To mirror the comments above, the first thing that sprung into mind when I saw the title of this piece was "learn to walk before you run!"
Some good points have been raised about how software can help, but it's also about how it's used and configured. I think too many businesses look at the capability of software (particularly ERP systems) and think it's all about the software itself, not the entire system, process and data management. In addition, those that implement and/or configure the system aren't those who actually operate it. Ian hit on the key term of "workflow".
I've been involved with small businesses that use manual authorisation, which can work fine with a small team where there is plenty of visibility of what's going on. I've also worked for small businesses that use the POP system simply as a log of purchases and a way of printing purchase orders - not connected to inventory or purchase ledger (other than a source to review when checking an invoice)!
The best system I worked with was for a medium sized manufacturing/engineering company:
POs would be raised by the purchasing team, who would select a purchase category that was connected to a nominal code (pre defined by finance) or an individual job, as relevant.When the goods or service was delivered/completed, goods inward would update the PO which in turn debited or credited the relevant accounts (including goods received not invoiced and the cost record of the individual job if relevant)When the invoice was received, it would be matched to the PO (since most details were held on the PO, the data entry at this stage was minimal) any invoices outside of cost tolerance would be reviewed.
Also, the system was configured with good "drill down" capabilities so an invoice could be traced to PO, PO to invoice, stock booking to PO and/or invoice, nominal entry to PO/invoice etc., etc.
There was the issue of who could raise a purchase requisition, this authority was delegated to mangers with relevant responsibility (e.g. budget holder) or (particularly with materials and sub-contract costs) was predefined when the item was designed and signed off for production. This meant that those who rally knew what was wanted/needed could really define what was purchased and when.
I've worked under a system whereby purchasing ordering is made "efficient" by having predetermined suppliers and/or definitions of "compliance". This was meant well, but in some instances had a major stifling affect on the ability of the buyer to make savings and be flexible to genuine business needs.
I think problems arise when business don't consider the impact the purchasing function has on other operations and view as administrative/back-office.
I discovered the move yesterday when I went to search fro some general company information. The company search page, company information order page etc. is in the "old" format, it looks like it might be getting a piece by piece transition...
They've started to move Companies House over...
It might be better for Joe Public, but accountants/tax advisers don't know everything (despite PS's point) and it seems difficult to find the detailed guidance.
Maybe CIMA could put something of technical use to the SME finance manger in their magazine, rather than just covering the big wild world? Of course there is the regular profile of a member, but I feel that's just self promotion of the qualification/propaganda - always an FD/CFO of a large multi-national or big "brand" spouting their words of big corporate wisdom and how the CIMA qualification got them where they are.
Also, I sympathise with MattG's dilemma of paying or not paying for membership.
A concise point!
ds wrote:...long as you can text speak and wax lyrical with the latest management...
Sums up my post nicely!
This is news?
The generic "this is not a corporate...don't work in that manner...fast paced environment" comments can be found in a multitude of job descriptions, (finance related and others) as well as the “awe inspiring” summaries people put on CVs and job applications. I have no doubt e-commerce can bring its own niche issues, but the volume of transactions doesn’t necessarily indicate complex financial management and surely an understanding of the UK leisure market and experience in new/growing businesses would be high on the agenda for anyone who will have commercial input? If this was a job description, I’d say it sounds more like a general company accountant who can give the board the information they need to make decisions regarding expansions etc., rather than someone working at a management level.