Feeds

Accounting software gets better at languages

Found in translation

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Workshop Businesses have become accustomed to software products like MS Office which can be switched between languages (although Word's US English can be stickier than a handful of superglue when you want to select another language).

But when it comes to the financials modules in enterprise resource planning (ERP), the multi-lingual solution doesn't always, well, translate.

The problem is that accounting rules and conventions differ from one country to the next, so it's a question of translating not just the words but also the underlying business rules.

“The challenge if you have an international business is that you need financial systems that can cope with multiple languages and, more importantly, multiple accounting legislative regimes,” says Chris Schafer, director and founder of MySoft, which implements multinational systems for Sage.

Uncommon currency

There’s a lot to be said for having ERP and financials that are targeted at one language and jurisdiction. The legislation that governs how accounts are presented can be embedded in the software's processes.

Consequently, multi-lingual accounting systems have been the preserve of giant multinational companies. Only the largest organisations, so the reasoning goes, have sufficient bean counters to cope with accounting in local currency and according to local rules, and then consolidating all the accounts to head office's rules and currency.

But as globalisation affects more medium-sized and even quite small firms, the need to implement multi-lingual multi-currency systems is rising up the agenda.

“Now even SMEs are not just trading overseas but setting up operations overseas and they can’t use the UK mid-market solutions they used before,” says Schafer.

There are also companies that have been using different accounting systems in each territory and now want to standardise on one vendor or package.

Seeds of revolution

One example is Germain Technology Group (CTG), which provides seed technologies – coatings, disinfectants, protections and the like – for agricultural and horticultural customers. Based in the UK, it has operations in Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain and the US.

On GTG’s previous system data from its five sites overseas had to be copied to a zip disk once a period and sent by courier to corporate headquarters in Norfolk. The data was then imported into a central system to enable GTG to report on its seven separate businesses. It was a time-consuming process and the resulting reports did not reflect the current business picture.

The company opted for Sage Line 500 with finance, distribution and manufacturing modules to replace its accounts and bespoke process monitoring software. The software had to support Polish, which some other vendors do not consider a mainstream language.

“We now have clearer visibility of our financial information, with data from the UK, Ireland, Poland, Holland, Spain and the US all consolidated into one database,” says Duncan Ellis, group IT manager at GTG. “Holding the data centrally saves us two to three days every time our overseas sites carry out period-end reporting.”

Pardon my French

As well as coping with local legislation, an accounts system has to use the right language and terminology.

Whether due to Britain's imperial past or its inhabitants’ sheer laziness, English has become the default business language – but users still like to be greeted in their own tongue when they log on. “Hola Herman” might raise a smile in Stuttgart the first time but is likely to grate when it pops up day after day.

Ditto the financials' terminology. “If you were using a US system it would show a field for sales tax instead of VAT, which would hardly instill confidence in UK users,” says Schafer.

One way round this is a highly configurable solution in which users can impose local terminology on a blank sheet. But for Schafer the best systems are internationally ready out of the box.

“You need a system that doesn’t require endless configuration to make the nominal ledger in France, for example, look the way it should,” he says. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?