How to Improve Your FP&A Process Right Now

How to Improve Your FP&A Process Right Now

FP&A Teams Have the Wrong Focus

According to a recent report by Adaptive Insights, CFOs want their employees to spend less time on collecting and preparing data and more time on forecasting and analysis. The survey revealed that financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams are currently spending 53% of their time on reporting and data gathering alone.

“Reporting, whether it’s on actuals or forecast or planning should be quick. We shouldn’t be spending a lot of time on that,” says Jim Johnson, CFO of Adaptive Insights. “We should be spending much more time on the model that’s supporting it. The predictive analysis, the key performance indicators and the stuff that is really important for the company.”

There is a good reason why employees should spend more time on analytics. Oracle found that businesses who were effective at integrating financial and operating data, using analytics in processes and utilizing predictive analytics outranked their peers by 70% on profit and revenue.

How Can You Improve Your FP&A Process?

 

Implement a Dynamic Planning Process

First of all, your business need to incorporate a FP&A process that allow for flexibility. Rolling forecasts, for example, is one way to ensure you are adapting to market forces. Since rolling forecasts ultimately is an approach where you add or drop data on a rolling basis, you consequently have real-time insights to your performance against your predictions. APQC reported that an organization can save a median of 25 days on the annual budgeting cycle by using rolling forecasts.

“It makes no sense to use a 19th-century tool to manage 21st-century company in a volatile global economy,” argues Steve Player, a program director at the Beyond Budgeting Roundtable. “In the old days, the CFO sat in the back of the ship recording what happened. Now, the CFO stands on the bridge looking forward and adjusting for variables.”

Traditional annual budgets have limits. They often take too long to prepare, and when completed the data is already out of date. Rolling forecasts offer continuous updates to your data and a longer horizon with data up to 12-18 months ahead. Thus, you have much more accurate data and reliable insights. This, as a result, allows you to take more strategic decisions about your business.

 

Related: How to Improve Your Sales Forecast Accuracy

 

Make it Easy for Employees to Collaborate

Collaboration among employees and management is crucial for your business. First, they help you realize your goals, but they can also aid in reducing hidden costs. According to research by CEB, hidden budgeting and forecasting costs may prevent companies from realizing their full potential of investments in FP&A improvements.

How do businesses encourage collaboration? There’s one simple answer. Leverage technology.  Cloud-based software is a great solution for companies that have data that needs to be shared and aggregated by more than one employee. In addition, cloud software also allows for employees to access the same data from virtually anywhere. Finally, most cloud-based software providers offers integration with other enterprise systems, which allows you to have one source for your performance management.

 

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

 

Conclusion

While you may think your business is doing well enough, your competitors are advancing by implementing better FP&A processes like the ones discussed above. Don’t wait, instead, invest in FP&A processes that will help your business achieve outstanding results and reduce hidden costs.

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Financial controllers are increasingly taking on the role of financial operating officer. You’re ensuring that finance runs smoothly and that there are not surprises on audit day.

But what does “running smoothly” really mean?

Download this eBook to learn six ways that today’s best-in-class controllers follow to successfully meet and overcome challenges in the profession.

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8 Signs You Might Need the Cloud

8 Signs You Might Need the Cloud

If you haven’t already, it is time to consider switching over to the cloud. Gartner recently released a report on cloud computing where they predicted that by 2020, a corporate “no-cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no-internet” policy is today. In order to stay competitive you need to stay ahead of the technology curve.

Not convinced you need to make the switch? Take a look at the following signs that indicate you might need the cloud.

1. You want to upgrade your software

Businesses with on-premise software need to maintain it with upgrades, troubleshooting and updates. This becomes rather expensive and time-consuming since you need to train employees, test systems and also implement the upgrades. Switching over to the cloud can reduce your costs, save you time and improve your efficiency. Cloud software is upgraded by the provider and without additional costs for you.

2. You want fast deployment

On-premise ERP systems are notorious for long implementation times. For larger systems and corporations it can take months to fully deploy the system. A cloud ERP system is quite the opposite. Since the ERP system is delivered via the Internet, deployment is almost instant.

3. You want to integrate your systems

Do you work with multiple software systems and wish they could all be integrated? Your wish can come true! Cloud software systems are inherently open and allows users to connect to other systems to allow for collaboration. For example, Sage Intacct, an ERP cloud-based software, allows integration with other providers such as Adaptive Insights, Bill.com and Avalara.

