Are you struggling with invoicing processes that lack visibility and control across multiple locations? Do you want to streamline your accounts payable (AP) processes and automate invoicing to reduce errors and increase efficiency? If so, you need to check out the American Software case study.
The Atlanta-based company faced several challenges due to its holding company structure and lack of automation, which were compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, by implementing a custom combination of KwikTag and Multi-Entity Management (MEM), American Software saved $50,000 in the first year, automated and streamlined its AP processes, and established itself as a source of truth for its accounting department.
The MEM solution allowed them to manage multiple entities across states and countries, reduce errors and time required for reconciliations, track bills and invoices more efficiently, and streamline intercompany payments. The solution was fully integrated within just 30 days, and the team could work safely from home during the pandemic, boosting morale and productivity.
You can download the case study to learn more about how American Software improved its invoicing processes, reduced errors, and increased efficiency. You will discover how the company improved internal control and credibility, simplified audits, consolidated emails related to approvals, and saved valuable time and resources.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how American Software overcame challenges and improved its invoicing processes with KwikTag and MEM. Download the case study today and see how you can achieve similar results for your organization!
Recent years have seen a rise in the number of transactions taking place between related companies. Intercompany accounting has become a fact of everyday business, yet, despite this, many remain unaware of the best practices for managing intercompany transactions or have a plan in place to mitigate the risks presented by some of the bigger challenges or issues that can arise when handling high volumes of transactions between related organizations.
This booklet covers the following core topics:
Download our booklet so you can implement best practices for solving the five core challenges of intercompany transactions your team is likely to face.
Introducing our intercompany accounting solutions
Streamline your intercompany transactions and simplify accounting across multiple entities with the power of our industry-leading solutions. Enable compliance, automate reconciliations and eliminations, and maintain a centralized source of truth between entities. If you’d like to partner with a team that will be with you every step of the way, then we’re here to help. When we work with your company, you don’t just get a solution, we put our best people at the heart of your roadmap to success.
As you may already know, Microsoft recently introduced a new feature with the Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC) 2023 release wave 1, which allows for the replication of data between companies within a single environment. While this new built-in functionality is an exciting next step for the ERP building in some of the features previously only available with our Multi-Entity Management (MEM) solution, there are still many areas where MEM will be critical to managing the complexity of multi-company accounting.
After conducting a side-by-side functionality comparison, we decided to document the functionality of both, so that partners and customers can quickly determine which tools they need to empower success for their organization. Depending on the setup’s complexity, most medium- or larger-sized companies will likely require MEM. That means you and your customers must consider the nuances of functionality needed before setting up multi-companies.
To help you understand the differences between the solutions, we’ve created a detailed comparison sheet which you can download by clicking on the links provided below:
We hope that this information helps you make an informed decision about which solution is best for your business needs. If you have any questions or want to discuss the comparison sheet further, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Binary Stream announced it has partnered with Avalara, a leading provider of tax compliance automation software for businesses of all sizes.
Binary Stream is now part of Avalara’s “Certified for AvaTax” program, which features integrations that perform at the highest level, providing the best possible customer experience. As a result of this partnership, Binary Stream’s customers can now choose Avalara’s AvaTax to deliver sales and use tax calculations within Multi-Entity Management — in real time.
Khaled Nassra, Head of Marketing at Binary Stream, explained the importance of using this partnership to empower more multi-entities to streamline their finances through effective intercompany automation.
“Streamlining intercompany accounting processes has always been at the core of what we do here at Binary Stream, so we’re partnering with Avalara to combine our collective experience and enable multi-entities to automate taxes and intercompany transactions from within Dynamics 365 Business Central.”
Marshal Kushniruk, Executive Vice President of Global Partners at Avalara said, “Binary Stream understands the needs of its customers, and Multi-Entity Management reduces complexity for their customers in many ways. We understand that digitization of business processes is not an option, it is essential; we are proud to offer fast, accurate, and easy tax compliance solutions to our shared customers.”
Binary Stream is now an Avalara Certified partner. Certified partners pass a series of criteria developed by Avalara to help ensure the connector’s performance and reliability, thereby helping mutual customers benefit from a seamless experience with Avalara’s tax compliance solutions.
About Avalara, Inc.
