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About Finance IT

SW Project Consulting Sdn Bhd What is Finance IT? 

It is in the past that people who work for information technology on behalf of accounting department were called system accountants and finance project managers. These professionals are working on the part time basis in addition to their main job description. As the job scope is not clearly defined between Finance and IT division, it is always bringing out many disagreements between two divisions on the tasks to be delivered and what can they do and not. One typical example is finance professionals expecting that a button can solve all their issues while ignoring the problems that IT would face in order to bring out such amazing practice.

There is lack of a direction to give a unique name and definition for the piece of work done by the system accountants and finance project managers. I would like to bring out the definition of Finance IT. Finance IT is a new profession that shall recognize in every modern finance and information technology divisions. Finance IT shall refer to the profession for those finance professionals who are handling information technology systems or IT professionals who are handling finance application management.

Personnel that fit into Finance IT

When modern organizations are mainly using ERP and financial software to manage their accounting transactions and planning, it is much desired that a group of professionals who have in-depth knowledge of both finance and IT should be fit into the job of Finance IT. Traditionally the personnel who work on finance system are part-time in addition to their job description. It shall encourage professionals to receive formal training and education to fulfil the full job description of Finance IT. The professional shall desire to go through proper tertiary education on either IT or Finance to get ready to handle the daily tasks required by Finance IT. In addition, the professional shall go through various formal training on the topics which could help them to enrich their job portfolio under Finance IT.

Finance IT shall create a new perspective that this is a full time job position to handle all aspects of the requirement of Finance IT. It may range from strategic planning, human resources management, project management, application management, governance and compliance, user management and many other areas that Finance IT shall perform in order to well maintain their corporate ERP or financial software.

Finance IT shall act as arbitrary advisor to both Finance and IT divisions. The main purpose is to visualize that all initiatives, projects and tasks assigned are properly managed according to the agreed timeline, cost and scope. This shall reduce the misunderstanding and disagreement between two divisions when interpreting the working concepts differently.

Project Management for Finance IT

It is necessary to bring out the importance of project management skill for Finance IT professionals. Each initiative in the division could be a unique project to manage. The organization culture, style and structure hierarchy will determine on whether a project is successful or failure. It is therefore to ensure proper definition of project management role for Finance IT. This depends on how big is the organization structure for Finance IT. It could be a sub division of the Finance or IT division; it could be a hybrid division who co-ordinate between Finance and IT division; it could be a project management office which oversees the work performed by so called system accountant in finance division or system analyst in IT division. There are many alternatives on how to structure project management role for Finance IT.

The formal training on project management and certification for Finance IT would definitely fill up the gap of confusion regarding with what project management shall do. The project management courses that are well known include PMP certification and PRINCE2 certification and these will add the impact to carry out proper project management.

The basic understanding on project management must know the project definition and project life cycle. A project definition shall arise from a strategic initiative or request, service, process or product that are unique and temporary. Temporary does not mean short in duration but it creates a measurable beginning and ending time frame. The end of a project shall conclude that whether the objective is fulfilled or failed. At the end of the project, it shall either close it or transfer it to another project.

There are five phases that form a project life cycle. The phases are project initiation, project planning, executing project, monitoring and controlling the project and project closure. The following table gives some indication on how a software implementation phases fit into the five phases of project life cycle.

Project Phase

SunSystems Deliverables

Initiation

  • Business case or strategic initiative
  • Project Charter
  • Stakeholder identification and analysis

Planning

      
  1. Product overview and objectives
  2.   
  3. System Design Workshop
  4.   
  5. Expectation Gap Analysis
  6.   
  7. Scope development
  8.   
  9. Project Schedule

Executing

      
  1. System Build
  2.   
  3. Scope control and fine tune
  4.   
  5. Master Data Migration
  6.   
  7. Functional Training
  8.   
  9. User Acceptance Test
  10.   
  11. Quality Assurance
  12.   
  13. Manage stakeholders and project team
  14.   
  15. Go Live
 Monitoring and Controlling
      
  1. Change Request Form
  2.   
  3. Issue Log
  4.   
  5. Project schedule control
  6.   
  7. Test Result
  8.   
  9. Quality control
  10.   
  11. Monitor risks
  12.   
  13. Fine tune User Procedures

Closure

      
  1. Post Implementation Assessment Document
  2.   
  3. Project Closure Meeting
  4.   
  5. Transition to new project or permanent closure

Application Management for Finance IT

Finance IT shall handle all aspects of application management as major part of their job description. Once the application is ready for use and becomes a business as usual event, it is then that the Finance IT team shall take over it and manage the application. The simplest application management for Finance IT shall focus on the four key result areas. These are application management, governance perspective, user education management and vendor management.

The application management is daily routine to ensure the finance applications and any IT applications are running as how they should be. There should neither be any discrepancy on the system behaviours nor infrastructure failure to the applications. This requires full time expertise on the system knowledge and skillset on application functionalities and technical architecture. It is therefore advised that periodic review on the documentation and technical structure after the completion of project implementation will ensure the expertise is still relevant to the application. A strategic application roadmap shall chart for the application management on what to do to fulfil the needs of finance and IT division in the short term, mid-term and long term. This road map will then be used for any future project initiatives, system upgrade or replacement.

Organizations are very focused on system governance in today world. Therefore that Finance IT shall ensure that their ERP or application that they manage shall comply with the corporate policy statement and governance initiatives. Finance IT will co-ordinate with the internal audit and risk management team to ensure that system process, workflow and security framework fulfil the requirement of company guidelines. For example, Finance IT can advise how to restore the system properly if major disaster occurs to the data centre or IT division. There could be a business continuity practice for the financial applications if any unknown risks attack the applications.

Finance IT also responsible to ensure that the end-users are well-versed with the applications they use. Finance IT could arrange external trainers periodically to train the end-users on the application or it can organize in-house briefing as to what is the best work around of the applications. This shall coach new users to get themselves familiar with their job related applications and this reduces the discrepancies performed due to unfamiliarity with system functions.

Vendor management may come into the picture to show how to select an external vendor to assist in the financial application management. Finance IT may have its limitation in term of knowledge and best practice. As such, working with the vendor and principal of the application may help the Finance IT team to reduce project failure. In order to select a proper vendor to work with the application, it shall validate the vendor background and knowledge with the application. The vendor may come from different organizations. For example, application maintenance contract must do directly with the principal while training and application services may be sourced from other local vendors or reputable service providers.

SWPC Contact

Mr. Stanley Wong Kah Leong

Suite 11 Block E111 Phileo Damansara 1
No 9 Jalan 16/11 Off Jalan Damansara
46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, MYS

Tel: +6012-9819390; +6012-6981938 

URL: https://www.swpc.com.my

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GST System Changes