In an increasingly global marketplace, suppliers and distributors of all sizes are selling more and more to customers in different cities, states, time zones, countries, and even continents. As a result, trading partners are increasingly exchanging business information and electronic documents that, without Globalization and Localization Support, may be incongruous in terms of times, dates, and languages as well as potentially having conflicting values for sales tax and shipping costs.
The Essent Commerce Engine addresses these considerations with Globalization and Localization Support that allows EssentOne applications to display text and documents in multiple western language character sets; uses Universal Coordinated Time to support local time zones; account for sales tax jurisdictions across the U.S. and the globe; and provide shipping estimates for almost anywhere in the world.
For example, a company can have a branch in Quebec, Canada and another in San Francisco, USA. USA employees and customers will see information in English along with Pacific Time, where as the Canadian users would see information in French Canadian (or English for the matter) along with Eastern Time.
Cybersecurity is a moving target as companies and individuals respond to new and emerging threats. As a result, more and more companies are opting to require an extra layer of identification in order for users to login and for online customers to checkout. An increasing number of companies have standardized on Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), specifically Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reports that using 2FA is one of the top three things that security experts do to protect their security online, citing a Google survey. And consumers feel the same way: almost 9 in 10 (86%) say that using 2FA makes them feel like their online information is more secure, according to TeleSign.
ulti-Factor Authentication is a security practice that requires users to provide two or more methods to confirm their identity so that they can be authenticated into a system. The most common and widely accepted MFA practice is through 2FA that stipulates you have to provide something you know, like a password, and something that you have, like a registered mobile device that generates a unique code to confirm its authenticity.
As with the General Data Protection Act which addressed consumer privacy in Europe and then spread to other parts of the globe including the U.S., European countries have since adopted the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which includes a Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) provision for payment card purchases, a requirement that appears likely to become adopted elsewhere. An additional layer of authentication is becoming standard. Said another way, MFA is SCA and is becoming increasingly required throughout the world.
The Essent Commerce Engine now supports MFA through 2FA using TOTP – the most widely used open-standards algorithm for 2FA. With MFA enabled, users enter their username and password like usual, plus provide an extra level of identification in the form of one-time codes generated by an authenticator app installed on one of the user’s devices. EssentOne MFA works with popular authenticator apps including those from Microsoft and Google.
More and more businesses are becoming the digital solution provider for their customers’ branded item sales (and often also fulfillment), whether it’s providing a website where brand fans can purchase gear or company stores where employees can buy uniforms and work supplies. Brands are leaving it to distributors not only to provide the products but to manage them, including in digital spaces like websites. Distributors and Customers alike are looking more and more for tighter, integrated relationships in conjunction with blended services: full-service when they need it, self-service when they want it.
The problem is distributors typically do not have an integrated technology platform that provides the digital services that more and more brands are demanding. When distributors do provide it, they’re using separate systems that if integrated are costly to integrate and maintain and otherwise still provide limited functionality. This imposes a significant burden on the distributor. On one hand while meeting the needs of their customers, they are incurring significant maintenance and operations costs that are difficult to recoup if the customer is not doing consistently sustained significant volume. Even when the distributor is meeting the needs, the needs evolve as technology and the sophistication of the customer continues to grow.
EssentOne now offers the EssentOne Customer Portal, taking Essent commerce technology to the next level. The Customer Portal provides authorized users access for self-service administration, reporting, and analytics. Customers, in short, can see the status of the business that the distributor is conducting on their behalf. The Portal includes information on total sales, total orders, top products, revenue, percent changes, and websites, as well as access to business documents including sales orders and invoices. Information customers traditionally call or email to receive -- at the cost of time and labor to them and you – is now available in the self-service Customer Portal. The Portal allows your customer to manage their portfolio of business, including their brands, to provide self-service, extensibility, and visibility as customers’ needs continue to grow.
There is no single standard for sales commission. Commission structures are highly individualized by companies who want to provide just the right combinations and amounts of incentive for sales representatives to drive the business where it needs to go. Calculating sales commission can be intricate, based on whether certain items are commissionable, the percent assigned, whether the percent is based on net or gross profit (and whether the cost of goods sold is part of the calculation), and whether the customer makes the sales rep eligible for commission, and more.
EssentOne automates sales commission calculations, including features specific to custom products industries like the promotional products or print industries. Users configure commission tables and conditions, and the system automatically generates the amount of commission that sales reps should receive. Administrative users can also use overrides to manually change sales commission for exceptions.
EssentOne already has the most sophisticated Sales Commission engine available. Now, EssentOne supports Sales Commission calculations at an even deeper level. Commission now can be overridden or adjusted at the customer and order class levels, in addition sales order level. It’s all part of a mature sales commission engine that makes sophisticated and individual calculations largely automatic as well as exceedingly accurate.
