National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Celebrating National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the Cloud

Among other things, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a month designated by the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies as a month to teach individuals and businesses about the importance of cybersecurity and discuss opportunities to prevent breaches of personal and business devices. Today, we would like to talk about the month and discuss one very specific way organizations can improve their cybersecurity. Learn more below. Read more

Questions to Ask Cloud Accounting Vendor

6 Questions to Ask to Narrow Down Cloud Accounting Vendors

If you’re outgrowing QuickBooks or simply looking to simplify and automate your processes by moving accounting to the cloud, the process for building a long list and then narrowing it down to a short list can be a challenge. As part of the narrowing-down process, you will spend a lot of time demoing the software and discussing it with the sales team for each vendor.

As you narrow down your options, it’s important to understand what you’re looking for and how the solution will fit into the equation. This is why we have developed a non-exhaustive list of important questions to ask—and what you should expect in terms of an answer.

Question 1: How Much Uptime Can You Promise?

The uptime discussion is one of the main things that can separate vendors, and should be one of the first things you look for. Uptime is generally discussed in terms of “nines,” as in “how many nines can you promise,” and shouldn’t be taken lightly, as each nine promised is a testament to the company’s commitment to the customer:

  • Two Nines (99%): 3.65 days per year, 7.2 hours per month, 1.68 hours per week
  • Three Nines (99.9%): 8.76 hours per year, 43.8 minutes per month, 10.1 minutes per week
  • Four Nines (99.99%): 52.56 minutes per year, 4.32 minutes per month, 1.01 minutes per week
  • Five Nines (99.999%): 5.26 minutes per year, 25.9 seconds per month, 6.05 seconds per week

While five or more nines is often reserved (and priced) for mission critical applications like telecommunications, utilities, and more, your cloud provider should be able to promise and deliver more than two nines. Often, the sweet spot for SaaS applications is right around three nines, meaning you will see no more than ten minutes of unplanned downtime per month.

However, the real way to judge a vendor is not by promises made, but promises kept. For instance, a leading vendor in the cloud space promises 99.8% uptime, but delivers a 12-month rolling average of 99.987%—nearing the five nines “promised land.”

Question 2: Have You Worked in Our Industry Before?

While the answer is probably yes (the cloud accounting and ERP market is relatively mature), the real question you should be asking is “have you had success with our industry?” It’s common for a vendor to have product or service pages for many different industries, but few case studies pertaining to the industries. It’s important to look at these case studies and success stories for companies like yours in size, needs, and industry.

Question 3: How Much Will It Cost to Get Up and Running?

Another of the natural advantages of a cloud-based accounting software, there are still differences in start-up pricing and implementation. This is an example in which time is quite literally money, as you will be charged for each hour of migration, training, and other necessary services.

The biggest differentiator in this equation is the scope of the implementation—how deep will the software reach into your organization? Suites will naturally take longer to implement, but it will be a one-time project. Single-focus best-of-breed applications can be done quickly and easily, but you may have to complete multiple, less disruptive projects. We discuss the Implementation process in our blog series, Eight Things to Look for in Accounting Software, Part 2.

Question 4: How Will Ongoing Pricing Work?

Pricing is one of the key advantages of SaaS-based applications, generally allowing a move away from licenses, which in turn helps to offer more transparency and ease decision-making. With this in mind, as you compare vendors, one of the most common structures you will see is the per-user, per-module pricing.

In this, it’s important to know what you’re getting, how much it will cost, and how much it will cost for additional users—some users will need additional access, functionality, and modules. Know what you’re getting, how much you’ll be paying, and how much it will cost to add users, modules, or more as your business expands.

Question 5: Is There a Process for Requesting New Features?

At some point, you’ll be using a software, and think, “wow, wouldn’t it be nice if I can do [this]” or “how much easier would my job be if the software could do [this]?” One of the advantages of the cloud is that updates are much more flexible and frequent. Rather than having to wait a year for new patches, cloud accounting applications offer much more frequent updates—up to four times a year.

Knowing this, it’s important to understand the process for requesting new features. Is it easy to ask? Will you be given the same opportunity to request as a large business? How does the vendor narrow down what will be added in the release?

