IFRS 16 - what you need to know

IFRS 16 – What you need to know

IFRS 16 brings with it the biggest changes to Lease Accounting in 30 years. Here is what you need to know in brief to get compliant.

Sage 200 Integration

Sage 200 Integration with FMIS

FMIS now offers Enterprise Asset Management for Sage 200 users including seamless integration.

Fixed Asset Forecasts

Fixed Assets Forecasts

Having the right tools for fixed assets forecasts could save thousands of pounds, improve accuracy and free up time for your staff.

ESA Purchase to Pay case study

Purchase to Pay Case Study with ESA

From Purchase to Pay with ESA – FMIS Purchase to Pay software allows ESA to manage stock and inventory for properties across London and the South East over the full asset life cycle.

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.

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.

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.

5 reasons to beware of the fixed asset spreadsheet

5 reasons to beware of the fixed asset spreadsheet

Beware of the fixed asset spreadsheet

It is the age old question in fixed assets. Why pay for fixed asset software when you can keep track of it on the trusty office spreadsheet?
We recently came across an article by Liz Fisher in Accounting & Business which dates back to 2003 (view it here) and most of the issues she raised are as true now as they were then. In an age of increasing pressure on budgets, it can be hard to justify the expenditure of rolling out a new fixed asset or asset management system. Here are 5 reasons why it may just be false economy to go cheap.

1. No audit trail

Spreadsheets have no audit trail. Sure you can do some pretty fancy things with macros and Visual Basic in the background, but in the end someone will always find a way round it (I know, I have tried often enough). Any decent fixed assets software will have a comprehensive and secure audit trail, so when the auditors start asking awkward questions about your assets, you don’t get that sinking feeling in your stomach.

2. It doesn’t really save you time

Researching, purchasing and learning a new fixed assets solution can be time consuming, so surely it makes sense to stick with what you know? The truth is, once you add in the amount of time it takes you to start unpicking the gaps in your data every month and manually creating postings back to the general ledger, it soon looks a bit less sensible.
Frustrated with the fixed asset spreadsheet

3. Single point of failure

An accounting friend at a large financial services firm in the UK repeatedly warned me of the risks of using any system that only one person fully understands. Good advice, especially if he had listened to it himself. When one of his team left suddenly, it soon became very clear that no-one else understood the spreadsheets he had been using for the last few years. They had just pressed the ‘report’ button and he looked after the rest. Fixed asset spreadsheets don’t usually come with a very good support plan!

4. Size does matter

It made sense at the time, after all who needs an expensive system to track a few desktops, a photocopier and the microwave? 5 years down the line, business has been good and you now have to try and migrate several thousand assets from your spreadsheet to your new fixed asset register. Most fixed asset software will allow you to do a bulk import, but it is still going to get more complicated the longer you leave it.

5. One size doesn’t fit all

Every area of the business needs to report on fixed assets in a different way. Whilst a commercial solution will do this (to varying degrees), your old fixed asset spreadsheet probably doesn’t. Most often the spreadsheet was started by and designed for one specific department and each area of the business had it’s own one. When you start multiplying that across different offices, divisions and even countries the chances of getting a coherent picture of your fixed asset register rapidly shrink.

For more information on choosing asset management software or FMIS’ range of products, please see our product pages or contact one of the team directly at sales@fmis.co.uk or on +44 (0) 1227 773003.

Sales Order Processing case study

Sales Order Processing case study

Sales Order Processing Case Study

Engineering Sales Order Processing case study

The customer, a comprehensive professional services firm providing design solutions to private and public sector clients, required an efficient sales order processing system integrating with Deltek Vision. Key requirements included: billing interface with Vision, accounts payable interface via invoice matching, strong control over product item master records, including complex bill of material assembly.

Sales Order Processing

Sales Order Processing case study flow chart

Sales Order Processing flow chart

The sales order can be made up of many combinations of assemblies, items and services. As a user constructs the sales order the system provides real time control over margins and build specifications. The system allowed an easy set up of all required parts and a straight forward authorisation trail.

Fulfilment: purchase or stock

The purchase order will be automatically routed to the preferred vendor for the associated items within the bill of assembly. Vendor selection can be overridden on the sales order if required. The user can also select the item to come from stock, selecting a specific batch quantity or serial number to be added to the packing list. Any final purchase orders will be emailed to the vendor once any authorisation has been completed.

Purchasing

Vendors receive the purchase order by mail or by email. A system alert manager monitors the progress of the purchase against the required delivery dates. Purchase order amendments can be raised at any time. Utility bills and other contracted costs can also be entered as purchase contracts.

Goods receipt

Each category of product has its own set of attributes to be used when recording the eventual receipt of the goods or service. Any serialised item can have make, model, year of manufacture, serial number or any other items captured by electronic entry, manual entry or through the punch-out service.

Equipment and inventory

Any IT equipment is logged into the physical asset register passing on all of the prior information collated to date. The Equipment system allows for asset tracking and automatic reconciliation with the Fixed Asset register.

Invoice matching

Vendor invoices can now be easily matched (two, three or four-way) against the system. The batch of vendor invoices are automatically generated into the Vision Accounts Payable system. Any variances, subject to route and category limits, will automate the production of a new purchase order change request.

Shipping/billing

All part/full shipments will generate a billing entry in Vision with the correct sales order references, quantity and values. Shipping documents can be formatted and templated by the system.