Strategic Systems Group (SSG) has traditionally been a provider of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions for manufacturers and distributors. And over the past 30 years, we have resisted the urge to branch out into other industries.
But (there is always a “but”), while you might think that there are few if any parallels between the requirements of manufacturing or distribution and the needs of accounting and finance firms, we came to realize that many of the basics are largely the same. Thus, the expertise we had developed in the manufacturing and wholesale distribution sectors since 1991 could be successfully translated into the ability to provide valuable services for accounting and finance firms.
What we learned about accounting and finance firms
Of course, accounting and finance firms need the same basics as every other company on the planet, namely:
- Accounts Payable
- Accounts Receivable
- General Ledger
But the needs of accounting and finance firms are inherently more complicated than that. To support their clients and their own needs as well, accounting and finance firms also require:
- Fixed Assets
- Inventory Control
As we deepened our relationships with accounting and finance firms, Strategic Systems Group (SSG) identified four (4) key areas where, with the use of timely, accurate information together with Intelligent Systems, we could drive significant improvements:
- Reporting on a timely basis
- Fairly representing clients’ financial condition
- Reducing administrative costs
- Improving cash flow
Every interaction between Strategic Systems Group (SSG) and our accounting and finance firm clients is predicated on achieving their top three (3) business objectives:
Ultimately, accounting and finance clients choose us to implement and support their ERP systems because we understand their business and because they know that the work we are engaged to accomplish for them will be completed on schedule and within budget.
Diving Six (6) Leagues* Deeper
The software that was available 30 years ago is a far cry from the software available today. Similarly, the services we could provide to our accounting and finance firm clients in 1991 bears little resemblance to the more sophisticated and targeted services that we can provide today. Here are six (6) examples of today’s ERP software tools in action.
In the area of Business Process Analysis and Re-engineering, we help our clients:
- Review existing business processes
- Document business processes
- Change business processes to gain efficiencies
- Assess fit with existing business applications
- Customize business applications to streamline operations
In the realm of Financial Reporting, our clients benefit from:
- Automated report generation in PDF or Excel format
- Financial reports in multiple formats (such as current period, YTD, 12-month spread)
- Automated capture and online storage of supporting documentation
In the sphere of Accounts Payable Automation, we help our clients:
- Capture incoming vendor invoices
- Create bills in the accounting systems
- Code expenses to the proper G/L account
- Queue bills for approval
- Disburse funds electronically
When it comes to Accounts Receivable Automation, we help our clients:
- Capture remittance advices
- Apply cash received to outstanding invoices
- Reconcile cash applied to bank deposits
- Reconcile A/R aging to customers’ A/P records
To handle Automated Collections, we help our clients:
- Electronically send customer invoices
- Read and analyze incoming email
- Auto-respond to email inquiries
- Automate the creation of customer statements and invoice copies
- Automate dunning for customers with overdue invoices
Clients who want to streamline Operational Reporting benefit from our Business Intelligence (BI) expertise in the graphical, web-based reporting of:
- Revenue and gross profit trends over time
- KPIs (such as ROI, DSO, Utilization Rates)
- Fully burdened hourly rates
- Sales performance versus forecast
- Inventory carrying costs
In the real world
A lot is going on behind the scenes, with automation creating efficiencies and Intelligent Systems providing accurate data, analysis, and insight. But your customers do not care how it works behind delivering accurate data, analyses, and critical business insights. Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 ERP makes all of that possible.
But (there is always a “but”), your customers do not care about the behind-the-scenes machinations. They care about how it works for them, how it improves their experience. In a service-driven economy, the customer experience is king. Accounting firms and financial institutions understand that they’re competing to retain their customers and therefore look for ways to provide superior service.
Case in point: Helsana Versicherungen AG
Helsana, Switzerland’s largest health and accident insurer, decided to take on these new market challenges and redesign their customer care process. By leveraging Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Azure Cloud platform, Helsana’s customer service and sales staff have an improved customer care process that more quickly and effectively meets customer needs while utilizing data security technology far ahead of today’s standards.
Although at Helsana, the customer had always been the company’s greatest priority, as the company grew, new channels within their sales and service organization evolved into a collection of disparate systems and isolated islands of data. The initiative they launched connected the isolated systems, provided a unified interface, and fast, secure customer data access.
“From the beginning, we knew that to realize the benefits of digitalization, we needed to completely rethink our interaction with the customer. With this as our priority, the project had to focus on integration. Without a standardized interface, a holistic view of the customer wouldn’t be possible.”
Achim Baumstark, CIO at Helsana
Key personnel from all the teams that would be impacted worked together on the project. Helsana’s leaders realized Microsoft Dynamics 365 could easily link the data and connect various customer touchpoints. But with the ability to push the door open to the cloud, Helsana suddenly saw the opportunity to become a pioneer in compliance for an entire industry. The company could show the insurance industry’s regulation bodies that cloud technology not only offered more flexibility but, above all, an immense boost in security.
“What does digital transformation mean for us? It helps us gain a holistic view of our customers, which enables us to surprise them by offering services they were not expecting.
With Microsoft Dynamics 365 we are able to bring the information from our customer centers directly to our mobile sales teams, taking care of customer needs even more quickly.
This makes it even easier for us to live out our passion for customer service.”
Peter Hohl, Head of Sales Planning at Helsana
Take the next step…
The tools are available for you to reap the benefits of automation, integrated Business Intelligence (BI) into your ERP, and delight your customers by optimizing their experience with your organization. Contact Strategic Systems Group (SSG) to get the ball rolling. We can be reached at (310) 539-4645 or via our contact form.
*In case you’re curious… On land, a league is defined as three statute miles, while at sea, a league equals three nautical miles.