Question 6: How Often Will These Updates Come Through?

As we said, cloud software updates more frequently and easily than an on-premises offering (updates are hands-off; often you walk in to an update the next day or on a Monday). However, the more moving parts that a software has, the less frequent or focused an update will be. This is a main difference between suites and best of breed offerings—suites add a lot of complexity to the equation, so R&D money is spread across multiple products.


When you look to change accounting software, it’s just as important to plan as it is to find the right software. If you know what you want, you will be able to narrow down vendors with minimal stress. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog in which we discuss some of the internal discussions you will need to have before you even start looking at new cloud solutions, coming early next month. If you’re ready to learn more about the power of Sage Intacct for your growing business, contact us today.

Reasons that Growing Businesses Love Cloud Financials

Seven Reasons Growing Businesses Love the Cloud

What does it take to get ahead when your business grows? The right knowledge at the right time. With so much competition in the modern business environment, there are certain factors that could separate successful businesses from unsuccessful ones. From automation to collaboration, we explore some of the top reasons the cloud is making business smarter, faster, and doing so more cost effectively than ever.

Recently, Procullux Ventures released a guide for businesses looking at their options for financial management software, sharing a recent guide written by finance and consulting expert Phil Wainewright, CEO of Procullux, co-founder of diginomica, and frequent ZDNet contributor. The guide, 7 Reasons to Move to Cloud Financials Now, explores just that, seven reasons the cloud is important for businesses in need of smarter financial management.

Seven Reasons Businesses Love Cloud Financials

While the entire guide is available here courtesy of Sage Intacct, we would like to provide you a brief overview of the cloud’s importance in the financial management initiatives for growing businesses.

Once upon a time, financial system kept to its core role of keeping a reliable historic transactional record. That was all. Today, however, it’s all about connectivity. While the core role has stayed the same, today’s finance department needs to make faster decisions based on more inputs. Connectivity matters, and today’s finance software needs to play a role in much more. Here are seven reasons that the cloud affords you this connectivity and competitive edge.

  1. You Can’t Afford to Delay Changes: Businesses today need the flexibility to rapidly seize emerging opportunities or quickly deal with new challenges. But many are held back by disjointed processes and cumbersome systems that don’t easily adapt to new requirements.
  2. Knowing What You Need to Know, Now: If the business doesn’t have a financial view of day-to-day operations, it can’t control spending or margins effectively. Having an in-depth view of today’s numbers—today—can help stakeholders make smarter decisions.
  3. Clearing Logjams: Silos, spreadsheets, and other slowdowns have no place in the modern business. Automation may be one thing, but if you can’t merge processes automatically, you’ve taken one step forward and two steps back. Many cloud applications can help clear the logjams by breaking down barriers by automating integration.
  4. The Lean Business: Up-and-coming businesses gain a significant competitive edge when they harness digital connectivity to streamline productivity and enhance outcomes. Unfortunately, many incumbents are held back by laborious processes, meaning highly-paid finance pros spend more time digging through spreadsheets than making improvements. This makes them unhappy and less productive, and more willing to jump ship at the first chance they get.
  5. Finance for Finance, Not IT: Too often, it takes a village to generate a simple report. This is a problem. Many systems require the help of specialists to code a report, turning a simple report or change into a massive bottleneck. As the speed of businesses increases, they will need to either hire more people to code reports or find ways to make reporting easier through point-and-click generation and editing.
  6. Getting More Done Faster: No one likes waiting for answers. While automation and integration are logical first steps, the picture is not complete until your people can communicate efficiently to co-ordinate and react promptly when exceptions arise. This creates a need for a third piece of connectivity: collaboration.
  7. Answering Tomorrow’s Questions, Today: In today’s fast-moving, digitally connected world, enterprises have to be on top of their game to survive and thrive. This means that you need to keep an eye on the future, as well as the present.

The cloud is more than just cost savings and increased accessibility. When speed is the name of the game, and every day that you wait to move on something creates more and more missed opportunities, the cloud is there to help you automate, integrate, collaborate, and thrive. We welcome you to read the full report, filled with examples, explanations, and use cases here, and if you’re ready to learn more, contact us.

