How SMBs Tackle New Challenges

How SMBs Are Meeting Today’s Top Accounting Challenges

Your company may have twenty employees—or have a twenty-person finance and accounting department. Either way, your team likely grapples with processes or systems that no longer serve you. Business growth leads to any number of challenges, but aren’t they just opportunities to improve and work smarter?

Let’s look at some research data that sheds light on the challenges commonly faced by smaller companies and explore how they, as well as their medium-sized counterparts, can overcome them. You just might find yourself inspired to nudge your finance and accounting team in a new direction.

Common Accounting Challenges

Wasp Barcode Technologies’ Small Business Accounting Report reveals these top challenges facing companies with 11-100 employees:

  1. Accounts receivable/collections (51%)
  2. Cash flow (44%)
  3. Managing paperwork (33%)
  4. Closing the books each month (28%)
  5. Managing payroll (27%)

There’s nothing surprising on this list. It’s indicative of an early stage of business growth—or simply a company with rising business requirements and a lean departmental staff. While there are surely some exceptions, financial and accounting tasks tend to start out in manual workflows, managed on paper, in Excel spreadsheets, or using boxed accounting software. Day-to-day operations take precedence over weekly or monthly activities, like payroll and reporting. As the company grows, growing pains ensue.

While your business may be larger today, you’ve “been there.” And you may be facing similar challenges as your medium-sized or mid-market business continues to grow. The issues, however, become even more complex, especially if you’re not addressing them with automation. For instance, streamlining AP/AR processes to scale becomes more and more essential to handle larger volumes of transactions. Manual processing won’t get the job done today or tomorrow.

What’s more, managing cash flow, while always critical, eventually evolves into a bigger job thanks to expanding vendor relationships and changes in revenue recognition requirements. With continued growth, closing the books on time becomes more about accounting for multiple locations or providing more detailed reports to decision-makers. The need for change often comes down to the proliferation of data—and having the resources and technology to manage it effectively.

Rising to the Challenge

Most companies seeking scale don’t want to hire new employees to pick up the slack. Rather, they aim to do more with less, maximizing the time and energy of their existing staff while finding other solutions to get the work done.


According to the Wasp Barcode Technologies’ survey, most small business owners, whether they employ 12 or 100 employees, are simply “knowledgeable” about accounting and finance. And only 30% have a CFO on staff. This helps explain why many such companies turn to third party experts for help with at least one of these accounting services:

  • Tax preparation (71%)
  • Payroll (50%)
  • Audit (48%)
  • Tax planning (30%)
  • Personal finances (16%)
  • Bookkeeping (14%)

While an outsourced accounting partner can help fill the knowledge gaps and provide important services, they’re not the best long-term solution for a growing company who wants to build comprehensive in-house capabilities.

New Technology

A SMB on the fast-track to growth—and who wants their internal finance and accounting organization to drive strategy and outcomes—will find that investing in the right technology will deliver incredible value without increasing headcount. Even if it makes sense to retain a relationship with an accountant to handle taxes, investing dollars into enterprise software is a surefire way to keep key administrative processes in-house while leveraging transactional and operational data to optimize workflows that boost the bottom-line.

Cloud-based financial management and accounting software, like that on the Sage Intacct platform, is developed for companies looking to scale through automation, enhanced user access and collaboration, built-in integrations, and more.

Learn more about the benefits of cloud accounting and contact our team for advice on turning your challenges into opportunities!

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