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					Does Your Financial System Make It Easy For You
               To Do Business?
Once you have selected a Financial Management Information System (FMIS) it is often
difficult to switch systems due to the dependence on the data that resides in the system.
However, it is important to ensure that the financial system you are using is delivering
the capability you need to run your business effectively.


Switching FMIS doesn’t have to be difficult these days. If the system that you are
migrating to has an open architecture to make switching easier, and most importantly,
the functionality you need to make it easier for you to do business – you will find it well
worth your while to switch.


In general, when reassessing your FMIS, the following criteria should be considered and
rated in terms of importance to the business.

Product functionality
Have a thorough look at how the functionality applies to your organisation or department.
You will find that some functionality is more critical to the way the department runs. For
instance, if you cooperate with a number of other departments, it is important that the
system enables you to view data across all of the collaborating parties.


In general, you should be taking advantage of the following from your current system.


       Account balance views
       Some older financial systems don’t have the flexibility to provide account
       balances at posting and summary level immediately. The newer systems remove
       the need for you to create workaround processes, and provide updates real-time,
       as well as allow you to produce multiple summarization hierarchies. This makes
processing at month, quarter and year end a much faster process. Ensure that
you look at newer FMIS that provide this capability, you will be amazed at the
difference it will make to your reporting schedules.


Configurability and ease of implementation
Ensure your system allows you to complete upgrades and implementations
quickly in digestible pieces.
   Modules should be able to be installed and implemented only if required.
    When modules are added, integration is automatically ‘switched on’.
   Similarly, features and functions within modules can be ‘switched on’ only if
    required.
   Software is installed once on a central server and accessed by ‘clients’ with a
    web browser, thus making it easy to install, implement and deploy for multi
    users/sites/locations.

Low cost of ownership
The system’s architecture must provide a low cost of ownership, from
implementation to on-going maintenance of the system. For instance, systems
that utilise web based technology (based on XML) operate as a true thin client
and only need a web browser (such as Internet Explorer) for access are
recommended. This way, modules are installed once on the applications server
and do not require any additional software to be installed on each user’s PC.
Also, when changes and/or upgrades are applied, software is only installed once.

Scalability and portability
All organizations demand and constrict in terms of number of users. Ensure that
the system is robust and stable enough to enable your company to grow and
expand and maintain your investment with the product. The product should also
accommodate for restrictions. Many systems are inflexible both in terms of
growth of numbers of users and also addition and subtraction of processes.
Ensure that the system does not restrict you to a specific platform. The system
should operates on a variety of platforms such as Windows NT/2000, Unix,
AS400 and mainframe) and utilise several databases such as SQL, Oracle,
Ingres, OS400 and DB2. This makes the system easily portable from one
platform and/or database to another.

Adaptability to business change
All organizations conduct restructures. Ensure that your system is flexible
enough to cope with structure and reporting changes. The reporting ‘hierarchies’
should easily be able to be modified to reflect such business changes.

Adaptability to accommodate ‘Shared Services’
The financial system’s organizational structure and concept of ‘file ownership’
should allow accounting and processing services such as chart of account files
maintenance, vendor/customer files, invoice and payment processing, to be
handled centrally and to shared by multiple organisations and entities.

Processing of large volumes of transactions
The financial system should be able to accommodate the large volumes of
transactions that companies process every day. Ensure that the hierarchical
processing structure enables swift and accurate processing of transactions in
real time.

Flexible access
Ensure that there is easy integration with standard desktop tools such as
Microsoft ® Office to enable modification of financial data and posting of
information to the system.


Flexible Chart of Accounts restructuring
This will enable you to adapt to organisational changes.


One source of data entry
To eliminate any rekeying or duplication of effort.
   Different reporting requirements – internal and external
   Real-time reporting hierarchies available so information is presented in different
   views, instantaneously. Hence, reporting is met for both internal (such as
   management reports, business unit/divisional performance, product reporting) as
   well as external (such as insurance APRA reporting, taxation and statutory
   reporting).

   Allocations facility
   The General Ledger module should have an allocations facility that enables
   companies to accurately report the profitability for classes of products and
   services. Costs such as general overheads, head office, and management costs,
   can be allocated down to the appropriate level for a true measure of profitability.

