abas Expert Series: Vicki Salton
By Marketwired News
STERLING, VA–(Marketwired – November 11, 2015) – Vicki Salton is the Senior Financial Consultant in North America for abas ERP. She brought a wealth of government contracting experience to abas ERP about three and a half years ago and used her expertise and ingenuity to help develop the finance and accounting functions of abas ERP.
Vicki took some time out of her day to speak about her experience, the strengths of the abas ERP software and what she’s been working on recently.
Q: Can you tell me about your background and role with abas ERP?
A: Before coming to abas 3 and a half years ago, I spent many years in government contracting. I was hired as a financial consultant and to work on the product. Since joining, I’ve progressed through the ranks, and I now head up the finance department.
My major focus is on moving the product forward in the finance area. Our software is written by our global development team, then each country adds its localization on top of that, so I’m responsible for the finance piece of our U.S. localization. That means making sure the product is compliant with regulations, soliciting input from our customers, and keeping abreast of what’s going on in the market.
I am also responsible for our internal accounting and managing our staff of accountants here. We use our own software, abas ERP, in house. It’s really helpful because it gives me hands-on experience with the software and allows me to see it how our users see it.
Q: How is abas ERP unique in how it handles financial components?
A: From my vantage point, there are two big differentiators between abas ERP and our competitors. One is all the different inventory valuation methods we have. Lots of ERP packages have a couple valuation methods. We have six. The other differentiator is the ease of customization and the ability to incorporate additional functions needed by the customer. If we have a requirement from a customer for a specific function, we can work together to write a spec for that function. I may have something ready to test as soon as a few hours later, or if it’s a bigger effort, it may take a couple of days or weeks. But in the software world those are nanoseconds compared with what a lot of companies go through on the development side.
In addition, we really listen to our customers. I have a very good working relationship with lots of our customer base and I’m constantly soliciting input from them about what they need. If I get a similar request from a couple different customers, I always try to put that into our standard. We listen and react quickly to our customers, and I think that’s a really important aspect of abas compared to other ERP providers.
“We listen and react quickly to our customers, and I think that’s a really important aspect of abas compared to other ERP providers.” – Vicki Salton, abas ERP Finace Expert
Q: With abas ERP being a global system, how do you deal with specific North American requirements?
A: The reporting requirements are very different in the U.S. than they are in other parts of the world. For example, the E.U. puts a lot of emphasis on VAT reporting, while we have sales tax in the U.S. We also book things differently here in the U.S. per GAAP than they do in the E.U. Part of what I do is stay abreast of changes in our regulatory laws so we can make sure the software is compliant.
A lot of it is simply reporting — things like collecting sales tax and paying it to the proper jurisdictions. What that entails is understanding what the regulation is and writing a requirements analysis. We program that capability in house and maintain it. We also work with third-party vendors for some of that functionality as well. It’s extremely flexible, and it’s easy to integrate with other packages.
The other thing is finding a balance between allowing user flexibility while preventing customers from getting themselves in trouble. From a finance standpoint, we don’t want to let customers do anything they want. For instance, if you’ve posted financial entries, a customer may ask you, “Can we go in and un-post that because we did something wrong?” I would contend that any decent ERP system should prevent that because once something has been posted to your general ledger, you shouldn’t be able to change it. You should have to make some kind of correcting entry instead.
These are the types of situations we’re accounting for with the North American adaptations.
Q: What are some of the initiatives you’re working on that can help finance professionals?
A: One big initiative we are currently working on is collaborating globally to merge the North American financial modules into the global system’s core. With this change, customers will be able to upgrade much quicker and easier. It cuts costs for our customers and will allow the US team to use our development resources toward building other functionality.
Another initiative is that we’ve recently built a Business Intelligence (BI) department. We’re going to be developing a lot of new reports and improving a lot of BI functionality. We’ve also created a financial dashboard for C-level managers so when they login to abas there’s a snapshot — they can see what’s going on with several major KPIs.
Overall, we’re really trying to grow the product and appeal to both people in the C-level of the organization as well as the end-user.
abas is an innovator of ERP solutions for mid-size businesses aspiring to be leaders in their industry. We use our 30+ years of experience to deliver exactly what our customers need — software that is agile, intuitive, sustainable for the long term, and that works anywhere around the world.