Evaluation And Recommendation Of Accounting Software For Woolworths Group Limited

Background Information

Accounting Information System (AIS) is a system that gathers and processes data which is measured on monetary basis. Accounting software is a valuable resource for modern business world as it performs the required AIS processes. AIS processes accounting transactions and supplies information to the interested users which helps the management to make effective decision for proper business and finally to measure the company’s performance (Collier 2015). The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Woolworths Group Limited realises that an investment need to be made in accounting software need to upgrade it so that the business performance could be improved. The background section provides a description of Woolworths Group Limited as well as its business activities. The business requirements section discusses about the company’s key business processes and the probable outcomes of the processes to achieve business objectives. The system requirements section discusses about the company’s considerable software features or functionalities to achieve its IT investment objective. The software selection section discusses and provides justifications about the category or type of accounting software that is appropriate for the company. The vendor selection section contains a comparative analysis of the functionalities/features of the two accounting software packages within the selected category that are offered by the software package vendors. The analysis is followed by justification of finalising the suitable vendor and accounting software package for the company.

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Woolworths Group Limited is an Australia-based retail business company and its major segments are Australian Food and Petrol, Endeavour Drinks Group, New Zealand Supermarkets, BIGW and Hotels. The company was founded on 5th December, 1924 and its headquarter is located at Sydney (Woolworthsgroup.com.au, 2018). Being a leading retailer in Australia, Woolworths provides a significant contribution to Australia’s economy. The motto of the company is to put customer’s preference above everything. The company’s daily focus on the continuous improvement of its offering and shopping experience with the customer.

The business activities of the company includes retailing of consumables such as food, liquor, petrol, general merchandise of factory manufactured consumer goods through chain stores as well as hotel and entertainment operations. The business operational segments of the company are as follows.

1) Supermarket group: This segment comprises of liquor stores, supermarkets and petrol outlets. The supermarkets include Woolworths, Green Grocer, Safeway supermarkets, Food for Less. The company earns majority of the sales revenue through this segment. The liquor stores include Woolworths Liquor/Safeway Liquor, Dan Murphy’s, BWS, First Estate (Woolworthsgroup.com.au, 2018).

Business Requirements

2) General merchandise: This segment is another source of major sale revenue and it consists of Big W, the discount department store chain which has stores all over Australia that retails clothing, homewares, office supplies and home entertainment products (Woolworthsgroup.com.au, 2018).

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3) Consumer electronics: This segment comprises of Tandy and Dick Smith Electronics that it earns revenue through retail of electronics and home entertainment products (Woolworthsgroup.com.au, 2018).

4) Hotels: This segment provides hospitality and leisure services which includes accommodation of food and drinks as well as entertainment and gaming in Australia (Woolworthsgroup.com.au, 2018).

The main business processes of Woolworths Group Limited are as follows.

Assortment management: It helps retailers in meeting consumers’ requirements by associating the shopper profiles with the buying decisions. Assortment management is useful for retailers and manufacturers for shopper satisfaction and maximise revenues growth. Customer diversity, increasing service-level expectations and vigorous cross-channel shopping patterns are the critical factors for successful product assortment. Assortment optimization is the only solution that provides near real-time identification and assessment of any changes in product lists (Al-Kassab et al. 2014).

Ware-housing: It is the process of storing goods or products or items that needs to be sold or distributed later. Warehousing and all that goes along with it is a part of logistics management, which includes inventory management as well as product procurement and distribution (Dablanc, Ogilvie and Goodchild 2014).

Financial management: Finance is backbone of any business and retail business is no exception to that. A retail firm requires finance to meet the daily business requirements for running the business. After finalizing it organizational structure, the retailer plans and designs its operation management, which is the financial aspect of the retail business. Operation management cover forecasting, budgeting, profit planning, asset management, leverage management and best resource allocation. Effective cash flow management is necessary for planning and competent functioning of every aspect of retail operations (Michalski 2013).

Human resource management (HRM): It is the process to recruit, hire, deploy and manage the company’s employees. The functions of HRM are as talent management, workforce management, employee recruitment, job role assignment, learning and training, compensation, performance management, labour law compliance (Armstrong and Taylor 2014).

Safety and security arrangements: In retail business, a security system accompanied by good customer service along with personnel training is an appropriate approach to tackle shoplifting problems. Excellent or outstanding customer service can prevent shoplifting in retail store as well as any other security measure. It is the responsibility of the store owner to ensure the safety for both the customers to shop and employees to work. A workplace can become unsafe in a variety of ways. For instance, negligence to detail or irregular floor checks can lead to illness or injury. The following safety factors needs to be concerned while evaluating the safety of the retail store.

