As our old friend Heraclitus told us “Change is the only constant in life”. The fundamentals of accounting - debits and credits - are the exception!? Yes, gone are the days when ledgers were meticulously maintained with pen and paper, with each number carefully recorded by hand. The real change is that our business environment and expectations constantly move, and at a relentless pace. Finance professionals today improve efficiency, and remove time from any transactional process. Additionally, they use their expertise to turn financial data into higher-value information for reporting and decision-making. As businesses grapple with an increasingly complex global market, the need for modern, enterprise accounting software becomes not just a luxury, but a necessity.
At the heart of every successful business lies effective financial management. In other words, financial clarity and precision are non-negotiable. A minor oversight or discrepancy can lead to significant operational challenges or regulatory consequences.
Finance teams are not just recording transactions, they are enabling the business. For example, by automating workflows, providing data analytics, real-time reporting, and integrating with other business operations.
Relying on outdated systems or manual methods isn’t just inefficient—it’s risky. Legacy systems and processes, while familiar, often lack the scalability, responsive agility, and versatility required in today’s rapidly shifting business environment. As a result, any time spent manually reconciling, troubleshooting, or manually working with your data is time not spent on analytics, gleaning vital insights, and supporting decision-making to drive efficiency and growth.
The value of enterprise accounting software is to deliver increased business value while mitigating business risk.
According to the review site G2 there are over 500 software solutions that are available to accounting teams. In short, today’s offerings are not mere replacements for old systems—they're significant upgrades.
Recognizing the varied needs of businesses, today’s software providers prioritize providing scalable, configurable (using the standard user interface), and customizable (using open API) solutions. Therefore, the essence of modern enterprise accounting software lies in its customer and user-centric design. Whether you're a small start-up or a sprawling enterprise, there should be solutions that can be tailored to fit your unique requirements.
How do you navigate the vast sea of options? Let’s explore the key features to consider.
Expect an intuitive design, clear and simple to navigate, and one that is crisp and easy to execute everyday tasks. This includes dynamic drill-down capabilities, and making your complex data simple to access, view and manage.
Use case - forensic accounting: When researching the source of a value in your Balance Sheet, click into the value to see the source journals that contribute to that value, then navigate to see the detailed business transactions behind those journals including auditability of who did it and when.
Every business operates across dimensions that finance and accounting need to be able to account for as they process fast and report accurately the transactions. Dimensions include your chart of accounts, locations, operating and non-operating entities, customers, vendors, warehouses, products, employees, and so on. Configure dimensions to reflect how you want to operate - and update quickly in response to new requirements.
Use case - You have multiple entities requiring consolidation, using a standard chart of accounts with some entities having unique accounts (e.g. their own bank account) and unique products (e.g. only Product XYZ is sold by entities A and B) and have customers buy products across these entities. Configurable dimensions allow you to post exactly to the level of detail needed and then produce your consolidated and by entity, by customer, by product reporting.
For businesses operating internationally, support for multiple currencies is a must-have feature. An increasing number of businesses now accept payment (and pay) in cryptocurrencies. So, if that’s in your business plan then ideally your enterprise accounting solution provides a digital asset ledger feature.
Use case: You have multiple entities, each of which reports in a different functional currency, and requires advanced multi-currency support to process business transactions and view consolidated financial statements in real-time.
Multiple integration options are needed. Therefore, modern platforms provide open Rest API endpoints available for a fully programmable and integrated experience with your external data sources. However, for older systems, simple CSV bulk upload routines should be supported.
Use case - Your paywall that records your initial business interactions with your customer and is immediately synced to create journal-style accounting entries into your enterprise accounting software.
Automation of routine tasks, such as invoice processing, data entry, and reconciliation, will remove manual work and reduce the risk of errors. This is why automation should be configurable (within the accounting solution) or customizable (with ultimate flexibility provided by an accounting smart API).
Use case - You need a journal created every month to post your depreciation expense, create a one-time job, and have the system do it for you every month.
To ensure financial data is up to date, real-time updates and data syncing are essential. As a result, there should be no waiting for providing detailed and summary information to help your business make informed and timely decisions.
Use case - see consolidated reports in real-time, rather than waiting for a consolidation process that is done monthly or quarterly.
To support decision-making, you need powerful intelligence and a fully customizable financial reporting engine, with dimensional data attributes. Your enterprise accounting software should be open and accessible with any preferred reporting and analytics tool (including Excel of course).
Use case - See your Income Statement by Department or Product to drive data-informed business decisions.
Given the sensitive nature of financial data, the software must have strong security measures in place. For example, encryption and user access controls, to protect against data breaches and unauthorized access. Therefore, the software should maintain a detailed history of all transactions made in the system to ensure transparency and facilitate audits.
Use case - Control which of your users have access to certain functions or portions of your Financials and review their actions - new, edits, deletions - through a complete audit trail.
Your enterprise accounting software should grow, extend, and flex to your business growth and changes. Scalability includes handling ever larger volumes of data and more complex processes without performance issues. It also includes seamlessly switching and integrating with new source and target systems. Lastly, the impact of your growth on pricing should be predictable and affordable.
Use case - Your team is able to effectively work in the tool the first day when there are a few journals in the system to further down the line as you grow and may have well over 100,000 journals in your system.
Cloud-based software allows for easy access from anywhere. It also simplifies the process of software updates and maintenance, is more affordable, flexible, scalable, and easier to integrate.
According to CloudZero use of cloud-based software drives increased revenue and profitability with a potential 40% reduction in total cost of ownership. No wonder Exploding Topics found around 60% of corporate data - 100%+ increase since 2015, and rising) - is stored in cloud-based software, with 89% of companies using cloud-based software.
Use case: Employees are on the road, remote working, and are new hires or have changing roles. All need easy and secure access to business information. With cloud-based software, they can use any web-enabled device (adding, changing, and removing permissions is one-click simple).
In conclusion, the best software for you will depend on your unique requirements, your budget, and the type of vendor you like to partner with.
The good news is that SoftLedger delivers on all of our Top 10 features! Above all, we provide enterprise accounting software without the enterprise price tag.
We’d be delighted to discuss your requirements and demonstrate our enterprise accounting software to you in an introductory meeting. Click here to book an introductory meeting!