cloud vs on-premise

Cloud vs On-premise

Simple, quick and affordable – cloud hosting offers an attractive alternative to going on-premise, but is it right for you? Here is what you need to know.

Ghost assets

Ghost Assets

Ghost assets increase expenses, reduce productivity and exist in almost every company. Here is how to identify them, remove them and prevent them recurring.

Barcodes vs RFID in asset tracking

Barcodes vs RFID in Asset Tracking

Quickly understand the pro’s and con’s of using Barcode and RFID technology for asset tracking & management. Compare the costs, hardware and applications.

Lean Asset Management

Lean asset management in manufacturing

Why lean asset management in manufacturing works back to front and how it cuts out the seven types of waste in the production process.

Renewable energy asset management

Making renewable energy work

Why good asset management is key to making renewable energy a cost effective alternative to non-renewables.

Effective software integration projects

6 steps to a successful software integration

Successful software integrations can cut costs and save time. Find out how to manage your project effectively from start to finish.

3 Asset management project killers

The 3 big asset management project killers and how to avoid them

Game Over - 3 Asset management project killers

How to avoid the most common mistakes that will derail your project

Sam was enthusiastic and friendly as she told me about her project to look for a new asset management system. Her company had built the current system in-house, but as they grew they realised they needed something a bit more comprehensive. It sounded like a great project, but being new to asset management software I didn’t see the warning signs.

Fast-forward 9 months and Sam sounded a lot less enthusiastic and I felt the same. Despite all the initial enthusiasm, and a lot of work, we were still no closer to deciding if the project would go ahead. Where did it all go so wrong?

Looking back, we made three simple mistakes that can derail any asset management project before it even gets going:

1) Resources

Sam’s title should have been a red flag – “Project Support”. It was not her fault, but she did not have the experience or authority to drive through a project this big. When a project does not have an internal project sponsor or ‘champion’ with the authority to agree or veto changes, they usually just get passed on to the potential supplier as an additional feature request.

The lack of a clear, well thought through and targeted project specification increases the risk of an overly complex solution that is delivered late and over budget. The worst case  scenario is that the project gets bogged down through a lack of direction and multiple layers of complexity. It eventually gets shelved without ever being delivered, but still at a significant cost to the client.

CHECKLIST

 Plan for the project sponsor to be actively involved
 Ensure the sponsor has the authority to agree the scope and specifications
Establish the budget early on to avoid shocks at a later date

2) Planning

George Harrison’s lyrics to ‘Any Road‘ could have been the theme for this project – “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”. Asset management systems can cover anything from purchasing through production and sales orders, as well as depreciation, tracking and maintenance.

Typically, asset management projects will involve finance, operations and IT as a minimum, so the potential for scope creep is a big risk. Sam’s task was to find the best system, except no one really knew what that looked like.

CHECKLIST

Establish a cross functional project team before you start
List your must-haves and nice-to-haves for any potential supplier
Agree scenarios for suppliers to show you rather than a generic demo

3) Integration

When I asked Sam which finance package her company used, she sounded a bit surprised and asked why I needed to know. It had not occurred to her that any asset she managed would need to be loaded from somewhere and its value posted back.

A recent survey by the Access Group estimates that almost half of employees in the UK waste 3 hours a day or more on inefficient systems. A lack of integration can wipe out the savings that your new system is intended to deliver.

CHECKLIST

Map the asset life cycle to see how and where each stage will be recorded
Check what software integration each supplier provides
Record all your interfaces centrally for future upgrades or new software

For more information on getting asset management systems right, have a read of the 10 Steps Guide to Asset Management.

Scotland - simpler fixed assets | FMIS

Simpler together? Fixed assets in a new Scotland

Scotland - simpler fixed asset tracking | FMIS

3 big changes an independent Scotland would make to fixed asset management

Whether you agree with the Better Together campaign or not, one thing is clear, from an accounting point of view it would certainly be simpler to stay together. Much has been made of big banks such as the Royal Bank of Scotland’s proposed move out of Scotland if there is a yes vote, but the impact for many smaller businesses will be significant as well. Overnight, businesses across the country could become multi-nationals just by virtue of having a branch in Scotland.

Victoria Stanley, Senior Consultant at FMIS, talks about 3 key issues that will need to be considered by fixed asset accountants and management teams in the event of an independent Scotland.

Multi-currency

Bank of England governor Mark Carney and leading figures in Downing Street have made it clear that a straightforward currency union is unlikely. A new Scottish currency could create the need for valuing assets in multiple currencies. For firms using simple Excel based registers or even some off the shelf products, this would be a big challenge.