Avalara helps businesses of all sizes get tax compliance right. In partnership with leading ERP, accounting, ecommerce, and other financial management system providers, Avalara delivers cloud-based compliance solutions for various transaction taxes, including sales and use, VAT, GST, excise, communications, lodging, and other indirect tax types. Headquartered in Seattle, Avalara has offices across the U.S. and around the world in Brazil, Europe, and India. More information at avalara.com
Intercompany financial management (IFM) refers to the practice of organizing, authorizing, and handling financial processes that occur between a corporation’s legal entities. These activities include intercompany transactions, accounting, tax, policies, etc. The main goal of IFM is to support the achievement of business objectives by improving productivity and accuracy, ensuring compliance with tax and regulatory standards.
As companies grow, smooth and efficient intercompany processes are essential. Unfortunately, a recent survey conducted by Dimensional Research found that 96% of respondents encountered challenges with intercompany activities and 99% agree that intercompany processes are becoming increasingly complex and challenging. Without a solution in place, poor IFM can negatively impact business outcomes, resulting in huge time-wastes manually correcting errors and costly penalties from non-compliance. Continue reading for five tips to streamline your intercompany financial management.
Lack of ownership combined with a perceived lack of importance is one of the key barriers to efficient intercompany financial management. According to Deloitte’s Intercompany Accounting and Process Management Survey, 50% of respondents identified a lack of defined ownership of intercompany processes, resulting in poor financial visibility. Often companies assume that the finance department will handle it; however, intercompany processes are a shared responsibility that require a holistic approach.
Clear communication that establishes roles and manages expectations is vital to overcoming this barrier. Enacting global accounting policies and implementing an intercompany accounting framework are two best practices for intercompany transactions that can provide a consistent structure for your team to follow.
Cash liquidity is a vital component of a business’ survivability and profitability. Maintaining an appropriate balance empowers leadership to acquire necessities, secure new financing, and deploy funding—bolstering expansion initiatives.
The previously mentioned survey by Deloitte also found that 54% of respondents rely on manual intercompany processing and struggle with limited counterparty visibility to support reconciliation and elimination. Without at least partial automation to augment human productivity, companies often suffer from bottlenecks and poor cash flow. That’s why many companies are investing in automation to solve intercompany challenges.
Many businesses choose to pay intercompany charges in lump sum amounts due to difficulties in manually applying the correct classification and breakdown of expenses, but this is a bad habit that must be addressed. Over-simplification can skew your financial data, weakening the credibility of your analyses and making it difficult to defend your intercompany prices to authorities. You also lose clarity when forecasting or determining whether the company met performance targets.
Suitable ERP software with multiple element revenue allocation functionality will help you maintain a well-defined database that enables your finance team to dig into the nitty-gritty. Proper allocations and reporting provide leadership with valuable information and enable complete insight into historical transactions.
Further reading: Financial consolidations for multi-companies (FAQs answered)
Tax risks and considerations have a huge impact on financial performance and strategy. An issue that is only compounded if your company operates in multiple regions or participates in a supply chain that collects sales tax, use tax, and exemption certificates. It’s vital that your company adheres to each jurisdiction’s tax requirements and applies the correct treatments.
In recent years, tax authorities have implemented stricter auditing protocols, demanding more granular and up-to-date intercompany transactions. However, these changes have highlighted a deficit in many businesses with poor IFM. Companies reliant on manual tax processes open themselves to noncompliance and increased financial risk. Automated tax management can help finance teams take back control over their intercompany accounting processes.
IFM entails handling an overwhelming number of intercompany transactions as efficiently as possible. If a business relies on decentralized systems or unintegrated ERPs, inefficiencies arise and trigger reporting setbacks. When finance is bogged down with reconciliations and eliminations, a butterfly effect can be felt across the entire company, ultimately slowing down high-level business decisions.
Investing in integrated and aligned solutions frees up your accounting department to focus on more strategic tasks. Multi-Entity Management embeds directly in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics GP to streamline intercompany transactions, completing the entire process within a single instance.
Intercompany reconciliations can be a major source of stress for accounting teams working with numerous entities. It doesn’t matter if you’re the parent company or the subsidiary. Reconciling a high volume of transactions every month can lead to administrative headaches and bottlenecks that leave your accounting team frustrated and struggling to update systems so that records are accurate across all entities.
Explore everything you need to know about intercompany reconciliations, from defining what they are to walking you through the benefits and challenges; there are helpful tips here for any company struggling to streamline this process.
If you have a specific area of interest, click the relevant question below.
