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Integration in the Financial Software

People like walking the dogs or petting cats. But enterprises cherish their bank accounts. Money needs management. And the old saying “If love something, let it go” doesn’t work here. So when it comes to building a financial app, integrating it with others will ensure the numbers in the bank statement remain fairly high. How to integrate your financial app with others and what to beware - read in this article!

‘In software systems it is often the early bird that makes the worm.’
Alan Perlis

In September of 2016, users downloaded approx 130 billion apps from the App Store, and about 2.23% of those downloaded were financial apps. In 2018 the picture looks like that:

Financial apps didn’t gain popularity on charm alone. Finances, at last, became a manageable task you can resolve from any place and using different devices. In the mobile section, you can see advisors, budget-builders, online-banking and many more. However, here we’re interested mostly in web applications that stand behind every modern company in the world. 

But even though some companies are making good dough, the inside is dying out. Integration is the easy way to prevent your business from fading away and increase software functionality.

‘Grow fast or die slow.’
Silicon Valley series

Cooperation expands your software. And this in turn gradually improves the quality of the services you offer, and make them relevant for the next decades.

And before we start, the key questions of the article are:

  • What is financial software, its definition, and types
  • Accounting software
  • Insurance software
  • Banking software
  • Trade and stock exchange software
  • Why integrate these virtual creatures?
  • Monsters under the covers
  • Small business vs Large enterprise
     

Intro to the financial software

Financial software is designed to automate, assist and store financial information, whether it personal or business. Moreover, this software store, analyse, and handles management and processing of financial transactions and records. It may be a standalone software or a part of a financial information system (IS).

Most financial software incorporates all aspects of personal or business finance and provides numerous features, including:

  • Basic financial data management
  • Financial transactions
  • Budgeting
  • Account management
  • Financial assets management
     

Financial software also may provide other related services, such as accounting, bookkeeping, and be integrated within other enterprise information systems.

Accounting software

Accounting software automates accounting and finance-related tasks. It stores and analyzes transactions within diverse functional domains of accounting and finance.

Key features:

  • Integration with banking & insurance systems
  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Cash flow management
  • Tax and compliance management
  • Payroll management

Insurance software

Insurance software is designed to help manage day-to-day operations and monitor the administrative side of insurance companies. Moreover, it allows clients to check their policy information, fill out forms and make online payments over the internet.

Banking software

Banking software typically refers to Core Banking and trading software that is used by investment banks to access capital markets.

Features of the banking software are:

  • Commercial billing system (refinancing and some daily operations, including billing, collections/recovery, and interest rate adjustments)
  • Making and servicing loans
  • Opening and managing new accounts
  • Processing cash deposits and withdrawals
  • Processing payments and cheques
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) activities
  • Managing customers accounts
  • Setting minimum balances, interest rates, number of withdrawals allowed etc.
  • Maintaining records for all the bank’s transactions.
     

Trade and stock exchange software

Trading software helps investors improve their stock picking decisions through its fundamental analysis and advanced technical analysis. Stock market trading software is relied on by traders to pick out shares quickly.

Some of the most common features include:

  • Placing Trades
  • Technical Analysis - (interactive charting capabilities, including both chart patterns and technical indicators)
  • Fundamental Analysis (financial statements, analyst ratings, etc.)
  • Programmatic Trading - advanced trading software rules out the necessity of manual clicking by developing programmatic trading systems. In addition, there’s the function of backtesting designed to see how automated trading systems would have performed in the past
  • Paper Trading means placing faux trades. That way, traders can test out their skills and see how they would perform before committing actual capital
     

Why integrate?

‘Companies in every industry need to assume that a software revolution is coming.’
Marc Andreessen

Well, first of all, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There’s no need to pay millions for the app that implements everything that has already been done. Instead of the one-shot-application, gather the best existing ones.

Secondly, spreading business functions across multiple applications creates a flexible business with a choice to get the best (accounting package, CRM etc.).

However, implementation of the request commonly involves several inner systems at once. This creates the necessity of a solid connection between them so that the data flow becomes much safer. Moreover, optimization of systems interaction (elimination of any discrepancies between them) decreases the overall time of development and prevents the need to start from scratch.
 

Moreover, integration makes the connection between supply chain management, customer relations management, and business intelligence simpler and smoother. So, instead of changing the whole application some business processes will become automated due to the “simple” integration solution.

