Over the past few decades, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have become indispensable tools for modern companies. An ERP solution such as SAP S/4 HANA Cloud Public Edition ensures that a company's financial and operational data are stored in a centralized database and that employees have the data they need to make informed decisions. Because teams across departments can access the exact numbers, it reduces the likelihood of errors and inconsistencies. In addition, ERP software can automate a wide range of routine processes, improving productivity and allowing workers to shift their attention to more strategic endeavors.
Whether it's ERP for finance or ERP for engineering firms, these systems are a significant investment. Thus, it's crucial for business leaders in the finance industry to carefully evaluate vendors that can help take their business to the next level.
Is ERP Purpose-Built for Finance?
While ERP solutions can be customized, it is best if your needs can be met by an ‘out of the box’ version as much as possible–this will save you time and money. Many current solutions for financial services were first developed for other business functions, such as human resources, and have been expanded to incorporate financial aspects through upgrades. Still, they frequently can't provide the full suite of capabilities demanded by the financial services industry and fail to achieve full integration across all business operations.
To meet the needs of finance decision-makers for speed, accuracy, and deep insights, you need an ERP solution with a purpose-built, end-to-end solution designed for financial forecasting, planning, data analysis, and reporting. An ERP designed for financial institutions can help you predict market rate scenarios, track financial instruments, and optimize capital management.
Will You Have Access to the Right Data?
You need an integrated system that can help you gather information and insights from across your organization. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to have prompt access to accurate and complete data, especially with the prevalence of remote or hybrid workplaces. You need a platform that provides timely analytics without sacrificing accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Sometimes, it's necessary to merge ERP data with information from other sources so that it can be used for analysis. You should factor data warehousing into your ERP budget and be prepared to put time and effort into getting things running correctly. Make sure to talk to your vendor about the potential challenges of ERP data warehousing, which can be challenging to update due to the sheer volume of stored data. You also need to figure out if you need customizations or if you require a system that refreshes and highlights changes daily. It’s wise to understand your data analysis requirements before selecting an ERP provider.
Does ERP Integrate With Legacy Systems?
Consider how well and readily your legacy systems integrate with the ERP platform. Integrating the new ERP with your existing finance technology ecosystem may be complex and costly. Connecting your new ERP and the rest of your technology architecture can be a time-consuming and sometimes risky part of any deployment, so you should work with a vendor who has expertise in this process.
Ask whether the ERP solution has extensive integration tools that will let you connect to local and remote systems. Seek advice on whether a pure cloud solution will present challenges to your operations. This decision is crucial if you need to change the source code or implement significant new features; sometimes, a hosted solution may give the best of both worlds. You can enjoy the advantages of cloud computing without giving up the control that comes with owning your software or application.
Is ERP Compliant With Regulations?
Compliance with global data hosting and privacy is crucial if you have foreign operations in nations that need in-country platform hosting. Verifying that your provider can meet data residency and other local requirements is essential. Read the service level agreement (SLA) and other terms and conditions thoroughly. In case of a calamity at their central location, you should find out if the vendor has the necessary backup infrastructure in place.
Check if your ERP complies with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations if you are or want to become a publicly listed firm. Your cloud provider should be able to specify each control activity surrounding data processing activities, including input, processing, output, and security, to guarantee SOX compliance for your ERP system.
There are many considerations to finding the best ERP for finance. As you search for a provider, make sure you look for an ERP vendor that shares your commitment to innovation and can help you adapt to ever-changing business environments.