Should You Build or Buy Financial Integration Software?
You know you need a financial interface, but where you’re really stuck is whether you should buy one or build your own. There are perks to both, that’s for sure. If you buy one, you have instant access to a solution that can solve some of your most pressing challenges. However, if you build one, you can customize it to work exactly how you want.
We get the dilemma you’re in. In fact, this is something that we struggled with when we first created the company in 1982. And, this is also a question we get asked from some prospects. Most of the time, it gets posed by someone with previous programming experience who is motivated and excited to take on a challenge — and that we admire.
However, we believe we can save companies, like yours, who are considering building their own interface a lot of time and money by sharing our experience for what it takes to make a financial interface successful.
You see, there are many obvious (and some not so obvious) costs required to develop, install, maintain, support, and update these interfaces. The technical development of the interface isn’t the largest cost, but the ongoing maintenance requires a significant investment of both time and money when it comes to system updates, trained personnel leaving the organization, and the employees who are not being able to perform their originally assigned duties because they’re so bogged down with the newly built (or aging) software created.
3 Objectives for a Successful Interface
When you purchase a GetLinked subscription, you’ll save money that you otherwise would have needed to pay your employees or contractors to develop the interface. In addition, your staff must have both accounting and programming knowledge in order to be successful, driving up the rate they charge for the build.
Similarly, to maintain the interface, you’ll sink money into program adjustments, software bug fixes, and developing it into a user-friendly interface for your accounting keypunchers, controllers, payroll clerk, and other users.
Finally, things can change with your POS systems, which require the interface to be updated. If cost is a factor in your decision making, we think you may lean to buying over building.
If you’re going to invest in a financial interface software, regardless of whether you’re buying or building, you want to make sure it works consistently.
Some of the things you’ll need to worry about when you build your own solution is technical staff, repairs, data polling, flexible translation capabilities, balanced journal entries, and the list continues. Buying an interface means there will be little to no on-going maintenance for a reliable software because another company is doing all the updating to the program behind the scenes for you.
Any interface will be able to provide you with solutions in a much more efficient and fast manner than any human on your team could process. But when you build your own software, you need to consider how to automate processes, such as data polling, multiple location imports, transfer functions batched, and more. Here at GetLinked, we’ve already figured all that out for you, and what you get as an end user is speed, without having to worry about all the tech specifications to make it work efficiently.
6 Requirements for Creating a Successful Interface:
Still interested in building? Hire someone with high-level programming knowledge (for example, C languages, database file handlers, internet security protocols, and more). This person will also need experience in data file handlers, and the different versions (ex. MS_SQL, Sybase, MySQL, Dbase, flat file structures, etc.). Each system functions differently, uses a different database, program and extraction tools, and has differing levels of capabilities.
To build an interface, you’ll also need accounting knowledge to understand matching principles, default transaction balance, typical account entry, contra-accounts, and more functions. There will need to be a great understanding of the general ledger, payroll, receivables, and payables-related functionalities.
Polling of data can be the longest and hardest process of setup and needs to be done before any interface (including GetLinked) can operate — make sure you have someone proficient if you plan on building your own interface. This is where computer technicians can assist the most in automating this process on a daily basis.
Network and security intelligence
Anyone you hire to build an interface will need a vast amount of additional experience, such as covering network protocols, login configurations, server versus cloud-based requirements. They’ll also need to focus on getting the manufacturer’s permission to read or write to their system or database, as well as understanding encryptions and decryptions.
Staying on top of updates
Every system you interface to or from requires constant updates. Don’t count on a point of sale system to contain balanced transactions. It does not need to as it’s not a financial system. Building your own interface requires due diligence to make sure any outside updates get factored into your tasks.
Retaining the talent
If you’re able to move past all of the above challenges and invest in employees with all the skills and knowledge to create a customized interface, do everything you can to get them to document procedures, engage them, and retain their employment. Programmers will and do leave, and this is one of the biggest costs to a custom-built interface. In most cases it stops working, requires updates, gets a bug, and you’re forced to start over.
What is your time, money, and frustration worth? While we sincerely recommend more businesses purchase a financial integration solution instead of building one, you’re the only person who can determine which option is best for your company. While you’re mulling it over, we invite you to learn more about GetLinked, and find out if we’re the right solution for your company.