good decisions about where you want to go. You’re flying blind.

 

With a cloud ERP for finance, an organisation is able to extend its core financial architecture to other areas of a business. This might include supply chains, warehouse, payroll, CRM, commerce or budgeting and forecasting. Whatever the department, an ERP allows all the applications to work together sharing that important single source of data. It’s not just for finance either; all departments gain access to this improved oversight, allowing them to collaborate as a cohesive team.

 

See visibility in action

It’s almost impossible to manage a supply chain across multiple continents and currencies without a centralised source of data. How do you know if you have your inventory levels balanced? Or if your specific ‘reorder points’ are, well, on point? Not being able to access inventory metrics with real-time accuracy was Botany Group’s key driver for implementing NetSuite. Read their story to see how they achieved complete supply chain control.

 

3. Going global

Nothing says financial complexity more than an international expansion. In fact, it practically shouts it. Multiple currencies and fluctuations in currency exchange rates, additional subsidiaries, entities, and local legal, tax and regulatory requirements. These are some of finance’s biggest headaches stemming from expansion into a multi-country operation.

To illustrate, let’s consider the pressure put on the finance department when it comes to managing changing compliance requirements at a local and international level. An EY Study reported that 71% of CFOs said that these compliance demands affected reporting effectiveness. The same study found that 56% of CFOs were complying with 11 or more reporting standards, and that they relied on 11 or more systems to deliver these reports.

 

An ERP purpose-built for companies eyeing the global stage can drastically minimise these problems. A real-time, unified global business management platform allows finance teams to benefit from seamless financial consolidation and reporting, with support for currencies, exchange rates and widely used languages.

 

To put the power of a global ERP in perspective, consider an Annexa customer who have successfully and strategically expanded overseas:

 

Aesop

In 2014, Australian cosmetics brand Aēsop was operating 50 stores in six countries and supporting 400 employees. A global expansion plan supported by NetSuite OneWorld allowed them to add four new markets and 50 stores every year. Today the proof is in the pudding - Aēsop operates approximately 350 stores in 22 countries, with 2,000 staff around the world.

 

Next steps

Cloud-first ERP solutions are highly valuable assets for many organisations, especially for taking the burden of day-to-day operational complexity off the shoulders of the finance department, and freeing them to work on more value-adding initiatives.

To find out if NetSuite is right for you, download our NetSuite ERP whitepaper.

 

Annexa is a leading NetSuite partner with extensive experience designing and implementing comprehensive and customised business systems, including payroll solutions, financial management, warehouse management and ecommerce solutions.