Finance’s Elevated Role and Other Critical Trends for 2019

Finance’s Elevated Role and Other Critical Trends for 2019

The beginning of a new year always signals a time for trend spotting Which financial opportunities, challenges and changes should companies prepare for now? Below are six soon-to-be realities that you should consider for 2019.  .  

CFOs take on more responsibility.

The role of the CFO has merged with that of the COO to assume strategy and operations functions. This calls for greater collaboration in business areas such as marketing, procurement, sales and design/R&D in order for CFOs to build sound budget strategies and operational processes.

Customers’ changing demands disrupt industries.

Think of it as forced evolution. Millennials and Gen Z crowd are making their wishes known – pushing for greater transparency, asking for more sustainable products, embracing technical conveniences. Business has no choice but to respond – re-evolving business models, selling on social media, adopting voice-commerce, etc.

Technology makes finance smarter and faster.

Automation and new technologies are making finance software programs do more with less. This leaves more time for focusing on the organization’s strategic vision.

We’re grappling with uncertainty again.

From foreign policy to data regulation, businesses are operating under the strain of uncertainty. Expect another year of having to navigate a turbulent, highly politicized environment.

Even the workforce is evolving.

2019 will introduce a diverse generation of employees with new expectations and wants. For accounting, the skills gap widens, re-training requirements grow, and a higher level of contract employees emerges.

New data risks are surfacing 

Companies will need to have a deeper understanding of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), because there will be a higher level of concern about data security as more info is created, collected, and stored online which allows for the possibility of hacking.

As these developments proceed, the role of finance becomes more important and extensive. Many companies are turning to service providers to help them make the transformation. This may entail consulting services, augmenting current staff or even outsourcing the financial and accounting function.


The Importance of Strategic Accounting

The Importance of Strategic Accounting

As automation, control, and period-end tasks are embedded within day-to-day activities, accountants are freed from manual work.

Freeing finance from manual work not only saves time that can be allocated to continuous process improvement and preventative controls, it also gives accountants access to game-changing, real-time data so they can provide analysis and business intelligence at the point of need.

Technology is disrupting the way business is run, and accountants need to reskill and upskill to meet the demands of both internal and external stakeholders.

Benefits:

  • It’s an organization win.

Strategic accounting doesn’t just benefit finance.  Access to and quick analysis of real-time data helps the entire organization become more agile, responsive, and proactive.

  • Increased employee engagement and reduced hiring costs.

Bored, tired, burned out staff is a flight risk. But working on something meaningful, like strategy creation, increases engagement, investment, and ultimately, retention.

  • Functioning as a strategic force.

Today, finance organizations have access to the real-time information that is so crucial to functioning strategically.

This creates the opportunity for accounting and finance teams to function as a strategic force in the organization. CFOs, controllers, and other accounting leaders can now help the business act proactively instead of reactively by providing up-to-the-minute analysis and intelligence.

The Path to Success In the Modern Marketplace

Implementing necessary technologies can be expensive.  Documenting current state and designing desired future state and is often time consuming.   As a result, companies are turning to service providers to help with the process.  This may entail a consulting project, augmenting current staff or even becoming the finance and accounting department.

 

 

 

4 Things all Startups should consider Outsourcing

4 Things all Startups should consider Outsourcing

Founders create businesses because they have a passion or expertise in providing particular goods or services to market and often get caught up on focusing on items outside of their expertise. Being a startup means there’s always more work to do, and not enough time to do it. It is easy to get caught in numerous non-value add tasks that take anyway from working on the business. That’s why most success startups outsource certain tasks to companies or individuals who specialize in providing valuable time-saving services for a fee.

With all the advancements in technology, it’s easier and more convenient than ever to outsource. Here are five things you should consider outsourcing to experts.

1. Accounting & Finance
Most entrepreneurs are not Accountants. However, understanding cash flows or analyzing profitability of a business is vital to its success. Too often startups neglect building an accounting process until profits go downhill or cash slowly drains away. Setting up an accounting process for your startup is critical to the long-term success. An accounting process is also important because it allows your business to look forward. Startups or small businesses that that don’t have an accounting process in place find themselves trapped by past actions or constantly worried about having enough money to pay bills.

In addition to accounting process, setting up an accounting system is important for your startup as it will allow you to see how your business is doing and allow you to make decisions to strategically position your business for growth.

Look for a firm that does more than just bookkeeping. Partnering with someone that goes beyond debits and credits and gives advice on such things as cashflow will help set you up for success. Technology is vital to help provide necessary insights.

2. Graphic Design and Web Development.
Coming up with a brand-defining logo, an attractive website, and print materials can be extremely time consuming and difficult to get right. Using a professional graphic designer will help your business look its best. They understand a lot of things that you may overlook. Whatever your goals, there’s a graphic designer with the talent, aesthetic sensibilities, and visual skills to fulfill your vision and enhance your company brand.

Look for a graphic designer that offers web development to help streamline the process and provide a unified message.

3. Web Research.
Prospecting for new business and keeping up with the latest developments in your industry can be time consuming and daunting. A web researcher can research information you, whether it’s gathering information and statistics for an upcoming presentation or looking up the names of companies and contacts for a leads list. They can also organize this material in a form that’s easy to use and read.

4. Administrative Assistance.
If half your day is spent sifting through your overflowing email inbox, returning call and making travel arrangement, a virtual administrative assistant (VA) may be just what you need to streamline that frustrating process and keep you from being inundated by a constant stream of on administrative tasks that keep you from more value-added items.

Before you waste your time on something that is not in your expertise, consider outsourcing. This will make your to-do list shorter and free you up to focus on the things you’re best at and that generate the most income for your business.

