Posts Tagged financial

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

Low costs
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:

Computer Skills
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.

Accounting Knowledge
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.

Data Polling
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.

Bottom Line:
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.

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How Does Extraction Work Using GetLinked?

Remember what it was like as a kid on your birthday when you were desperate to find out what presents you’d receive, but your parents were tight-lipped and not willing to even give you the slightest hint as to what was in every perfectly wrapped box?

And it was worse if you had siblings. Those rascals were usually in on the secret, but they wanted to negotiate with you –– give them something they want, and then they’ll share the information you wanted. For example, they’d trade you one measly clue for some of your stash of hidden Halloween candy. Even if you fell for their negotiations (which, if we’re being honest here, happened more often than not!), you’d end up feeling let down, like you’d never be able to extract the data you wanted out of any family members. Try as you may, the boxes would stay wrapped, and you’d fail at finding out the big surprise.

But, here’s the difference between waiting for a childhood present and running a business: As a kid, even if no one encouraged your detective skills, you still always ended up with the present in the end. As a business owner, franchisee, or key decision maker, you know that extracting information is vital to making your procedures run smoothly. There’s no present for patiently waiting for an end result. Either you get the information using smart systems or you pay someone to manually pull the data you need to run your business, which costs a lot of money and takes a significant amount of time…time that you may not have to keep things running smoothly.

When you’re investing in new financial integration software, one of the key differentiating factors between competitors is the type of information you can extract, and how the extraction works.

Here, we’ll explain how GetLinked manages both.

What Kind of Information Gets Extracted?
Here’s the thing: every point of sale software program is different. Some of these POS systems track sales, payroll, deposits, payables, receivables, and more. Others only work with some of those functionalities — not GetLinked.

Here at GetLinked, we’re able to link the data in your point of sales system into any accounting program that has importing capabilities.

The data is formatted for importing into master files and work files. For the master files, the data can be formatted into the chart of accounts, vendors, customers, checkbook, employees, and more. Work files include bank reconciliations, receivable and payables sales transaction entries, general ledger transactions, payroll transaction entries, and more.

How Does Extraction Work?
There are two common ways to extract data using our system — directly using an API or through a file export.

Direct extraction (our preferred method)
In most cases GetLinked can access point-of-sale and time clock data “directly” using an application-programming interface (API). What this means is the software manufacturer provides a utility for integrators to read and write with their database.

GetLinked reads the required data in order to create an accurate financial transaction, such as  balanced journal entries, accurate employee time punches, correct customer invoices, among others. The more established or advanced systems have these direct methods of accessing their data and the majority of GetLinked interfaces use this process.  It’s the preferred method as it allows your interface to be more flexible, accurate, and maintenance free for you.

A file export
The other way to extract data is through a file dump process. The most common file formats are in ASCII (for example, Comma, Tab, DBF, XML, etc.). Most POS systems have an end-of-day process which includes exporting the financial data, such as sales, payables, payroll, and more. These exported data files can then be transferred from each location to your corporate office via polling software, email or internet FTP sites, and other options.

GetLinked will map the file layout of your unique POS system the same way. Once mapped, you only need to load GetLinked software at your corporate office and set the pathname to these exported data files. Wondering why this method is used? Although it can create additional steps in automating transactions, many enterprise systems, like PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and others still use ASCII exports because it provides an additional layer of security and validation prior to importing into their accounting system.

Most POS systems run an end-of-day process and create exports, yet this data is usually not in a financial accounting format. GetLinked imports this data, arranges in a financial format, validates it, and transfers a balanced journal entry to your accounting system electronically.

If you want to bring the same joy you received when opening up a childhood present into your business practices, we recommend investing in a financial integration software that extracts the data for you and shares it with your accounting systems. GetLinked does just that.

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What is GetLinked Software?

This afternoon, you found yourself talking to a colleague about how much of your time gets wasted on administrative tasks. You’re frustrated, and you can’t seem to find the time to finish everything you need to do.

You know these manual tasks are important, but you also know there must be a better way. There must be a more modern way to approach your work. You weren’t surprised to hear your colleague mention GetLinked as a potential solution, because it’s been recommended to you in the past. But you’ve never had the time to research what it is and how it can help. You’re looking for a change, and now you’re seriously wondering, “What Is GetLinked software?”

Here, we’ll explore what GetLinked is and how it can help you free up more time so you can focus on what’s really important at work.

What is GetLinked software?

GetLinked Software is an interface that converts point of sale (POS) and time clock data into “financial” accounting transactions. It also takes the sales data (General Ledger), deposits, payroll, receivables, payables and other financial data and transfers this information into accounting systems or to payroll service providers.

However, the software does more than simply import POS and other remote data. It also validates all the POS information being imported, as well as all the financial data that is transferred to the financial accounting system.

The GetLinked system asks questions such as: 
Does the account number exist?
Does the journal entry balance?
Does the detail distribution of the invoice equal the total invoice?
And more…

Still confused? Don’t be. The basics are that every point of sale or time clock system has a method of exporting  relevant financial data. The secret of GetLinked is its ability to import that raw data, such as POS or time punches, validate it, and convert it into accurate financial data (for example, turning it into an accounting journal entry or payroll processing). Then, GetLinked transfers it to your financial system, like QuickBooks, PeopleSoft, ADP, or others.

Here’s the bottom line:
GetLinked software provides faster and more accurate results for busy businesses while removing the opportunity for human error at the same time.

GetLinked plays nicely

At this point, you might be wondering if GetLinked will work with the systems you’re currently using. You either like the software you’re currently using or you don’t want to deal with the hassle of looking for new systems that will work with GetLinked.

Great news, you don’t have to!

GetLinked integrates with over 1,300 point of sale (POS), time clock, financial, and payroll systems. While we don’t endorse or recommend any particular systems, here’s a list of systems we interface with. Don’t see your specific system? Don’t worry. Here’s how GetLinked software helps with your unique system.

GetLinked offers freedom for busy businesses

Think about everything you could accomplish if you no longer had to manually sort through this information. It’s all possible with GetLinked. All it takes to import and transfer data for multiple locations and date ranges is a single click.

Ready to regain your time (and likely your sanity!)? Find out more about the specific products we offer.

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