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Running Accounts Software Alongside ERPNext

I’ve been going back and forth with different ideas about how to implement ERPNext in business I work for.

Currently all of our business operations are handled in MYOB Account Right. Since I do sales and marketing this frustrates me, but of course our accounts people love MYOB.

Over the last two months I’ve spoken to developers about extending ERPNext to have some of the features that our accounts people have become accustomed to in MYOB. The costs are not astronomical, but I’m really in two minds on it. Same thing with developing a connector, or moving to QBO to make use of, or revive the connector project for QBO.

But after much thought I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s the potential for long term instability with any type of connector, and adding features to ERPNext could end up getting costly, and not to mention missing out on new time saving features that might be introduced in our accounts package.

All this has got me thinking, our goal is to achieve a net improvement in speed and accuracy. I’m not adverse to increasing the slightly increasing the laboriousness of a process if time saved on other processes still result in a net improvement.

So now I’m thinking, how painful would it actually be to run to two simultaneously? What data really needs to be moved between the two, could company processes be separated?

The main issue is I have a pretty poor understanding of the accounts side of things.

I’m wondering if anyone else has attempted anything similar.

Would we be needing to export and import CSV files for all purchases and invoices, or could we handle that in ERPNext and just enter bills into MYOB manually and use it for payroll? Any thoughts?

Both our accounts people are totally Karen’s (if you know the meme) and according to them everything is just too hard. But I’m wondering how much extra work it might add, vs. time saved in other areas.

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Nice conversation !

Before we start could you give us a list of some of those features in MYOB your people love that is absent in ERPNext?

Well in MYOB and I believe this is common in QBO and Xero as well, you can mark off bills from suppliers to go to a table for payment. In MYOB the feature is called “Prepare Electronic Payments”. One on the list for payment you can prepare a batch payment file, in Australia it is called an ABA file. It’s a simple ASCII text file structure to the ABA format. I think other countries have similar types of batch payment files. You take this file which is basically a list of who to pay and how much and upload it to your netbanking app and it will run the transactions listed in the file. MYOB has the same feature for payroll.

The other features are BAS reporting from MYOB, so it will prepare the BAS statement and lodge it with the local tax authority, all without leaving the application. To be honest any program that can generate the BAS report would suffice. I mean it’s not that hard to take the document and upload it to the ATO web portal manually.

Single Touch Payroll. In Australia by law all business between a certain size must lodge payroll tax information using the Single Touch Payroll system, so it’s basically government mandated API. It’s awesome for accounts people, but there is no manual upload option. You have to lodge through the tax authorities API. It’s a pretty simple report though, so not hard for a developer I’m sure.

Those are the big ones, but MYOB is genuinely a good time saving device, it automates, or at least semi-automates a great many otherwise laborious accounting tasks.

I’m slowly being persuaded that whilst it seems superficially simple, implementing the same feature set in ERPNext is a similar challenge to the grossly underestimated QBO connector. I think the QBO connector really proved that what seems like an easy task for a competent python developer is actually way more difficult. Accounts are kind of unforgiving, you can’t afford bugs.

QBO, Xero and to a lesser extent MYOB are just powering ahead in terms of functionality for their chosen focus, accounts. They’re not much good for running anything else in a business. I mean it’s all out war between our sales team and accounts department. Our sales team have paper work raining down from the ceiling whilst our accounts department are pressing the auto-pilot button.

I’m wondering if it isn’t time ERPNext saw the writing on the wall and conceded that this is a best in class scenario and flexible connectors really are the best compromise.

But I digress.

I’m wondering if anyone else has tried running certain parts of the business in one and other parts in the other. Like Sales Orders and Projects in ERPNext and Invoicing and Purchasing in their accounts package, whether it be Xero, or MYOB, or QBO, or Tally, or whatever. I mean is it feasible? Can one export and import? Do you actually need to have an items inventory in both? Am I making any sense?

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Hi,

You bring up very important points. The main theme being does one software for the enterprise work better? Or does best of breed in each area work better?

I have a few clients that use ERPNext and Tally, so while I have a certain amount of experience in this, I don’t really have any experience in QuickBooks, Xero or MYOB. But what I’ve heard is that the people that work with those packages love the packages.

Your best bet is the following:

Do inventory on ERPNext.
Do Supplier Purchase Orders on ERPNext
Purchase Receipts on ERPNext
Sales Orders on ERPNext
Delivery Notes on ERPNext

Then build reports on ERPNext for Stock Positions, Cost of Goods Sold, Sales/Purchase Invoice etc. and your accounts department, just runs this reports once a day, exports the report from ERPNext makes a few changes and imports the Purchase Invoices and Sales Invoices on your specific accounting package.

This sucks as the Sales and Buying departments have to rely on the accounts department (or have to have access to the accounting package) fr the Accounts Payable/Receivable reports. I think it’s way better to do the Purchase to Pay Cycle and the Order to Cash cycle on ERPNext, but then those fancy payment features is what your accounting department would howl about.

Your best bet is to let them discover ERPNext (so give them access. Expect them to pull the reports from ERPNext - don’t “send” the reports to them) and let them ask for a few things to help them migrate to ERPNext completely.

Yes, the connector can be a bit of a pain to maintain as there are two ends to the connector and changes at either end can bugger up the connector.

The biggest advantage of the accounting packages is that they have the necessary size to make integrations each and regulatory compliance a breeze. At ERPNext we are spread ourselves all across the globe and I don’t think we have the critical size in any country yet to take on the biggest accounting package in that country.

But we are getting there. And till then, yes, you have to manage your accounting department. Accountants love their accounting packages. The trouble is that only the accountants love the accounting packages. So, do a flanking attack on them, let the entire organization use ERPNext. Once ERPNext is established as irreplaceable for your organization, you’d be able to negotiate better with your accounting department and your management.

Hope this helps.

Thanks

Jay

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This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I knew it was possible, I just wasn’t sure when the best junction in the process was to move the data across.

I think its just easier for us to start with a few modules and transition. That’s one of the reasons we haven’t gone for a large commercial ERP system, it just feels like you hand over a large sum of money and then they strap you into the rocket ship and you’d better hope your staff pay attention during the training because the launch date is locked in. I know good planning is important, but for an SME like us it just seems easier to learn at our own pace.

It’s amazing how difficult it seems to be to make connectors for these Accounts Packages. From my understanding the MYOB API is poorly documented. I actually checked out the API about a year ago and the documentation seemed good, but on closer inspection its actually very threadbare. And I know the QBO connector went way over deadline.

I can’t help but feel with support for QBO and Xero, ERPNext would storm the globe. Xero in particular is just too good a proposition for SME’s. It’s not hard to see the appeal.

Anyway, it’s great to see that people are running different systems in parralel, which may seem abhorent to some, but it does seem like the low cost "Keep It Simple, Stupid"solution.

Anyone else running ERPNext in tandem with other types of business software? Any real world examples are appreciated. I think it could benefit the community as a whole to see how others have tackled the problem.

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Would be interesting to know if this went any further. One of the problems with duplicate system is having to reconcile them, then having to explain differences.
About to look at development of PAYG module for ATO in Australia.