ROI of Cloud Accounting

Exploring The ROI of Cloud Accounting

“What’s our ROI going to be?” If you’re considering moving your company’s accounting practices into the cloud, this is one of the top questions on your mind. You’re making a change to the way you manage your finances—and updating your technology is a big step in the right direction. But how can you be sure that your investment in a cloud-based solution is going to pay off and keep yielding returns?

Why the Cloud Delivers Faster Time to Value

A cloud environment, put simply, affords a growing business more agility and flexibility than any of their traditional alternatives. Consider the on-premise systems and boxed software programs that reside on your business machines (servers and PCs): they require you to maintain an IT infrastructure, which can be costly to establish and take care of. They’re costly from the get-go.

With cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, on the other hand, users access their apps, tools, and data over the internet. Their computing and delivery models make them inherently more cost-effective and scalable for long-term value. Take a look at these powerful stats:

  • Cloud application projects deliver 2.1x the ROI of on-premise ones, up 24% since 2012. (Nucleus Research)
  • Sage Intacct customers experience an average ROI of over 250%when switching to Intacct. (Sage Intacct)

Let’s take a closer look at what impacts the ROI of a cloud accounting solution:

Lower Implementation Costs

Cloud deployments, finds Nucleus Research, incur 63% lower initial consulting and implementation costs than on-premise ones. As we just stated, adopting a cloud accounting solution doesn’t require the purchase of new hardware and software licenses, or even the hiring of a skilled IT staff.

Moving financials to the cloud is a straightforward process for companies with basic infrastructures. They can upgrade to a best-in-class system without adding complexity to their tech environment. That means getting up to speed with web-based software is a faster, easier, and can provide results in a matter of a few short weeks—sometimes sooner.

Learn more in How Upgrading to the Cloud Lets You Hit the Ground Running.

Lower Maintenance Costs

According to Strategy&, the total cost of ownership for a cloud-based solution can be 50-60% less than for traditional solutions over a 10-year period. And Nucleus Research reports that on an ongoing basis, companies spend an average of 55% less on personnel to support cloud applications compared to on-premise deployments and they use an average of 91% less energy to boot.

These savings can be attributed to the cloud software vendors’ subscription model. Customers pay a per-user subscription fee for use of the software, hosting, and support, making the arrangement highly scalable as the company grows and adds new functionality and users. And vendor’s IT team—not your internal IT team—manages the upgrades, patching, user support, etc. It’s part of the service you pay for, enabling you to focus on building your business, not your IT systems.

“Automatic” Savings and Productivity Gains.

When your business replaces manual processes and workflows with automation, cost savings tend to follow naturally. Automating key financial and accounting processes is essential to saving time, increasing data accuracy, and ultimately, lowering costs. But don’t fail to take into account your employees’ ability to work from anywhere and on any connected device. And this includes users from the back office to the executive suite. There’s a great deal of ROI-supporting “power” in the real-time insights users can uncover 24/7. Take a more detailed look in How the Cloud Provides Real Time Insights for Real Time Decision Making.

Features and Functionality

Cloud-based software solutions are ideal for companies in the midst of growth. A cloud environment is an ecosystem that’s ready for evolution. Cloud accounting software suites typically come standard with core functionality that can be expanded as your business needs change—as your company takes on new clients, partners with more vendors, adds locations or product lines, etc. It’s easy to plug wew cloud accounting software modules into your existing workflow without a great deal of programming or “moving around” of data. This holds true for integrations, too, as cloud software is built with flexible APIs that enable seamless connecting of business systems.

The net result of this scalable product enhancement is that your business can grow without significant additional investments—and with each addition of new functionality, your team is able to add more value. Find out How Cloud Accounting Lets Users Take Control of Process.

Contact us to learn more about our cloud technology services and solutions.

Buy with Confidence in the Cloud

What Does It Mean to Buy with Confidence in the Cloud?

