Unit4 Financials 2023 Q4 Release

Unit4 Financials by Coda 2023 Q4 was made available on 5th December 2023.

The new release contains all the previous Unit4 Financials functionality and new features. Plus, many additional customer requested fixes, highlighting the importance of logging enhancements via Unit4’s Community 4U.

Highlights of the 2023 Q4 release include:


  • Session Cleaner
    • The periodic Session Cleaner now deletes session data attributed to sessions that no longer exist, this prevents the accumulation of data which impacts performance problems at logoff.
  • Print Formatter
    • Print Formatter now requires .NET Framework 4.8.
    • Print Formatter now makes use of TLS 1.3.
  • Workflow Designer
    • Workflow Designer now requires .NET Framework 4.8.
    • Workflow Designer now makes use of TLS 1.3


  • Billing Invoices
    • When posting invoices from Billing to Financials, it is now possible to exclude zero value lines. This is an optional setting on the document master in Billing.


  • Company Master
    • You are now able to map the Finance Summary line and Analysis line accounts for use in Electronic Invoicing. These parameters will be used in the future by the new Electronic Invoicing functionality.
  • Element Master
    • You are now able to map the AccountingSupplierParty for use in Electronic Invoicing. If the ‘Matchable element’ option is set to ‘Customer/Supplier’, the Electronic Invoicing tab becomes available. These parameters will be used in the future by the new Electronic Invoicing functionality.
  • Print Invoices
    • If you select or deselect Add PDF as primary attachment in the Printing options screen, your choice will now be saved as a User Preference for the logged-on company.

Structured Output:

  • UBL 2.1 Credit Note Transformation
    • A new UBL 2.1 Transformation Type is available for Credit Notes on the Manipulation master. The UBL 2.1 Transformation XML is validated against the UBL 2.1 credit note schema.
  • UBL 2.1 Transformation Invoice
    • The UBL 2.1 Transformation (for invoice generation) now has an extended vocabulary list and the Business terms reference (E.g. BT-22) has been added to the target vocabulary as an identifier to allow easy correlation to the Peppol documentation.


  • XL Designer now requires .NET Framework 4.8.
  • XL Designer now makes use of TLS 1.3
  • Deprecated features:
    • The .NET router has been deprecated. The final release has not been determined.
    • 32-bit XL is deprecated. We recommend the use of 64-bit XL.

The Message Board feature in Administration is deprecated. It will be removed in a future release.

General Fixes/Updates:

  • It is now possible to enter and save strings with the ‘+’ character, eg +44 12345678 when using Text fields in Print Formats
  • The sample workflow definition for the approval of tax lines on finance documents ‘APPROVETAXL’ has been updated to correct an error on its definition.
  • An empty ElementResponsiblilityCurCode in UserMaster Get response no longer triggers a schema validation error.
  • Modifying a scheduled task no longer incorrectly changes the next tun time of that task.
  • The Scheduled Task Parameters are now properly validated when the Financials Group Company has been changed or when the task is enabled or disabled.
  • Flexi-field vocabulary specified in a selector master is no longer ignored when running Print Invoices as a scheduled task.
  • Any vocabulary that has been removed will now be deleted from the standard metadata when imported as part of the upgrade process. Previously this could cause the metadata import to fail.
  • The username is correctly recorded when an asset is changed, by running depreciation for example. This change will also be reflected in the Audit Trail process.
  • Asset Depreciation has been corrected to run for the companies specified in the selector master, it will only run for the companies the user has access to. i.e. companies specified on their user master.
  • Attachments using a ‘Base URL’ can now be posted to the finance document using Journal Loader in the XL for Finance add-in. The filename path has now been corrected.
  • Mandatory flexi-field transaction line data no longer causes an error when generating tax and balancing lines in input.
  • When posting documents via web services, document master books checking for intray documents is now respected, some poor error messages have been corrected and the CheckPostWithoutTemplate service has been brought into line with Post service behavior.
  • Workflow can now be postponed for recurring documents, when the “Request confirmation before starting workflow” option is checked on the Document Master.
  • The modification date is now consistently updated on oas_payline.moddate.
  • Within Matching, when a partial payment is made, any previously selected lines are still selected upon successful completion of the operation.
  • Adding or updating element banks via the Set function of ElementMasterService no longer populates blank fields with random symbols and characters.
  • Assisted Element – Element long name is no longer truncated when copied from Element name.
  • In Invoice matching the account code is no longer being overwritten when regenerating tax for an invoice that has had its authorisation status reset.
  • It is now possible to match a negative order that has been received, to a Credit Note in Purchase Invoice Matching.
  • In Structured Output, amending a process master to Output type SFTP no longer causes a connection failure error.
  • Additional vocabulary has been made available for selectors and presenter in XL, this includes reconciliation date and reconciliation user.