Intercompany reconciliation is the process of verifying transactions between separate entities of the same parent company. These transactions are referred to as intercompany transactions. Reconciliation is a process relevant to many companies. An entity refers to any divisions, subsidiaries, units, or franchises that come under the ownership of a parent company.
Intercompany reconciliation must take place to ensure that consolidated financial statements and data are accurate. It involves confirming that the transaction amount is recorded correctly by both the parent company and the entity and then eliminating it from closing statements.
The three different types of intercompany reconciliation are directly aligned with the three types of intercompany transactions. Below is an example of each one.
Reconciliations do not just apply to the straightforward exchange of products, and it’s essential to understand that they must be performed on all intercompany payables and receivables. These can include the exchange of labour, products, or raw materials.
There are numerous examples of intercompany reconciliations, and depending on the type of transaction, the action required will vary. Let’s look at one of the most common types:
If both the parent company and the subsidiary record these steps appropriately, the transactions will cancel each other out, and they will successfully complete the reconciliation.
Intercompany reconciliations work when there are clear processes around managing transactions and companies have the necessary access to timely and accurate data from other entities.
One of the challenges when handling intercompany transactions is when teams assume they can manage the workload in spreadsheets or separate accounting solutions by manually inputting data. This can lead to cumbersome manual work (e.g., downloading and uploading different files and reports, trying to move information from one accounting system into another, cross-referencing and double-checking for the most recent version of files, struggling to keep up with emails from various entities) and can put both teams under administrative strain.
Reconciliations are best performed in an accounting solution where all entities have access to the data they need in a streamlined, centralized environment. It’s possible to invest in solutions that have advanced security, allowing subsidiaries access to only the information they need while granting parent companies enough access to complete reconciliations and eliminations accurately.
It’s best to perform reconciliations on an ongoing basis, as it can be hard to keep track when teams only check intercompany transactions every month or so. It’s easy for people to forget the details of particular transactions, and it can become increasingly more difficult o resolve errors. If teams have the capacity, this task should be performed on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Many companies invest in an automated solution as the volume of these transactions grows as it can become impossible to keep up.
Even when companies don’t have the means to invest in a centralized solution, they should take the time to roll out global accounting policies to help all entities report in a way that will enable compliance with accounting standards. These policies should include everything from naming conventions to workflow standardization. Setting expectations makes it easier to align data and reconcile transactions between entities.
Without automation, reconciliations can be time-consuming, with few benefits outside of remaining compliant with global accounting practices. However, when reconciliations are automated effectively, the process has many benefits. Here’s a handful:
When intercompany reconciliations are not streamlined or automated, they can present a number of challenges. Here are a few:
There are a number of steps you can take to streamline and automate intercompany reconciliations and ensure your finance team doesn’t struggle to keep up.
Automate, automate, automate | Wherever possible, teams need to eliminate bottlenecks by identifying time-consuming processes and looking to automate and streamline these areas. Investing in a solution built to handle the complexity of intercompany reconciliations will be key to boosting efficiency and improving intercompany reconciliations.
Centralize financial data across entities | A centralized solution can collectively save your entities months of work per year. By giving entities easy access to the information they need, you eliminate the back-and-forth of countless emails. Don’t let reports or records end up stranded on one person’s computer, ensure there’s an environment where anyone can gain secure access to the critical information they need to do their job.
Embrace continuous close | Rather than postponing reconciliations to the end of the month (which can lead to overwhelm), teams should constantly track and reconcile intercompany transactions. Automating this process is possible, so your system continually flags errors, mistakes, or potential fraud.
Poor data management leads to messy, error-prone data and unreliable insights. Finance teams struggling with these issues wind up left in the dark, and businesses lose their advantage over competitors and are more likely to take actions that will hurt the bottom line.
Companies must maintain a high data management standard to ensure that leadership can adequately guide the company in making sound financial decisions and remain compliant with accounting and data protection regulations.
This blog will introduce you to ten best practices in data management for finance teams so that you can harness the power of data analytics.
Interested in a specific aspect of data management? Click on the best practice below to skip ahead.
It’s much easier to spot and correct problems early on with a well-structured framework for data management and analysis. To garner better insights, your organization must have clear workflows detailing how to handle data for each of the five steps of data analysis; data definition, collection, cleaning, analysis, and application.
Below are some sample data management workflows covering the five steps of data analysis:
One of the most valuable applications of data is predictive analytics. This information is vital to creating an action plan for proactively responding to threats and opportunities. Companies can build customer behavioural models with today’s technologies and reliably predict future outcomes.