System Requirements

1) Fire hazards: In a retail store, there may be plentiful fire hazards that may arise fire. To keep control of those fires, sufficient fire extinguishers in the store should be present and it must be ensured that all employees are properly trained about using extinguishers. In addition, there must be a schedule of fire extinguisher routine check-up to confirm that they function well (White et al. 2013).

2) Ergonomics: It is the science of matching job requirements with employees’ abilities. Any mismatch of job requirements with employee capabilities may result in injury or illness. For instance, if a lean or skinny person is hired to lift heavy materials for hours then there may be injury risk to the employee due to poor ergonomics (Wilson 2014).

3) Air quality: Retails stores are generally located in closed window buildings that arises the need for air out because without well ventilation, air in the store may accumulate bacteria, fungus, mold. To ensure that air quality should be kept safe, a mechanical air system must be installed. In such system, the fresh outdoor air are cycled in and circulated throughout the store area including main floor and back rooms (Chua et al. 2013).

4) Visual inspection of premises: The visual inspection for store premises must be done for hazards such as misplaced items and materials as well as low lighting that may cause someone to fall and hurt themselves, uneven and rough flooring and spills that may cause an employee or customer to slip and fall. The inspection must confirm that these hazards must be removed (Kujawi?ska, Vogt and Wachowiak 2015).

5) Natural disasters: The retail store must ensure and provide the appropriate safety measures in case of occurrence of any natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, floods.

6) Crime: The retail store must ensure appropriate safety measures along with installation of security alarm system, setting up surveillance cameras in different areas of the store, hiring security guards for overall monitoring of the store during business hours in order to track and handle any types of crimes.

7) Employee Training: There must be first aid trained employee as well as first aid supplies on hand to handle variety of health hazards as well as emergencies. A first-aid professional or medical practitioner should be hired to provide such training to the employees.

Extra services provision: This consists of ways of adding values to the customer which are as follows.

1) Service: Retailers needs to ensure that meet and exceed the customer expectations. This can be done by training the existing and new staff regarding customer service delivery.

Software Selection

2) Expertise: Online retailers provide expert advice to customers through interactive support of social media channels. Retailer can move a step ahead by dedicatedly presenting the content that the customer is searching for and will find useful.

3) Exclusivity: In today’s’ competitive market where prices are critically monitored and scrutinized it is extremely difficult for a retailer to justify a higher price for the same product as the competitor. However, smart retailers use exclusivity to reward customers by offering them first refusal on new products before they are publicly available to buy.

4) Convenience: Retailers must provide offers and flexibility to the customers in order to make their shopping experience as convenient as possible. For instance, making availability of vast range of payment methods along with options of free or next-day delivery or pickup service from in-store gives customers the convenience regarding the purchase method.

5) Experience: Retailers must give attention to the experience that customers realise during shopping. Retailers should collect customer feedback regarding their customer service towards shopping experience and also invite the customers to give their valuable insights for improvement in service.

Woolworths Group Limited needs to consider the following software features or functionalities in order to achieve their IT investment objective.

1) Reporting and Analysis: Information is vital in the challenging business world of today. Thus, any accounting program that the company evaluate must have powerful reporting and analysis capabilities along with conformation to industry and government regulations (Ioana and Adriana 2013).

2) Graphics: Accounting is a numerical-figure based and numerical-focused activity. Yet graphics in the form of various illustrative formats such as graphs, chart, and other such formats can be an extremely powerful tool which can present and convey the flow or trends and other concept in such a way that numbers alone cannot do (Wickham 2016).

3) Automation: Support for basic accounting transactions as well as normal financial management tasks are not sufficient for business of the Woolworths. There must be complete automation of employee timesheets, payrolls, expenses; budgets for company and its departments; purchase demands or requests and many other complex financial operation and activities (David 2015).

4) Automatic updates: It is extremely important that the software that needs to be used must receive user-transparent, fast and automatic updates as financial practices, regulations and tax laws change over time.

5) Customization: It is quite possible that the accounting software that is required to be used may not exactly match all the business requirement of Woolworths. Hence, the firm must look for the software product that have the provisions for easy customization of screens, forms, statements, reports, help systems and other program facilities (Dimitriu and Matei 2014).

Vendor Selection

6) Internet connectivity: The company must ensure that the considered accounting software must be able to transmit (send and receive) digital contents and materials as well as handle transfer of electronic funds (Iyer et al. 2016).