Further details on the new features, security updates and reported issues can be found in the release documentation.

Release dates for Cloud users

Unit4 Cloud customers are notified by Unit4 Cloud support when their pre-production and production systems will be updated. This information can also be found within the Cloud Services – Release Schedules area. View the 2023 Cloud Schedule here.

The Release Notes detailing the fixes and features within this release can be found in the Documentation area on Unit4’s Community 4U.

Transform your Unit4 Financials by Coda system and take it to the next level by migrating to Unit4 Cloud.

With effect from December 31 2024, on-premises Unit4 Financials by Coda will no longer be supported or maintained.

Find out more

UK’s clean energy milestone

One trillion kWh - and counting… laying the foundations for the UK’s next clean energy milestone

Published November 2023

2023 has seen the UK hit a renewables generation record, with one trillion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

As the energy sector looks towards its next big milestones, technologies in areas such as Operation & Maintenance (O&M) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) will have a key role to play.

Records in renewables continue to be broken…

Earlier this year, the UK passed one trillion kilowatt hours of energy generated from renewables.

This milestone has been more than five decades in the making. National Grid’s analysis of this dates back to 1970, when renewables represented 1.9% of total generation, with hydro as the main source at the time. Offshore and onshore wind and solar entered the energy mix in 2010.

Industry data shows that this latest milestone is just one of a number of key moments for renewables over the last couple of years:

  • In 2020, renewables outstripped fossil fuels for electricity generation over the course of that year for the first time in UK history.
  • In 2022, electricity generation from renewable technologies increased to 5% from 39.6% a year earlier, beating the previous record high of 2020.
  • In February, May, October and December of 2022, zero-carbon power accounted for over 50% of Britain’s electricity mix. In 2010, it was less than 20%.
  • Wind generation in 2022 hit a record high share of 26.8% of total electricity generation.

Next steps - and the challenges that must be addressed

The UK’s first trillion kilowatt hours of electricity took more than fifty years to generate. However, providing that the latest projections stay on track, the second trillion will take just five years. The government’s wider aim is to generate at least 70% of the country’s energy from renewables by 2030.

But of course, none of this will happen organically. For ambitious targets to be met – and for green power generation records to continue to be toppled – it’s going to demand further significant action on the part of all stakeholders.

For producers across the electricity sector, the emphasis needs to be on system optimisation. This includes deploying the right technologies to better manage supply chain pressures and minimise costs. Areas of special focus include the following:

Meeting the scale-up challenge

Policymakers refer to the Balanced Net-Zero (BNZ) Pathway: i.e. a rapid switch from fossil fuels coupled with a lower overall energy demand, with the central aim of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

For this to happen, new installations will need to be added to the mix, and elements within the existing renewables value chain will need to scale up production significantly. As a couple of illustrations, McKinsey highlights that for the UK’s BNZ scenario to come into fruition, offshore wind will need to be delivered at 3.0 GW of capacity each year (twice the historic rate). Likewise, solar installations will need to deliver a 30-fold increase in output, to 4.7 GW per-year.

For power generation companies to get the most out of existing assets, certain capabilities are a must. This includes the ability to track real-time asset performance, and to identify minor problems before they translate into downtime.

Designed to meet the needs of the power generation sector, IFS Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software delivers precisely what enterprises need to maximise production, and make better-informed decisions about how and when assets should be replaced, refurbished or renewed. The aim here is a clear one: extracting maximum value and capacity from your entire asset stack, to help ensure that targets are met.