Have you ever bought something, only to have buyers’ remorse? It’s a pretty terrible feeling—buying something, only to find out it didn’t hold up to your expectations or worse, feeling like you were the victim of a “bait and switch.” Maybe you made a decision without getting all of the facts, or maybe you were given information you thought to be accurate that turned out to be false (as discussed in our ‘Faux Cloud’ blog). Read more

Process Efficiency in the Cloud

How Cloud Accounting Lets Users Take Control of Process

When you consider the many pain points of using yesterday’s financial management processes—non-integrated systems, cumbersome data entry and re-entry, error-prone spreadsheets, unsecured and vulnerable data, etc.—it’s easy to see why “enhanced control” is one of the key reasons for system upgrades. Your business data, which is getting ever-more voluminous and complex as you grow, requires secure and reliable management.

Want More Control? Your Solution is in the Cloud

Today’s cloud-based financial management and accounting software solutions offer just what you need. Let’s explore the ways your business can enjoy enhanced control at the hands of a cloud-based system:

Data and Process Control

Manual processes are, by nature, out of control: they create time, cost, and data efficiencies that can be hard to recoup. When your finance and accounting staff are shuffling through stacks of paper, waiting on wet ink signatures, re-keying data into multiple systems, copy and pasting and managing multiple formulas in spreadsheets, there are many opportunities for costly human error and data isn’t being used efficiently or to its potential. Plus, there are likely more strategic projects your employees could be working on, if only some of their day-to-day activities were automated.

Learn more about How Intacct’s Cloud-Based Financial Software Supports Growing Business with Automation

Cloud-based financial management software is designed to replace manual workflows with automatic, streamlined processes. The result is faster, less costly outcomes—and more control over your staff’s time, data, and costs. And keep in mind, the process of setting up your cloud-based system is completely customizable and flexible. That means you’ll be able to configure your software, templates, and workflows based on the way you work today—and how you want to work tomorrow.

Compliance Control

One of the main advantages of moving your financial data and processes into the cloud is that you’ll enjoy the automation and controls around accounting, billing and reporting that you needs to stay audit-ready and always-in-compliance. That’s because your system can be set up according to the business rules, internal controls, workflows, terms of engagement, and any other data or documentation factors that are required for your organization to maintain compliance and deliver according to regulations. You’ll also have data integrity that ensures your reporting (to employees, the government, investors, etc.) is accurate, up-to-date, and easy-to-understand.

You’ll find more about having audit-ready financials in 5 Common Accounting Mistakes Made By Growing Companies

Cost Control

Cloud technology is inherently affordable. It offers capabilities to SMBs and rapidly growing companies that were once available to only enterprise organizations with massive IT budgets. Here are some high points:

  • Hosted software is managed by your vendor, taking the pressure (and costs) off of your internal IT support team.
  • Data and tools are accessible using a browser or app on any internet-connected computer or device, so your business doesn’t need to invest in new hardware to support the system.
  • Access is subscription-based, so adding new users and scaling for business growth is easier and less costly when compared with buying software licenses and installing software on office machines.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the combination of streamlined automation and data transparency virtually transform your financial and accounting operations so your team is more productive and strategically oriented. The impact on costs in the long-term can be substantial. In fact, Intacct customers enjoy and average ROI of over 250% when switching to Intacct.

Big-Picture Control

Because cloud-based solutions are built for flexibility—both within the core financial management system itself and in integrations support—users get a 360-degree view into their financials, no matter where the data is coming from. Intacct’s solution, for instance, captures both financial and operational data, and it’s capable of syncing up with your business’s other digital systems and best-in-breed software, so decision-makers have access to metrics and insights spanning their organization. These can be as holistic or granular as they need to be, and they’re easily explored using web-based dashboards.

Security Control

As detailed in Cloud Solutions Deliver Security and Peace of Mind to Today’s Financial Teams, financial management and accounting software solutions like Intacct’s offer multiple security safeguards across their applications, processes, and servers to ensure customers’ data is “safer in the cloud” than it could ever be living in on-premise and paper-based systems.

No matter how you look at it, you can trust your financial data and processes to the cloud. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our expertise with cloud technology and discuss solutions that might make sense for your growing business.

Best of Breed Software in the Cloud

How Best of Breed Applications Ramp up the Benefits of the Cloud

In yesterday’s post, we discussed how you can get up and running in the cloud with minimal downtime or interference. Today, however, we would like to discuss the importance of best-of-breed applications in amplifying the benefits of the cloud—ramping up the speed of implementation, offering you even lower total cost of ownership and faster ROI, and providing your team the software it needs.