7) Interoperability: It is quite inevitable that the entered data of the accounting information system can be productively used and capitalized by different business applications of HR, shipping, sales and many other company departments. In addition, there may be business requirements where the accounting software may need to draw information from other software products. Hence, the company must check the accounting software’s capability to interoperate with other software product before incorporate it in its system (Desai, Sheth and Anantharam 2015).

8) Scalability: The required accounting software must have the provision to accommodate or can be upgraded to accommodate, an increasingly greater number of users as well as increasing amount of financial transaction and data (Yeganeh, Tootoonchian and Ganjali 2013).

9) Expandability: The required accounting software vendor must avail provision of add-on modules that allows the company to add extra facilities to its product, or a shift to a complete environment Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) (Deng et al. 2013).

10) Security: The company significantly business depends of the complete and proper functionality of the accounting system along with its owned financial data. The company can face severe damage and loss if the business secrets are breached and/or data is lost. Hence, a vendor must tell the company about the built-in security features of its product along with how the product can connect with company’s on-site protection such as network firewalls and technology for anti-malware (Demchenko et al. 2013).

Without an excellent accounting software it is difficult to run a business is successful and maintain an error free accounting record. Before selecting the software the factors such as the company structure, location, how will the business funding take place, inventory management needs to be considered.

Software selection for accounting system of retail business needs to focus on matching the product features with the user requirements. The most important concern regarding software selection is whether the selected software will be customizable and if that could happen then whether the software will be customizable enough to meet company’s requirements. Another critical factor is vendor reliability. The company and its users need to rely on vendor irrespective of how better the product is. Since the main purpose of financial accounting system is timely generation of accurate and reliable financial statement so it must be ensured that accounting software that is being considered would generate a desired financial reports. Though it might be difficult to select the accounting software package that best fits the company requirements still the following steps are required for selection and evaluation purposes:

  • Evaluate the vendor site visits and vendor demonstration.
  • Evaluate the design and implementation for the package.
  • Check for the software’s provision of customization.
  • Confirmation whether financial reports matches the user requirements.
  • Evaluate the software e-business and web integration features.
  • Flexibility of handling foreign currency.
  • User friendliness of the software product.
  • Cost of the product.

Business Processes

Other than these, following factors must also be considered for software selection such as

  • Company size: The company must select the accounting software as per the expected number of simultaneous users.
  • Current and future needs: Prior to the decision of selection of new software, it must be ensured that most current version is running on the right system. Users’ feedback on problems on current system usage as well as their expectation of the new system needs to be considered for software selection.
  • Accounting software features: The selected software must provide features such as financial reporting, customization capabilities, supported databases, account number structure, foreign currency, product modules, third-party links, hosting and security issues.

Thus, for appropriate software selection, it is necessary to summarize and list the required features along with company size, budget and employees’ skill levels.

As Woolworths Group Limited is a very big and vast company, so a high-end powerful accounting software that can flexibly manage the entire business will be suitable for such company. Large business such as Woolworths needs the proper software that can increase the accuracy and efficiency of accounting and automate the business process. Cloud accounting software is the answer as well as the solution to these requirements. Cloud accounting software brings benefits to the big organization. An example of such software is FinancialForce Accounting that allows to analyze the company’s business needs as well as provides financial information to the company’s accounting teams in order to make better decisions anytime, anywhere throughout the company. FinancialForce is a cloud application that provides end-to-end solution to the company so that company efficiently operates at a less cost.

Comparison between SAP Business One solution and FinancialForce Accounting

1)  Overview:  SAP Business One is a software platform that consists of management tools to automate the business operations and processes. SAP Business one is a tool for enterprise management that organize the storing and flow of information throughout the company. SAP Business One which brings together sales, inventory, finance, accounting, customer relationship management (CRM) and project management and thereby helps the company to make better business decisions and increase profitability. In a single software system, it incorporates the financial and operational processes of company cost effectively. SAP Business One consists of inclusive range of capabilities as per industry standards, and practices. Besides automating functionalities of large or medium company businesses SAP Business One also allows leveraging the resource allocation of small companies (SAP, 2018).

Whereas FinancialForce Accounting is a cloud accounting software that links customers, products, employees and partners into a single system. Its cloud accounting platform provides end-to-end efficient and cost-effective solution for large sales as well as service-oriented companies such as Woolworths. It helps to organize the issues such as ordering and billing, financial management, supply chain management and human resource management. FinancialForce also provides number of tools to accommodate ordering and billing requirements and also organizes cash collection and revenue recognition process (FinancialForce, 2018).