Tackling supply chain and labour issues

As with all other industries, it is impossible for the electricity generation sector to avoid the knock-on effects of supply chain disruption. Some of the key recent challenges highlighted by Deloitte include limited availability of raw materials coupled with longer lead time for components, supplier-driven cyber risks, and a global shortage of chipsets for components such as solar panels and wind turbines.

The shortage of skilled workers is a further factor that could jeopardise the chances of transition targets staying on track. PwC analysis suggests that in the UK alone, a fresh pipeline of approximately 200,000 people will need training for green energy jobs between now and 2030.

Shortfalls can be addressed in part by reskilling and upskilling workers who will be displaced from areas such as oil & gas, while also widening and diversifying the recruitment pool.

At the same time, businesses will need to think smart when it comes to making the most out of existing workforces. This should include the adoption of technologies such as intelligent workforce optimisation, which makes it easier to balance competing workforce priorities and instigate more efficient task scheduling. Likewise, advanced workforce planning and demand forecasting software should make it easier for businesses to predict when and where workforce gaps are likely to arise – and to plan accordingly.

Futureproofing your technology stack

Visibility across all power generation assets, the ability to drill into operational data and identify areas for improvement, the ability to drive efficiency and bring down costs: these are precisely the type of capabilities power generation companies will need to develop if future targets are going to be met.

A leader in the fields of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) and Service Management, IFS is the go-to solution for companies across the energy sector. As a premier IFS Managed Service Provider, Millennium Consulting is ideally placed to help you build the capabilities required to keep targets on track. For further information, please contact Philip Keet, IFS Director.

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Unit4 Financials by Coda Support & Maintenance Policy - October 2023

October 2023

This news article provides information on the current support and maintenance policy of Unit4 Financials by Coda software.

On 17th October 2023, Unit4 announced to its customers that it had taken a strategic decision to provide only Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions going forward, and as such on-premise Unit4 ERP, Unit4 Financials by Coda, and Unit4 FP&A will be transitioned to the cloud-based versions of these solutions.

Effective from 31st December 2024, Unit4 will no longer provide support and maintenance for the on-premise versions of these solutions and with support and maintenance for V14 having ended in December 2022, Unit4 Financials by Coda Continuous Release is now the default release supported.

The following maintenance support applies with effect from 17th October 2023:

Product Current
Released Base Release Date Maintenance
Critical Bug Fix end  
Unit4 Financials by Coda CR Saas 2023Q3 September 2023 February 2020 Continuous
XL for Finance/Procurement 2023Q3 September 2023 February 2020 Continuous
Unit4 Financials by Coda CR On-Premise 2023Q3 September 2023 February 2020 Continuous
31st December 2024
Unit4 Financials v14 Release 19 December 2022 May 2017 Incremental
Reached –
December 2022
XL for Finance/Proc v14 Release 19 December 2022 May 2017 Incremental
Reached –
December 2022
Unit4 Coda Financials v13 SP23 December 2014 February 2011 Service Pack Reached –
February 2021
XL for Finance/Proc v13 13.002 May 2016 February 2011 Fix Release Reached –
February 2021
XL for Invoice Matching 5.102 December 2013 January 2010 Fix Release Reached –
February 2021


Unit4 Business Software provides software change request support as shown below. The term “Unit4 Financials by Coda” means the Administration, Finance, Invoice Matching, Procurement, Billing and Assets products. The term “ancillary products” means products which are:

  • released together with and have the same version number as Unit4 Financials by Coda.
  • release independent but work with multiple versions of Unit4 Financials by Coda.

The Unit4 Financials by Coda support team is unable to provide additional information regarding the transition and request you contact your Unit4 Account Manager, Unit4 Customer Success Manager or cloudmigrations@unit4.com who will be able to provide specific tailored information for your business and the next steps.

Stay informed

All the latest Unit4 Financials by Coda news can be found on Unit4’s Community 4U.

As an Elite Unit4 Partner, Millennium Consulting can assist with this migration; read more about our Cloud migration solution here.

Support, maintain, enhance and enrich your Financials ecosystem with Millennium+, our tailored packages to suit your Unit4 Financials by Coda needs.

