The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers meets Odoo

        Author: Andy Scott      Published 23/02/2024

The road to automation is so much more than balancing those books on your head.

Local members of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers had their minds stretched beyond the bounds of their ledgers this month.

The guest speakers from Calibrate challenged the scope of the most trusted advisors to small and medium-sized businesses (SME’s) to go further than the scope of accounting software.  Here is a little precis of how it went...

The accounting software market is so well served in the UK by Xero, Sage, QuickBooks, FreeAgent and many more.  And in comes Making Tax Digital to push pretty much all companies to file their accounts online.  Of course, the easiest way to do it is by using the same tools as those who check your numbers and send them to His Majesty.

The February forum congregated at the spacious East Kilbride Collective offices and Calibrate started the talk by inviting the audience to share what advice they would give their clients regarding software they should use to run their businesses.  The usual suspects were offered, and particularly clearly by a gentleman with Xero emblazed across his sweatshirt!

The ensemble added chants of  “it’s what we know” ; “it works” to set the scene of the challenge.

“The show must go on” was the Calibrate response a full 4 minutes into the guest slot!

“Your advice beyond bookkeeping may include these examples, WordPress for Websites, or Shopify for e-commerce (nods of ‘we’ve heard of that’).  HubSpot or Mailchimp for digital marketing (‘yep’).  DocuSign for contracts and approvals (‘oh yes’).  Then of course there are help desk, jobbing, inventory, works orders, document management solutions “ (nods of varied recognition}…”  And then we fill the gaps with spreadsheets – there is always a template somewhere – or we will make one.

 You will all be very good with spreadsheets – but what about your clients?”

There may be the occasional misunderstanding, data error or version control issue (acknowledged chuckle and a nod or two).

A great way of joining all these ‘Open’ systems together is through the Application Programme Interface (API).

Great in theory, but it’s a lot of work – you may get a packaged connector which needs to be configured to the way each instance of the software works. It doesn’t add any real value or functionality, just potentially saves time.  And then you will have extra tasks in reconciliation, managing updates and managing time around when things are synchronised.  The integration will only be between two solutions, unless your client has a significant budget and an in-house IT team.

So how do you join up all of your processes without all these headaches: 

The most effective way of automating all of your processes in one place and avoiding all the integration issues and gap filling spreadsheets, is with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution – even if you are a small company – you can start building a joined-up system with the modules that you need now, and add functionality when you need it,  A building brick approach rather than disparate best of breed applications.

When searching for ERP, you will find SAP, Oracle – and there SME offerings SAP Business One and NetSuite);  Microsoft Dynamics and all of its derivatives;  Acumatica – is another one we are hearing about,  “Has anyone heard of Odoo?” asked the speaker.

The silence was deafening as the slide move to a sample of the modules with the message “this is the fastest growing and  disruptive ERP solution which is available to your clients for as little as £17.50 per user per month and you get all 82 modules.”

There wasn’t time for a demo on the agenda, but the audience got what they wanted - with many questions and many Yes's! 

Big thanks to the members and the Glasgow Branch Chair, Anne McCudden, for organising and allowing Calibrate so much of their time.

Explore Calibrate's Odoo solutions here:-  Our Solutions

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