For example, say you want a good idea of when a customer will pay their due invoice. A robust data management system will enable your team to analyze past payment trends, compare them with other customers, and build a forecast model to determine when that customer will most likely pay their balance. By harnessing these insights, you can build reliable customer aging reports and inform dunning policies to maintain positive customer relationships and reduce involuntary churn.
You’ll gain reliable insights from nothing if you try to track everything. While it’s very tempting to maximize your usage of every available feature and collect every fragment of data, you’ll only burn through your resources and become too distracted to find information to answer your initial query.
After all, good data management is about enforcing the seven standards of reliable data:
This best practice is similar to the first step of data analysis, but you apply it to your entire data storage system. First, understand which metrics you want to track. Then, identify your search parameters and the variables that impact those metrics. After completing these steps, you can collect the necessary data to build your model.
Beware of data biases! Bias is introduced to data when an error causes certain dataset elements to be over-weighted or overrepresented. Common examples of data biases include:
If leadership transitions from intuition-based to data-driven decision-making, they need clean data, or they could make a bad decision that harms the bottom line. Data analysts must note the different biases at each data management and analysis stage. Finance teams can even use AI and machine learning to help check data sets and flag potentially biased data to help raise awareness to leadership.
A common problem with poor data management is that team members lack access to necessary data. Leadership may be unaware that certain information already exists because the data is hiding on their servers and make unwise decisions that could have easily been aided by data analytics.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone at the company should always have access to your company’s financial information. The best course of action is to set up data classification protocols that restrict and grant data access based on projects, job roles, and functions. Another strategy is to implement dashboards that track custom company performance metrics and share them at company-wide meetings.
According to Veeam’s 2022 Data Protection Report, the average cost of downtime is $88,000 per hour. While it’s true that number is skewed by larger organizations, that doesn’t mean that it’s cheap inconvenience for small and medium businesses.
Data loss is a distressing, costly event with a plethora of ramifications. Human error, unexpected updates, damage to physical devices like servers, and cybersecurity attacks are all common causes of data breaches and data loss.
The best ways to prevent the more serious impacts of these events are frequently backing up data and having a disaster recovery plan (DRP). A DRP will help to keep business continuity while IT quickly recovers operations, mitigating disruption of product and service delivery.
Protecting your company’s data must be a top priority for all teams. Financial information is confidential, and a breach could result in reputational damage, lost opportunities, and regulatory fines. Strict security protocols are not optional, and any vendors or partners must adhere to the highest data protection standards.
Investing in scalable security tools that support secure sharing and encrypting data flow is essential. Look for SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, advanced firewalls, and automated notifications for new logins. Hosting security awareness training sessions at least once every six months will help your team stay vigilant.
Another great way to protect your data is to build a culture of compliance within your company so finance is always audit-ready. Depending on your industry, you’ll also have to adhere to specific data protection regulations. For example, healthcare organizations must have strong security measures to protect personal information and remain HIPAA compliant.
Check in with your risk and security officers about new technology with autonomous data capabilities that can support compliance. An invaluable data management tool is data discovery, a feature that reviews, identifies, and tracks data chains necessary for multijurisdictional compliance.
However you decide to tackle this issue, no software alone can completely guarantee compliance. Your policies must supplement your technologies to ensure that your team and tools are sustainable and keep pace with rapidly evolving accounting standards.
Spreadsheets quickly lose their appropriateness as the volume and variability of data increase. Real-time reporting and data mining can only truly be achieved with sophisticated business analytics tools and features with AI capabilities.
More importantly, you’ll need a dedicated team of data analysts trained on these latest technologies to enable prompt and accurate insights. Upskilling your existing talent on the finance team will help them become better data managers and result in better forecasting for cash flows, tax liabilities, and revenue growth.
A data silo is an archive controlled by a single entity or is otherwise isolated from the rest of the organization. These repositories crop up in many ways, from files to emails to entire servers, but all share the same trait of hiding potentially vital information.
To gain a full view of your business metrics and understand your financial health at a deep level, your data must be accessible, and your models must include data from different sources. Unstructured, decentralized, and unshared data often cause problems and undermine the rest of the best practices written about in this blog.
If you can only implement one change to your existing data management—abolish the data silos. Whether you need to integrate a legacy system or clean excess raw data, obtaining an accessible and unified data set is worth it.
If you’re looking for more information about data management or have a specific question in mind, feel free to browse the resources listed below or contact our team. We’d love to hear from you.