Start with basic financial applications software, be an expert in no time

There's a lot to keep in mind with financial applications software. This roundup outlines the most important topics and how they affect businesses.

It's hard to argue with the fact that financial applications are becoming more complex and overwhelming. To ease some of the challenges, Barry Wilderman, an expert with more than 30 years of experience as an industry analyst, researcher and consultant, discusses everything you need to know about financial management software.

Wilderman covers everything from the basics of financial software to the enterprise performance management selection process.

Below you'll find a collection of our favorites:

Get back to basics on general ledger and software options

For businesses to run smoothly, business application specialists in the IT department need to gain an understanding of how business is conducted.

This tutorial discusses the general ledger (GL), one of the key aspects of accounting, from the point of view of business experts and the IT department. Learn more about how to balance both the debit and credit accounts in a GL by referencing this resource.

Understanding the impact of the general ledger for financial analytics

General ledger entries help monitor the transactions of a company, assisting with balancing debits and credits and other financial activities. While the accounting department is required by law to produce statements, the information also provides invaluable insight into the company.

This tutorial shows how to create a business intelligence (BI) strategy through deeper analysis of general ledger data. It uses the Coca-Cola Co. balance sheet and income statement for 2001 as an example.

Read on to find out what the financial statements show about the company.

Find the right budget technique for your organization

As IT executives continue to strive for an automation plan that's in line with the fiscal goals of the company, it's important to establish definitions for key budget terms and how they relate to the overall goal.

How can you find which budget technique is right for your organization? This resource discusses such key concepts as forecasting, budgeting and the typical lengths of a budget cycle. Discover which planning technique is right for your business by reading more on this subject.

Budgeting software vs. Excel: How can you find the right match for your business?

Today, companies are facing the tough question of whether to use Microsoft Excel or other budgeting software. By counting the number of distinct units in the organization (locations, products and profit centers, among others) that contribute to the budget, companies can make an informed decision.

How can managers know if dedicated budgeting software is the direction their organization needs to take? First, ask the right questions, such as where does paper-based manual budgeting fit in?

Read on to learn more about what budgeting package is the best match.

Understanding the IT and treasury management relationship

Oftentimes, IT professionals are assigned to a specific group within an organization. One of the key steps to successful support is to understand the core duties within the department. For IT's role in treasury management, an understanding of internal and external groups is imperative.

This tutorial identifies a number of key functions of treasury management. Typically, the treasury management department takes on responsibility for the company's finances. While this may sound simple, it requires significant attention to detail. Learn more about the key aspects of treasury management by reading this resource.

How can IT contribute to the order-to-cash cycle?

The business processes that involve receiving and completing customer requests for goods or services, collectively called order to cash, can be challenging for IT professionals. Numerous applications need to be implemented and interconnected, and they need to work together seamlessly.

This tutorial outlines how the order-to-cash cycle works, using an example from an earth-moving equipment company. In this company, an order for equipment can come from a dealer or an end customer. Find out how to satisfy the CFO as well as the customers by reading this tutorial.

Use AP software to improve procurement

Procurement involves acquiring the goods and services that affect the delivery of products and the cost of goods sold (COGS), as well as items needed to support administrative functions.

To automate procurement, many companies use accounts payable technology as part of an ERP suite. With the help of AP financial applications software, companies can select which vendors to buy from, issue purchase orders and perform other essential tasks. Learn how to carefully determine the procure-to-pay flow by reading this tutorial.

Pick the right suppliers; keep costs low and customers happy

If strategic sourcing is done correctly, businesses can optimize cost and provide reliable service to customers. While customers are said to be the lifeblood of an organization, inventory management and manufacturing aren't far behind.

How can you gain a better understanding of the importance of a strategic sourcing approach? This tutorial provides an example of a hypothetical business that manufactures office furniture. With customers spread across North America, the company services large corporate accounts. Learn the essentials of strategic sourcing by reading this resource.

Improve the value of enterprise performance management with IT

The main premise of enterprise performance management (EPM) is to link budgeting and forecasting to strategy. How does IT contribute to selecting EPM applications?

IT is faced with a number of issues, including multi-tenancy, uptime, latency and customization. Read on to learn how IT professionals can manage EPM data effectively.

Can Excel handle your corporate performance management?

Cost is a huge priority for businesses in today's economy, and Excel is inexpensive when compared with specialized financial software. Is saving money worth giving up the benefits of other financial applications?

This article explores the limitations of Excel. By examining what happens below the surface, readers will find that often, Excel is actually more expensive than other options.

Learn more about the important things to consider before attempting to use Excel for CPM.

Buyer's guide to enterprise performance management software

Most companies use some type of ERP system for basic accounting functions, such as general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable. However, if you're looking to take your financial management analysis to the next level, enterprise performance management software is essential.

With EPM, the CFO can improve management of revenue and cost. EPM software can also help with consolidation, disclosure and other reporting.

Learn more about purchasing EPM software by reading this resource.

How asking the right questions helps with EPM software selection

When it comes to evaluating EPM software vendors and products, some variables are more important than others.

The most important ones revolve around feature breadth and depth, as well as support for BI. Find an explanation of the most important questions to ask before making a decision by consulting this resource.

This was first published in December 2013

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