   Average Daily Balances
   The General Ledger module should offer a feature for companies that are
   required to report average daily balances for selected balance sheet accounts,
   both at posting and summary level. This feature should allow for average daily
   balances to be calculated automatically and viewed online.


Tight controls
The need for strong process management via workflow embedded in the FMIS.
Strong audit trails of transactions and processes for reporting purposes and historical
reference.

‘Funds availability’ checking
A function to ensure funds are not committed if they are not available. This checking
needs to occurs from the time a requisition is entered and followed right through to
payment.


Project costing and tracking
A Job Cost module that provides a Project Ledger that allows project managers to
maintain specific information pertaining to their project i.e. descriptive, dates,
    budgeted costs/revenue, actual costs/revenue, commitments, as well as billing data.
    If the module is separate it overcomes the need to handle project tracking in the
    General Ledger and yet can still be tightly integrated with the General Ledger.


    Weekly reporting capability
    The General Ledger module must provide for selected accounts (eg sales) to be
    maintained and reported based on weekly periods.


Product technology – ask your vendor about the technical architecture of the product,
and the technological environment in which the product can run successfully. Sub-
criteria include:
               product architecture
               software usability and administration
               platform and database support
               application standards support
               communications and protocol support
               integration capabilities.


Product cost - look not only at the initial product licence cost, but also consider long-
term costs, including maintenance fees, upgrade costs, training and implementation
costs, and service & support fees. The term used by the vendors is total cost of
ownership. Ensure that the vendor can give you the best total cost of ownership across
the life of the system.




Configurability – ensure that the system has adapted to some of the processes that
work for your organization, that you are not changing all your processes to fit with the
system. Some of the processes recommended by a vendor are often the best possible
process available, but there are times when as a niche business, you have specific
needs that need to be adhered to.
Stability – length of time that the system has been used by existing users and its
reliability in delivering the desired outputs over that period.


Integration - internal between functions/applications of the system as well as the ability
to interface/integrate with other systems/applications/desktop.


Corporate service and support – continually research the capability of the vendor to
provide a high level of services and ongoing support. Ensure that the vendor has the
ability to scale to meet high demand, either through sub contracting or through partners.


Corporate viability – constantly examine the financial and management strength of the
vendor.


Corporate strategy – ask the vendor for their corporate roadmap and strategy with
specific timelines regarding how the product will be developed, sold, and supported
within the specific market at least annually.


Knowledge of market – ensure that the vendor you have chosen knows about FMIS in
finance and is focused on business applications and not spread across other areas such
as hardware.


Speed of initial implementation – make sure that the vendor has demonstrated that
they can implement upgrades in a reasonable amount of time and they have a strong
process for upgrade implementation.


Work with the user community – join the user groups available for the FMIS to get
more value from the system and assess the extent to which the vendor supports the
community and interacts with the user group.
SSA Masterpiece/Net - The SSA Global FMIS
SSA Masterpiece/Net incorporates the latest Internet technologies to allow immediate
access to financial information regardless of time or location. Its unique design utilizes a
Java ® thin-client to provide seamless financial management across multiple operating
systems, databases and hardware platforms — from a desktop or via the Internet. Its
powerful reporting and analysis tools enable informed decisions to be made that
maximize profits and minimize costs, providing a lower total cost of ownership.

SSA Masterpiece/Net Modules
General Ledger – completely manage your entire accounting system
  high-volume accounting, budget and allocation processing
  multi-company, global enterprises
  integrated, multi-hierarchical account structure
  multiple budgeting methods and reporting capabilities
  multi-currency functions

Accounts Payable – total payables management to control cash and expenses
  flexible and customizable to meet specific business needs
  multi-company, multi-currency, multi-bank and multi-national handling
  flexible payment processing, advance tracking and invoice registration

Accounts Receivable – increase cash flow and take control of accounts
  comprehensive debt and credit management
  increase your cash flow and reduce delinquency
  autocash facilities to streamline cash application integration processing
  full international support features

Purchasing – efficiently manage your entire procurement cycle
  provides tracking and control of purchasing from requisition to payment