Unit4 Announces the Transition to Unit4 Cloud

17th October 2023

Unit4 Announces the Transition to Unit4 Cloud

Effective from December 31 2024

On the 17th of October 2023, Unit4 announced a strategic decision to provide only SaaS solutions going forward, with the transition of on-premises Unit4 ERP, Unit4 Financials by Coda, and Unit4 FP&A – to being fully Cloud-based solutions.  With effect from December 31 2024, on-premises solutions will no longer be supported or maintained, and Unit4 will offer all customers a clear migration to the Unit4 SaaS.

Read the official announcement letter from Mike Ettling, CEO of Unit4, here.

If you are currently on Unit4 Cloud, then you have no change. Any on-premise customer must have signed a Unit4 SaaS agreement by 31/12/2024 to remain supported.  There will be a period after this date to allow for the migration, and Unit4 will offer legacy support, for a limited time, to those customers who have signed by 31/12/2024.

“This is an exciting and important development, and we are already in discussion with Unit4 about how to best support and transition Financials customers to the cloud. Millennium will support you on whatever journey your business decides on.”

— Jeremy Lucas, Chief Operating Officer at Millennium Consulting

As an Elite Unit4 Partner, Millennium Consulting can assist with this migration; read more about our Cloud migration solution here.

Support, maintain, enhance and enrich your Financials ecosystem with Millennium+, our tailored packages to suit your Unit4 Financials by Coda needs.

Discover Millennium+

UK’s first grid-linked solar farm

The UK’s first grid-linked solar farm: Thinking big to tackle renewable bottlenecks…

The arrival earlier this year of the UK’s first grid-connected solar farm was an important milestone in the journey towards net-zero. Phil Keet of Millennium Consulting considers how fresh thinking, updates to network infrastructure and a smarter approach to asset management all have a part to play in ensuring ambitions stay on track.

September 2023

Renewables and the issue of connectivity

Two years ago, the government committed to decarbonising the UK power system by 2035. As the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy put it, “To ensure this ambition becomes a reality, the government will double down on efforts to deploy a new generation of home-grown technologies – from offshore wind, hydrogen and solar, to nuclear, onshore wind and carbon capture & storage”. 

As ever, the devil is in the detail. Policymakers tend to be very keen to talk up their support for individual projects – e.g. those linked to solar and offshore wind – as well as disruptive technologies (advanced modular reactors and carbon capture being just two examples).

However, one important fact is often glossed over. Namely; no matter what disruptive technologies reach fruition in the next twelve years, no matter how many allocation auctions are undertaken and renewables projects get underway, the 2035 carbonisation goal is not going to be met unless renewables can be incorporated successfully into the existing National Grid. 

The significance of the Larks Green solar project

The National Grid was designed a century ago at a time when coal was king. The idea is a simple one: you establish your baseline and ramp up or scale down output from your power plants as demand shifts. When similarly easily dispatchable power sources came along (i.e. oil, nuclear and gas), the same principle applied – and those sources were incorporated into the system pretty seamlessly.

Renewables – particularly wind and solar – are, of course, different. The rate of power generation tends to be both intermittent and inconsistent. The grid was meant to fix the problem of meeting demand – i.e. ensuring electricity was transmitted effectively and efficiently to where it was needed. It was never designed to handle a system in which fluctuations and intermittency in supply were the norm.

Owned and operated by Cero Generation and Enso Energy, the new 50 MW Larks Green solar farm near Bristol offers a possible template for tackling some of these issues in the near and medium term.

One of the key characteristics of this new facility is scale. The plant comprises 152,400 solar modules installed in a 200-acre plant close to the National Grid’s 400kV Iron Acton substation. According to the National Grid’s press release, “It will generate over 73,000MWh annually – enough to power the equivalent of over 17,300 homes – and will displace 20,500 tons of CO2 each year compared to traditional energy production.

Secondly, the solar farm is co-located with a battery energy storage system (BESS), meaning that surplus energy generated in conditions that enable peak power generation can be accumulated. This therefore helps to directly mitigate the issue of intermittent and fluctuating generation.

Thirdly – and for this first time for a UK solar project – Larks Green provides a direct connection to the National Grid transmission network. Up until its arrival, all utility-scale solar plants were only capable of being connected to lower voltage local distribution grids. This new development means that the output of a solar plant is no longer confined to a particular area: energy can travel further, meaning that solar plants can be situated in those locations where output will be optimised – but the whole country can reap the direct benefits.

