In today’s dynamic market scenario, with the number of emerging challenges that a CFO has to deal with – be it globalization, changes in regulations, stakeholder management, risk management and reporting, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to run a competitive finance unit. A highly productive & performance driven environment that can continuously guide the business with sound, well-grounded numbers and related details is the NEED.
To achieve this, it is essential that the financial teams are empowered with the right technology & are able to handle diverse and new requirements on the go.
This is the difference that Ramco Systems brings to the table. Ramco Finance & Accounting solutions stand out by domain-aligning and driving innovation into the F&A space. Let’s read further to understand this in detail and explore what this means to your business.
The 3 core elements of the solution which distinguish Ramco’s offering from the rest and are central to build a solid financial backbone for your business:
While a typical commoditized financial & accounting solution can at best remain a transactional reporting system, Ramco’s F&A is refreshingly different from other ERPs in terms of the depth & richness of its integration with other functions as well as the direct representation of the domain entities within the finance functions. This approach enables spotting and reporting business trends, efficiencies and bottlenecks in the domain context, with a direct correlation to the financial goals. Let’s see some examples of how this translates into business:
While the fundamental accounting principles and elements are standard, there are certain aspects which have a greater emphasis/significance for specific industries - such as Inventory Valuation, Work in progress valuation policies, Maintenance accounting methods, Revenue accounting models or even Accrual policies. Within Ramco financials, these key elements are incorporated as industry specific switches and configuration parameters. These translate to standard recommendations/templates, based on best practices of the industry segments, which can be directly adopted.
For example, in the third party logistics (3PL) industry, specific provisions have been provided to identify the Revenue and Cost accounts for the Transporting and Warehousing operations, and would depend on different parameters including Vehicle type (owned / leased), Customer type (internal or external), Service type (line haul, local service, or warehousing), sub-service type, parts type, Tariff id type, etc. with a flexibility to add additional parameters during im- plementations.
While most standard F&A applications look at Invoicing as a standard contract to cash cycle, the approach taken in Ramco’s F&A again reflects a domain & business centric relevance.
If we take the 3PL segment, the Ramco solution supports the definition of the contract with all standard elements influencing the tariff. The billing process is designed to access data from every stage and document, in the logistics value chain, all the way from the consignment notes, leading to the proof of deliveries. This allows for an effective price determination function, which coupled with a real-time event driven processing model, enables a high degree of transaction automation (straight through processing) right till invoice generation and release. Industry specific elements such as dispute management functions, are also built into the invoicing process.
Within the Payables management functions, the unique contractual models and milestones for payments of specialized industries, are dealt as distinct functions. The payables invoicing function for Aviation MRO organizations, for example, recognizes the different types of part & service procurement models followed in the industry, such as consignment, part pooling, exchange & loans. A service bill recorded in this function will have specific invoicing elements like a repair fee, exchange fee, a beyond economic repair (BER) assessment and handling cost, salvage value etc.. Each of these elements participates in matching against the corresponding part/ service orders. The solution also supports industry aligned integration standards such as SPEC 2000, for automation and electronic document exchange with suppliers.
The Fixed asset solution in Ramco’s F&A goes beyond recognizing fixed assets as generic assets & tags , rather, the solution explicitly recognizes the business nature of the assets be it a vehicle, prime mover, trailer, an aircraft, engine, or even a plant machinery.
The fixed asset function, for example, will enable buildup of the value of the asset – be it a vehicle or an aircraft as a whole, together with the value of the individual componentized value without having to manually cross-reference with the respective maintenance configuration management functions. Specialized depreciation policies like depreciation by usage/ run hours, is automatically computed by the FA system, and based on the usage reported in the operations modules.
Most standard financial applications offer standard controls with appropriate checks and balances based on budgetary limits - be it CAPEX, Project, Revenue, Account or a specialized function budget. Given a domain approach, Ramco’s F&A solution also embeds specialized context specific controls within the core operations.
To give an example, for Airline MRO organizations that outsource component repairs, it is possible to place controls on authorization of the quoted repair cost based on an industry specific factor called BER - Beyond Economic Repair. A repair quote from a supplier beyond a threshold of say, 70% of the market price, will be either automatically rejected or routed for additional levels of approval, as configured in the BER based authorization rules.
As part of Ramco’s F&A solution, standard industry specific dimensions are pre-configured in the Reporting Model. The Services industries may analyze data based on a customer, employee, project, products, industry segment, region, service type or practice. A Manufacturing company may analyze using some of the dimensions including, location, division, factory, department, supplier or buyer. The solution also provides pre-configured industry specific reporting templates. This level of industry specific reporting together with the facility to drill thro’ from the reporting metrics to the contributing business transactions, generate a unique value proposition for an organization in the area of transaction analysis/research and decision making.
