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.

QuickBooks Upgrade Guide

New Whitepaper Explores the Pitfalls of Companies Outgrowing QuickBooks

When you’re just starting out, it’s good to stick with what you know, what’s affordable, and what’s built for a business of your size. For most small businesses, this means the adoption of an Entry-level accounting system like QuickBooks, which is built to handle the basic needs of entrepreneurs—offering basic functionality at a reasonable price.

How Can You Tell You’ve Outgrown QuickBooks?

This is great for the early stages of a business, but when you begin to grow, you begin to notice that your software isn’t helping you get what you need—the right information at the right time, and isn’t making your job any easier. It takes longer to close the books, the software runs slower, and essentially, you begin to learn that the software is holding you back.

In an earlier rinehimerbaker blog, we explored some of the biggest red flags that pop up—limited reporting, double entry and keying errors, impersonal support, a lack of integration, and lack of speed—that appear when your business outgrows QuickBooks. We followed this up with an article highlighting the three biggest things holding your finance department back and the five biggest mistakes made at growing companies.

Take Your Accounting to the Next Level

Today, we would like to share with you a new, complete resource helping you to take inventory of where you are now and to make a decision that can facilitate growth by making your job easier. Our new whitepaper, Outgrowing QuickBooks—How to Know It’s Time to Change, shares with readers:

  • Eight Signs that Your Organization Isn’t Achieving Its Potential
  • Major Considerations You Should Make When Choosing a New Accounting Software
  • Six Steps to Implementing a New Accounting Software Built for Company Growth

Outgrowing QuickBooks: Challenges and Opportunities

All this and more is available when you download Outgrowing QuickBooks—How to Know It’s Time to Change. Learn more by reading the first 3 pages of the whitepaper below:

How to tell you've outgrown QuickBooks

5 Common Accounting Mistakes Made By Growing Companies

Conventional wisdom tells us that we have to make mistakes in order to learn and grow. That’s definitely the case with on-the-rise businesses, who make plenty of mistakes as they move their operations from entrepreneurial through enterprise-level. Sure, there’s a lot of in-between—but near-constant change and recalibration in the ways the organization manages everything from its finances and supplier relationships to customers and human resources means plenty of opportunity for missteps.

When it comes to its accounting functions, a business needs to repeatedly scale to accommodate new partners, additional transactions, and more complexities at almost every turn. So what mistakes are commonly made along this road of growth? And perhaps more importantly, what do innovative leaders do to better manage change and arm their finance and accounting teams with the tools for success? To avoid making the mistakes in the first place?

Let’s take a look.

Failing to Deliver Insights On-Demand

As a company grows, the stakes get ever greater. Not only do decision-makers have more questions to ask, they have more question to answer from various stakeholders. Their answers need to be informed—relying on more than gut instinct. And financial data is often the most important part of what they need to consider while selecting the “best” path forward.

In the early stages of company growth, it was perhaps easier to produce actionable insights because there was simply less to “go on.” But with increased complexity (and more information available from the accounting department), running reports and landing on the critical numbers takes longer—that is, as long as the finance and accounting team is still using yesterday’s technology.

When a manager asks for performance results or projections based operational or financial data (especially if it’s real-time data), they need to see it now. If your team can’t deliver it until tomorrow, it becomes clear to all that you probably should have upgraded your finance and accounting software yesterday.

With Intacct, your team is empowered to create any kind of report, dashboard, or visualization they want, with exactly the metrics they need. And that enables managers to ask new business questions, get fast answers, and make confident decisions—in the now. For more insights, turn to The 3 Top Reasons Your Accounting Team Wants to Upgrade to Intacct.

Keeping Your Financial Information in Silos

Another side effect of managing a growing business is a set of disparate business systems. In the first place, they weren’t set up to “go together,” so they don’t “grow together.” Secondly, if they’re legacy or manual-based systems, they no longer offer adequate functionality, which further fragments processes via workarounds and system band-aids. The result is often poor communication between people in different functional areas and not enough sharing of data—making it almost impossible to compare apples to apples and get full visibility into the business’s financial health.

The reality is that when your systems are siloed, you’re not getting the most out of your ever-expanding data. And you’re likely draining productivity, too, as everyone is working towards different goals, with competing agendas. The reality is that systems and people need more—not less—alignment as the business grows. If you’re not bringing them together, you may be thwarting forward momentum. Consider the opportunity costs!

