Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems, like Netsuite, are great as a general ledger and data warehouse, but extracting data from Netsuite presents its challenges. It’s one of several limitations we covered regarding ERPs lack of data extraction tools in this blog.
If you are manually extracting your accounting and finance data from Netsuite or Quickbooks and importing it into spreadsheets to create custom reports and explore metrics deeper, you know all too well there has to be a better way, right?
73% of finance leaders believe that providing more reliable and accurate outputs, reduced manual intervention and increased automation are the top 3 business case drivers of digitalization of their Finance Function, according to EY’s Digital Disruption in Finance Survey. Safe to say, they vast majority of finance leaders not only recognize the need for additional digitalization, but are acting on it as well.
If you’re a Netsuite user or considering an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, it can be confusing to determine the actual capabilities of the system. Oftentimes, finance professionals turn to an ERP system to go beyond the basic general ledger capabilities of accounting software like Quickbooks Online.
At the heart of an ERP system like Netsuite, is a dedicated general ledger (GL) to tracking transactions, debits and credit — a must for any company regardless of size and industry. Additionally, ERPs like Netsuite offer its own human resources (HR) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions; however, the limited potential of these add-on systems typically don’t satisfy the needs for most companies.
In regards to CRMs, Salesforce, is a tried and true option with nearly unlimited options to configure, segment and manage customer data. Since this data is critical to sales, revenue and forecasting, Finance needs access to it in the most efficient way possible.
However, Netsuite and other ERPs don’t integrate directly with Salesforce and other external CRM options, making it extremely difficult for accounting and finance teams to report on and analyze without time-consuming manual data structuring and organization to match formatting.
When exporting financial data stored from your ERP and importing it to Excel, you’ll notice columns in the wrong place, empty cells and other messy data structuring. When you create pivot tables and try to build reports, these improper formats and empty data sets will lead to errors in your formulas and culminate in unreliable and inaccurate data.
To overcome this ERP limitation, a Netsuite extract, transform and load (ETL) tool can be just the solution for finance users. If you search for an ETL tool, you’ll notice that some offer integrations with a variety of systems, some you may have never heard of. Not all integrations are created equal. Although ETL tools can extract the financial data you need, the transformation process, which is the automated structuring portion and arguably the most important for efficiency and usage, is lacking.
These tools were designed as a one-size fits all solution, created by software developers who aren’t immersed in the day-to-day operations of a Finance Function. This is why it’s imperative that your finance tools are created with finance users in mind. Consider our ERP integration tool Foundation, which offers an ETL with automatic structuring to stage reconciled financial data for reporting and analysis. Dynamic, structured data at your fingertips in real time — sign me up!
Netsuite ETL integration tools, like FutureView Foundation, offer direct synchronization to your financial data with structuring automations and reporting capabilities for accounting and finance.
Instead of simply migrating data from one system to another, Foundation extracts ERP data and transactional details and structures it based on your specific criteria such as accounts, date, department, item and so on.
You can dissect, report and analyze the structured ERP transaction data with our Excel Add-in. Best of all, the transaction details are all available in a separate spreadsheet, so you never have to leave the comfort of Excel to drill down into details.
For example, say you’re tasked with identifying a metric like how sales of red, black and blue widgets differed from June to July for each salesperson. To determine this, you first need structured ERP data along with a double shot of espresso.
This is where a Netsuite ETL tool for finance like FutureView Foundation can come in handy. While it can’t caffeinate you yet, (our developer team is exploring the possibility), it can aggregate ERP data, and more importantly, automatically structure it for financial planning and analysis (which is almost as good, if not better than the effects of your coffee).
Using pivot tables and pivot charts, you can determine who your top sales performers are, and insight into how many of each type of widget they sell for a given week, month, quarter or year. However, without a direct integration to your ERP data, you’re forced to replicate this process over and over again, perhaps even daily or weekly.
A tremendous advantage of FutureView Foundation is that once you create your pivot chart once, you can refresh data in Excel with a single click, so you never have to re-create the pivot table again. The direct connection to Netsuite ensures data is reconciled and is the latest data available for reporting.
Rapid and efficient data processing is critical to remain agile and deliver insightful analysis that drives strategic conversations. If you’re having to do the same extraction and data cleaning time and time again, there’s a better way that is not only more efficient, but more accurate, cost effective and frees you up for more meaningful analysis.
You can maximize the power of Netsuite and Excel using FutureView Foundation and our Excel Add-in, or centralize your financial and operational data in our robust budgeting and forecasting FP&A Platform.
If you’re looking for a solution to improve your financial planning and analysis process, check out our accounting and finance tools, or request a demo with one of our finance experts who can help transform your finance function in a fraction of the time.