Further work to be done

Large-scale power generation projects twinned with battery storage assets are likely to become an increasingly popular model in the renewable energy market.

However, they are not an instant and permanent fix to all the issues linked to the country’s legacy National Grid infrastructure. According to the BBC’s calculations, there are currently more than £200bn worth of renewable energy projects sitting in the connections queue: the longest queue of any country in Europe.

What this means for companies

For parties involved in renewables projects, the risks associated with grid-related deployment delays need to be considered carefully in the planning process.

This issue also highlights one of the main differences between renewables projects and legacy infrastructure. Grid operators and power producers alike are going to have to come to terms with a proliferation of multiple dispersed projects. The greater the number of individual assets in play, the more challenging it becomes for grid operators to maintain strategic oversight – and for asset owners to monitor and maintain those assets effectively.

So far as reducing deployment bottlenecks is concerned, The National Grid’s ‘Pathway to 2030’ investment package is a step in the right direction, although stakeholders across the industry will obviously be eager to see further action taken at a governmental level.

In the meantime however, producers should act now to ensure that as their asset portfolio is diversified, they have the enterprise asset management (EAM) capabilities in place to ensure that assets are monitored, maintained and used effectively throughout their lifecycle.

Faced with new challenges linked to, for example, demand forecasting, load balancing and the need to minimise costs, sector-specific expertise is a must. A leader in the fields of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) and Service Management, IFS is the go-to solution for companies across the energy sector. Find out more here.

As a premier IFS Managed Service Provider, Millennium Consulting is ideally placed to help you build the technological capabilities required for a successful renewables transition. To discover how IFS can help ensure the success of your renewables projects, speak to us today.

Contact us

NIS2 is on the horizon


NIS2 is on the horizon

October 2023

On October 17th 2024, NIS2 will replace and update the older NIS (Network and Information System) regulations. NIS regulations for the EU and UK improve cybersecurity and cyber resilience across critical systems and infrastructure.

The EU has refreshed and expanded the scope of NIS in NIS2. If you provide any of the following services in the EU or your business offers Infomation Technologies services or products to an organisation in scope, you will want to check your business is compliant.

*The UK is still reviewing its own NIS regulation.


Sectors covered by the NIS Directive



Financial markets

Drinking water

Digital infrastructure


Health sector

Understanding NIS2

NIS2 is a set of regulations designed to enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure and digital services across the European Union. Building upon its predecessor, NIS, NIS2 emphasises risk management, cooperation between Member States, and protecting essential services against cyber threats.

The NIS2 directive matters for several reasons:

Cybersecurity is a growing concern:

With cyberattacks’ increasing frequency and sophistication, bolstering cybersecurity measures has become paramount.

Protection of critical infrastructure:

NIS2 aims to protect critical infrastructure such as energy, transport, healthcare, and financial services. A successful cyberattack on these sectors could have devastating consequences, making NIS2’s provisions essential.

Cross-border collaboration:

NIS2 encourages Member States to collaborate on cybersecurity matters. In an interconnected world, cyber threats know no borders, and cooperation is vital for effective defence.

Extended scope for the NIS2 Directive

Postal & courier services

Manufacture of certain critical products

Water waste management

Public administration

Manufacture, production and distribution of chemicals

Providers of public electronic communications networks or services

Digital services

Food production, processing and distribution



Digital service providers

The countdown begins

With the NIS2 deadline just one year away, now is the time to take action. Here are some steps you can consider:

Assess your compliance:

If your organisation operates within the EU and falls under the scope of NIS2, thoroughly assess your current cybersecurity measures. Identify gaps and areas that need improvement.

Seek expert guidance:

Consider engaging cybersecurity experts who can help you navigate the complexities of NIS2 compliance. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations tailored to your specific needs.

Develop a compliance strategy:

Create a roadmap for achieving NIS2 compliance within the given timeframe. This may involve policy updates, technology upgrades, and staff training.

Stay informed:

Stay updated on any changes or clarifications to NIS2 requirements. Regulations can evolve, so you must remain informed to adapt your compliance efforts accordingly, find here. 

