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Managing a Cultural Shift in the Cloud

Company Culture’s Role in Successful Cloud-Based Software Adoption Part 2: Leading the Charge

“Company culture is either the number one catalyst or inhibitor to progress.” This according to Brian Solis, who has been a leader in the digital transformation movement, is one of the biggest reasons that you need to change the way your people think if you hope to have a successful cloud journey.

In the first part of this blog, we explored the connection between culture and cloud readiness. Today, we would like to look at some of the steps you need to take to lead your change initiative as you work to transform your business.

Managing a Commitment to Change

Influencing—and inspiring—culture change across your organization requires a concerted effort amongst company leaders to adapt their communications to align with the transparency, flexibility, and agility afforded by your new technology. Before managers can help employees/users learn their new responsibilities, processes and procedures, they have to participate in a “global” initiative to set a positive tone and trajectory for the technology project—and keep the momentum going.

Here are best practices to consider as you take your journey of digital (and cultural) transformation:

Set and share a clear vision. What values do you want your employees to embrace—and personify—as they adopt new technology tools and resources? Formalizing your intentions to serve as a guide will prepare your leadership team, and eventually employees, to embody an innovative, tech-driven culture.

Start from the top. Support from the C-suite is critical—and not only because you need their sign-off to purchase your new technology. Their ongoing partnership is essential to creating a culture that values technology, is willing to evolve with changes, and looks forward to learning new ways of working.

Establish a multi-departmental team. While selecting technology solutions and preparing for the change—not to mention rolling out the changes—it’s helpful to depend on the talents and influence of leaders and power users across the company. These “champions” can help you anticipate areas of potential resistance, collect feedback, and communicate changes and project updates with their respective teams, making for a smoother transition for everyone.

Select the right solution(s). If you implement a solution that doesn’t match your requirements, any enthusiasm you’ve built up around the change will fall flat. It’s so important to get the technology “right” from the very beginning—and working with a trusted technology consultancy is often your best route to success.

Send frequent communications. Keep employees informed on organizational goals and technology project timelines and milestones. Depending on the communications preferences of your workforce, share information with them over different channels and formats so you’re sure to effectively connect with everyone. Your messaging should lead with benefits (e.g. increased productivity, 24/7 system access and mobility, enhanced collaboration) and always provide next steps for learning more or providing feedback.

Depend on your implementation partners. When it comes to securing training materials, user support, and all of the other resources you’ll need to drive ongoing change, your third-party partners will have you covered. Experts in the technology you’re implementing and experienced with deployments, they can help you and your entire workforce stay the course—and always moving forward.

At rinehimerbaker, we know what it takes to successfully introduce game-changing technology and bring your company culture along for the exciting ride. Contact us to learn more.

Don’t miss:

3 Things Keeping Your Finance Team From Unlocking Their Potential

Meet the Expectations of Top Financial Talent with Cloud-Based Software

Building a Cloud Focused Culture

Company Culture’s Role in Successful Cloud-Based Software Adoption Part 1: Understanding the Cloud Culture Connection

If your organization’s digital transformation includes introducing your employees to a cloud-based business software solution, you can’t afford to underestimate the role company culture plays in the process. Take it from Brian Solis, who claims “company culture is either the number one catalyst or inhibitor to progress.” By now, the cloud-culture connection is practically conventional wisdom, as digital innovation and success go hand-in hand.

Business leaders are eager to practice culture-change management alongside technology implementation—but no one says it’s easy. In fact, Gartner’s recent Chief Data Officer Survey reveals that “cultural challenges to accept change” is the top internal roadblock to the success of chief data officers today. It’s a roadblock that can most certainly be overcome.

While you can implement a cloud-based business system without addressing company culture, why not take the opportunity to do so? Read on for insights and best practices for achieving employee buy-in, successful uptake of new technology, and other indicators of a successful technology-inspired culture change, whatever these might be for your organization. In part two, we will explore the process for managing change as you head to the cloud.

Understanding the Cloud-Culture Connection

On the surface, introducing new technologies to your workforce might look like a simple shift toward automation, cost-savings, and increased productivity—and it is! Consider the far-reaching impacts of adopting a cloud-based financial management and accounting solution. But it also represents a new approach to data management, a new approach to decision-making, a new approach to achieving a competitive position in the marketplace, a new approach to customer service, and a new approach to managing employees and their responsibilities—and this is just for starters.