4. You want to increase employee collaboration

If you have multiple employees working with the same data, you might be in trouble. Having multiple versions of data can not only be time-consuming to fix, but you can also end up with a major financial loss. Off-premise software systems allows employees to access the data they are working with simultaneously and in real-time. Thus, you eliminate the possibility of having multiple versions spreadsheets.

5. You want to scale

This might be one of the first things you hear about the cloud. On-premise software can get really expensive if you’re growing at a fast pace, making it difficult to scale your business. On the other hand, with the cloud, you can request more functions, space or users and get them instantly.

6. You don’t want to spend your budget on IT, but rather your core products

It doesn’t make sense to manage your own on-premise servers and develop your own portals if IT is not your core competency. Nonprofit organization, for example, will benefit from investing their budget on their mission and cause rather than an IT department. Cloud software allows businesses without IT knowledge to operate without owning their own IT equipment. Rather, all you need is access to Internet and a device.

7. You have a mobile workforce or multiple offices

As Internet access increases worldwide and remote work continues to be a trend in the workplace, having remote access is becoming more important. Cloud software makes this a reality as you can access your data anytime, anywhere and from any device with Internet connection.


 

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Discover why financial planning and analysis belongs in the cloud!

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Sage Announces Acquisition of Intacct for $850m

Sage Announces Acquisition of Intacct for $850m

On Tuesday, Sage Group, a U.K. based technology company, announced that they are acquiring Intacct Corporation. It is the largest ever acquisition by Sage, who will be purchasing Intacct for $850 million. The transaction will close within the next few weeks.

Going forward, Intacct will be known as Sage Intacct, and according to Sage, Intacct’s management team will stay the same and continue to be in charge “thereby ensuring continuity for customers, partners, and employees.”

Related: Intacct’s New Tools Provides Focus for Nonprofits

Strategic Acquisition

Strategic consolidation is a way of life in the software industry, as is true in many other industries. But, this combination is exciting because it means more innovation and more paths to efficiency and the next level. Sage and Intacct have branded the acquisition as “the combination that delivers the first and last cloud Financial Management Solution your business will ever need”.

Some advantages that will result from this acquisition are:

  • Current customers (of either companies) will now have access to additional resources and product functions as a result of the combination
  • Sage will further their reach in the US market
  • As pointed out in Diginomica; “Intacct gets close to top market dollar for its IP in the sense the sale price is equivalent to around 8.8x revenue, a price it could not get in today’s IPO environment”

In the press release by Sage, the CEO of Intacct, Robert Reid said “We are excited to become part of Sage because we are relentlessly focused on the same goal – to deliver the most innovative cloud solutions for our customers”.

In conclusion, this acquisition is a good thing. The combination of two of the leading companies in cloud accounting and financial management software will bring innovation and efficiency. As a result, customers will have more options for leading solutions that supports their business. Thus, everyone involved ends up benefiting.

Read more about the acquisition here, and find the full press release here.

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7 Ways Technology Helps Your Nonprofit Grow

7 Ways Technology Helps Your Nonprofit Grow

There are over 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States, including public charities, private foundations, and other types of nonprofit organizations such as chambers of commerce. According to a report by PNP Staffing Group, the nonprofit sector has grown 20% in the last 10 years, compared to the for-profit sector, which had a growth rate of 2-3%. As the nonprofit sector continues to grow in size – organizations face challenges in many areas.

But, rather than being fearful of the challenges that growth may bring, nonprofits should be optimistic. One of the simplest solutions to the challenges that nonprofits are facing is to implement innovative technologies. Below are just seven ways that technology may help your nonprofit grow and overcome challenges.

1. Visibility

Technology has allowed nonprofits to gain visibility, both externally and internally. Social media channels allow nonprofit organizations to share their important work with the world and gain external visibility. Additionally, technology such as software-as-service (SaaS) gives nonprofits visibility to internal operations and the financial state of the organization. Visual dashboards have grown in popularity and there’s a good reason for it – they provide the most important metrics to you and your organization.

Related: Visibility: You Need Eyes in the Back of Your Head

2. Grant Management

Nonprofits heavily rely on grants to operate; in 2013, public charities reported that 21% of their revenue came from government grants. While all the administrative tasks that are required to manage the grant process doesn’t require you to use software, it certainly helps. SaaS providers now offers specific functionality that allows your nonprofit organization to renew, manage or invoice funders as it relates to grants.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Consider SaaS

3. Remote Access

A survey released by Gallup earlier this year found that 43% of Americans spend at least some time working remotely. This number was a 4% increase since 2012, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going away. Remote work requires that employees can access the work anytime and anywhere. One of the most common solutions to this is implementing cloud software. Providers now offer a range of different services, such as accounting, expense reporting, analytics, CRM, CPM etc.