If you need any help regarding NIS2 compliance, Millennium Consulting offers Information security support, and if you are a Millennium+ customer, you can utilise your support time for this service.

Contact us

Unit4 Financials 2023 Q3 Release

September 2023

Unit4 Financials by Coda 2023 Q3 was made available on 12th September 2023.

The new release contains all the previous Unit4 Financials functionality and new features. Plus, many additional customer requested fixes, highlighting the importance of logging enhancements via Unit4’s Community 4U.

Highlights of the 2023 Q3 release include:


  • Webservice Index Page
  • Generic Browse
  • Internet Printing Security


  • Year/Period Master


  • Account Summary
  • Company Master

Deprecated features

  • 32-bit XL is deprecated. We recommend the use of 64-bit XL.
  • The Message Board feature in Administration is deprecated. It will be removed in a future release.

General Fixes/Updates

  • It is now possible to change a user’s password, when the user code contains a space.
  • Attachments can now be viewed from the Generic Browse Content Provider.
  • The private web service ‘clientauthenticate’ is no longer included in the public web service documentation.
  • An issue has been resolved where the Generic Browse Master code could not be selected when configuring a new or modifying an existing Generic Browse on a menu content provider.
  • An issue has been resolved where a session would sometimes consume licences for products which were not used.
  • A serious error no longer occurs when maintaining Asset category masters with no ‘Category element value’ or ‘Cost centre value’.
  • Forced Prompt(s) in the selector master for Link Table Maintenance now work correctly. This has been corrected for both Finance and Billing.
  • It is now possible to include the ‘@’ character in External references in documents within Finance. This means an error will no longer be generated when posting documents from Billing or Invoice Matching that contain an ‘@’ character in a reference field.
  • A warning message in Matching now appears if the capability setting of matching date outside the period range is set to warning.
  • Documents posted using APIs, where the document currency values have more decimal places than the currency master are now posted correctly and can now be edited on the intray.
  • Emails sent as part of the Pay/Collect process, where an email template master is not used, now includes the subject and text entered at run time by the user on all emails sent and not just the first email.
  • On the IBM i platform the issue which restricted the ability to write to or retrieve data from the database repository has now been resolved, the repository objects (as used by attachments) are no longer corrupted.
  • A rounding issue has been resolved when calculating the Home/Dual values, this issue occurred when using reversing tax and workflow to post books on approval.
  • You can now enter configuration options in the Console without the com.coda prefix. This now enables IBAN verification to work correctly in the Dutch Local product NL Common.
  • The WebSphere installation scripts have been updated to accurately implement the installation requirements. The previous WebSphere scripts could result in unpredictable behaviour and failures due to the configuration not satisfying Session Management requirements.
  • A reflected cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the web user interface has been fixed.
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability has been resolved when viewing attachments. HTML attachments are now downloaded rather than being displayed in a new browser tab.
  • XML External Entity Injection (XXE) has been resolved. XML interpreter now cannot leak sensitive server side data back to the attacker from Request Body on /coda/finance/elementauthorisationrules/uploadrules page.


Further details on the new features, security updates and reported issues can be found in the release documentation on Unit4’s Community 4U.

  • Unit4 Financials by Coda 2023 Q2 was made available on 13 June 2023, find here.
  • Unit4 Financials by Coda 2023 Q1 was made available on 14 March 2023, find here.


Release dates for Cloud users

Unit4 Cloud customers are notified by Unit4 Cloud support when their pre-production and production systems will be updated. This information can also be found within the Cloud Services – Release Schedules area. View the 2023 Cloud Schedule here.

The Release Notes detailing the fixes and features within this release can be found in the Documentation area on Unit4’s Community 4U.

Upgrading Financials is not merely about accessing the new functionality that comes with a new software release. It is also about mitigating technology, operational, and business risk.

Find out more

Big Data: What it means for your business

White paper

Big Data: What it means for your business

August 2023

Big Data opportunities, use cases and technologies explored…

Have a read of this White Paper as it explores how Big Data is shaping different sectors and how Big Data initiatives can be of value to all areas of your business. 

Read now

Is your organisation ready to navigate the data-driven world?