So, in order to support the effective implementation of business functions and reliable data exchange, software integration is a good choice.

If you want to perfect your business, we at Belitsoft are quite experienced in integration solutions. Contact us here for a free quote and expert advice!

Monsters under the covers

The pitfalls concealed under the thoughtful word “integration” may change one’s mind to get the ball rolling. However, let’s get through the cover and see the truth.

Data security is the most important aspect of finances. And here’s the place for the tethered goat to hide because data protection is what many companies struggle with. Careless integration may compromise it: a hacker accessing one of the systems can access them all. In this case, the integrated app is a weak spot.

Moreover, integrating applications can actually create new vulnerabilities, because the figurative portals through which data flows from one system into another are the natural Achilles heel that crackers and/or your own employees can have an advantage of.

When it comes to the finances, enterprise software inevitably comes up. Here, software promoters offer EAI suites that provide cross-platform, cross-language integration in addition to cooperation with many popular business apps. However, the true challenges of integration span far across business and technical issues. For example:

  • Enterprise integration requires a change in corporate politics. Business apps mostly focus on a specific functional area, such as Customer Relationship Management, Billing, Finance, etc. As a result, many IT groups are organized in alignment with those.
  • Once the most critical business functions incorporated into the integration solution, that well-functioning solution becomes vital. A fail here costs millions of dollars in lost orders and misrouted payments which lead to angry and never-come-back customers.
  • Next difficulty you may probably meet is lack of control. In many cases when you want to integrate your software with others’ legacy systems and/or packaged applications. They can’t be changed just to be connected to your integration solution. This often leaves your developers nothing more than making up for deficiencies or peculiarities inside the applications and differences between them.
  • Moreover, despite the widespread need for integration solutions, only a few standards are broadly used today (XML, XSL and Web services). In the meantime, the excitement centered around Web services has led to new fragmentation of the market, resulting in a flurry of new “extensions” and “interpretations” of the standards.
  • Even though XML is treated as a versatile way of presentation, bringing all data exchange to it is just the same as if somebody wrote all the documentation in the world using only the Roman alphabet. It is common, but cannot be easily understood by all readers. So, in spite of the same “interpretation way” (XML), we have to meticulously eliminate the semantic differences between systems what will cost time and additional efforts.
     

Small business vs Large enterprise. All that different?

Enterprise integration software is the use of software and computer systems' architectural principles to integrate a set of enterprise computer applications. it mainly focuses on system interaction, EDI, data exchange, and distributed computing devices:

integration

The first question is why to integrate already complex software that runs behind the scenes of a huge corporation. Well, it is clear that any company, especially large and “extensive”, works well while all the elements cooperate perfectly. So frankly speaking, most of the giants that exist today have integrated their systems and live happy life serving clients and milking them as long as they need to.

Now let’s put puzzle pieces together. To realize how extend the enterprise back-end itself, see the main ERP modules:

ERP_Modules

What makes the enterprise integrated software so different from the “ordinary” one? Well, all the systems above are linked and operate naturally as a network.

Moreover, software integration improves data flow across multiple systems by modifying the connections between them into solid links and cleans them up by means of API. Important thing is that API gets an access to the systems’ information without breaking the connection between them. These facets as a whole create secure point-to-point communication channels, what allows developers to access information responsibly without affecting the connection.

The key purposes of enterprise software integration are to make the easy access to the information and turn the app into the complex versatile field with the entire business stuff on board. From now on you don’t have to use any additional tools to offset the blank spaces of the original application.

Conclusion

Flexibility mostly defines constant development which is the crucial aspect to be in demand on the market. While you read this article, the modern IT industry keeps changing. To survive and open up new levels one needs to move with times and learn how to cooperate. Integration is another word for the partnership where systems perfect each other and grow.

And even if you don’t run a company $100M company, it doesn’t mean integration is less profitable. Integration is one of the numerous facets which make the remote functioning of giant corporations safer, easier and helps to earn money having only clouds over the head.

In the end, software integration makes data exchange more efficient, reliable and secure what improves the communication between diverse enterprise applications manifold.

So, if you’ve chosen the path of IT and already think through the common pitfalls that drove many successful startups to an earlier grave, start the creation from the very beginning with us!

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Lead Software Engineer
I head the Java team on complex enterprise projects.
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