What do you like best?
These are the aspect of Unit4 Business World that I like best:
• TCO or Total Cost of Ownership - Unit4 Business World offers the most cost-effective total cost among all providers of the first and second level.
• Ability for each entity to remain unique: Each of our international subsidiaries has their own clients. The main advantage is that you can meet local requirements such as local GAAP and presentation of reports in the local currency. There is no limitation to the number of clients, and there is no additional cost.
• Multi-currency environment: With Unit4 Business World it is possible to record transactions in any currency, including bitcoin. You can keep accounting records in three different currencies and varied by client. The currency revaluation feature is perfect as it meets different accounting standards. You can reevaluate per account, account type, different currency tables, and general accounting. The integration with Oanda, a leader in currency information, works perfectly.
• Global Reports are consolidated between clients - with browser functionality the financial reports consolidated can be prepared by taking information easily using the reporting currency.
• Workflow - visual workflow diagram design facilitates the business auditing process and transactions. Workflow with document archives is a key feature to free the office from excess paper handlings.
What do you dislike?
In the spirit of constructive criticism, I think that the areas where Unit4 can improve are:
• The configuration of the payment process needs improvement. Too much time is required to set up a payment such as a check, bank transfer, etc.
• Allow a central console to manage changes to the chart of accounts and common attributes in the multi-client configurations.
• The customer service needs improving because the staff of Unit4 is overloaded. They have a great staff but are overloaded with too many projects at the same time. Customer service relies heavily on consultants and the response time is slow.
• Educational material and training. Unit4 does not have good training materials. My recommendation is to take advantage of modern MOOC platforms (Massive Online Courses) to educate the user. For example, one of the keys to Microsoft and SAP’s success are precisely their certification program techniques.
• The functionality of different types of fiscal years must be improved. We found no configuration that did not create a conflict between groups of accounts balances versus groups of account activities. At Heifer®, to solve the problem, we had to standardize fiscal years and create special reports.
• The tax calculation module can be improved. It requires many tests to understand the final code and the impact on transactions.
• The payroll module only works in the United States and Canada. My recommendation for it is to be able to function with other countries.
• There is a lack of good documentation regarding the structure of the database. My recommendation is to produce better technical documentation to be able to produce auxiliary software specific for each company.
• There is no Customer Relationship Management Module (CRM). It is important to mention that they are studying the possibility to leverage the CRM functionality.
• The licensing process is not clear. My recommendation is to define an “active user” versus an “occasional user.”
Recommendations to others considering the product
An ERP, by definition, is a sophisticated software and hardware system. An ERP is not a solution for all problems. It is important to define your problem and thus the project goals. An ERP is a solution to a problem. If you have not defined your problem and then embark on an ERP project because it is "super modern," then the ERP will be your problem.
My top three recommendations are:
1. Only if you have the support of senior management and the President, get on board an ERP project; otherwise, do not.
2. Standardization of business processes is a critical success factor for an ERP. Without standardization, there is no successful ERP. For example, standard accounting principles and job descriptions.
3. No investment in training means, no return on investment. Only a trained user can maximize investment in an ERP system.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Since the implementation of the ERP Unit4 Business World, we at Heifer International® has streamlined processes, such as the closure of accounts and preparation of the Consolidated Financial Statements. The complexity of working in a multi-currency environment has been reduced. This is thanks to multiple solutions that include: foreign currency management, managing intercompany transactions, and customer consolidation solutions to manage the elimination transactions and statutory adjustment. Managers are now making decisions based on real-time information.
The summary of the benefits and results are as follows:
• Simplification of the annual closing and preparation of consolidated financial statements
• Simplification and standardization of the revaluation process without the need to make manual calculations. No need to reevaluate the foreign currency in an Excel file with an average exchange rate because - with the Revaluation module and Oanda subscription - the system updates daily exchange rates and translation of foreign currency transactions to dollars automatically. The revalorization of assets and liabilities at the end of the month is done in the same system.
• No need to collect data from different systems because all necessary data is contained in the same ERP database.
• Intercompany transactions (transactions that occur between headquarters and subsidiaries abroad) are automatically recorded in each country’s books in the ERP.
• The financial information includes more relevant and comprehensive information, for decision-makers on time. Another important feature is comparability between entities at Heifer®.
• The exponential increase of managing accounting because reports are provided for internal analysis. The browser in Agresso offers the flexibility to generate the appropriate report for the correct situation. This tool has a "deepening" feature. In other words, the ability to see the details behind an information summary.
• Increased financial transparency. With a few clicks, the auditor may pass from a brief indication of the browser (or reporting tool) from the details of a major account or a payable voucher account.
• Increased internal controls because there is a direct link to the single transactions that make up the state so that fraud and abuse of assets can be detected more easily.
• Improves human capital and project management.
• Save hundreds of hours of labor since the implementation of the ERP. As an example, in the past, it took more than fifteen people and two months to prepare financial data for consolidation. Now, this information is already in the systems in local currency, functional currency, and reporting currency (US dollars). These 15+ people can do more analytical work such as the use of global reports to make important decisions in real time.
• Additionally, a conservative economic estimate is that Heifer® saves more than $125,000 per year since the implementation of Unit4 Business World.