Whether it’s basic accounting or specialised auditing, corporate finance software is a necessity for businesses of all sizes, including boutique start-ups – and for many good reasons. With competition fierce and cyber theft constantly on the rise, it is imperative to stay aware of how, where, and why cash flows are occurring in your business. Financial software development, as a result, goes beyond regular transaction management processes, by also integrating sister systems such as region-based tax calculation, risk assessments, and even AI, to establish a system that is truly holistic, and sans any silos.
As an AWS partner, software development companies are able to consolidate multiple varied components based on individual business requirements, after stringent customization. With leading, cloud support services offering virtual infrastructure (especially microservices) on a cloud-based subscription basis, building custom finance applications for businesses is easier, faster, and more cost-effective. With microservices, there is also less downtime lest a breakdown occurs, as modules are loosely coupled and function independently; replacing the faulty module alone can render the system workable, unlike a monolithic application.
With finance software outsourcing being a key line of business for companies that specialise in custom software development, being able to maintain such systems for clients on a long-term basis, and at scale, is also just as important – and what distinguishes the competent companies from the rest. Software development companies in Sri Lanka are also no exception, as being able to innovate based on trending technologies can further propel clients’ businesses forward, while establishing a position of dependability – something that is paramount for long-term partnerships with a software development company.
Here, we focus on how your team can contribute towards building the ideal custom finance software for your business, as well as considering the key components that constitute modern finance software.
The importance of a business assessment prior to building (or purchasing) any kind of software cannot be stressed anymore, for the details herein will determine what your developers understand about your requirements, which eventually contributes to the final system that is built. Gather team members from across your entire company, by ideally having one member represent each department. Discuss problems that each department may be facing with your existing systems or workflows, and what is needed instead to improve quality and productivity. By collating these findings into a brief, build your business assessment to then be shared with your software development company, which can use it as a means of reference.
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) only focuses on essential features and capabilities in an application when it is first released – with iterations being done over time, especially after gathering feedback from users and reporting bugs. This is also advisable for your newly built custom finance software, as it enables all teams to start small. Therefore, prioritise what is important, and build an MVP accordingly – the bells and whistles can be added later.
After using the MVP for a certain period of time, users will report their experiences with the system. These insights can be used to improve the MVP, by improving existing features, or adding new ones (especially ones that had been considered secondary, when implementing the MVP). Over time, establishing a feedback loop which regularly feeds usage and engagement data to your software development team will be valuable for maintaining an efficient DevOps cycle that is constantly working to improve your finance application.
Being the basics of any finance application, accounting, invoice management, and reconciliations are common requirements for any business. Maintaining up-to-date general ledgers and calculating accounts receivables and payables are the first steps to overall finance management, with cash flow procedures such as budgeting, cost control, and revenue forecasting being done thereafter, to determine the financial status and wellbeing of your business.
With businesses increasingly adopting digital sales channels by way of e-commerce and social media, monitoring online billing models (such as cloud-based SaaS subscriptions) also forms a prominent part of overarching finance applications today. Take things even further by deploying continuous accounting – which reconciles transactions with bank balances as soon as they are available, instead of having to wait until the end of the month, quarter or year.
Calculating your company’s expenses is important for accurate reconciliations, and cloud-based expense management platforms now contribute to this in a variety of advanced ways. Employees can now upload receipts simply by taking a photo, while AI-powered computer vision can detect its contents for automatic entry into the system. Group, tag and classify expenses into different categories, while managers approve or reject expense requests through mobile apps, anywhere and anytime. Modern expense management systems can also automatically track expenses as well as mileage, to ensure all spending is within budget – and eliminate possible theft or fraud.
Being one of the cornerstones of successful financial management, accurately calculating taxes is imperative to stay compliant with governing laws. Tax management platforms today can automatically detect tax zones depending on which region you operate in, while also being able to comply with international tax laws. Manage tax policies from a centralised console, while automating certain tasks so no manual oversight is required, and any errors can also be avoided.
The tax management module will also need to support relevant tax forms, depending on the different stakeholders your business deals with. With the right capabilities and configurations, tax management applications can also help your business save money, by tracking and renewing tax exemption certificates accordingly.
Maintaining assets and inventory as part of an overarching finance management system can offer real-time insight on the status of your capital, while also being able to make informed business decisions to increase output or productivity. From equipment to fleets, tracking and valuing assets can help business leaders determine appreciation or depreciation while monitoring stocks in an inventory can indicate demand and supply trends.