Our team of experienced data specialists empower customers so they gain maximum benefit from their valuable data. With decades of experience in the field, we provide strategic guidance so you can realise the full potential of your data.

Find out more

MBilling Use Case: Solving Complex Billing for a Ferry Operator

August 2023

MBilling Use Case:

Solving Complex Billingfor a Ferry Operator

In terms of the sheer range of customer categories, billing methods, transaction volume and parameters to account for, billing doesn’t get much more complex than in the case of ferry operators.

Here’s a closer look at how MBilling from Millennium Consulting meets the needs of this highly demanding sector.

What is MBilling? 

MBilling is Millennium Consulting’s sales invoicing solution designed for users of Unit4 Financials by Coda.

The solution is underpinned by technology from order-to-cash specialists, ICORP, and is designed to automate and streamline processes of organisations with complex billing requirements.

For an introduction to its capabilities, take a look at our guide, Complex Billing Challenges Solved: Introducing MBilling for Unit4 Financials by Coda.

Read the guide

Ferry Operator Use Case

The Challenge

For operators within this industry, complexity in terms of billing and, invoice management & processing arises in multiple areas:

  • Customer categories – e.g. private passengers, different vehicle types, accompanied and unaccompanied freight. Service offerings for different customer groups will involve a wide range of pricing options, payment terms and invoicing procedures.
  • Tiered pricing. Examples include volume-based pricing arrangements for frequent commercial users – or group discounts for private passengers. Some of these may be standard arrangements. Others may need to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. All will need to be accounted for accurately in the relevant invoices.
  • Add-ons. Parameters to be factored into invoices may include cargo handling for unaccompanied loads, short or long-term ambient or refrigerated storage, and in-crossing cabin/catering packages for drivers.
  • Partnerships. With the type of add-ons listed above, elements of the service offering may be delivered by third parties. Accuracy of recording is essential for the purposes of recoupment and internal reporting.
  • Multiple touchpoints. When an initial arrangement needs to be varied for private passengers and commercial customers, terms of passage may be determined by a combination of touchpoints (e.g., a passenger books via your website and then telephones to secure an add-on or discount). When bills are generated, such variations need to be recorded in an accurate and consistent manner. Siloes existing between those touchpoints may impede this.
  • Cross-border and regulatory considerations. For each crossing booking, the application of levies, duties and taxes, the language used, and the layout and content of the bill may be determined by passenger type, onward-passage intentions, freight load category and volume. An incorrectly entered data point may lead to needless delays / additional outlay for the passenger – and reputational damage for the carrier.

The Solution - MBilling

Our billing solution is flexible enough to be tailored specifically to your preferred pricing and billing model. What’s more, it is powerful enough to streamline and automate that model – even in the case of multiple billing parameters and high volumes of transactions.

Thanks to this combination of flexibility and powerful processing capabilities, MBilling is already being put to work by a ferry operator to address the types of challenges detailed above.

With MBilling, you set the rules, and our solution ensures they are followed – while eliminating the time-consuming workflows and risk of data-entry errors that arise with traditional billing processes.

MBilling automatically identifies and lifts all relevant billing data and applies it to your system. It calculates the pricing considering all relevant variables underpinned by the rules set by you – and taking into account any exceptions or validation steps you need to apply. The same system generates and distributes those invoices according to your preferences. And when a bill is issued, the transaction is fed through immediately to your Unit4 Financials by Coda system.

Accurate, consistent, and easy to deploy, MBilling ensures invoicing processes support business growth – rather than being a barrier to it.

Find out more

To discover more about MBilling and how to integrate it into Unit4 Financials, speak to us today.

Find out more

The Evolution of Unit4 Financials by Coda

What’s the difference between run-of-the-mill and best-in-class when it comes to accounting and financial management packages?

There’s no single magic ingredient that makes a good solution great. Of course, it’s essential to get the fundamentals right – e.g., solid core accounting capabilities and a ledger that’s always in balance, a user-friendly experience, and easy integration with the rest of your tech stack. And in an ideal world, your solution should deliver visibility and control across your company’s people, processes, and systems.

