Playing with fireworks is risky business…and I shouldn’t even call it playing. Handling fireworks is a job for pros. Every year, along with all the beautiful fireworks displays that we see, are stories of things gone wrong. Integrating budgeting and planning software systems is similar that way, only much more personal.
I think we all have war stories to tell about the time…. or more likely, times…when we went through software conversions and things didn’t quite go as planned. It took ages longer than the project plan allowed for. The mapping alone was a horror story. The error reports were pages and pages long. It wasn’t pretty.
Explosive Days Gone By
When you’re trying to get one system to send data to another, chaos is what many of us can remember. Sleepless nights. Days or weeks trying to balance the darn things. Staff who forgot, or just didn’t think of adding balancing to project plan and workflow.
Running parallel for several days. Duplicate data entry. Checklists galore.
And the fallout. Historical transactions that just wouldn’t balance. Chart of Accounts codes that are no longer used. Or worse. Codes that (by your predecessor, no doubt) were re-used. What used to be the code for Freight Expense somehow morphed into Training Expense. Not. Pretty.
Tech Saves the Day
So, are all risks involved in integrating two systems gone today? I wish I could say they were. Unfortunately, the re-use of codes is going to be a problem whenever its encountered. We wouldn’t do it but sometimes as companies grow, the reality is that jack-of-all-trade bookkeepers just didn’t have the foresight to understand the implications of just typing over the name of one expense and changing it to another.
But things are better. MUCH better.
Integrating applications is a given. To rely on automation, the flow of data needs to happen seamlessly. Rework isn’t an option. No pyrotechnics here, just good old-fashioned smarts. Most financial budgeting and planning software built today, particularly cloud software, comes complete with APIs, application program interfaces.
APIs are the plug-and-play of interfacing one software system with another. If you’re connecting or transferring data from an ERP system to a budgeting application, or a payroll system for that matter, the software programmers have you covered. When APIs are used, the programming schematic for how one system can talk with another is pre-determined. No guessing. No duds.
Information Exchange Risk Relieved
If you’ve been through a financial planning software integration with a cloud application in the past few years, you know the difference APIs have made. Legacy systems with funky mapping will still have their funky mapping but the receiving side, the cloud based software with an API schematic, will let you sleep better at night. Experience programmers know their stuff. APIs play well together. Do you use Great Plains or NetSuite? Sage or SAP? To APIs, it doesn’t matter. APIs are the windows to the programming code. Clear definitions and reliable interfaces make transitions from one application to another much easier.
Can things still go bad? Yes, that change of account names can still be a problem. But, if you’ve got your chart of accounts loaded in each software system for example, the APIs can shoot out error reports with various categories that can make quick work of resolving differences.
If you haven’t checked into working with a cloud-based budgeting and planning software application yet? Is a nightmare integration in your past causing you to hesitate? If that’s the hold up, learn about the APIs available with the financial planning software choices that you’re considering. Don’t let a bad experience 5 or 10 years ago stop you from migrating to other platforms that can better meet your needs.
Businesses of every description rely on the Budget Maestro™ family of software solutions by Centage Corporation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their business budgeting and planning, financial forecasting, financial consolidation and reporting processes. For more information, take a tour of Budget Maestro, contact Centage, or call 800-366-5111 now.