For greater impact, integrate your ERP (if available) with your corporate financial management system to derive data-driven insights from an end-to-end workflow of operations, so nothing is overlooked while key business decisions are taking place.
Calculating employee and contractor salaries is an integral component of any finance management system, which in turn, needs to be done in sync with tax calculation and management. Unlike individual payroll processing systems, macro-finance management applications take worker payment calculations to a higher level, by calculating workforce productivity, and predicting trends. Combining sales and operation data is one way that this can be done, so managers can tally between those who have contributed to revenue, and otherwise.
Being able to identify trends and measure performance from data gathered through transactions, customer engagements and numerous other variables can enable your organisation to steer decision-making based on data-driven insights, as opposed to anecdotes or randomization. With today’s cloud-based systems amassing big data owing to even the smallest of items being recorded, organisations already own vast data repositories that can be put to resourceful use with the correct strategies.
By structuring and processing raw data to reflect the objectives of your organisation, insights can be obtained to answer important questions or solve a quandary. Using data science to identify trends and patterns within your existing data can be highly valuable for analysing where your business is positioned, and possibly why. In turn, these results can be used to further capitalise on the profitable attributes of your business, while formulating strategies to fix other more ailing aspects.
On the other hand, business intelligence is another useful module that can be incorporated into any financial management system. With platforms now being configurable without any technical expertise, staff can create queries via a self-service system to generate reports pertaining to their duties, for instant analysis.
As your teams conduct their duties with inflows and outflows of money occurring in the background, your business needs to ensure that it is compliant with regulations – be they on a local, federal, or even an international level. This can apply to audits which regularly take place in your organisation, or to manage the privacy of customer data in an ethical manner. GRC, therefore, encompasses a plethora of functions which range from common risk management to corporate sustainability, so that your business is aligned with the standards set by regulatory bodies, and legally compliant.
Having rapidly proliferated across the technology landscape, AI, machine learning and other automation-oriented innovations are just as valuable for managing finance operations in your organisation. Reporting and analytics tools are components that popularly deploy AI and machine learning to make sense of data in a more intuitive manner, by training bots to self-learn from new data, in order to make intelligent recommendations. This can be extended over to the daily operations of your business as well, by identifying tasks that can be automated in order to reduce the likelihood of errors, and free staff so they can focus on areas that require their strategic attention.
Numerous customer touchpoints can also be facilitators of AI-driven analytics, such as chatbots. For example, identifying the nature of inquiries from your website or mobile app can enable intelligent algorithms to predict future trends, especially when it comes to seasonality, demand, and economic fluctuations. Using AI-powered computer vision to detect text, numbers, and images in documents can also further streamline otherwise mundane data entry operations, so your teams can focus on what truly matters, while increasing overall efficiency.
With cyber-attacks and data theft getting more and more severe by the day, cybersecurity for all your business systems (let alone financial) is crucial. When building your custom finance application, it is imperative to have strong cybersecurity practices baked in on a code level, so your networks are protected from the beginning. On top of that, maintaining round-the-clock threat detection and incident response capabilities is equally essential, so intruders do not compromise your internal systems.
Although numerous advanced cybersecurity capabilities abound for strengthening your network perimeters, users, infrastructure, and data such as penetration testing, ethical hacking, and fully-fledged Security Operation Centres (SOCs), establishing fundamental security protocols to safeguard your systems is key. This includes (but isn’t limited to) role-based access for staff, multi-factor authentication for ensuring authorised access, and password rotations on a regular basis, while educating users through security awareness training to inculcate healthy security habits.
As businesses strive to attract potential customers in an over-saturated digital market, being able to intelligently analyse the ins and outs of corporate finance is paramount for success. Custom finance software enables businesses to run daily tasks and access insights which are unique to their needs, in order to aid future decision-making that is profitable yet sustainable. By guiding your software development company with the right requirements, building the right finance software is a combination of meeting business objectives, while thinking astutely in the interest of future scalability.
Although your initial business assessment will be unique to the needs and problems of your organisation, it is useful to know about the basics of modern finance software, as well as some of the trends that dominate the same. With streamlined accounting and invoice management being the most vital (and common), combining other components such as expense management for continuous accounting is a real-time approach towards doing reconciliation, as opposed to having to wait until a predetermined time period.
Correctly valuing all organisation assets, monitoring inventory replenishment based on demand, and automatically calculating taxes based on the region are a few other key modules that comprise finance software. As for dominating trends, AI and machine learning can help augment your existing finance software by offering intelligent recommendations, forecasting, and workflow automation, so your teams can dedicate their skills towards strategic tasks that require their undivided attention.