What is Best of Breed Software?

In simple terms, best-of breed (or best in class) software is a focused application. Rather than choosing an all-encompassing, monolithic application that touches multiple business lines, a best of breed application is designed to suit the needs of a specific function. This has long been a highly politicized debate in the software selection process, and the debate has been raging for nearly 50 years.

Prior to the rise of the cloud, each side of the debate made headway, pushing toward suites during crises in the 70s and early 2000s, and best of breed during times of economic stability. However the move toward best of breed has taken off, regardless of economic conditions, in the past decade for three major reasons: The push toward the cloud, the diversification of business, and the sheer amount of solutions available.

Now, departments can get a software with all the functionality they need at an affordable price. Sales departments can get the CRM they need, HR can get the HCM software, and payroll can choose on their needs, knowing that each application is built to work with others. Learn more from the Intacct blog, Build Your Own Ecosystem with Best in Class Applications.

Best of Breed Makes Software Selection Easier

What’s the hardest part about selecting software? Getting everyone on board. Selecting a suite requires buy-in from dozens of parts in your organization, and someone always gets the short end of the stick. Even in the heyday of enterprise suites, if half the organization wanted SAP and the other half wanted Oracle, someone was “compromising (losing).”

Even today, there are a multitude of cloud suites. That doesn’t make the selection process any easier or the prospect of compromising any more pleasant. So don’t.

When looking at best of breed applications, you need to include fewer teams, and everyone can get what they want and need. Much less “compromise.”

Best of Breed Cuts Implementation Times Further

If cloud can cut down an implementation time, opting for function-focused software can drive down the time and costs even further. According to Panorama ERP research, in 2015, 57% of ERP (suite) projects had cost and duration overruns and 7% of projects failed. This is a dangerous thought for businesses who make massive investments to make a project happen only to hear over and over that a partner needs more time and money to make a project happen.

Comparatively, best of breed applications, by nature, affect less of your business at once, and get to take the concept of “minimal business impact” to a new level.

Think of an implementation project like a surgery. The doctor (your implementation partner) can either go in, complete the surgery, and have the patient out the door and healthy quickly, or the doctor can open up the patient, increasing the risk, cost, and recovery time.

If they both had the same end result, which would you choose? A risky, intervention-heavy implementation or a minimal intervention surgery (or series of surgeries) that had less risk and equal if not more reward.

Huge ROI, Rapid Payback

As mentioned in our previous blog, the cloud offers both rapid payback and big returns on investment in the form of increased productivity and lower upfront costs. Now imagine that you are not only picking the best application for your specific business and business line, but you are stacking the odds in your favor by reducing the implementation time and risk by choosing a best of breed cloud application.

For companies taking part in this, they are seeing massive ROIs. For example, cloud visionary and best of breed accounting and finance software Intacct has crunched the numbers and found that on average, its customers achieve an average 250% ROI with the solution and less than 6-month payback period.

Focused Upgrades

The cloud makes updates and upgrades easy, completing update projects when you’re off the clock, pushing updates through with no manual work on your behalf. Now, updates have to be easy, and provide minimal interference with your business, because most best of breed software solutions update more often than a suite. Since a best of breed provider can put all of its R&D into making one product better (as opposed to spreading money across multiple platforms), updates are more frequent and more user-focused.

Additionally, since best of breed solutions were built to integrate, the updates are completed with integrations in mind, so you won’t lose a connection, for instance, between finance and CRM. For suites, the answer is a bit more ambiguous, as most of them were built to be the “end all, be all,” so an update can leave your IT team scrambling to make fixes to an integration—all because Bob in sales wasn’t happy with the CRM offered by the suite.

All While Offering the Security, Control, and Scalability You Deserve

Not only are cloud applications inherently more secure than on-premises ones, the decision to build an ecosystem of applications will also help your IT team to mitigate the risks of Shadow IT. The biggest problem with suites is that certain modules end up becoming “shelfware” when professionals decide to break away from the suite to choose something more efficient.

