Multi-site accounting with Banana Accounting+

News • 10/04/2024 •
In this article

Banana Accounting Plus is well suited for keeping accounts of companies and organisations that are based in different regions, or that need to manage projects and company departments separately, and then group them into a single accounting system. It is an effective solution with very low management costs, also thanks to the new features introduced with Banana Accounting Plus.


The mode of operation is as follows:

  • Separate accounting files are kept for each entity (department, branch, department or project).
  • The data from the different accounting files are then consolidated into a single central accounting file or integrated into an ERP system.

Many companies use Banana Accounting Plus for multi-site or multi-location accounting and we believe that this solution will become more and more interesting in the future.

Enhancing existing Cloud Services

More and more companies have and use Cloud services for storing and sharing data, such as OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud or Drobpox. These services allow each department, branch, project, department or company to have its own space while simultaneously making the data accessible to the central entity.

Banana Accounting Plus enhances this infrastructure, allowing the different entities involved to make their files immediately visible and available to the central entity. With Cloud services, each site, location, department or project group can work independently and access files even without an internet connection. As soon as there is an active internet connection, the data are synchronised: it is almost like having a centralised accounting system where not only the accounting data, but also the digitised accounting slips are immediately accessible to the central entity.

Using the functionality already offered by one's Cloud, Banana Accounting Plus also allows you to manage work folders, file sharing and access permissions. With Banana Accounting Plus it is possible to choose whether the various entities in play work directly on files that are always synchronised, or whether they file entries on local work files, which are then copied to the shared folders at certain times and only after the accounts and balances have been checked.

Thanks to these services, even entities that operate in different countries, with different regulations, languages and currencies, can better integrate and digitise their accounting files, easily and with limited investment.

More possibilities with Banana Accounting Plus

The old versions of Banana Accounting already offered many possibilities for importing and integrating data. Our latest version, Banana Accounting Plus, has also introduced the possibility of extensions that modify accounting data, making it possible to automate the process of importing external data.

Importazione in Banana Contabilità Plus

Many companies already successfully use Banana Accounting Plus to manage multi-site accounting. We believe that this trend will grow further in the future and we invite users to suggest further improvements, with the aim of achieving a fully integrated multi-site accounting system with summary data updated in real time.

If you would like to develop a particular project, our technical staff is happy to advise you in this area. Send us a description of the starting situation and the desired result.

The advantages of multi-site management with Banana Accounting Plus

Generally, if one has to manage the accounting of several separate entities, which form a single entity, one uses multi-user ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software that allows several people to connect and work at the same time.

Banana Accounting Plus, on the other hand, is a software in which only one person at a time can access and edit data. It is generally not suitable for keeping accounting files of large entities. Nevertheless, it can be very useful and interesting for those who have to manage separate accounts and then group them into one. Here are its main advantages:

  • Customised accounting for each site or location
    Each site can adapt its accounting to specific local and legal regulations. This makes accounting more accessible, even for non-specialised personnel, as is shown in the example of Helvetas with different types of accounting for various projects.
  • Detailed view of the local financial situation
    Separate accounting files for each site provide a clear and immediate view of the financial situation. Unlike centralised ERP systems, the financial details of each entity remain distinct and easily accessible and analysable.
  • Adaptability to specific needs
    Each site or location can adapt its accounting to its specific needs and ensure accurate expenditure control. The schools in the canton of Basel-Stadt, for example, use individual expense accounts for each class, a detail that would be impractical in a centralised system.
  • Data protection and controlled access
    The accounting administrator manages the accounting files on his own dedicated space, so that only authorised personnel can access the data.
  • Ease of implementation and scalability
    Setting up multi-site or multi-location accounts with Banana Accounting Plus is a simple and easily scalable process.
  • Operational independence even without internet connection
    Accounting management with Banana Accounting Plus is always possible, as it allows work to continue even without an internet connection.
  • Simplified data integration and sharing
    The accounting data of each site are collected in a single file, which can be easily saved and shared with the central entity, either through Cloud services or via e-mail.
  • Reliable synchronisation with blockchain technology
    The use of blockchain technology ensures that data already shared remains unchanged and offers secure and reliable synchronisation.
  • Reduced subscription costs
    The accounting management of each site or location only requires one Banana Accounting Plus subscription, making the solution cost-effective and even more accessible.

Various possibilities for consolidating data into a single accounting

The data from the accounting files of each site or local entity can be integrated to form a single accounting file.

