A guide to ERP finance module features and what they do

While it is generally accepted that ‘some type’ of financial capability involves itself in ERP systems, there are ranges of utility available in today’s market. Consequently, when you’re validating financial features for your own enterprise purposes, you should be prepared to investigate, and clearly understand these capabilities, in order to meet your specific functional requirements.

ERP finance module features

To help you understand what I’m talking about, let’s take a look at what a ‘typical’ full-featured ERP finance module offers; then work against this set of capabilities until your own requirements exceed, meet, or fail to meet the baseline. Using Oracle’s ERP finance module as a model, the following functional tiers apply:

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  • General Ledger (GL)
  • Accounts Payable (AP)
  • Accounts Receivable (AR)
  • Asset Management (FA)
  • Cash Management (CM)

Within these tiers, necessary data dependencies apply involving:

  • Customer management dependency due to the AR tier 
  • Vendor management dependency due to the AP tier  
  • Bank management dependency due to the CM tier

At an enterprise-wide finance level; other necessary data integrations apply including:

  • Accounting management integrated in association with the GL tier
  • Soft and hard assets management in association with the FA tier

Each dependent tier, and/or related enterprise integration interacts with three core elements:

  • A form generator that allows the entry, alteration, or deletion of individual records  
  • One or more distributed databases that store, and retrieve individual or multiple records 
  • A report generator that retrieves and soft-displays, or hard-prints, consequent, demand-based information

Processes managed by ERP finance modules

Ultimately these direct and indirect components allow a series of cohesive financial actions that allow the user to execute the following processes:

  • Manage interactions between the enterprise and any involved product vendor, supplier and service provider by using the AP tier.
  • Receive, account for, and manage customer-driven revenue data via the enterprise GL integration and the AR tier.
  • Manage and reconcile bank-related records through the auspices of the CM tier.
  • Index, track, value, and actively manage soft, and hard, assets across the enterprise by use of the FA tier in association with the GL integration.

And:

  • Establish, track, value, and manage the enterprise’s overarching financial framework by applying the GL integration.

Together, then, these five key features establish an ability to produce a comprehensive, finance-based, understanding of the enterprises’ business situation in realtime. When applied appropriately, these feature-sets produce relevant financial information that will accrue to, not only, the company’s business goals but also its operational requirements as well.

As I mentioned at the outset, while this baseline description represents a full-featured model, smaller ERP platforms may, or may not, apply. Consequently, as with any other feature validation effort, be sure that you begin your process by establishing a comprehensive set of requirements to use as a planning tool.

Should you fail to do so, you will run the risk of missing some salient bit of information, or worse, buy the wrong system, for the wrong reason, at the wrong price.

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Rick Carlton

About the author…

Rick Carlton dba PRRACEwire, has worked as a tech journalist, writer, researcher, editor and publisher for many years. In addition to his editorial work, Rick has also served as a C-Level executive/consultant for a wide-range of private and public sector U.S. and International companies.

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Rick Carlton