With the new ASC 606 and IFRS 15 regulations, companies cannot continue with their current revenue accounting practices. When legacy ERP systems no longer support financial processes, it's time to take action and analyze the options for upgrading ERP and financial systems. Organizations with complex revenue recognition must implement a system and a process to remain compliant. This blog series examines four options to get systems up to date – invest in the existing ERP system, supplement with spreadsheets, rip and replace systems, and augment the ERP system. In this blog post, we will help companies analyze the possibility of a “Rip & Replace” of their ERP system with new software.
When it comes to revenue recognition and billing, ERP systems do not have the depth of functionality needed to process revenue under the new ASC 606 and IFRS 15 guidelines. Many finance professionals must use manual methods outside the ERP system to address these challenges.
New business models and FASB’s new revenue recognition guidelines pose a threat to existing ERP systems. Some companies have achieved business improvement from their ERP systems. However, many companies are quickly realizing that the key benefits, once leveraged from their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, are now unavailable due to the increasing complexities stated above.
In fact, for many businesses—both new and old—subscription-based contracts have become the norm. If you need proof of that, look no further than the software industry. Software was once a physical product: if you wanted to purchase a copy of Microsoft Office, you would pay Microsoft, and Microsoft would deliver you a CD (or in the older days, floppy disks) with the application on it.
For younger companies, spreadsheets can be an excellent stop-gap solution for many different applications. They perform valuable mathematical functions and are easy to use, store and access. In smaller companies, they can even be successfully used to identify revenue and manage billing. However, in larger organizations, such methods simply can’t deliver the level of functionality required.
Many companies use a variety of spreadsheets or home-grown applications to sort out, store, and manage their financial data. Either approach is very flexible and capable of doing almost anything. Unfortunately, that very flexibility makes it difficult to develop reusable reports or dashboards that provide the correct visibility into the business, and that are readily available. When executives or auditors require information on the financial state of a company, getting that information usually entails a high-value resource with strong knowledge of the spreadsheets used to track this information developing a custom, one-time report. Though this report can provide a great deal of intelligence on where the company stands, it typically requires time and effort to construct, and often has limited reuse potential. Too, this report will often represent a snap-shot in time; by the time the report is constructed, it is very possible that the financial picture has already changed.