EssentOne offers automated accounting where operations drives accounting and accounting is automated to a large degree, due to the very granular configurations of the system. Automatic invoicing takes it further, where by order class, invoice amount, and customer, the system can determine if invoicing should be performed automatically or reviewed by an accounts receivable representative before invoicing. More and more, companies are selling services that are billed on a recurring basis, like subscriptions or plans for a monthly or quarterly service. Customer like the subscription model because they can prepare and budget for the services, and sellers like the predictable workload and cashflow.
However, standard invoicing, where an invoice is sent as a one-off before, during, or after the transaction, often fails to fully support the subscription model. Even though it’s known that there will be invoices at defined time periods for defined amounts, the invoice still must be manually generated and manually sent each time, at the loss of time and labor.
EssentOne now provides Recurring Invoicing and Automatic Invoicing. With Recurring Invoicing, invoices are generated for defined customers for defined time intervals for defined amounts and for defined start and end dates. Therefore, subscriptions and continued services arrangements are covered. EssentOne further provides Automatic Invoicing, so that recurring invoices (or non-recurring invoices, for that matter) can be automatically sent to the customer once the invoice is generated and complete. Automatic Invoicing can be turned on or off, and set for conditions such as: orders under a certain amount (so that exceptional or large invoices can be checked) and orders above a certain margin (so a mis-billed invoice won’t be sent erroneously). Now the majority of your invoices can be automatically generated and sent, with safeguards in place to check the exceptions, while also supporting the increasingly popular subscription models.
The Essent Commerce Engine now provides the option to include specific additional email addresses based on organizational roles when documents are delivered. The reply email address and carbon copies can be set for each document. This allows you to continue to send automated (or manual) emails and documents from the EssentOne system, but do so while also including the particular people who may need to address a customer inquiry or know that the document as sent. For example, an email with a sales order can automatically include the sales representative who handled the order, an email with a purchase order can include a representative from accounts payable, and an email with an invoice may include a representative from accounts payable. This way, even when documents generation and delivery are automated, the people who need to be in the know can know.
It’s common for most distributors, and even suppliers, that an item purchased from a vendor needs to be shipped to a service provider before it’s ready for the end customer. For example, a company may purchase blank apparel from their favorite apparel provider, and the item will need to be routed from the apparel vendor to a third-party decorator before it’s routed to the end customer.
Products with associated third-party services are a common occurrence in custom product industries like the promotional products industry or the print industry. But it creates several levels of complication in the form of multiple legs of routing with multiple shipping charges as well as the inclusion of service costs in the overall cost of the product, and the matter of making it clear to the decorator what is supposed to be decorated with what method and what artwork. Custom products often invite a level of complication that is time-consuming and error-prone if performed manually.
EssentOne now provides strengthened tools to route products to service providers for custom product order management, specifically when third-party services are involved. Products can be routed a vendor to service provider and processed accordingly. Shipping and its costs are accurate for logistics, the overall cost of goods sold is accurate for commission and accounting, and the instructions to the decorator are accurate while time-consuming and error-prone manual management are greatly minimized. While custom product sales commonly include complication from the number of parties and routing involved, EssentOne accounts for that reality.
In many popular accounting system, when a payment is applied in error but it’s already posted to the General Ledger, undoing the payment causes complications. Credits can be issued to the payor, but that doesn’t undo the payment and the payor doesn’t receive their money back. The payment can be deleted, but previous steps related to the payment must be deleted as well, eliminating tracking and auditing and creating fraud opportunities, contrary to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. In short, many popular accounting systems don’t have a way to unapply a payment in a way that meets GAAP standards.
EssentOne features an integrated accounting engine that automatically performs accounting activities as orders are processed, according to GAAP standards and best practices. The EssentOne accounting engine now also supports unapplying payments while remaining in accordance with GAAP standards. Payments that need to be undone can be undone without a workaround like issuing credit and within the confines of best accounting practices.
Essent features, including features in Essent 11.1, may be dependent on subscribed edition, optional components, and the capabilities of third-party systems. Contact your Essent representative to learn more.
Essent solutions for business management, ecommerce, and software systems integration are enhanced on a Software Development Lifecycle to continually meet the new needs of companies like yours. Get in touch to learn more.
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Essent is the leading provider of fully-integrated business management software solutions and services for process-intensive industries and the largest trading network for the promotional products industry. The Essent family of fully-integrated products and services combines best practices, business processes, software automation, and network communications to deliver unparalleled, unified business management solutions. Since 1980, Essent has offered the systems, service, software, and support critical to success in today's highly-competitive marketplace.