Oracle-owned ERP outfit NetSuite fitted with banking and data warehouse features to keep accountants sane

It's about helping steer the business without so many spreadsheets, says analyst

NetSuite, the ERP software aimed at medium-sized businesses, has launched new product features addressing integration with banking systems and business-facing analytics.

The company – bought by Oracle for $9.3bn five years ago – said NetSuite Analytics Warehouse offers features similar to those available with enterprise ERP platforms from Big Red and SAP.

In a pre-canned statement, Oracle NetSuite exec veep Evan Goldberg said: "With NetSuite Analytics Warehouse, our customers can now take advantage of a complete, prebuilt analytics solution that accelerates decision making and enables their organisations to quickly respond to changing customer needs and new market opportunities."

The data warehouse features prebuilt, secure data pipelines designed to cut out error-prone and time-consuming manual data integration projects; third-party and NetSuite data sources including unstructured data; and more than 25 prebuilt connectors to platforms such as Dropbox, Salesforce and Google Analytics. It is also throwing in prebuilt metrics and KPIs to get business users started with minimum fuss, or so the company says.

With SuiteBanking, users will get integrations to help accelerate accounts payable processes with automated invoice scanning and general ledger code assignment, three-way invoice matching, and automated outbound payments. Meanwhile, the accounts receivable package aims to improve the efficiency of billing staff.

Bank Reconciliation claims to help customers accurately match transactions with the organisation's bank account. Similar integration features are available for spend management, working capital, and expense management.

Tom Seal, IDC senior research director, said the new features were a response to the way the finance function was changing from merely reporting and controlling spending to helping change business direction.

"One of the challenges is there's a lot of process inefficiencies still within the finance function. Accounts payable and accounts receivable are still very disconnected processes, primarily because you're dealing with an external party: your customer or your supplier, you have to interface with them. But you've also got your bank and the connectivity between banks and financial applications has been in demand from finance functions for quite a while.

"Some businesses have integrated their financial applications with their banks themselves or have used APIs from their bank or vendor. But the closer the integration, the better because there is a need to essentially re-key and do a lot of reconciliation between your financial application and your bank accounts, to make sure that you understand your status."

Rather than integrate these processes, many businesses end up falling back into using spreadsheets. When the next month or quarter comes around, "they will then repeat that process and I'll do the same analysis again in Excel," Seal said.

"The ideal situation is that the finance team are conducting this analysis once, and then they can convert that into a dashboard and have that constantly updating."

Seal said NetSuite would appeal to fast-growing businesses that want pre-configured products. The new features could offer "quite strong functionality that promises to be able to work out of the box." ®

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