Modern finance accounting systems are powerful enough to integrate functions, pulling data from multiple sources of information to aid in tasks like reporting and document retrieval. With Intacct’s flexible, services oriented architecture (SOA), you can sync up to your other business applications, such as:

  • CRM and sales force automation
  • Human resources
  • Inventory and fixed assets
  • Project management
  • Payment processing
  • Payroll and ACH

With the right system integrations in place, your information becomes more powerful—and so do the insights and decisions they inform.

Relying on Manual Accounting Processes

Consider your finance and accounting team’s various tasks and related workflows: vendor management, billing, journaling, making payments, reporting…this is just for starters, and the work is getting more comprehensive as the company gets bigger, expanding into new markets and into multiple entities. Now consider the work associated with following-up on unpaid invoices, getting caught-up with old expense reports, spending late nights at the office to close the monthly books.

If there’s “manual processing” written all over these tasks, your team is likely spending more time and energy on a daily basis than they need to. Now that your company is bigger, the old methods of accounting (both managerial and financial) have become unwieldy. It would be a mistake to keep plugging along this way—and to not start automating. Using modern technology to take care of tasks like recordkeeping, issuing invoices, paying bills, managing expenses, generating reports, etc., will free up your team to focus on more strategic efforts.

Read Stop Relying on Spreadsheets and Luck – There’s a Better Way

Adopting automation through Intacct is a sure-fire way to relieve your manual woes. Learn more about how to embrace the automation needed to thrive today.

Not Having Audit-Ready Financials

Are you ready for a visit from the auditor? Do you know what it takes to be audit-ready? Do you want your audit process to run smoothly upon a solid foundation of well-documented transactions and accurate balances? Do you make it easy for your auditor to find the information they need?

If reading these questions leaves you feeling uneasy, there’s hope ahead. It’s never too late to start improving your accounting processes to avoid costly mistakes and oversights. According to Intacct, there are three things you need to be audit-ready:

  • Revenue – ensure your accounting system effectively automates, manages, and documents your revenue accounting treatment, with the ability to define separate revenue recognition schedules and rules for each individual contract and line item.
  • Receivables – establish an auditable basis for assessing the value of receivables. Your accounting software must track complete transaction details “forever” and maintain secure access to complete customer histories, allocating payments to the right invoices and periods.
  • Consolidation – understand that massive spreadsheets tend to contain formula errors and missing some general ledger accounts. For a complete and accurate financial consolidation, you should rely on your accounting system automate provide a full set of consolidating and eliminating journal entries so the auditor can see the details behind each entry.

Take A Brief Look Into Revenue Recognition Standards.

Using the Wrong Accounting Software

You may have outgrown the software that worked when you were a smaller organization—or you’re finally accepting that Excel spreadsheets are a far cry from robust accounting/reporting software. Either way, your current system is limiting you and holding you back from faster, more targeted growth.

As the other common mistakes have shown, adopting a built-for-growth finance and accounting software solution is the #1 way to give you more control and visibility into your financials. It can help you avoid mistakes that could be costing your business—or that could lead to opportunity costs. Find out How to Know When QuickBooks No Longer Makes the Cut

Whitepaper: Outgrowing QuickBooks

rinehimerbaker has released a new whitepaper for companies outgrowing QuickBooks. Outgrowing QuickBooks—How to Know It’s Time to Change shares the challenges that businesses face when growing, and the opportunities they have to ease growth. Learn more by reading the first 3 pages of the whitepaper below:

Seven Deadly Sins of Financial Management

Infographic: Seven Deadly Sins of Financial Management

As your business grows, you begin to notice that the challenges of today take a little bit longer to address than they used to. With more growth comes more data, and with more data comes more time needed to complete basic tasks like closing the books each month. Unfortunately, in the wake of growth, too many businesses commit one or more of the following sins that limit visibility and cause business pain.