Introducing new technologies sends a clear message to employees—it tells them you’re committed to business growth through digital innovation—and your new approach requires new thinking: a new mindset for everyone from the C-Suite and beyond. If “innovation” my means of technology isn’t already one of your company’s core values, it’s time to undertake a culture change.

Consider how the Institute for Digital Transformation describes the result of a culture change:

  • A culture of an empowered team passionately engaged and invested in the long-term success of the business.
  • Everyone is focused on pro-actively eliminating non-value-added activities and their costs on an ongoing basis.
  • The vision and direction of the organization are clear to all, and every individual understands how to best contribute to the achievement of the goals of the organization and is empowered to act.
  • Every employee is engaged in watching the startup community, other industries, your customers, and your competition for new developments or uses of technology that might be adapted by or against your business.

Indeed, your new cloud-based business software (and other technology) is going to contribute to the long-term success of your business—but there’s a learning curve that needs to be addressed first. Your employees need to become “one” in a mindset that drives the progress-yielding behavior change. Everyone needs to understand why change is necessary, how it will be introduced, and what the new approach asks of them. In other words, simply having the technology and processes in place isn’t necessarily going to lead to the results you’re hoping for.

When It Comes to the Cloud, Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Bringing your business into the cloud is a challenging process, no matter how many benefits exist. As you make the move to the cloud, it’s important to lead the charge at your organization with an effective plan. In part two, we will discuss the process of managing change, offering advice on how to lead a cultural shift.

Sage Intacct Partner of the Quarter

Sage Intacct Names rinehimerbaker, llc Partner of the Quarter Q4 2017

Some big news from the team at rinehimerbaker. Earlier this month, we were named the Sage Intacct Partner of the Quarter for our strong sales performance and high levels of ongoing customer satisfaction. Learn what this means for our prospects and customers below. Read more

Lure the right talent with cloud ERP

Meet the Expectations of Top Financial Talent with Cloud-Based Software

The benefits of cloud-based software are usually cited as lower costs, process and workflow optimization, and scalability. But the attraction and retention of key finance and accounting department personnel is another benefit of implementing the best-in-class technology—one that’s not included in the “top 5 benefits” lists, but should be. The reality is that today’s top financial talent—and tomorrow’s leaders—operate in a digital world, where 24/7 access, insight, and productivity reign. Read more

strategizing Accounts Payable Automation

Overnight Success? Let Strategy Guide Your AP Automation Expectations

Every day, more finance leaders at growing companies buy into the value prop of best-in-class, cloud-based financial management and accounting software. But that doesn’t mean they’re ready to put their money where their mouth is—not yet, anyway. What they have is a chicken-and egg situation: They want to “get strategic” and know they need to make the investment to get there, but they’re afraid the implementation of new technology won’t yield game-changing results fast enough.

They’re probably right, especially if they go into the endeavor with such lofty expectations. Overnight ROI isn’t realistic, but the ROI will appear—and, at some point, it will “take off” to the delight of all stakeholders, thanks largely to the strategic insights it affords finance leaders. When introducing game-changing technology that will eventually live up to its name, success is often dependent on a well-considered plan of attack.

It Takes A Strategy to “Get Strategic”

As we’ve discussed, The Biggest Benefit of Accounts Payable Automation is the strategic value it delivers to your finance and accounting organization—and to the business at large. This value is achieved by improving AP processes, reducing manual workloads, attaining operational efficiencies, enhancing data collection and reporting, and more. The quality of work goes up along with the volume of actionable insight. With more to bring to the table, CFOs and their teams are able to contribute to the strategic conversation and impact the company’s growth in new ways.

Strategic prowess is key—it’s where technology is taking finance leaders. But before they can get down to the business of strategizing they need to take care of other business first. It’s business that can be taken care of, however, by implementing the right technology. Yet consider these findings from Grant Thornton’s 2017 CFO Survey:

  • CFOs’ biggest priorities are increasing cash flow (45%), reducing costs (41%), and strategic planning (40%).
  • 46% believe that their IT platforms lack the ability to operate effectively and require future investment.
  • The barriers standing in the way of future technology growth include managing costs (51%), maintenance of legacy systems (41%) and seamless business integration (40%).

If upgrading their IT environments and adopting technologies like cloud computing and advanced analytics is what it takes to increase cash flow, reduce costs, and “get strategic,” then what’s the hold-up? Decision-makers might need some additional guidance on the matter. 