Fixed Assets – accurately report,track, control and utilize all assets
   internal and external asset accounting and property control
   unlimited depreciation books
   user-defined depreciation methods
   full integration with Purchasing and Accounts Payable

Job Cost – take control of your projects – from beginning to end
  plan and record costs in the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  fast, accurate summary and detailed inquiry and reporting
Draft Services – create negotiable instruments from Accounts Receivable
   increase credit management productivity
   reduce customer risk and optimize cash management

Fund Accounting – total expenditure control
  meets the requirements of commitment accounting
  facilitates stringent budgetary control

Inventory Control – effective inventory management
   monitor finished goods in multi-location environments

Labor Distribution – control and report on labor costs and allocations
  automates accounting for labor costs, including project costing

Business Communications Facility (BCF) – share data across the Internet
  SmartVision ™ – view, print, share, add notes and attach files to any SSA
   Masterpiece/Net report
  SmartLink™ – download online data in real time to Microsoft Excel ® spreadsheets,
   manipulate it and then upload it back to the host

Business Process Flow (BPF) – automate the workflow of your organization


Supported Environments
   AS/400®
   MVS
   UNIX®
  (Hewlett Packard ® , Sun®, IBM®, Sequent®)
   VSE®
   Windows NT®

Supported Databases
  Datacom ®
  DB2 ®
  Informix ®
  Ingres II ®
  Oracle ®
  SQL® Server
SSA Global Extension Solutions for SSA Masterpiece/Net
SSA Global has a simple approach when it comes to extending the power of SSA
Masterpiece/Net. We look for the best solutions in the marketplace and develop
seamless integration interfaces to enable users to exploit the numerous benefits
associated with advanced eBusiness technologies. Extended solutions include:


eCommerce
SSA Masterpiece/Net iProcurement powered by Digital Union® is a complete online
procurement solution that integrates the entire supply chain and enables authorised
buyers in an enterprise to initiate, manage and complete electronic purchasing
transactions with a choice of approved supplier including request for quotation functions.
Furthermore, it can also be set up to do reverse auctions using corresponding built-in
features.


Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
SSA Masterpiece/Net CRM is a suite of collaborative, Internet-based CRM and analytics
solutions powered by industry leaders Applix® – and specially modified for the needs of
Masterpiece users. It lets companies track and coordinate marketing, sales, customer
and partner service, quality assurance and helpdesks; and helps global organisations
capture, access and analyse customer data through their channel of choice, 24x7x365. It
comprises four linked Masterpiece modules: CRM Sales, CRM Service, CRM Helpdesk
and CRM Analytics.


Business Intelligence – Enterprise Performance Analytics
The bottom line for any competing business is that they need to be on top of business
trends: monitoring what the company is doing well and what could be done better;
understanding market shifts and use that information to improve and grow strategically.


Pre-packaged Enterprise Performance Analytics solution, powered by market leader
Cognos®, is the answer to reaching these goals. It incorporates leading-edge analytical
and reporting tools to deliver a best-of-breed Business Intelligence solution for SSA
Masterpiece/Net. Functional data marts in Sales, Inventory, Procurement, General
Ledger, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable can be deployed department by
department. When implemented together, they create a rich data warehouse that
provides an essential 360° view of the business and allows valuable cross-departmental
analysis. EPA answers 600 critical business questions, using more than 400 key
business measurements and over 200 predefined reports that allow business managers
to analyse sales performance, build customer profiles, understand buying trends and
monitor product performance and overall organisational effectiveness.


About SSA Global
SSA Global™ is the 4th largest provider of extended enterprise resource planning (E RP)
solutions for manufacturing, services, and public organizations worldwide. In Australia and New
Zealand, SSA Global is number one in the manufacturing market. In additi on to core ERP
applications, SSA Global offers a full range of integrated extended solutions including corporate
performance management, customer relationship management, supply chain management and
supplier relationship management. Headquartered globally in Chicago and locally for the APJ
region in Sydney, SSA Global has 121 worldwide offic es serving more than 16,000 customers
that represent market-leading companies in over 90 count ries. For additional information, visit the
SSA Global web site at www.ssaglobal.com/pacific.

				
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