• Date: April 2023 •
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Dmitri Leichik, Twistellar CEO, has been managing a cross-market real sector Corporation for 15 years prior to founding Twistellar. He bridges the gap between business and technology, ensures the maximal business value of our cooperation, contributing as when needed, drives our demanding corporate culture.
Serge Koczanowski, Twistellar CTO, is responsible for technological excellence. Serge is our superstar. He can suggest a solution to the most challenging technical issues. If you have one - just try him out. Feel free to set up a call with him, and he will definitely surprise you.
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Salesforce is not only about sales. With the right setup, it serves the needs of all departments, and financial management isn't an exception.
There's a common opinion that you can't enable financial management in Salesforce without third-party tools. And indeed, there are different applications on the market, such as Accounting Seed or Certinia (formerly FinancialForce), that provide rich functionality on accounting, finances and asset management.
However, there is quite a straightforward approach to your Salesforce implementation that turns it from "just" a flexible and powerful cloud CRM into a solid, trustworthy financial system — without overcomplicating it with excessive applications.

1. Why Use Salesforce for Finance

The main benefit of using Salesforce for finance management consists in having a single source of truth, improving accurate data unification and reporting. Among other beneficial factors it's important to mention improved performance of finance teams, clean data for budget forecasts, and reduced costs.
These are some typical cases from our practice of the reasons why clients decide to use Salesforce for financial management:
  • To reflect the operations, conducted in Salesforce, in the accounting system used in the organization (for example, Navision) and its General Ledger
  • To make the operations, conducted in Salesforce, recorded and validated, providing the accuracy and traceability typical for pure financial systems
To understand better how Salesforce can be leveraged for an effective management of financial services, let's enlist the main cornerstones of any financial system.

2. Financial System: Key Terms

General Ledger

This is a list of General Ledger accounts intended to reflect and classify the operations that happen in the organization. Each GL account has its current amount.
There are GL accounts of four main types: Assets/Expenses and Incomes/Liabilities. Generally, an organization spends its incomes and sources of capital to buy assets and pay expenses, earning profit.
So the amount of Incomes + Liabilities always equals the amount of Assets + Expenses.
The complete list of GL accounts with their amounts that is balanced in such way at any point of time is called a corporate Balance. Any business action, such as a customer's prepayment for an order, a delivery of an asset to the client, or write-off of some goods that were lost in the warehouse — is reflected in the corresponding GL accounts.

Double Record Principle

Due to the mentioned balance between Assets/Expenses and Incomes/Liabilities, any business operation is reflected in the system by a pair of entries on GL accounts that change their amounts.
For instance, you spend some money from the bank (decreasing the corresponding Asset GL account) and buy some goods for your stock (increasing the corresponding Asset GL account).
It's agreed that when an Asset/Expense GL account is Debited, its amount is increased, and when it's Credited, it's amount is decreased. On the contrary, for an Income/Liability GL account, Credit means increase, and Debit means decrease.

Transactional principle

When you're building a financial system, you want all your operations to be traceable. That means that you want to know the state of any of your GL accounts at any point of time. In order to achieve that, all business operations are presented in the system as Transactions.
Usually you have the number of Transaction types that matches the number of your business operations type. And whenever a business event happens that needs to be reflected in your financial system, you want a Transaction to be created.
Salesforce Financial Transactions
To summarize, you need these three concepts to be implemented in your Salesforce system in order for it to comply with the requirements of a financial system.

3. Salesforce for Finance: Implementation Plan

If you'd like to adjust your Salesforce instance to achieve the compliance with your financial system, you need to take the following steps:

Define the structure of GL accounts that you'll use in Salesforce to reflect the full spectrum of your business operations. That will most likely require the participation of your financial team. The basic attributes you'll need for your GL account:
The basic attributes you'll need for your GL account:
  • Number of GL account
  • Description
  • Type (Asset, Expense, Liability, Income)
  • Amount
Salesforce Financial General Ledger
General Ledger

Define all types of business operations that you'd like to reflect as business transactions in Salesforce.
The typical attributes you'll need for your transaction object:
  • Date
  • Type
  • Amount
  • Account (because you want to associate your financial records with some account, customer or vendor)
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Define the required GL account entries that have to be created for any business transaction, that change the values on GL accounts — this will also require the input from your financial team.
The typical attributes you'll need for your entry object:
  • Date
  • Operation (Debit/Credit)
  • Gl Account (Lookup to GL account object)
  • Transaction (Lookup to Transaction object)
  • Account (because you'll build your financial reports with this field)
Remember that you need at least a pair of entries for each of business transactions type, that have to be balanced.

Build the backend components that will:
  • Configure and validate the processing rules for all business transactions, that will be used for creating GL account entries
  • Create the corresponding business transactions upon any business action in your CRM system
  • Process these business Transactions: create the corresponding entries and add/deduct their values to/from the GL accounts
  • Integrate the GL accounts in Salesforce with the GL accounts in your financial system (if you use one) or just build the accounting reports within Salesforce.
Salesforce Financial Validation & Processing Component
Validation & Processing Component
There are alternative approaches to accomplish point 4. In different cases you can either use standard Salesforce objects or custom ones for GL accounts, transactions and entries.
For building the backend components that will create and process transactions, you can either use declarative logic or build custom Apex code — that depends on the number of operations in your system and the performance expectations.

4. Salesforce Capabilities for Financial Management

We have built high-performance financial systems in Salesforce with a complicated business logic. And we have achieved the performance of several dozens of business transactions registered and processed in a second. Which makes above a billion of transactions processed yearly.
But of course that's a task from a completely different tier, though it shows that Salesforce is capable of a really impressive performance.
As for basic financial operations, as described, any company that uses Salesforce, can implement these basic principles and achieve the stability of a typical financial system, still leveraging all interconnections between commercial objects and flows.
And such a project can be done on any stage of a Salesforce org - these financial components are usually built as a "hidden" layer of automations that reflects existing flows but doesn't interfere. So if you're frustrated with the accuracy and the quality of the data in your Salesforce org from the financial perspective — you know how to address that issue.
Salesforce Financial Integration
In case you'll need external support, we'll be happy to help with any financial requirements in Salesforce — from building custom financial systems on Salesforce using the approaches described above, to implementation and configuration of full scale financial solutions (Accounting Seed, QuickBooks, Certinia or others).
With our deep understanding of financial rules and principles behind the scene, your financial project in Salesforce domain will have huge chances of success with Twistellar.
If you have additional questions on how to set it up for your business, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation
CEO, Co-founder of Twistellar
Our deep understanding of Salesforce platform ensures successful handling of projects in any domain
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