Financial and Management Accounting

Major enhancements to NetSuite’s financial management suite since 2014

During 2014 NetSuite introduced three major features: SuiteGL (available with standard financials), Statistical Accounts (available with the optional Advanced Financial module) and Multi-book Accounting (with OneWorld)

In the second release of NetSuite in 2014 SuiteGL was introduced. This was announced as being a set of features that would be introduced over time to enable businesses to tailor general ledger processes to their unique business needs.

SuiteGL is available as a non-priced feature to any NetSuite customer with financials. Custom GL Lines Plug-in and Custom Transactions were introduced with 2014.2 and Custom Segments with 2015.2

From version 2014 version 1 NetSuite supported a new type of account, a Statistical Account, that can track non-monetary amounts such as headcount, volume sold, floor space (i.e., square footage) and shares. It is available for customers as part of the optional Advanced Financial module. From 2015.1 budgets were introduced for statistical accounts.

In 2014 Multi-book accounting was introduced, available to One World customers only. Multi-Book Accounting provides the ability to maintain multiple sets of accounting records based on a single set of real-time financial transactions.

NetSuite’s accounting

suite of applications incorporates a complete range of financial and management accounting. It includes flexible general ledger, accounts receivable and accounts payable together with fixed asset and budgeting. These are coupled powerful financial planning and modelling plus flexible analysis and reporting tools.

The suite supports multi-currency and different taxation rules for global companies or those with customers or suppliers across national boundaries. It combines multi-company consolidations with very flexible segmenting to handle a range of cost centre types: department, class (for different product/service lines) and location. This would enable a business to for example understand what gross margin was being made by product in each sales branch or outlet.

Security and traceability is ensured by the complete audit trail of each transaction by user login. VAT and other sales taxes are automatically calculated and discounts customisable for each supplier, customer or product. Customers and suppliers can be given access to their accounts and can be emailed directly with statements or invoices.

The accounting system is integrated with the other NetSuite modules to provide a complete business flow in customer and partner relationship and support management, order-to-cash and buy-to-pay processes and project management. It also has tools to link the accounts system with other third-party or bespoke applications.

The Ledgers

The chart of accounts is very flexible with an unlimited number of accounts with up to 15 alphanumeric characters. This flexibility allows businesses to continue using the same general ledger codes that they have been used to or design a chart of accounts that matches their particular needs. NetSuite provide 21 different pre-loaded chart of accounts designed for different industries which can be customised to allow speedy set up, or a chart of accounts can be set up from scratch.

Accounting periods can be defined differently for different users allowing one department to close their books before others. Recurring journals can be created and the reversing of journals scheduled for automatic posting to reduce the risk of overlooking the task or making a mistake in doing it and eliminating the time taken to do it manually.

Accounts receivable links seamlessly to the sales order processing module for invoices, credits or payments. It handles billing schedules automatically for invoices with multi-payments such as projects or where customers pay a deposit. It also has revenue recognition implemented to the latest internationally endorsed standards. This enables businesses to create schedules for sales transactions on a per-item basis which are then highlighted to allow the appropriate action when they become due.

Accounts payable manages an unlimited number of suppliers and multiple accounts payable accounts. Expenses to be entered without being being allocated to defined departments, classes or locations and allocated later by an appropriate formula. For example telephone or internet bills can be entered into accounts payable without being allocated to specific departments and later allocated to those departments based perhaps on number of staff in the department. This ensures debts are accounted for accurately and quickly.

Modelling, Planning and Budgeting

NetSuite includes advanced cost-effective ‘what-if’ modelling, planning and budgeting. Using the Financial Planning Module allows businesses to base models for the future on real, past data and create plans that can be quickly turned into budgets. It incorporates multi-dimensional models for complex sales and product planning as well as facilities to facilitate collaborative planning in a controlled manner.

The budget facility provides for more than one budget so that target, worse-case etc budgets can be held by each cost centre and compared against actual. In circumstances where the budget has changed little from period to period, budgets from one period can be copied to the next with the option to increase or decrease the budget by a percentage.

Should a business prefer to use an alternative tool to create financial plans, e.g. Excel, then these can easily be imported into NetSuite budgets (and budgets and other data in NetSuite accounting systems can be exported into Excel to provide base data for the planning).

Fixed Asset Management

The fixed asset module supports life cycle management of all assets from buying, through tracking, depreciating to disposal. It supports an unlimited number of asset types including those that merely need to be tracked rather than valued and those that do not need to be depreciated. It is integrated into NetSuite accounting ledgers so that all fixed asset financial processes can be streamlined.

To ease the entry of an asset, defaults can be set. Once entered the asset can be tracked easily together with information about any on-going costs and schedules in terms of insurance, lease and maintenance. At the end of its life the asset can be disposed of completely or split into one or more other asset.

NetSuite Fixed Asset Management provides built-in standard depreciation methods including: straight line, fixed declining, sum of years digits and asset usage. It also provides a facility to develop bespoke depreciation methods. Any asset can have multiple depreciations.  ‘Chain’ depreciation methods are available for comprehensive asset valuations.

Financial analysis and reports

NetSuite ERP includes built-in real-time financial dashboards and more than 100 standard reports, including income, profit and loss, balance sheets, ageing and variance. Ad-hoc reports can be produced by end users and either printed or shown on a dashboard.

Dashboards can be personalised by users to allow them sight of key information, subject to security access controls of course. Users can create their own key performance indicators (KPIs) to reflect their concerns and change them as their priorities alter.

When on-line it is easy to drill down to further detail, for example from an outstanding sales invoices ageing report to specific invoices and to details of the customers merely by clicking the relevant cell.

Reports can be shared via email or other electronic means in PDF, Excel or Word.