Related: What to Do When You Realize You’re Outgrowing QuickBooks

Seven Deadly Sins of Financial Management

A recently released infographic took a look at common business practices that hinder growth, especially when you’re outgrowing entry-level accounting software like QuickBooks, noting the following seven sins that finance leaders commit, many of which can slow your business to a grinding halt:

  1. Scattered Business Data: How much harder is it to close the books each month than it was last month or last year? As you grow, you have more financial data being generated each month, and managing this data in spreadsheets or on paper is not a good solution.
  2. Departmental Silos: Did you get that email? How about that invoice—that was sent three weeks ago? Communication between departments can make for a huge drag on company productivity, and for many organizations the best way to connect a multitude of departments is to set up an enterprise social network that cuts down on email strings and puts data in front of the necessary users when and where they need it.
  3. Spreadsheet Gluttony: Did you know that 88% of Spreadsheets have errors? With 89% of companies using spreadsheets for planning budgeting and accounting, a pretty hefty amount of organizations could have a fatal mistake somewhere in their books. Learnmore in our recent article, “Don’t Rely on Spreadsheets and Luck—There’s a Better Way.”
  4. Slothful Tracking: Another deadly sin is one that affects more than just finance. When an organization uses laborious manual processes for expense management, they are only managing and measuring, not optimizing. By moving expense management to the cloud, you could see cost savings of over 20% or more.
  5. Stale Financial Data: With so many manual processes in place, data not only takes forever to gather, it is inaccurate and has a short shelf life. Companies looking to overcome this should take a proactive stance, seeking a forward-looking system that can calculate information when you need it, where you need it, and based on the drivers you want.
  6. Lack of Compliance: With new ASC Revenue Recognition standards on the horizon, as well as increasing scrutiny into the numbers from customers and investors, compliance is a necessity moving forward—and spreadsheets can’t cut it.
  7. Antiquated Technology: Many of the solutions available to growing businesses were designed before the dawn of the internet, not for the modern needs of the modern business. Without forward-thinking technology, your organization is stuck in the past and unable to focus on technology.

See the Entire Infographic

The following infographic shares more about how you can gain absolution for these sins, so that you don’t end up in accounting hell (or worse—jail).

Related: Three Reasons Your Accounting Team Wants Intacct

Seven Deadly Sins of Financial Management

Gain Absolution with Modern Accounting

If you want to fight off expense tracking sloth, spreadsheet gluttony, and more, you need to swallow your pride and understand that it’s not you, it could be your processes or systems. Learn more about taking control of your organizations financial future by downloading the whitepaper, Eliminating the Risks of Spreadsheets in Finance, as well as by perusing the 2017 Buyer’s Guide to Accounting Software.

Ready to learn more? rinehimerbaker has released a new whitepaper for companies outgrowing QuickBooks.

Outgrowing QuickBooks—How to Know It’s Time to Change shares some of the biggest challenges that businesses face when growing, and the opportunities they have to ease growth.

Learn more by reading the first 3 pages of the whitepaper below:

More than Luck for Finance

Stop Relying on Spreadsheets and Luck—There’s a Better Way

St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, and if you’re still hoping for the “Luck of the Irish” when it comes to accuracy and efficiency in managing accounting processes at your growing business with entry level accounting software, we have some bad news for you. At some point, your luck will run out, and all of the negativity will manifest itself, leaving you mired in mediocrity.

Fortune Favors the Prepared

Whether the downfall begins with a corrupted or overloaded QuickBooks File, the discovery of a fatal error in your spreadsheet (88% of spreadsheets have some kind of error), or some other form of mistake that puts your business in peril, it’s time to stop relying on luck as a business model.

According to the Ventana Research Report, Eliminating the Risks of Spreadsheets in Finance, spreadsheets are cumbersome, risk- and error-prone, and separating you from the visibility you need and deserve.

The report, available for download from Intacct, goes on to note that while a vast majority of executives at midsized organizations (91%) are hoping that finance can play a bigger, more strategic role in the future, too many finance professionals can’t make that happen due to a lack of time and other resources.

Make Accounting Strategic Again

So what can you do to empower your finance teams to think more strategically—now and in the future? Ventana provides in-depth analysis of three goals on which you should focus:

  • Automating Complex Tasks as Much As Possible: One such process that will become a major time drain is the revenue recognition process under the new ASC 606/IFRS 15 standards. Learn more about what those standards mean and how you can prepare here (Part 1, Part 2).
  • Eliminating Spreadsheets in Core Financial Processes: Ventana reports that 75% of midsized companies use spreadsheets heavily in their closing process and 53% use spreadsheets for consolidation. These companies feel the pain through increased monthly/quarterly close time and inability to use this information to make more informed decisions.
  • Improve the Accuracy and Efficiency of Collecting and Reporting Information: For many midsized organizations, the collection and reporting on of information in a spreadsheet is ineffective. For example, the time and expense management process should have workflows in place that can allocate expenses, but even the most adept spreadsheet users can’t track this information in an efficient or accurate manner.