However, if you really want to understand what makes Unit4 Financials by Coda stand out as a great solution, it’s worth taking a brief look at how it has evolved. Architecturally and technologically, it has been completely transformed over 20-plus years. But none of this is about extraneous gizmos or change for change’s sake. Rather, it’s about ensuring that finance departments are equipped to handle their most pressing operational challenges; whether they be new regulations, doing business in new markets and volatile conditions – or responding to internal pressures to do more with less.

Here’s a closer look at how Unit4 Financials by Coda has evolved to meet customer needs – and at what the future holds…

20+ years ago

At this time, Unit4 was releasing software versions for Coda (as it was then known) and its other enterprise offerings approximately every three years, with maintenance releases approximately every six months.

Responsiveness to customer needs was always a key part of the company’s ethos. As such, Unit4 was heavily invested in responding to what were known as SARs (special ad-hoc requests): a huge but important undertaking for the company’s maintenance and engineering teams.

As was the norm for enterprise software at the time, installation of Coda was a manual and heavily time-consuming process: a vast difference compared to today.

15 years ago

How can we get new and potentially highly useful functionality into the hands of our customers faster? This was the perennial problem faced by enterprise software providers at the time, and Unit4 was one of the companies committed to optimising roll-out schedules.

The introduction of service packs facilitated quicker routes for delivery (far more efficient and less invasive than new version releases). Inroads were also made into a quicker and easier installation.

10 years ago

At about this time, Unit4 switched to EAR files (Enterprise Archive files) as a deployment methodology for the software. Starting with the web tier, and then the application tier, the use of EARs meant deployment could be achieved much more rapidly.

This led to a reappraisal of the company’s software architecture (Why have we got separate tiers for both our software and servers – and how can this be rationalised?”)

The result was a new, single-tier structure, with the deployment of the software being the same whether it’s on-premises or cloud. This was yet another leap forward in terms of easier software deployment and upgrade.

2020 and the arrival of Continuous Release

“With our new architecture in place – and the old database and schema restrictions a thing of the past – we’ve got the ability to roll out new and improved functions very rapidly. So why not formally commit to doing this – frequently and regularly?”

From early 2020, Unit4 now releases Financials by Coda updates every three months. And given the sheer volume of new challenges finance departments have had to face over the last three years or so, the timing of this could hardly have been more relevant.

The future: Cloud

Unit4 has long been committed to developing its Cloud offering – but that’s not to say that this development doesn’t benefit on-premise deployments as well.

By way of illustration, as far back as 2012 (release Version 13), Unit4 introduced support for internet printing protocol. This was an early step to moving away from the physical server.

Until this update, if you wanted to print from Financials, you had to hook your printer off the back of the server where the software was deployed. Now you can print to any printer in the world that has an IP address, just configure it up as a printer – it’s that easy.

In Version 14 (2017) Unit4 removed the desktop as well as desktop-based integration capabilities. At this time, the company also introduced multi-factor authentication with the Unit4 identity server. All the while improving feature function, delivering products, looking after the architecture, working towards the Continuous Release model, and building Cloud readiness.

At this time Unit4 also started assessing the existing integration capabilities. The problem was that many of these capabilities were not suitable for Cloud as they were based on tables on the desktop. Table link, for example, the batch input that ‘everybody’ uses, wouldn’t work in the Cloud. So Unit4 developed a Cloud integration for Table Link.

The company also introduced safer hashing algorithms. By evolving its thinking, Unit4 is delivering a product that is not just feature-rich but is also firmly focused on keeping users safe, current, and up-to-date with technology. This is an ongoing commitment for Unit4, with improved cost of ownership and REST APIs coming up, a step forward from the previous SOAP APIs.

Next Unit4 plans to look at Office 365 Web, because (as of publishing) you still must have a desktop add-in integration for Excel. The company is also looking at containerized deployment and so on.

What does that mean to us as a Financials user?

Upgrading Unit4 Financials is no longer a complex, time-consuming task.

Since launching Continuous Release at the beginning of Q1 2020, Unit4 has issued 14 quarterly releases, with 75 (and growing!) customers on Continuous Release.

The end result is a lower cost of ownership, stronger security, platform adherence, ease of installation, and regular feature updates. In short, everything you need to ease your transactional workload, stay on top of compliance, and handle the challenges ahead.

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