Why startups need Finance and Accounting Outsourcing

Why startups need Finance and Accounting Outsourcing

Are you a startup and are considering hiring accounting and finance personal?

Having the right finance and accounting policy, procedures and technology in place could be critical to your success.  Lots of startups outsource many of the tasks not related to your company’s core competency, including accounting & finance.  Should you invest the money in hiring FTEs and purchase software or use an outsourced firm?  Let’s look at four ways hiring an outsourced firm can help your startup business.

  1. Select the right accounting package.

Too many startup businesses purchase off the shelf accounting packages that do not provide proper visibility into their business.  As a result, they either spend a lot of time with Excel spreadsheets to try and gain necessary information or they simply neglect items that inhibit growth and put the business at risk.

With the proper technology you have visibility into your business from anywhere, enabling you to spevd more time on the business instead of in the business.

  1. Help with investment capital.

Whether you’re applying for a business loan or seeking outside funding from angel investors or venture capital firms, accurate and up-to-date financials are essential.

Professional services firms will provide you with the up-to-date financial statements, along with explanations of the data in those financial statements, which can help your company standout amidst all those other businesses.

Be audit, partner and/or investor ready from day one.

  1. Trusted advice.

CFO guidance including advice, counsel and insight — providing you with financial statements, budgets, forecasts and dashboards to monitor all your financial data. It’s one thing to have all the financial data you need to run your business. But the real benefit is to have someone to explain exactly what the financial statements mean, and help you to make the decisions that will steer your company toward growth.

4 . Scale with your company.

With outsourced services your variable cost become a scalable fixed cost.  Why add non-revenue generating cost when you can gain resources, technology, quality and support all tailored to your needs? When your company grows the outsourced services company grows with you.

Lavoie CPA provides accounting & finance, technology and human resources support all as a service.

 

The right size company for AaaS?

The right size company for AaaS?

What Size Company Benefits the Most from AaaS?

Lavoie has had numerous conversations over the years with companies of all sizes regarding outsourcing or what we refer to as AaaS (Accounting as a Service).  AaaS is a form of outsourcing that combines people, process and technology to help companies gain a strategic advantage.  Some companies think they are too big to outsource any function. Others think they aren’t big enough.  So, what is the right answer?  They are both wrong!

FAO (finance and accounting outsourcing) started nearly 20 years with BP outsourcing its accounting functions to Accenture.  FAO has traditionally been a horizontal offering with a value proposition driven by cost reduction and efficiency gains targeted at large organizations.  So clearly the argument of an organization being too big has its flaws.

Smaller companies have been outsourcing payroll for years so they are already participating in a form of FAO outsourcing.  The next concern we hear from clients is that they will outgrow services.  This is certainly a possibility if you select the wrong partner that does not have the technology or staff to grow with you.  For example, if a company is only providing bookkeeping services, it is certainly likely you would outgrow them.  However, if a strategic partner is selected they will be able to grow with you and help you scale faster.

Large organizations are most often driven to outsourcing for cost reduction. However, as market requirements intensify, FAO solutions are increasingly becoming more industry-specific to provide strategic advantages and not strictly cost reduction.  In smaller companies outsourcing can also reduce costs, but more importantly it enables them access to a full finance and accounting team that leverages economies of scale.   Most SMBs can’t afford to hire an entire F&A department.  So, what often happens is the company may only have a senior level person and they are stuck doing daily tactical activities or they may only have a junior level person and they are responsible for critical items such as cashflow analysis.  Both have obvious weaknesses that prevent a company from reaching its potential.

AaaS solves this dilemma for SMBs.  Companies don’t have to worry about daily tactical items that keep them from focusing on the company.  In addition, they are provided with senior level advisory.  To further maximize efficiencies, Lavoie services also include access to the leading cloud technologies.  By combines people, process and technology we know AaaS can benefit companies of all sizes. info@lavoiepllc.com

Technology Drives Accounting Efficiencies

Technology Drives Accounting Efficiencies

Technology is Transforming Accounting & Finance

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) recently came out with a report last month showcasing technology’s role in the future of finance. The report concludes that technology can revolutionize finance and accounting.

Technology has played a role in Accounting and Finance for numerous years.  Originally, most software was targeted to large enterprise due to its cost and complexity.  The cloud drastically changed the landscape by bringing enterprise type technologies to the SME market.  Now 80% of CFOs have cloud as part of their technology roadmap.   Here are the benefits technology brings as identified in an ACCA survey of CFOs:

  • Improving efficiency and productivity – 70%
  • Creating new value for a business – 53%
  • Reducing costs – 33%
  • Improving communication internally and externally – 20%
  • Improving quality and standardization – 20%

As technology advances the above numbers will even be higher.  Software companies have already begun to use artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Even though the returns can be great, it is important to be cautious about guaranteeing huge returns or overnight results. The report warns CFOs to use caution about where, when, and how they do or do not implement new technology.

A Technology Roadmap is Key

Technology is not automatically the solution. You need to understand your business goals and processes.  Automating a bad process doesn’t fix anything.  Implementing the wrong technology can be catastrophic and can possibly lead to employee turnover and insurmountable costs.

Companies shouldn’t rush into a decision, but also there is a lot of risk in not embracing technology and being left behind.  The solution is to create a defined technology roadmap.  A technology roadmap is a document which outlines the plan to reach short-term and long-term goals through the use of technology solutions. This type of roadmap typically provides key information which helps organizations make better decisions around technology investments.

Technology roadmaps are often driven by IT.  However, it is important for CFOs and other business executives to be involved.  They are the ones that understand short and long-term goals. Lavoie CPA continuously studies and evaluates technology.  We also have the business acumen to apply the right technology correctly.  Need help with a technology roadmap or software evaluation, give us a call.