The regulatory landscape is getting more complex for corporate entities all the time, both nationally and internationally. This is not to mention the accounting requirements and principles for every organization from multinational PLCs to SMEs to charities and not-for-profits. Within the EU and under the International Accounting Standards Board they are mostly standard but in individual countries and internationally there are inevitable variations.
All this means a potential mountain of work for corporate administrators. It will mostly add to the responsibilities of financial and accounts executives but moreover companionship secretaries (or their equivalents in different jurisdictions) and in some cases senior HR/HCM managers. Above all, the legal responsibilities for governance and compliance, as well as strict adherence to accounting standards, always end up with the CEO and board of directors. Who in turn expect their staff and systems to cope with the day-to-day details.
This is where ERP comes in with strength. Almost all of the facts that have to be recorded and accounted for in regulatory compliance can be maintained in the commercial ERP system and its database. Financial accounting transactions are obvious, but ERP extends the capabilities to traceability of products from beginning to end their manufacturing and distribution cycle, for example, or conformance with the WEE Directive. Compliance with the GDPR Directive on the protection of personal data, now less than a year away and affecting all organizations to some degree, depends heavily on customer records in the sales, marketing, and CRM systems. HR software, often an ERP module, is the repository for protected staff records.
ERP is often described popularly as a fully joined-up system, which indeed is a pretty good explanation. It strives to link every process and record in the organization. Precisely for that reason, it is the primary tool today for compliance across the board, whether financial and taxation or data protection or observance to environmental regulations. It is comprehensive, accurate and transparent by its nature. Management decides who allows access to what, or what to disclose. But the required information is always in the ERP system.
Equally important, the information is easily extracted and compiled for statutory conformity reports to regulatory authorities or to answer specific inquiries or investigations. Even the most obscure details can often be found from first to last an ERP system’s search function.