Gathering the information to serve your clients as their financial manager is both simpler and more difficult these days. The information you need comes from a variety of different business systems, but many of those systems are now digital and automated. That means less time-consuming manual work for you and your staff.
The difficulty comes when you need to gather the data from these disparate systems and analyze or combine it to see the big picture. Are your internal systems integrated with outside sources? How can they exchange information if they are from different vendors? What’s the best and most secure way to make this information part of your workflow?
The key to integration today is the application programming interface (API). You may be familiar with this technology, which allows one application to “call” and talk to another application through simple commands based on open industry standards. For example, an API could enable a banking system to provide information directly to your accounting application or query information from it.
Gaining the benefits of APIs
The primary benefit of an open architecture based on APIs is that it allows you to accurately move data without human intervention. Data movement can be automated as part of an application, so that it takes place electronically from machine to machine. That saves time, saves money and goes a long way toward eliminating errors.
A second benefit is that you have more choices. You are free to use best-of-breed solutions for various services. For example, you can select tax software based on your needs and preferences, knowing it will be able to communicate with your core systems through APIs based on open standards even if the systems are not from the same vendor.
Ensuring strong security
As a financial manager, you serve clients who expect the utmost in security and privacy. In turn, you should expect your business systems to provide strong API security measures. These include:
Restricted Access – Ensuring that only specific business partners with specific IP addresses can use the API.
Authentication – Verifying the identity of the user through a certification process. One way is to provide business partners with a key—a string of code that is automatically passed in from machine to machine each time a third-party application calls an API.
Authorization – Limiting the actions that specific business partners and systems are allowed to take. API keys track and control how the API is used.
Policy enforcement – You may also set and enforce API policies to automatically secure your internal information assets and comply with your company’s governance and regulatory requirements.
Integrating your workflow
Integration through the use of APIs can streamline your internal workflow. For example, integration that connects accounting and bank systems could eliminate the need for duplicate entries and avoid the risks of data-entry errors. Payment functions could also be available from within your accounting system, and each new transaction entry could trigger an automatic review process to ensure the payment is accurate and authorized.
Datafaction already uses the power of API technology to offer a high level of banking and accounting integration with City National Bank. We are currently developing new API-based integrations with other systems important to companies managing finances for high-net worth clients.
Capitalizing on an integrated ecosystem
Companies across industries are reaping the benefits of API-based integration. As you search for ways to better serve your clients and grow your business, look for an accounting solution that offers integration with an ecosystem of other key solutions. You might be surprised by the number and variety of solutions and data sources that are available to connect. Our next blog will help you explore the possibilities.