Why Linking Systems is Important for Accountancy Firms
Sophie Adams, a Senior Consultant working with Ecovis, explores the need for accountancy firms to have an integrated, seamless process and the reasons why linking systems is core to future-proofing the accountancy environment.
The integration of systems is key in order to manage all the different operational processes within a business efficiently. As a business grows, it will become increasingly difficult to manage a number of individual systems that all hold different data sets that aren’t aligned – it can also lead to duplication of work.
For an accountancy practice, this also comes with challenges when it comes to gathering information to produce a set of accounts as it is very time-consuming to collate information from different sources and it is very likely that there will be reconciliation issues. By integrating systems there will be many benefits for the business as well as an accountancy practice including: –
- Less administration: If all systems ‘talk’ to one another it means that information only needs to be input once into a system that will update all linked systems including financial software.
- Information available in one place – better security: Having all data available in one place means there is no need to have multiple users on all systems resulting in better control over access.
- Quicker reporting/Real-time data: Taking away the need to extract data from a number of different sources and collate in another system (such as excel) will increase efficiency meaning that more time can be spent evaluating the data rather than preparing it, leading to more real-time analytics.
- More scalable: If all systems are integrated, it will be able to cope and scale up as the business grows.
- Business decisions: With the ability to discuss real-time data we can have more meaningful discussions with clients regarding their business performance.
If vendors do not make the integration of their products possible it may lead clients to move to different software providers or to systems that have a wide range within their app suite. There is also the option of using a bridging tool to act as a middleman in order to link up all systems that wouldn’t usually integrate using either an API or FTP.
To give an example, we have successfully deployed this for some clients using a reporting system that can report on financial data as well as operational metrics. By having a system that is not only able to pull data into reports from a range of different sources but also push data out into systems (such as accounting transactions into the accounting software) essentially we are able to automate processes within a business and can completely tailor the network of systems depending on the client.
With the bulk of accounting transactions processed and posted automatically removing this burden from the accountants; it results in more time spent evaluating the numbers at a higher level and posting more technical adjustments.