Get Help Pressing “Go” on the Investment

Recognize that increasing cash flow and reducing costs requires a new approach to accounting processes—it requires technology-driven automation. Deloitte’s assertion, presented in their Strategies for Optimizing Your Accounts Payable report, boils down to the fact that optimizing working capital requires accounts payables optimization! It takes management commitment—yes, a strategic commitment and investment in technology—to:

  • Centralize accounts payable processing and reporting
  • Move the organization toward a paperless processing environment
  • Enable more robust governance practices
  • Improve supplier relationships
  • Create management workflows
  • Strengthen purchasing approval processes

As these processes and workflows improve, your finance and accounting teams will gain the time and insights they need to focus on strategic initiatives. But how long will this take? When will these results be seen?

You should partner with a technology vendor who can help you customize your approach—so you can start seeing results.

  • Set up your software to to work with your existing systems and processes
  • Show you how to use the technology and tools in the effectively way
  • Grow with the technology as gain efficiencies, and growth into future.

Get in contact with us to learn more.

Financial Services and Cloud Accounting

Focus on Customers Drives Cloud Computing Adoption in Financial Services

Remember the “no-internet policy?” It wasn’t so long ago that companies were keeping their employees from exploring the world wide web on company machines. But as all-things-internet have become ubiquitous, including mobile devices and, yes, cloud computing in the workplace, hopping online to get things done—to perform essential professional tasks, let alone browse favorite website—is commonplace. No wonder Gartner reports that by 2020, a corporate “no-cloud” policy will become as rare as a “no-internet” policy is today. Read more

Choosing an accounting basis at your nonprofit organization

How to Choose the Right Basis of Accounting for Nonprofits

Being successful as a nonprofit means that everything needs to fall into place when and where it needs to fall into place. Knowing this, there are many different considerations and moving parts that you can control in order to gain additional visibility, save time, and improve outcomes.

While we discussed some of these factors, including the shift to outcome metrics and things to understand before selecting or changing from a calendar year to a fiscal one, today, we would like to turn our attention to another important consideration: How to choose a basis of accounting.

A recent AICPA article explored the basics on selecting a basis, and how to decide on whether a cash basis, accrual basis, modified cash basis, or tax basis is the proper way to look at the numbers, comparing these options and offering tips on how to select the one that makes the most sense to your nonprofit.

Different Bases of Accounting for Nonprofit Organizations

Whether cash, accrual, modified, or tax year, each basis of accounting listed below poses opportunities and challenges in measurement, disclosure, and reporting.

Cash Basis

If a nonprofit organization uses the cash method of preparing its accounting records and statements, it recognizes income and expenses when they occur. In other words, the nonprofit would record income when it received the funds and not when it is actually earned. It would also record expenses at the time it paid the bill rather than when it incurred the expense.

Example

This is a common approach for smaller nonprofits, as it mirrors a personal “checkbook accounting,” entering debits or credits as they are completed. For example, under a cash basis, if you receive a $10,000 pledge today, you do not record the $10,000 until the money is in the bank.

Pros and Cons

Pros and cons of the cash basis are as follows:

  • Pro: Easier to use on a day-to-day basis as it only requires one entry per transaction.
  • Pro: Due to its straightforward nature, cash basis requires less work and less stress when working with slow-paying funding sources (as opposed to accrual accounting, where money would be booked but the bank accounts could be barren)
  • Con: Must put a disclaimer on year-end reports that you use a cash basis.
  • Con: Presents challenges in visibility, especially for larger nonprofits.

Accrual Basis

Using the accrual method of accounting, a nonprofit recognizes income when they earn it, rather than when they receive it. It would also recognize expenses when they were incurred instead of when the organization paid the bill. For example, using the accrual method a nonprofit would recognize a pledge as income. That would hold true even if it had not yet received all the money, or even any amount of the donation pledged.

Example

Under the accrual method, nonprofits would record revenue and expenses when the transaction takes place, regardless of whether the cash has changed hands. For example, a $10,000 pledge would be recorded immediately and would create a receivables account for outstanding cash.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Offers a more complete view for monthly and quarterly financial statements, allowing you to get a more complete picture of your organization’s financial condition.
  • Con: More work—two entries per transaction and necessary cash flow statements.
  • Con: Requires more time and effort to keep books on a pure accrual basis.

