As businesses finally begin to recover from the lockdown, financial leaders want to adapt their models to take advantage of new and improved technologies.
The role of the CFO has therefore changed tremendously, as these leaders must now drive the adoption of technology in their businesses.
1. Employee buy-in is crucial for tech success
It is important that finance leaders understand many employees fear losing their jobs to technology, and that they must therefore find ways to make these employees buy into new digital systems.
This is particularly important within the context of the professional services industry, which are the businesses that generally bill by the hour and are generally strong advocates of a relationships first, technology second mentality.
However, these organisations are increasingly realising that cloud-based financial management solutions are necessary to provide the best possible experience to customers.
Systems that collect and present important financial data in real-time are particularly popular, as these tools make it much easier to determine the strong and weak points of your existing services.
2. Automating key processes drives business efficiency
Automation is another key consideration when choosing a financial management system, as this frees up time for your team to focus on their important tasks.
The question then becomes: “Which tools do I use to achieve this?”
There are many great systems, but one that has been built with your industry in mind will give a much quicker return of investment.
Sage Intacct, for example, is perfect for professional services businesses and covers all of the important bases of your financial management by combining smooth operational workflows with greater financial visibility.
It can also consolidate resource management, simplify project time tracking with automation and mobile timesheets, and make data-based strategic decisions faster – all on one efficient platform that scales with your company.
In addition, you want a system like Sage Intacct that runs on the cloud to get access to data and insights from anywhere and at any time. This also provides real-time visibility, which is crucial to making fast and effective decisions, and you can even set Intacct up to provide specific dashboards depending on the user’s role.
Lastly, you want a solution with extensive automation of all your tedious financial processes, to put power back into the hands of you and your professional services business.
3. Integration – the glue that keeps it all together
It is one thing to run a cloud-based financial management solution, but it is another to completely connect this data to the rest of your organisation.
When choosing a cloud-based financial management solution, it is critical that it integrates into your other, non-financial systems.
This can allow a holistic view of key elements of your business – for example, a more comprehensive view of your customer, such as how often they order, where they look for discounts, and when is the best time to market to them.
With very strong open APIS, Sage Intacct allows multiple, stable, and secure integrations with most customers integrating at least two external applications. Roughly 60% of Sage Intacct transactions are posted using Web Services.
4. Insights – where are we going?
Businesses are no longer only focused on what has happened or what is happening. It is now also crucial to make decisions in near real-time to take advantage of “what is going to happen”.
This requires a solution with agility and flexibility to quickly slice-and-dice the details that matter to all key stakeholders – investors, executives, sales, finance, and other departments – and when you have new questions, you should be able to dive deeper with custom reports, dashboards, or visualisations.
This is where Sage Intacct really shows its strengths. It has an innovative general ledger that includes ten dimensions to capture the business context of your transactions, operational measures, and budgets.
This means you can quickly access or create reports that analyse real-time business performance by business drivers – without managing a complex chart of accounts.
In addition, it allows you to bring in information that is not strictly financial, such as technical data, through its statistical accounts. This can enrich your reports and dashboards with key indicators that include both financial and operational data (e.g. revenue per project headcount).
This is why we at AWCape are so happy to recommend Sage Intacct to our professional services partners and have dedicated so many of our employees to mastering this solution.
“Professional services firms need a solution that combines smooth operational workflows with greater financial visibility to take their businesses to new heights,” said Sage Africa and Middle East VP for Medium Business, Gerhard Hartman.
“With Sage Intacct, they can automate their financial processes and make data-based decisions faster, all derived from one efficient platform that scales with their growth.”
By Jeff Ryan, Managing Director for AWCape, a Sage Business Partner.