SEPTEMBER 2019 IT IN FOCUS
and is seen to be an allencompassing
talked with production staff at
prospective companies that have
said that 123insight is a perfect fit
for their business, only for them to
be overruled by the financial director
choosing an accounting system with a
‘bolt-on’ manufacturing product that we
simply know will not deliver.
What does the term ‘integrated accounts’
Usually, a vendor that has an MRP/ERP system
where accounts is provided as part of the
product brand will refer to it as ‘integrated’.
It may be that the product started out as one
(e.g. accounts) and grew over time, often
through acquisition, to include the other.
When a vendor buys a software company in
order to integrate the product into their own
it tends to be a mixed-bag. As a standalone
product it may well have been strong, but
there are many horror stories of disjointed
interfaces and functionality that does not
cross over between key areas of the software.
However, integration does not have to
be between two products from the same
supplier. Many systems – both MRP and
accounts – are designed to allow simple and
easy data exchange. In fact, any system that
did not offer such facilities would be ‘dead in
the water’. Customers expect systems to be
able to play nicely with each other, and it’s
often seen as a commercial consideration that
only benefits the vendor when connectivity
and functionality that should be simple is
blocked. Apple’s ‘walled garden’ is a prime
example, with many apps unable to offer the
same functionality available in their Android
equivalent because of restrictions that Apple
places on the operating system.
What ‘integration’ do I really need?
This is the real ‘nuts and bolts’ of it. Your sales and purchasing
departments need to know information such as credit limits,
accounts on stop, outstanding invoices and payments made
for both customers and suppliers. Staff may need to be able
to quickly make decisions such as ‘can I take this order?’ or
‘am I able to order these parts?’. It may also be important for
your despatch department to have visibility of a customer’s
status, as the situation may have changed since the order was
placed. 123insight’s accounts connectivity options provides tight
integration with popular accounts systems such as Sage 50/
Sage 200, Access Dimensions and Xero and allows sophisticated
rules to be created, providing warnings or aborting transactions
based on credit status. This ensures that you can choose the
best accounts system for your company’s needs without
compromising on your manufacturing system.
Do I really need that level of integration?
Smaller companies often feel that the
fully integrated solution is akin to using a
sledgehammer to crack a nut. Perhaps they
have several licences of accounts software or
their business is structured in such a way that
financial controls are not necessary within the
MRP software itself. Then, your only consideration
is ensuring that information is in sync between the
two systems – namely the sales and purchase ledgers.
This in itself should not be a major undertaking: after all,
the data you are passing across systems should be similar.
However, there are certain considerations. There may (read:
should) be levels of security to protect data from possible
corruption during import from MRP to accounts, so you need
to ensure that any data is validated and logged during import.
How do you choose?
All of these points go to reinforce the mantra that ‘best in class
is the best’. Choosing a system that ticks all the boxes for some
departments but that is mediocre at best for others is false
economy. While you will probably resolve many of the problems
that you set out to resolve you will almost certainly create new
ones in other areas.
Different accounting packages have different strengths.
Depending on your business, some will be more suitable than
others. For example, for companies using multi-currency and
operating in different countries the selected system must be
able to come with different taxation laws.
Covering all the bases
While your manufacturing software provides a backbone for
your business, it’s the financial software that controls the
lifeblood. How you choose your manufacturing and accounting
systems will depend on which direction you are coming from.
Maybe you are happy with your accounting system and looking
to implement MRP for the first time, but are wondering if you
need something all-encompassing. Or perhaps you’ve outgrown
your existing accounts software and are not sure whether
replacing like-for-like is going to stunt growth further down
the line. 123insight has all of the bases covered.
Read the full article at: www.123insight.com