Unfortunately, it’s much harder to find a product that can connect a suite to a “non-approved application.” This leads to a situation where an employee “goes rogue,” adding a tool without IT support to make his or her job easier. Unfortunately, an unvetted, unapproved software connected to your most important business processes isn’t exactly a boon for safety or security.

By letting people choose from a list of approved applications (as opposed to one), you get better security due to better adoption.

Conclusion: Cloud + Best of Breed = Winning

When you look at the cloud, the best way to amplify the advantages, minimize business interruption, and get up and running is to leverage best of breed applications to take the value further. While we feel that we’ve presented the facts, if you’re still not convinced, we’d love to field your questions. Get in contact with rinehimerbaker to learn more.

Cloud Software Hit the Ground Running

How Upgrading to the Cloud Lets You Hit the Ground Running

At growing businesses, momentum is the name of the game. New customers, new revenue streams, new funding sources—no matter the industry, it’s a great feeling to watch your organization start making a larger impact. For some organizations, however, there comes a point where growth becomes painful.

Normally, this painful growth occurs when you start pushing a system or software beyond its limits. People can always rise to the occasion, but expecting enterprise level output from entry-level software would be akin to taking a pontoon boat into the Atlantic.

When you outgrow an entry level software, there are many things that stand in your way. Manual processes, an overreliance on paper and spreadsheets, or even something like a limitation on file size or processing speed, there are always some roadblocks that pop up.

Even if this ‘status quo’ sounds painful, the prospect of moving to a new application may sound just as dreadful. The selection process, the implementation process, and training process may make the status quo sound surprisingly pleasant. There are many reasons this thought process is wrong and could even be dangerous.

Over the next two days, we will be sharing with you two blogs. Today’s blog will share with you how a cloud solution lets you ‘hit the ground running,’ minimizing implementation hiccups and allowing you to start using it quickly. Tomorrow’s article will cover these same benefits, offering insights on why a best of breed/best in class solution can amplify the advantages.

Quick, Efficient Implementation

There’s no denying that a software implementation is a hassle. From the ego-deflating process in which you are told that your current processes are faulty to the implementation process in which you entrust an organization to move business critical data, you need all of this to be completed in as little time as possible, with minimal interruption.

Think of the implementation process as a major remodel. You understand that what you have now isn’t working, but making a change requires input from stakeholders, quotes from vendors, and a fair amount of time in which someone will be poking around and kicking up dust. This is why you want your implementation partner to get the job done as efficiently, accurately, and quietly as possible.

Take a look at the three different software delivery models, however, and you’ll notice that the biggest difference between the three models is the implementation time:

On-Premises: 12-24 Months

An on-premises implementation could take up to two years to complete. While there are many reasons for this, the main driver for time, cost, and likelihood of overruns stemming from the hardware installation process.

Hosted Applications: 6-24 Months

Vendors who sell hosted applications claim to be selling applications “in the cloud,” when they are still selling an on-premises application. It’ll save you on electric bills, but it won’t change much else—you get all the pitfalls and pain points of an on-premises implementation, you get the added hassle of setting up access, and it’s still taking just as long. In fact, a recent article on the rinehimerbaker site, Don’t Fall Into A Faux Cloud Trap, explored the many pitfalls of hosted applications.

Cloud Applications: As Little as 3 Months

In the cloud, you can be up and running much more quickly. For example, a best of breed accounting software implementation could be completed in as little as 3 months (full suites may take up to 12 months for midsized organizations). Learn more about how best of breed makes this happen.

Rapid Payback, High ROI

If you can get software up and running faster, you can reap the rewards sooner. With a lower risk of cost and time overruns, fewer opportunities for the project to fail completely, and fewer upfront costs, you begin to recapture your investment sooner.

Lower Upfront Costs

In fact, when comparing on-premises and cloud implementations, Strategy& found that when you add up labor and hardware costs, an on-premises implementation project costs 1,043% more than a cloud one.

Why? It’s simple, as you’ll see in the table below:

On-Premises/Hosted Cloud/SaaS
  • Money first: Pay upfront for licensing
  • Hardware
  • Labor to install the hardware
  • Implementation
  • Customization
  • End-User Training
  • IT Training
  • Pay as you go: Pay a monthly cancel-anytime-you-want subscription fee.
  • Implementation
  • Customization
  • Training


“So,” you may say to yourself, “I can pay up front so that I can save later.” Not so fast.