Fund Accounting

Funds accounting is a form of accrual accounting that is specific to nonprofits. As a nonprofit grows, its funding sources can become more diversified. It may receive multiple grants, a government contract, personal donations of cash and goods and donations of time. With the funds basis of accrual accounting, each income stream is given its own accounting code. For example, your Department of Education grant would have its own code. Beyond that, you would be able to assign codes within a category so that you could break up DOE funds between general revenue, service revenue and administrative.

Modified Cash Basis

Modified cash basis statements combine elements of cash basis and accrual accounting. Certain transactions are reported on an accrual basis and others on a cash basis (for example, liabilities may be presented, but fixed assets may not).

The modified cash basis establishes a position part way between the cash and accrual methods. The modified basis has the following features:

  • Records short-term items when cash levels change (the cash basis). This means that nearly all elements of the income statement are recorded using the cash basis, and that accounts receivable and inventory are not recorded in the balance sheet.
  • Records longer-term balance sheet items with accruals (the accrual basis). This means that fixed assets and long-term debt are recorded on the balance sheet, and depreciation and amortization in the income statement.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Makes accounting for small transactions easier while allowing for a more accurate position when looking at fixed assets or large transactions.
  • Pro: Does not need disclaimer on year-end forms.
  • Pro/Con: Very conservative method of recording income and expenses. In this method, you only report cash which has been received, but include expenses whether or not they have been paid.

Tax Basis

While rare in the nonprofit world, there may be some cases for a tax basis for accounting. The tax method of accounting would ensure the financial statements match the organization’s Form 990.

Factors to Consider When Deciding on an Accounting Basis

AICPA author Marc Kotsonas, CPA, Officer- Mahoney Ulbrich Christiansen Russ shared the following six factors in choosing a basis of accounting.

  • Simplicity. The cash method may be the easiest to maintain and understand. Either the money came in or it went out. There are no accruals or allocations to compute. Cash basis financial statements are most common with very small not-for-profits.
  • Savings. Cash basis financial statements may provide administrative savings. With no accruals or allocations to consider, less time is required for accounting. In addition, if the organization has a financial statement audit, there are fewer statements for an auditor to test and issue an opinion on. This would generally reduce the cost of an audit.
  • Regulatory Requirements. Do you have to use a particular basis of accounting? For example, in Minnesota, the Attorney General’s office requires not-for-profits with more than $750,000 in revenue to have audited financial statements under GAAP. The IRS also addresses accounting method in its Form 990 Instructions, so be sure to consider the tax compliance implications of your choice.
  • Organizational Documents. Like regulatory requirements, a not-for-profit’s by-laws may specify the basis of accounting the organization must use. Consider reviewing your organization’s by-laws before undergoing extensive research to make sure you have the flexibility to choose a basis of accounting.
  • Understanding of Financial Position. Financial statements prepared under GAAP typically give readers a better understanding of the financial position of the organization at year-end. GAAP-based financial statements will show payables and other outstanding obligations, as well as any committed receivables or pledges. Cash basis statements often provide limited information. For instance, a not-for-profit that receives donated supplies and materials used in its programs would not capture their value or impact to the organization using cash basis statements.
  • Established Framework. Financial statements prepared using GAAP are based on a familiar framework. Since GAAP is commonly used, it also allows for financial statement comparability. Modified cash basis financials can be presented in any format management chooses, so they may not be comparable with the statements of other organizations.

Learn More: Nonprofit Success with rinehimerbaker

At rinehimerbaker, we are committed to helping you succeed. This is why we have written a series of helpful articles on running the finances at a nonprofit organization. We invite you to learn more by reading our articles on Outcome measures,  improving reporting, and increasing efficiency. Learn even more by reading these two nonprofit success stories from our friends at Sage Intacct, and contact us for more details.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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.

Trade Contractor Accounting Challenges

Three Financial Time Drains for Trade Contractors

There are over 10 million trade service contractors, and while some operate as single independent contractors, many others operate in a larger business unit, with large-scale time management, purchasing, and accounting needs, run either by a business manager or staff who needs to manage purchasing, labor, billing and more.

Whether you’re in the business of electrical work, plumbing, HVAC services, data networking, roofing, painting, carpentry, sheet metal, or one of the many other trades, your industry faces some unique back office challenges.

With this in mind, one of the biggest concerns is likely this: You’re doing more and more work each month, and expected to get it done in the same amount of time. While you used to be making or supporting decisions that positioned your company for growth, nowadays you’re struggling to just complete the basics. In essence, you’re working in your business, not working on it.