  • The chart of accounts of the different sites, or of the different locations, must naturally be structured in such a way that they conform to the requirements of the integration.
  • One may choose to integrate the data in different ways:
    • Integrate all accounting transactions:
      the central accounting file will contain exactly all the information of the different accounting files.
    • Integrate only the total transactions for a period:
      in this way, only the periodic summary amounts relating to the site will be seen in the central accounting file.
    • Adopt a hybrid approach:
      for example, the Helvetas organisation, at the level of the different nations, integrates all transactions into one national accounting system. In the central system, the different national accounting are only integrated with the monthly summary amounts.

Operating modes for multi-site or multi-location accounting

There are also several operating modes:

  • Integrate the data of the different accounting in a Banana Accounting Plus file.
    Specific commands can be used to import transactions or to merge several files. It is also possible to automate the import through the creation of customised extensions.
  • Integrate data from different accounting into a centralised accounting system by means of:
    • manual printouts and data retrievals.
    • exporting data and importing data in standard formats (e.g. CSV, XLSX or other standard formats).
    • creating specific data exports.

Importance of multi-site accounting planning

If separate accounting files are to be kept for sites or locations, which are then to be consolidated into a central accounting file, it is important to correctly plan the accounts structure and the mode an frequency with which the data are integrated into the central accounting file. In all cases, it is essential to have uniformly structured chart of accounts, that must consider the requirements of data integration.

Piano dei conto in Banana Contabilità Plus

The simplest case is when the different accounting files are independent of each other, as in the example of schools, given here. In this case, it is mostly a matter of allowing the data of the individual entity to be reported in a way that conforms to company standards.

A more complex situation, as is the example presented below of Helvetas, is when there are transfers of funds between the head office and the local entities. It is therefore important to set up duplicate liaison accounts, for the entities and for the projects, which then offset each other at the time of data integration.

Finally, there are situations where different entities must also share customer and supplier accounts. In this case, a two-way integration of the data is necessary, because the accounting file of the branch office must also take over the transactions of the head office in order to obtain up-to-date information on the situation of issued, paid and still open invoices.

As mentioned above, we invite users who use Banana Accounting Plus in multi-site or multi-location contexts, to let us know their experiences and send us any suggestions for improvements, which may make these managements simpler and more effective.

Case study: Schools in the canton of Basel-City

Each school in the canton has its own financial budget to meet the costs of book purchases, trips or other expenses. The school staff keeps control of these expenses thanks to Banana Accounting Plus. The chart of accounts is structured with certain groups that correspond to the accounts in the central accounting system. Each school can therefore adapt the chart of accounts according to its needs and, more specifically, obtain control over the expenditure of each individual cash account or project.
Thanks to an extension specially developed by our technicians, a report is printed every four months, which sums up the movements of the period according to the predefined groups and also shows the certification data. The data is then manually entered into the SAP ERP.

The data of the different accounting files are located on the servers of the cantonal system, in the spaces reserved for the individual schools.

The solution is very popular because it allows the staff of each school to easily manage the accounting file according to their own needs. In terms of cost, the advantages are also considerable, as no specific SAP training and user licences are required for each school.

The solution was initially used by around 40 schools and has since been extended to many others in the canton.

Several schools in other cantons have also adopted similar solutions and have found significant benefits compared to management based on centralised systems.

Case study: Helvetas Organisation

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation is one of Switzerland's largest development support organisations, operating in several countries.

Helvetas started using Banana Accounting in 2005. Thanks to Banana Accounting, it was able to ensure that the accounting files of individual projects could be managed by staff on site. This allows for local ownership and accountability in the spirit of its cooperation objectives. Thanks to local management, project managers also have an up-to-date overview of the available resources and, in addition, costs and the need for on-site staff are reduced. 
Thanks to the flexibility offered by Banana Accounting, it has also been possible to ensure that the accounting files of each individual project are categorised according to the specifications of the donor who financed it. In this way, donors always have up-to-date report on the means made available and those used, so that timely control of the means invested and the progression of the project is possible.

The accounting data of the various projects are integrated at the level of the individual countries into Banana Accounting, which contains all the details of the local entities. The national accounting files are then integrated into the central accounting system, but only with regard to period summary data. Thanks to the data certification functionality with the blockchain technology of Banana Accounting, one is always certain that no retrospective changes take place and that proper synchronisation occurs.

In recent years, Helvetas has further developed the system for integrating the data of different projects into the central database, and has also developed specific solutions that rely on the export functionality present in Banana Accounting.

In 2023, Helvetas switched to Banana Accounting Plus and more than 500 users are now using it.