Comparable Ongoing Costs

The Strategy& study found that in addition to the immense upfront/one-time costs for on-premises, five-year ongoing costs were similar. This is because on-premises still requires additional labor (in house and consultant) to provide ongoing maintenance and support, apply patches and upgrades, and maintain databases, network security, and more.

What Does This Mean? Faster Payback, Bigger Returns

Combine the lower implementation costs with productivity gains, and you recognize some big, beautiful, glorious returns in the cloud.

For example, as early as 2009 (before the mainstreaming of the cloud), IBM estimates saw a 4.85-month payback period for a banking client and 157% Annual ROI when they moved to the cloud. In 2017, the average customer of cloud-based ERP solution Intacct sees less-than-six-month payback periods and achieves 250% return on investment.

Take Advantage of Anytime, Anywhere Access

The modern cloud has allowed critical business applications including accounting, finance, planning, budgeting, compliance, legal, and more to be run anywhere. However, let’s take a step back to learn about the effects the cloud had on businesses, using one of the first large-scale cloud application as an example.

Before the cloud offered anytime, anywhere access to salespeople, Friday used to be a nightmare. Rather than spending the day on the links with a client or working on-site to close a deal, many members of your outside sales team had to head back to the office to update CRM, file expense reports, and complete housekeeping duties.

Now, your salespeople can make updates to customer relationship management software, follow up with clients, and accomplish any necessary sales tasks from a phone, tablet, or laptop anywhere in the world. Today, however, it’s not just CRM. In 2017, professionals in finance, accounts payable, human resources, and more have been empowered by the cloud to get the job done—when and where they need to do it.

Better Security and Reliability Than Most Businesses Can Afford

If you’re like most, it’s unlikely you have armed guards, reinforced concrete walls, or a second, just-as-secure location that continuously mirrors the original. It’s unlikely that your internal team can guarantee that you won’t lose more than four hours of work in the event of a disaster.

Learn more about how cloud applications deliver much-needed security and reliability to businesses at lower costs in our recent blog—Delivering Security and Peace of Mind in the Cloud.

Technology for Big Fish—At a Small Pond Price

Possibly the biggest reason to choose cloud is that you get to leverage economies of scale. Whether you’re just moving away from entry-level software or looking for an application that can handle an IPO, you are getting the same enterprise-ready solution at a price you can afford. There are many reasons for this.

The first benefit is that your cloud vendor is negotiating data center and service prices on behalf of thousands of customers. This offers them leverage in negotiating, allowing them to get lower costs. Your cloud provider is able to take these savings and pass them on to you—either by keeping costs low or increasing R&D.

Second, your cloud provider can roll out an update for every user at once. This reduces the need to create multiple patches for multiple products, saving you money.

On top of this, you get an added benefit: The aforementioned updates don’t derail your business. Rather than an on-premises or hosted update that occurs much more rarely and is much more challenging (think of any update or patch as a mini-implementation), an update in the cloud is easy—generally occurring when you are least likely to need access to the software.

All of this combines to give you a platform that even a decade ago would be unaffordable for a small/medium business or nonprofit organization. This in turn drives the ROI even higher—you make giant leaps in productivity, especially as compared to an entry-level platform.

Ready to Grow with You

The thing about growing organizations, they are still growing. This is often one of the main reasons for a delay in making an upgrade, as it isn’t wise to buy something that you will grow out of in a couple years. It’s important to find a software platform that will be able to handle your needs—even when your company is 2, 4, or 50 times larger than it is today.

With per-user pricing in the cloud, you get the amount of software you need for the number of users you currently have—no more, no less. Rather than the on-premises approach—paying for something built for 500 users when you currently have 50, or for 100 users when you may soon have 500—you pay for 50 when you need 50, 100 when you need 100, and 500 when you need 500.

Conclusion: The Cloud Makes Sense for Your Growing Business

These are just a few of the many benefits of the cloud for your growing business. There are books that have been written on how the cloud makes life easier for businesses, and we were aiming for 1,000 words. Stay tuned for a follow-up to this blog on how best-in-class amplifies each of the aforementioned benefits, learn more about the solutions we offer, and get in contact with us for more details.