Working in vs. Working on Your Trade Contractor Business

For an accounting professional, manager, or other business leader at a trade contractor, working in your business is simple: spending your day completing the necessary tasks in line with your job description.

However, when you’re working on your business, you’re getting all of the necessary tasks done, but also doing work to improve the business. This could include anything from highlighting opportunities for purchasing to save money, finding new opportunities for the project department to improve efficiency, or even finding ways to generate new business. Simply put, working on your business is where the money is made.

Unfortunately, one of the problems that trade contractors face is that leaders constantly get caught up in the minutiae of the daily grind and lose sight of the big picture. With rare exceptions, the people at a business want to help said business grow, but they often lack the processes or technology to do so.

If you really want to start focusing on the big picture, you need to take a step back, look at your everyday tasks, and look for certain things you can automate, so you to get back to working on your business.

Three Necessary Time Drains Preventing You from Working On Your Business

While the trade may differ, the process of accounting for it is relatively similar, and if you’re like most, you waste away on manual processes surrounding one or more of the following tasks.

Contracts, Completion, and Revenue Recognition

Much of your work is based in contracts, and whether you’re looking at the current way of doing business (PCM/CCM) or the ones about to take hold (performance obligation), bringing everything together poses challenges and creates a lot of work.

If the current method seems laborious, the new standards about to take hold will create a new set of challenges, as the contractor task force has been among the most vocal of the AICPA working groups who have noted implementation challenges. For businesses with outdated, manual processes, this means you will be doing a lot more work transitioning to the new standard and managing contracts under it.

The Cure: Technology Designed with ASC 606 in Mind

Revenue Recognition for trade contractor organizations can be a complex series of decisions and paperwork—both under the new and old standard. However, with major changes on the horizon, having plans, processes, and technology in place can be the first step in a successful transition to new standards. Sage Intacct was built to make contract management under the new standard simple, handling the complex requirements and providing peace of mind for accounting and project teams.

Learn more about the new standard and how Sage Intacct is ready to tackle the challenges it presents here.

Project Cost and Profitability Tracking

You have to answer a lot of questions on a daily basis. Will this job be completed on time? On budget? Do we have the people to take this job on this date?

Back-office professionals at trade contractors need to be able to answer these questions quickly, efficiently, and accurately. If your answer to any of these questions was “I don’t know” or “let me get back to you,” you don’t have a complete picture of your business. You need to have a complete view of each project—from materials to labor—before, during, and after the project. More importantly, it’s vital that you can come up with answers to these questions quickly.

The Cure: Speed through Automation, Visibility Through Dashboards and More

By automating your processes and setting up dashboards, you can receive and present information quickly, clearly, and compellingly—when and where you need to present it. Sage Intacct offers the right project insight when and where you need it. Whether in the form of dashboards, analytics, or project accounting-focused design, Sage Intacct can handle anything a finance team at a trade contractor can throw at it.

Cash Flow

Just as you need to look at projects before, during, and after, you need to be able to present a cash flow statement for both these projects and for the organization as a whole. This is the job not only of the back office, but of the project manager as well, who needs to be able to accurately present a schedule of values.

Financially savvy companies use standardized processes to ensure that the ability to be cash flow positive exists earlier in the project. PMs need to understand that their goal is to define a revenue recognition strategy that ensures a good cash position for their projects.

The Cure: Anytime, Anywhere Access for Those Who Need It Most

To make this happen, trade contractors need to combine automation with mobility, allowing project managers to access the numbers, submit costs, mark up the costs based on predetermined standards, and get all of this to billing—whenever and wherever. However, thanks to the cloud, providing access to the people who need it is easier than ever. Sage Intacct was recently recognized for its cash management function. Learn more about the feature and how it can make everything from billing to planning easier here.

The Challenges in Accounting for Trade Contractors Don’t Stop There

These are just a few of the time drains that finance and accounting professionals at trade contractors face every day, month, quarter, or year. However, by taking steps to increase automation, mobility, and reporting, the jobs mentioned above can be completed in less time, so you can get back to working on your business.

Sage Intacct provides the automation, reporting capabilities, and analytics you need to make decisions and prepare for the road ahead. Whether you need to manage a team of 10, 100, or 1,000 contractors, Sage Intacct can grow with you, working with other technology you need to manage your business.