2) Features: SAP Business One solution has the following features – CRM, accounting and financial management, warehouse and production management, purchasing and procurement, reporting and analysis, integrated solutions (SAP, 2018).

Assortment Management

Whereas FinancialForce accounting has the following features – accounts payable, accounts receivable, audit trail, depreciation, general ledger, multi-currency, time and expense management, billing and invoicing, automated billing, automated transactions, billable hours, check printing, credit-card processing, e-commerce, invoices, purchase orders, recurring billing, balance sheet, budgeting and forecasts, cash flow statement, custom dashboard reports, profit and loss statement, sales reports, vertical and horizontal analysis, business activity statements, multiple sales tax, fixed asset depreciation, bank reconciliation, trial balance (FinancialForce, 2018).


Benefits of SAP Business One (SAP, 2018):

  • SAP Business One lets the company to manage as well as coordinate the CRM, sales, purchases, purchases and procurement along with finance and business reporting.
  • Management of employee database as well as payroll reports by the human resource department is done with the SAP business one flexible tools.
  • The powerful tools of SAP Business One’s optimizes the total process of purchasing from the beginning to streamlining of payments and invoices.
  • It provides efficient CRM through tools that helps in leads generation and their conversion to prospects and customers which enhances the marketing and sales support (SAP, 2018).

Benefits of FinancialForce Accounting (FinancialForce, 2018):

  • It is easy to learn and use.
  • Contrary to other systems, FinancialForce applications are built-in to change, upgrade, configure. Thus, the maintenance of FinancialForce Accounting software is easy.
  • FinancialForce Accounting incorporates with Salesforce CRM to enable company and its group to work as a single team, by maintaining and using one record system with better efficiency and consistency.
  • FinancialForce ERP can provide facilities such as cross-departmental reporting, workflow, analytics and collaborative capabilities.
  • The software has flexible pricing scheme as company has the option to select between various modules of financial productivity or integrate them into a single accounting bundle.
  • FinancialForce provides flexibility of accounts of multidimensional chart along with handling of multi-currency as well as multi-company transaction. Its inter-company journal features enables cost transfer among business units or companies. Similarly, by using automatic reversal journals the year-to-date budget for each period can be cumulatively calculated.
  • FinancialForce uses authorization workflow to automate expense approvals and invoice and thereby set the terms and limits of credit by vendor account.
  • FinancialForce calculate the settlement discounts, due dates automatically and assign payments to invoice as per document references and amounts. In addition, the software enables user to email reminder letters and statements.
  • The cash management feature of FinancialForce optimises the company’s business cash flow and the working capital. FinancialForce predict currency and cash flow requirements and allows setting up numerous bank accounts in various currencies. It also allows to record and document receipts from customers, refunds from/to vendors as well as refunds issued and early order payments to vendors.
  • FinancialForce removes manual processes, re-typing errors as well as complex integrations related to billing and ordering. It automatically generates invoices from approved orders through one cloud and removes unnecessary databases and spreadsheets.
  • The cloud service of FinancialForce allows to generate an invoice from any operation or activity in the Salesforce CRM or generate single invoice having multiple instalment payment due dates.

Thus, comparing the features and benefits of the SAP Business One and FinancialForce Accounting it is found that FinancialForce Accounting provides much more facilities over SAP Business One and also caters to most of the business requirements of retail business sector. Hence, it can be inferred that FinancialForce Accounting package solution from FinancialForce vendor would be the most suitable accounting software for Woolworths Group Limited.


From the above discussion, it draws conclusion that before selecting appropriate software of a particular company the factors such as company type, company background as well as the company requirement must be considered. The report above has detailed out how the software selection as well as the vendor selection for the chosen company here which is a retail-based company, called Woolworths Group Limited is finalised.  The background analysis of the report identifies and list out the company sectors and departments along with their overall operations and activities. Next, the analysis of the business requirements identifies the primary internal processes of the company and discusses what results are required from those processes to accomplish company’s business objectives. Further, the analysis of the system requirements identifies and discusses the considerable software features or functionalities factors of the company to achieve its IT investment objectives. The analysis of the software selection involves visiting the websites of vendors for accounting software packages such as SAP, Reckon, FinancialForce. After that, the respective accounting software packages from those vendors are studied, reviewed and finally determined the category of accounting software that is suitable for Woolworths Group Limited. At last, a comparative analysis of the features and functions of accounting software packages SAP Business One and FinancialForce Accounting are performed and supporting arguments are provided for selection of FinancialForce Accounting software packages from FinancialForce vendor for Woolworths Group Limited.


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