Multi-company

Having business units in different countries can mean the creation of multiple companies within a group. In addition to the initial complexities of restructuring a business, the changes will need to be reflected in a company’s asset register as well. Simple fixed asset actions like moving an item from one branch to another will now require an inter-company transfer and all the assets will need allocating to one of the companies. Again this is going to get complex when working with a spreadsheet or basic asset management system.

Tax-rules

The SNP has certainly positioned itself as a left of centre party, and as the Guardian points out, a new government would need to fund the creation of new systems and structures, all of which seems to point to increasing not decreasing taxes. Different tax rules mean that assets will need to be treated differently depending on where they are.

Where to now?

At the time of writing, the outcome of the vote is too close to call and any changes may take months or years to come into full effect. The reality is, however, that an independent Scotland would mean significant changes to how businesses record their fixed assets and the nice simple spreadsheet is unlikely to be an option.

FMIS asset management software is multi-company, multi-currency and flexible enough to handle international tax reporting requirements. For more information on FMIS Fixed Assets and other products, please see our product pages or contact one of the team directly at sales@fmis.co.uk or on +44 (0) 1227 773003.

Exponent Purchase Order Processing Software case study

Purchase Order Processing case study

Exponent Purchase Order Processing case study

Purchase Order Processing case study

Exponent: engineering and scientific consulting

Exponent is an international engineering and scientific consulting company with 25 offices worldwide. Their engineers and scientists have worked on many high profile incidents.

“Exponent has been using Vision since 2007. We found that though the majority of the company was not purchasing intense, there were several groups that were, and each had their own process. It was time to unify and standardise the process. In FMIS, Exponent found a system that provided the flexibility we needed to accommodate our approval matrixes while still seamlessly interacting and taking advantage of the capabilities of Vision.”

Sue Lawless
Business Manager at Exponent
Flexible approvals

Because Exponent staff are involved in a diverse range of projects, they needed a comprehensive but flexible purchase order processing (POP) software system. Their requirements included access to an approval process that allows their requisition orders to be signed off by the appropriate staff in line with their individual approval limits and project association, before the purchase orders are automatically generated.

Deltek Vision integration

Because Exponent already used Deltek Vision, they needed purchase order processing software that linked directly with their existing system. All FMIS products including Purchase Order Processing are designed to integrate directly with the Vision software. FMIS Purchase Order Processing will automatically match purchase orders against the relevant invoice, with any amends flagged for approval before posting to the general ledger in Vision.

Established name

When considering suppliers, Exponent wanted to be confident that their chosen provider had the experience and stability to provide the level of service required over the long term. FMIS software is used in over 40 countries worldwide and has been leading the industry for over 30 years, thus Exponent was able to call industry leading clients, such as Transammonia as a reference.

For more information on FMIS Purchase Order Processing and other products, please see our product pages or contact one of the team directly at sales@fmis.co.uk or on +44 (0) 1227 773003.

FMIS Lease Accounting case study image of yellow car and AA logo

The AA uses FMIS Leasing software

Leasing software | AA Case study | FMIS Leasing software

Leasing software case study

Why the AA uses FMIS Leasing

The AA was recently confirmed as the UK’s most trusted brand*, so it’s great that they trust FMIS Leasing software to forecast, calculate and track the monthly leases for their operational fleet. FMIS was commissioned to reduce the total time it took to prepare the month end accounts for all of the fleet adjustments, additions and periodic forecasts. FMIS was able to reduce the time required for the whole process from several days to a matter of hours.

“The AA is a diverse business with several different types of operational vehicles and a complex VAT structure. We chose FMIS as our partner as they demonstrated how their system was flexible enough to meet our requirements. The FMIS support team are working closely with us to continually improve and develop the Finance Lease Software that meets our on-going requirements.”

Brian Burkett
Head of Finance
Flexible

The AA has a wide variety of lease types that the selected system had to be flexible enough to handle such as:

  • Periodic tax changes impacting irrecoverable VAT and the fixed assets values
  • Changing maintenance and service provisions
  • Multiple invoices within a period
  • Extensions of the lease term
  • Finance charges based on fixed rates
Reporting

Tailored dashboards allow all the key stakeholders from Operations through Finance to view the information they need, when they need it and in a format that is useful to them.

Support

As the AA’s requirements have developed, FMIS Leasing software has been flexible enough to grow with them. FMIS provides ongoing support for all their clients including regular product enhancements to ensure FMIS Leasing remains ahead of the game and compliant with all accounting standards, such as IAS17.

For more information on FMIS Leasing and other products, please see our product pages or contact one of the team directly at sales@fmis.co.uk or on +44 (0) 1227 773003.

* Source: Survey of more than 3,000 people in the UK aged 18-74 between 4 January and 7 February 2014 by Rainey Kelley Campbell Roalfe / Y&R’s BrandAsset Valuator (BAV).