Over the years, companies collect a lot of different systems. Due to mergers, transitions, country silo's, phase-out of old systems and a lot more reasons, the solution landscape of a company can be experienced as a patchwork without integration.
The tax department is without a doubt connected to the finance and reporting department and vice versa. Leaning on the implemented systems, the finance professionals are the gatekeepers of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) data and the structure and level of detail within these systems. Streamlining the various instances of ERP, fixed asset systems, consolidation or EPM systems for multiple purposes and departments puts a lot of pressure on finance.
As mentioned above, within a company we see a lot of different systems that are connected to the daily business activities. These systems vary on age, type of technology, structure and user experience. Therefore, it is not rare that these systems do not communicate with each other and cause time-consuming workarounds to enable people to actually start working.
The challenge also came to the attention of the various software vendors. To increase the positive user experience of their software (and to push renewals instead of short-term license agreements), integrations with a select group of solutions were created on the frontend. Along the way the amount of integrations increased and in these days of big data and BI, the backend also got connected to al kinds of tooling.
API - DATA Dump - RPA
An Application Program Interface (API) arranges the way software and external programs interact. API's can be essential in ERP, to ensure that the ERP application data is accessible to other software through a secure connection.
An API stands between ERP and a third party program which is requesting the data. The API receives the request and returns the specific data for as long as the request has the needed permissions. The API also controls what data can be requested and how it is received.
API's connect your ERP to third party vendors, which make it easy to use the data for example:
• Business Intelligence software (BI);
• Data-analytics and transformation software;
• Tax and finance compliance software.
API's can provide you with (amongst others):
• Server Authorization;
• Dynamic Query Services (data read, write, create, update);
• Change Tracker;
• Secure Rest Service.
However, IT departments are often hesitant when it comes to API's and integration in "their" IT infrastructure. In that case, there are other ways to leverage your data to other systems without using API's. You can think about exporting and uploading CSV files or use Robotic Process Automation to interact between systems and grab/ process the data for you.
Get connected on every level
If you are looking to improve the integration between Finance and Tax, the focus can not only be on the integration of data and systems. The process and requirements need to be aligned as well. If it is clear what the overall process is, where the reliance and interaction between the departments sits and what is needed from which system, you can start a relay race that leads to a more efficient way of working.