4. Fundraising

According to a report by Charity Dynamics in 2015, 88% of nonprofit professional believe that digital fundraising is going to grow from 7% to 20% in the next decade. Digital solutions can also gather data and summarize in visual dashboards to gain insights for strategic decision making.

5. ePayments/Billing

Bill.com recently published the results to their survey, which revealed that Millennials (the largest cohort in the US workforce) no longer expects paperless billing  – they believe it is the norm. Depending on the size of your organization, you can either team up with providers that specifically focuses on ePayments and billing or incorporate it in a larger Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution.

6. Scale

Technology has disrupted the software business where providers now offer cloud solutions with pay-as-you-go subscription payment models. Thus, nonprofit organizations who are interested in scaling with their demand can easily do so by simply adding or upgrading their software service package without having to pay additional setup costs.


Do you see any other ways that technology would help your nonprofit grow?

Cloud Accounting Software: Ultimate Guide

Cloud Accounting Software: Ultimate Guide

What is Cloud Accounting?

Intuit’s eBook “The Appification of Small Business” projects that 78% of small businesses will depend on cloud technology in 2020. Furthermore, Technavio’s report on the global business accounting software market 2017-2021 estimates that the market size will grow to $4.1 billion by 2021 at a CAGR of more than 6% over the period. Hence, the cloud is growing at a rapid speed, and the accounting industry is not an exception.

So what is cloud accounting? Cloud accounting simply refers to accounting software that sends, processes and stores data off-premises (in the cloud), rather than the traditional accounting software approach with on-premise hosting. Thus, the cloud is essentially a metaphor for the Internet. There are many benefits with this approach, but one of the main ones is that it allows an employee to access data from anywhere, anytime and any device, granted that you have access to the Internet.

Cloud accounting software can be used in-house by employees, purchased from a third-party or outsourced in a hybrid model. Additionally, the most common model that cloud providers offer is “pay-as-you-go”, subscription based, where businesses only pay for the services they use and can upgrade to meet their needs as they grow.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

What are the Main Functions of Cloud Accounting Software?

Cloud accounting software can perform many different functions, depending on the needs of your business and what type of software provider you choose. Most commonly though, accounting software can perform the following functions:

  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • General ledger
  • Billing
  • Stock/inventory
  • Purchase order
  • Sales order
  • Bookkeeping

Moreover, cloud accounting software providers can also offer a mix of the following functions:

  • Expense reporting
  • Time-sheet tracking
  • Sales tax
  • Payroll
  • Reconciliation
  • Reports

Types of Cloud Accounting Software

Cloud accounting software is a solution that works for many different types of businesses; startups, early-stage companies, small and mid-size businesses (SMBs), and high end market corporations. One of the main advantages of cloud software is that businesses can choose what services they need and easily scale if they have growing needs. On the low end, businesses may simply need the software for basic accounting tasks, while on the high-end, corporations invest in accounting software that is ultimately an integrated part of an extensive suite of software called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

What are the Benefits of Cloud Accounting Software?

1. Remote Access

As Internet access continues to grow worldwide, remote access is becoming an especially important benefit of cloud accounting software. Visual Networking Forecast (VNI) has been tracking Internet growth for over a decade, and estimates that by 2020 over 4 billion people will be using the Internet. While forecasting is difficult, VNI has historically predicted within 10% of actual growth rates. The cloud allows employees to access data, via the Internet, from basically anywhere. This is a huge advantage for businesses who have employees that work in multiple locations or are often travelling.

2. Automated Processes

Automation is a huge benefit and opportunity for accountants because it allows them to focus on more important business tasks than manual and time-consuming processes such as data entering. Technology has disrupted manual processes and made the profession more efficient and strategic. As a result of automation, data is collected faster, which ultimately allows employees to have more insights and make quicker decisions. Accountants that are willing to embrace technology will, consequently, be able to take on more strategic roles in the future and benefit from automation.

3. Cost Saving

The cloud is disrupting the software industry. Since you only pay for the services you use, most providers offer clients a subscription model with monthly payment installments. As a result, customers are able to get the latest software for a minimal cost and the ability to scale if they have a growing demand of services. With cloud software, customers don’t have to worry about maintenance and update costs because those are managed by the provider. The cloud has essentially empowered customers by giving them a more affordable way to access the latest software.


In conclusion, cloud accounting software is an incredibly powerful tool that can give any business, regardless of size, a huge advantage in decision-making, efficiency and cost reduction. If you are interested in learning more about technology in the accounting industry, check out the related blog posts below.

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