Save Time, Improve Accuracy: Stop Hoping for the Luck of the Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are great for personal productivity, but when they’re used for complex processes, their weaknesses begin to manifest, and your organization begins to feel the pain. In fact, organizations that have made the move to an enterprise application like ERP are not only able to save time and money, they are able to allow financial professionals to focus their attention where it matters—driving strategic growth. Learn more in the Ventana Report, Eliminating the Risks of Spreadsheets in Finance, available from Intacct.

Whitepaper: Outgrowing QuickBooks

rinehimerbaker has released a new whitepaper for companies outgrowing QuickBooks. Outgrowing QuickBooks—How to Know It’s Time to Change shares the challenges that businesses face when growing, and the opportunities they have to ease growth. Learn more by reading the first 3 pages of the whitepaper below:

How to tell you've outgrown QuickBooks

How to Know When QuickBooks No Longer Makes the Cut

When a business outgrows an entry-level accounting software like QuickBooks, financial decision-makers have a series of realizations, decisions, and questions that will define the way their organization works in the near- and long-term future.

The first realization is often one of the hardest: Realizing that “It’s time.”  For many of us, QuickBooks is like the first apartment we have out of college: affordable, cozy, and humble—essentially a roof over your head. Too quickly, however, that “roof over your head” becomes a constraint. You’re running out of space and you need more from your investment.

When a “Roof Over Your Head” Accounting Software Holds You Back from Growth

Similar to that small apartment, QuickBooks has constraints, namely in the form of theoretical company file size limitations—once the file size reaches 150 MB for Pro and Premiere and 1 GB for Enterprise, or the number of list items in the file exceeds 10,000 (Pro/Premiere) or 100,000 (Enterprise), the software begins to slow down, data gets corrupted, and working in QuickBooks becomes a hassle, according to a QuickBooks support company.

The company goes on to recommend three options—one of which includes starting a brand new company file, a process that includes recreating all of your opening balances and lists.

Even if you do take this “brute force” approach of starting a new company file, it’s likely as a growing business that you’re processing more transactions, paying more employees, and working with more suppliers, meaning that it’s only a matter of time before you have to do this again.

Common Complaints and Why They Occur

Size is just one of the issues that growing organizations face. A survey completed by a Colorado-based QuickBooks support company found that while QuickBooks was regarded for its ease of use and ability to meet basic business needs, business users also found many issues:

  1. Limited reporting
  2. Double entry and keying errors
  3. Generic and impersonal support
  4. Standalone application Lacks integration
  5. Speed

There are many reasons for these issues:

  • The first two of these are generally the result of QuickBooks’ need for you to use Excel for any additional functionality.
  • The lack of personalized support comes from the sheer size and broad focus of the company—85% of the estimated 29.6 million small businesses in the US use
  • The lack of integration comes as a result of many reasons including its original nature as a desktop application (QuickBooks Online has made improvements, but there’s still a long road ahead) and its focus on basic small business accounting (which often doesn’t need other software like that for T&E, Billing, or CRM).
  • Speed is a result of the aforementioned file size issues, as well as the amount of manual processes, lack of integration, and the need of growing businesses for advanced functionality.

Making the Jump: Accounting Software for Every Size

When day-to-day operations become days-to-days, month-end closing takes weeks to complete, and reporting requires a melting pot of applications to complete, it’s time to realize that you’ve made it—you’ve hit the point when congratulations are in order. Your business has become highly successful, but in order to continue this success, it’s time to make a change.

Just as you left your tiny apartment for something bigger that met your needs, so must you make the decision to take the leap to the next step to choose something that can handle your business in its current state. Unlike your apartment, the “next step” will have fewer constraints, even if you grow.

Since 1997, Intacct has been a leading option for growing businesses, and has continued to improve its offering, now providing the same highly-functional, best-of-breed accounting with affordable options for businesses of all sizes—from the emerging small business to the software startup to the pre- and post-IPO public company.

Next Steps

Learn more about what it means for your business when you outgrow QuickBooks, and learn more about how to make the decision by downloading the latest whitepaper on choosing an accounting software for your growing business.

rinehimerbaker has released a new whitepaper for companies outgrowing QuickBooks. Outgrowing QuickBooks—How to Know It’s Time to Change shares the challenges that businesses face when growing, and the opportunities they have to ease growth. Learn more by reading the first 3 pages of the whitepaper below: