Intacct’s New Tool Provides Focus for Non Profits

Intacct’s New Tool Provides Focus for Non Profits

Mission-based, non profit organizations have a clear agenda – doing good work around the world. Unfortunately, accomplishing that is more complex than ever, requiring leaders to rely on a lot more than just good intentions in order to achieve the positive outcomes they desire.

As the scope of non profit organizations has grown, decision-making has become a high-stakes process. At the same time, donors demand a level of transparency and accountability that raises the stakes of decision-making even further. For many mission-based organizations, the decision-making process produces a lot more confusion than clarity.

Luckily, the means to practice decision-making using high-quality, real-time, complete sets of data is both attainable and easy to implement with Intacct’s spend management tool that provides focus.

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Intacct Spend Management Application

Intacct cloud ERP software is already a powerful tool for enhancing the decision-making process and eliminating the kinds of uncertainties that lead to poor choices. But this leading ERP solution has recently become even better thanks to the integration of a dedicated spend-management tool.

Users can rely on this tool to strictly keep spending within budget thresholds. By providing a top-down perspective to the spending process, along with the capabilities to set flexible but strict controls, decision-makers can ensure that every purchase is a prudent one.

Intacct’s spend management application is a unique asset to non profit organizations because it delivers the confidence of centralized budget compliance, even when spending decisions are being made at points across the globe. The kinds of cash flow issues that compromise mission projects and damage the confidence of donors can be reliably eliminated without relying on a cumbersome or complicated process.

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Understanding Intacct Spend Management in Action

The strength of this tool lies in its flexibility and broad applicability. But that can also make it difficult to imagine how a specific mission-based organization would use it in practice.

Think of a decision-maker looking at a purchase order that has just landed on his desk. The amount of the order is not substantial, but it is large enough that it can’t be rubber stamped. Previously, it would require a deep dive into financial figures and a flurry of confusing cross-referencing to determine if that purchase was fiscally viable.

With Intacct Spend Management, the determination is made instantly-in real time. The decision-maker simply has to reference where that spending category stands against the budget. It does not even require simple arithmetic in order to confidently say yes or no. That introduces a welcome level of efficiency to the decision-making process while also ensuring that budgetary issues do not compromise the organization’s agenda. It also allows the organization to convincingly demonstrate a level of sound financial governance that sustaining donors require.

If decision-making in your mission-based organization is characterized by a lack of clarity and prone to mistakes and mishaps as a result, Intacct Spend Management is the overnight solution. What tools do you use in your organization to keep track on spending and comparing it to set budgets?

 

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Accounting Solutions for Early Stage Companies

Accounting Solutions for Early Stage Companies

The Struggle for Early Stage Companies

Early stage companies can often struggle to keep up with their day-to-day accounting requirements. This is especially true, as founders and management try to handle accounting in addition to all their other responsibilities. This challenge is compounded as business activity and business complexity increase. Accounting solutions for these types of companies vary of course depending on their industry; however, outsourcing accounting services can be beneficial in order to keep staff focused on core competencies and revenue-generating tasks.

Solution: Outsource

Nothing is more important or sensitive to your business than your financial position. That is why you should invest in both people with deep experience and an infrastructure with enterprise strength. Early stage companies can find solutions to their day-to-day accounting requirements by outsourcing the following services:

1. Transactional Requirements

This includes accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliations, payroll processing, asset tracking, etc.

2. Financial Control and Decision Making

This could be for a short term engagement to review processes, set up budgets or refine financial reports or on a continuing basis. Additionally, early stage companies can hire a consultant to act as the CFO/Controller that oversees daily activity, managing cash flow, communicating with tax advisers and presenting financial status at board meetings.

By leveraging resources and enterprise quality accounting applications, you will have the controls, confidence and focus to help drive operational improvements in your business. Companies in the early stages usually need to spend most of their attention on acquiring clients, developing business and performing their core competencies. The day-to-day accounting requirements can add to the stress of all the other challenges of being in the starting phase of growing your business. Deciding whether you should outsource or not depends, of course, on your situation and business; however, it undeniable that outsourcing services that are non-revenue generating can be extremely beneficial and valuable.

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Business Intelligence is a Competitive Advantage

Business Intelligence is a Competitive Advantage

It’s the first day of the month, the finance and accounting teams are reconciling balance sheet accounts, recognizing revenue, accruing expenses, and recording financial transactions. Everybody is busy working against the clock to have the financial statements ready on time. Then, a request from the senior management team arrives. They want a series of sales reports so they can decide when to launch the new product line. This is a situation where a Business Intelligence (BI) solution would’ve been very handy. But let’s start with the basics.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is the set of strategies, processes, applications, data, products, technologies and technical architectures which are used to support the collection, analysis, presentation and dissemination of business information.

Business Intelligence Systems

To implement BI, you need BI systems. These are solutions created to collect, store and analyze data for informed decision-making. These systems are particularly useful for evaluating customer or brand profitability, carrying out statistical analysis, undertaking inventory evaluation, and being part of a market research project.

Good BI solutions, at a minimum, include reporting with multidimensional aggregation and allocation, real-time information, reliable integration with the data sources and key performance indicators.

Challenges of BI Systems

Quite often, data is scattered in disparate systems such as accounting, forecasting, sales, customer relationship management (CRM), project management, inventory, etc. So, when a company decides it’s time to implement a BI tool, a big project must be launched. Not only because the new system needs to be implemented, but also because the IT department needs to create programs and processes to feed the BI tool with data extracted from all these systems.

Writing interface programs with instructions to extract data from a system requires extensive knowledge of the database. This means you need an experienced IT programmer in staff—or hire an expensive consultant—for each system that has data needed by the BI solution.

Then comes the problem of deciding how often to refresh the data in the BI system. Should it be weekly? Nightly? More than once per day? Unless you refresh the data in the BI database as soon as a transaction occurs in the originating systems, the BI information will never be real-time.

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ERP Solution with Integrated BI functionality

These issues don’t exist in an integrated solution with business intelligence capabilities. Software like this acts as the trusted system of record and depository of most of the financial and operational data. It offers the whole spectrum of core financial modules and it can be extended with fully integrated Intacct modules such as project accounting, time and expense management, contract revenue management, contract and subscription billing, inventory management, and more.

And built in the solution, multiple software companies offers the business intelligence components required to make smart and informed decisions:

  • Multidimensional aggregation and allocation. Thus, you can tag transactions to as many dimensions as needed. These dimensions can then be used on reports as criteria to sort, filter and aggregate.
  • Real-time reporting. Being an integrated system, all modules update a single database. Once a transaction is entered in any module, it is available for viewing and reporting. No IT interface programs and no IT experts are required.
  • Reliable integration with the data sources. Most systems offers pieces of software (APIs) that allow easy integration of third party systems with the database and functions.
  • Key performance indicators optimization. Most software solutions integrates dashboards that provide real-time access to key information and indicators that can be customized to meet the needs of the business.

Is your company at a stage where BI solutions are being considered? If you’re interested in learning more, check out the free whitepaper below on how to successfully launch a BI initiative.

Learn Secrets to Drive A Successful BI Initiative

A 2014 report by Dresner Advisory Services, the Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study, surveyed more than 1,200 IT and business professionals at companies of all sizes, from around the world, about their use of BI.

The study revealed that companies that achieve BI success follow five common best practices. We share these approaches to help you launch and drive a successful BI initiative at your organization — before your competitors crack the code first and pass you by.

Engaging a Fractional CFO/Controller Service

Engaging a Fractional CFO/Controller Service

Rapid Growth Causes Increased Risk

Small to medium sized businesses that are in rapid growth also are experiencing increased financial risk as a result. Growth requires expansion of the company’s automated systems and access to additional financing to fuel the growth. Managing these financial risks may be foreign territory for the business owner and his team. The company needs a CFO to manage the bigger picture. The CFO will make sure that the systems, processes and people are in place to produce accurate financial information so that the owner of the company can make better decisions managing growth. However, many small and medium sized companies simply cannot afford to hire a full time CFO.

Fractional CFO and Controller Services are the Solutions

Fortunately, there are firms that provide fractional CFO and Controller services that are affordable. The best way for a company to identify a good service provider is to tap its network of trusted advisers, such as bankers, investors, attorneys or CPA firm. These advisers can direct their client toward a firm that provides the comprehensive accounting and financial reporting support, as well as strategic financial initiatives, that will help drive growth.

What Does the Role Entail?

Businesses who decide to engage a CFO are looking to acquire a person that can guide them with strategic initiatives, but what does that look like? In our experience, a fractional CFO can:

  • Assist companies who are preparing for an acquisition or sale and guide them through the examination phase and financial due diligence required to execute transactions
  • Provide guidance in reconciliation projects
  • Offer advice in software system reviews and recommendations
  • Review company processes and offer guidance on optimization
  • Enhance reporting setup and support

Ultimately, the role will depend on the needs of the company who is interested in engaging in controlling services. Are you interested in engaging a fractional CFO for your business, and if so, what would that role look like?

Visibility: You Need Eyes in the Back of Your Head

Visibility: You Need Eyes in the Back of Your Head

As business people, we all know that access to the best information is critical to good decision making. Yet many of us struggle with outdated processes and technology that limit our visibility into all aspects of our business, thereby diminishing the quality of our decisions. There is no place where visibility is more important than the accounting and fiancé departments. If we can’t actually see the state of our financials, then we can’t know what’s going well, what’s going poorly and what needs our attention.

The true measure of accounting visibility is how quickly and easily you can see any given aspect of your businesses financials. Ideally, this should include everything from cash flow to outstanding invoices to cash on hand to receipts and beyond. If it is difficult or time-consuming for you to view any of this information, then you really don’t have optimized accounting visibility, creating uncertainty and undermining your ability to make fully informed decisions.

Furthermore, it is important to recognize that visibility into company accounting is only valuable when in information is not just available, but also usable. That is a key distinction which often goes overlooked. If the accounting information isn’t easily discernible that means it is not actually useful-at least not immediately. Visibility becomes irrelevant if you can’t leverage what you are seeing. The question then becomes how to make sure that the accounting data is both visible and usable.

Software Availability

First, how accessible is the software itself? With legacy accounting software, the solution needs to be installed on a single computer and that is the only device which can access the financial information and programs. Alternatively, cloud accounting software, just like all cloud based solutions, can be utilized from any computer or device with an internet connection and user access permission. This far greater accessibility to information naturally makes the company’s financial information more visible to all authorized users, who then can collaborate to make the business more efficient.

Streamlined Data

How is the accounting and financial information presented? A streamlined display is critical- you need to be able to move easily from viewing one aspect of the business’s financials to another without having to pore through hard to read accounting tables, or worse, raw data. When the accounting software can consolidate the information in an intuitive and easily navigable fashion, you and your team can gain a much better understanding of the state of your business.

Comprehensive View

Ideally, your accounting solution should provide insight into every corner of the company’s financials – otherwise, it cannot truly deliver maximum visibility. A dashboard that offers a complete view of the organization’s financial situation at a single glance offers a level a visibility that drives better analysis and decision making.

Real Time

Finally, the most visible accounting solutions will feature real time capabilities, offering up the most up to date insight at any time, with no exceptions. Accounting and financial solutions that cannot deliver real time information will inherently be incapable of providing visibility in to the company’s financials as they currently stand, and that’s just not good enough for a lot of businesses.

For most businesses, a cloud based accounting solution is best – it provides comprehensive information that is organized intuitively and is based upon real time data that is easily accessible. You really can have eyes in the back of your head when you utilize cloud based accounting and financial solutions for your business!