Xero digital transformation graphic

How Flowlens Interfaces With Existing Accounting Systems to Enable Digital Transformation

Flowlens is a powerful MRP system for small to medium manufacturing businesses and has many benefits such as improved efficiency, reduced time wastage, and reduced lead time to name a few. Flowlens, however, is not designed to take the place of accounting systems. This is where add-on cloud-based accounting packages integrate with Flowlens to create a robust cloud-based system to handle every aspect of a manufacturing business. This article will describe how cloud-based accounting software can improve business efficiency by integrating directly with Flowlens.

JCS Nuclear Solutions and Horsfield & Smith Accountants

JCS Nuclear Solutions needed Horsfield & Smith Accountants to take over functions from a recently retired accountant while also helping implement both a MRP system and an accounting system. This was an ideal match, as one of Horsfield & Smith’s key functions is to help manufacturing companies achieve digital transformation. As Mark Tooby, outsourcing manager assisting with this transformation describes, 

‘Part of my role is to work with businesses which are looking to improve their accounting procedures’ and to ‘Help clients identify how they can improve their existing systems and move from desktop-based to cloud-based’ Mark Tooby

This process required a thorough analysis of the existing system used in the company. The analysis highlighted the relatively common practice of using multiple spreadsheets to run the accounting side of the business. These, along with other desktop-based systems, are not as effective as more modern cloud-based systems. When the time came to decide on the accounting package, it was a no-brainer for Horsfield & Smith Accountants.

‘We are Xero Gold Partners and we recommend Xero to our clients’ Mark Tooby

This is due to the extensive experience of Horsfield & Smith in implementing Xero for other manufacturing companies. In addition to the accounting software, a MRP system was required to bring the company completely over to a cloud-based ecosystem. Ultimately Flowlens was chosen as the MRP system.

‘We will work with clients to look at various software add-ons, for example, Flowlens, that will help their business grow and help them improve internal productivity in an accounting basis’ Mark Tooby

As Horsfield & Smith was already an existing service provider to JCS Nuclear Solutions for external accounting functions, they were well aware of some of the existing pain points when it came to the accounting side of the business. One of the most critical was the ease of access to information. This is where cloud-based systems far exceed the capabilities of desktop-based systems. 

‘We met with the client and the existing staff to see what reports they produced, where we could see possible long-term savings and efficiencies by bringing on board cloud-based software’ Mark Tooby

An important factor is the integration between the two systems. In the case of Flowlens and Xero, iteration is supported and as such is a seamless experience.

‘It just worked as far as I’m concerned as a dream. It connected to Xero perfectly and everything seemed to move along very, very smoothly.’ Mark Tooby

Implementation of Xero and Flowlens

Once the client was happy with the proposed solution, Horsfield & Smith had to develop an implementation action plan which would map out the entire process – converting existing data from Excel spreadsheets and other desktop-based accounting systems into both Xero and Flowlens while ensuring as little disruption to day-to-day business operations as possible.

‘We built an action plan of how we would implement that over a period of time’

According to Mark Tooby, one of the common mistakes made during a digital transformation process is expecting a cloud-based system to fit perfectly with existing company processes and procedures. However, rarely does an off-the-shelf system achieve this. As such it’s important to be flexible enough to change how things are done to fit with existing systems.

 ‘People are always expecting a system to do exactly what they’ve always done, and it won’t’ Mark Tooby

Benefits of integrating Xero and Flowlens

One of the pain points many desktop-based systems present is the ease of access to information. This is one of the key advantages of cloud-based systems like Xero and Flowlens, as they facilitate live access to accurate and current information. 

With manual systems like Excel, normally only one person has access to all the spreadsheets that are needed to generate reports. Generating these reports is a very manual system in which the information needs to be sorted and collated into something that can be used by other stakeholders within the company. Cloud-based software makes that information easily accessible by whoever needs it in real-time.

In the past, the information used to generate business reports was always historical and by definition already outdated. Making business decisions based on old information is highly risky and inefficient. By using the cloud, accountants are able to access real-time financial metrics, not only to better fulfil their day-to-day functions but also to allow this information to be analysed and used to inform future decisions. This leverages accountancy expertise in the sphere of strategic business decision making, according to Mark Tooby:

‘The accountancy profession has changed enormously now’ and ‘we are fewer accountants and more business advisers’ Mark Tooby

When it comes to day-to-day bookkeeping the same real-time access to information is very beneficial as it simply reduces a lot of unnecessary back and forth between client and accountant thus significantly reducing time wastage – up to 20% in some cases. 

‘Regularly, I have in excess of a 20% improvement in time spent in typical accounting functions’ Mark Tooby

This reduced time wastage allows accountants to focus more on the following important aspects of a business:

  • Tax planning
  • Business planning
  • Cashflow projections

When it comes to training new employees on these systems, it is significantly easier as these standardised cloud-based systems are easy to use and easy to train for.

Why choose Xero and Flowlens

Both systems are cloud-based and integrate seamlessly, making it very easy to switch from existing systems, be it some desktop system or a more manual system like manipulating Excel spreadsheets. In addition to this, Flowlens and Xero have excellent support, meaning there is a limited risk during implementation as any potential issues can be quickly addressed. To learn more about how cloud-based systems can help your company achieve digital transformation, contact a Flowlens representative today.

‘To me, cloud-based software is the only way forward and I wouldn’t recommend anything else’ Mark Tooby