Real Time Information Cloud Accounting

How the Cloud Provides Real Time Insights for Real Time Decision Making

Financial professionals at growing organizations face a ton of challenges. From ‘doing more with less’ to ‘taking on more roles to support the company and inform executives,’ there is little time to waste. Unfortunately, with this rapid growth comes the fact that there will only be more work to do in the future, and with the talent gap that exists, it’s unlikely you will have the help to do it. This is why it’s important to save time wherever you can and improve the speed and confidence in the way you make decisions.

The Need for Speed

One of the biggest challenges that growing organizations face is that employees need to do more without adding staff. However, as an organization grows, there are more transactions, more requests from stakeholders, and more numbers to crunch. This means more work inputting data into the accounting software (or worse—spreadsheets), manipulating the data into something useful, and creating actionable outputs in the form of reports.

Speed and automation were just a couple of the eight things you should look for in an accounting software solution. Click the aforementioned link to see part 1, and read part 2 of that blog here.

Three Reasons You Need Accurate Real-Time Information At Your Business

We briefly recognized lack of speed as one of the top challenges in our blog on knowing when QuickBooks no longer makes the cut, but would like to talk today about why speed and real-time decision-making is so important for organizations looking to jump on new opportunities when the time is right.

The Agility You Need

The beauty of working at a small business is that you can move faster than an enterprise. Unfortunately this agility can’t be recognized without the right information at the right times.

If you are spending too much time crunching the numbers that your company can’t recognize the first-mover advantage that exists when there are no committees and sub-committees of decision makers and influencers. Real-time decision making requires real-time information, when you need it, where, you need it, and how you need it:

  • When You Need It: With smarter accounting from Intacct, organizations can generate reports with the click of a button—no downloading of files or manipulation of data within Excel.
  • Where You Need It: Out of the office? Generate a report. On your phone? Approve an expense. Thanks to its cloud-based design, you can access Intacct securely wherever and whenever you need.
  • How You Need It: Slice and dice your information how you see fit. Intacct is the only mid-market cloud financial application that shows business and operational metrics by any dimension that matters to your business.

Accuracy You Can Rely On

Did you know that nearly every spreadsheet contains errors? If you are driving the decision making at your business with financial metrics, you need to make sure that the numbers are right, as an incorrectly calculated number could mean that you are jumping at an opportunity that you can’t fund, or taking a holding stance when you actually could make a move.

With over 11,000 customers, Intacct has a repeatable, accurate, and efficient way of stacking up the numbers, and has the development capabilities to provide the answers you need.

Time Savings to Deliver Better Strategy

With APQC estimating that nearly half of a financial professional’s time being spent on transaction processing—making sure the lights are on—they also estimate that only 18% is spent on control, 17% is spent on decision support, and 16% on management activities.

With all this time spent on basic activities, and so little being spent improving the business, there is a lot of room for improvement. Executives want fast, reliable, and concise information about how decision A will impact outcome B.

APQC found that successful companies have worked hard to boost the productivity of their transaction processing, simplifying systems, reducing the number of vendors, employing workflow automation for processes like invoice approvals, streamlining ERP environments, and standardizing to a single chart of accounts.

If you hope to take the steps to reduce the time spent processing transactions so you can get back to improving the business, you need to automate what you can so you can put those skills to better use.

Learn Even More

Our latest whitepaper, Taking Your Accounting System to the Next Level, explores some of the warning signs, challenges, and opportunities that organizations face when they outgrow entry-level accounting software. Download the whitepaper here, take your understanding even further by reading the 2017 Buyer’s Guide to Accounting Software on Intacct’s website, or learn more by reading the preview of our whitepaper below.

Free up your schedule with cloud accounting

How Cloud Accounting Delivers the Hidden Value of Wasting Time

Getting more done in less time and finishing a task early. Doesn’t it sound fabulous? Also too good to be true, perhaps, because there’s always something we can do to with that extra time to be even more productive. But why not take a counter-intuitive approach: use that extra time to do anything but work. You just might get more done in the log-run. Read more