Ramco’s solutions are simple & intuitive that even a non-technical user can use the application with ease, right from the time of implementation. The Implementer can use Quick Implementation Kits to rapidly deploy the application and make it ready for usage, with an ability to copy the configuration and master data across – thereby eliminating the rework required during setups, re-configurations, and more importantly to avoid errors & time to reconcile. The solutions are designed to keep the user interface simple, and reveal only as much as required (card based design).
Most business users are on the move and spend much of their time on mails. Requiring them to login to a system to do minor transactions will slow them and the business down. With Ramco’s ‘Mail It’ feature the user can transact with the ERP by sending a mail to the system to complete the transactions. The system is intelligent enough to understand user’s mail and take appropriate action thereby simplifying basic day-to-day F&A reviews and approvals. Suppliers or customers can email a request for statements or copies of payments on bills; the ‘Mail It’ framework processes these requests and responds (through email) with the requested information, in conformance with the security privileges of the requestor. The ‘Mail It’ framework acts as your secretary to get a job done.
The best course of action is often decided by past data. One can spend 80% of time pouring over data or can let Ramco ‘Genie’ do it for you. Genie is intelligent to prompt on the next course of action. Be it Procurement or Production or Staffing, it pre-empts the requirement, keeps the documentation ready for approval. As Genie gets used to the user and organization it will evolve into a more powerful system that can act on its own to complete transactions that does not require user’s attention. This intelligent aspect of Ramco ERP saves your time to focus more on growing new businesses rather than running the business
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Imagine the trouble of clicking through 40-odd screens to carry out 25 individual activities or dig out about 30 critical pieces of information! No matter how great an F&A solution is, the difficulty in accessing information in real time nullifies all its benefits. Ramco F&A incorporates a radically different user interaction model, moving away from the traditional menu driven approach with a One Stop “Hub”. These hubs offers Users clearly visualized, actionable insights pertaining to their role in one single screen. A user with responsibility for Procurement will be able to do all his from one screen, or a payables clerk will have the ability to process all payments from one place. This saves 80% of time wasted navigating between transactions. That’s 80% more time to concentrate on Innovation in the business!
The Hub organizes, prioritizes & highlights exceptions, and also suggests the next actions to be performed on pending documents. Context sensitive smart previews of documents are provided, along-with related document information, timeline views and document specific analytics & attachments. The Hub also contains an in-built document linked collaborate function, for seamless interaction across related functions.
Business applications are increasingly looking at newer methods for user efficiencies; enabling a non-user interface interaction model has seen good adoption. Ramco’s F&A functions are being enabled on BOTS. It would now be possible for stakeholders to execute inquiries such as balance and outstanding look-ups, from their own favorite chat channels, without having to even log into an app. The F&A BOTS leverages on the ‘Mail It’ framework discussed earlier.
With the whole world moving towards becoming mobility enabled, can F&A be left behind? Ramco F&A can render multiple functions on mobile devices. Invoice approvals with decision support analytics and access to actual invoice scans, with push notifications, makes the mobility solution a very effective tool for senior management personnel.
The pivot grid delivered with the application allows creating of cross tabulations of large sets of data, allowing the user to reorganize selected dimensions and measures in a table form (as columns and rows) to obtain a desired report thereby providing deep online insights. Data can be automatically sorted, counted, averaged or summed up or even drilled-down from the table, displaying the results in modified table. Below is the power of analysis and reporting (as done in excel) without the need to export data; Ramco provides embedded analytics in context & role based dashboards & with the ability to drill down into individual transactions seamlessly (as Ramco owns the IP for dashboards as well – making the whole experience seamless and enabling actionable insights).
The guiding philosophy of Ramco’s Financial & Accounting solution, is to progressively enable straight through processing, to achieve end-to-end value chain automation. This has yielded significant cycle time improvement and reduced human intervention, in areas of invoicing, integration from and to banks, reconciliations, reporting and even statutory filing.
This level of automation is made possible through a combination of functional frameworks and adoption of advanced technology components. Global Taxation Framework, Contract Framework for Pricing & Billing, Scheduler based reporting framework, self-service portals for customers and suppliers, rule configurators for document workflows and automations, are some of the important elements of the solution architecture.
The application has a robust framework for event driven service modeling. A rich repository of APIs, enables integration with third party solutions such as payment gateways, credit check providers and OCR tools.
Ramco financials and accounting solution represents a definitive shift from a horizontal approach for financials solution to a unique domain specific tailored solution, embedded with extensive technology led automation and extended value chains. This can help organizations transform financials functions to a high value business centric model, set on a self-running, governing and sustaining financial operations infrastructure connecting all participants of the eco system.
There is a continuous focus on the user experience enrichment based on lean & zero UI principles, rich UI controls for user interaction, enhanced capabilities in dashboards & visualization with deep integration to contextual transactions. Advanced cognitive capabilities such as voice, AI and deep learning are also being actively explored for the next level of automation and future proofing the solution for the cognitive revolution.