Technology Drives CFO Success

Technology Drives CFO Success

Effective Virtual or Fractional CFOs Rely on Technology

Whether your CFO is full-time or fractional, CFOs are a pivotal part of your company leadership, helping you make crucial financial decisions and leading the execution of those decisions.   What makes an effective CFO?   Effective CFO’s excel at:

  • Capitalizing on opportunities while avoiding ricks
  • Strategic modeling driven by accurate data
  • Speed and accuracy for fast decisions
  • Data analysis and insight

No matter how qualified the individual is, without the right technology the job becomes extremely difficult.  Speed and accuracy drive much of their effectiveness and is almost impossible without the right tools in place.

Lavoie CPA recognized this from the start and has always combined  people, processes and technology.  We provide the necessary tools to quickly digest accurate data and be able to make informed decisions to steer the business down the best path.  With dashboards in place, companies can quickly see information in real-time and make changes were needed without waiting days, weeks or even months.  Lavoie CPA also has the expertise to intercept the data and make impactful recommendations.

The core technology we utilize is Sage Intacct.  Sage Intacct is an industry-leading financial management solution designed for the needs of strategic CFOs and their teams.  In addition, we partner with other leading software providers that maximize our clients’ efficiencies.  If you are looking for a virtual or fractional CFO also consider what technologies are being utilized so that you can fully maximize your investment.

 

Accounting the Key Strategic Advantage?

Accounting the Key Strategic Advantage?

Most companies that are thriving view accounting as a strategic function. Companies relying on bookkeeping have a hard time keeping up in today’s changing climate.   Bookkeeping by itself does not provide opportunities.  In a fiercely competitive work environment, companies that properly manage finance can grow and protect themselves from risk.

The opportunities are exciting for the future but it also comes with lots of challenges.  Too many companies are stuck looking into the past because of lack of expertise and or technology.  It is important to understand the past, but essential to have the knowledge and tools to be able to see in real-time and make educated predictions into the future.  As companies grow, hiring and retaining qualified employees can be a difficult task with lots of uncertainty.

A growing number are relying on Accounting as a Service (AaaS) to gain a competitive advantage. AaaS combines tactical and strategic accounting and includes leading software.

Top 3 benefits of Accounting as a Service:

  • Focus on Core
    • Concentrate on growing the business
    • Efficiency gains
    • Eliminate staff turnover complexities
    • Ability to scale as you grow
  • Professional Expertise
    • Qualified controlled/CFO leading accounting and finance department
    • Improve cash flow
    • Reduce financial risk
    • Audit ready at all times
  • Technology
    • Real-time visibility into your business performance
    • Increased security
    • Reduced IT headaches
    • Integration with other applications to eliminate information silos

Forward thinking companies put themselves a head of the curve.  Interested in learning more about Accounting as a Service?   Contact us.

10 Benefits of “Accounting as a Service”

10 Benefits of “Accounting as a Service”

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are often driven by a passion or cause – not spending hours on accounting and financial management.

SMBs face many financial challenges that affect cash flow including hiring new employees, increasing profits, employee healthcare, growing revenue and properly managing expenses.

Fortunately, technology has changed the game for SMBs. In the last decade, new technologies have enabled SMBs to compete with large enterprises.

Technology is only part of the equation.  Accounting as a Service (AaaS) is a hybrid solution that combines services with software; thus, the client can enjoy the benefits of professional expertise and leading cloud technology. This lays a great foundation, allowing companies to focus on revenue generating activities.  They are able to focus on future growth instead of being stuck analyzing the past.

10 Benefits of  Accounting as a Service

  1. Real-time visibility to your business performance via dashboards
  2. Reduce financial risk
  3. Increase productivity
  4. Be audit ready at all times
  5. Improved process flow and automation
  6. Eliminate staff turnover
  7. Cost savings
  8. Increased security
  9. Reduced IT headaches (upgrades and maintenance)
  10. Integration with your other applications to eliminate information silos

Interested in learning more?

5 Myths around Outsourcing Finance Functions

5 Myths around Outsourcing Finance Functions

Outsourced Accounting or Accounting as a Service (AaaS) provider can be the catalyst to take your organization to the next level.  For some SMBs, accounting is not looked at as a strategic function of the organization, but it should be.  It also shouldn’t take focus away from growing your core business.  Lots of SMBs don’t consider Outsourcing.  Here are 5 main reasons why.

1) They think it is too expensive

By using Accounting as a Service, you have access to shared service center.  Providers have put a lot of investment, thought, and execution into their model and have staffed accordingly.  With an AaaS provider you now have access to a full accounting department that often is less expensive than one full-time FTE.  This doesn’t even figure in technology costs that come with the service.

2) It is the same as bookkeeping services

Bookkeepers are responsible for recording daily financial transactions.  Controllers are responsible for financial reporting, internal audit and internal controls. CFO are responsible for financial planning, financial data analysis and strategic planning.  By relying only upon a bookkeeper you are stuck looking in the past and cannot see into the future to effectively make critical decisions for your business.  AaaS providers ensure daily transactions are done correctly but also greatly reduce risks and provide necessary forward-thinking strategy to help growth your business.

3) We can just do the same in-house

For most SMBs it is hard to justify the expense of having a bookkeeper, controller, VP of finance and CFO.  All positions have importance.  You don’t want to pay a senior level person to do daily transactions and you definitely don’t want to ask an entry level person to manage financial risks.

4) We cannot have any finance staff in-house

Often AaaS providers work with internal staff to fill voids.  Yes, providers can function as the entire finance department but often work with existing staff to help maximize their production.

5) We have more control and stability by utilizing in-house staff

Employees turnover and training are always on the minds of companies.  If you don’t have a defined professional develop plan for each employee, you are at risk of losing your top talent to other opportunities.  By using an AaaS provider you eliminate the risk of employee turnover.  You also will not miss a beat when people people are out sick, on vacation, or on leave.

What do I get with an AaaS?

  • Enterprise software platform (workflow, automation, dashboards etc)
  • Vendors paid on-time
  • Customers billed on-time and accurately
  • Employee expenses captured and reimbursed
  • Cash transactions reconciled
  • Timely payables collection
  • Accounts analyzed and reconciled on an ongoing basis
  • Financial and management reports delivered on-time and accurately
  • Scalability and rapid deployment, when needed
  • Regulatory compliance delivered
  • Audit ready
  • A finance and accounting function that is STRATEGIC
3 SMB Budgeting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

3 SMB Budgeting Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

Small and mid-sized businesses (SMB) often have budget and staffing constraints – making it even more important to have accurate forecasts and budgets. Yet, SMBs tend to make small mistakes that often result in a financial loss – or worse – closing up for good. To create an accurate and solid budget that you can rely on; avoid the following three common budgeting mistakes.

1. Overestimate sales projections

Sales projections should be based on data and research; however, many SMBs pick a figure out of thin air. Instead, look at past sales, the conditions of the macro-economy and competitors to create a forecast that is realistic and relevant to your business.

2. Spreadsheet errors

As discussed in our blog post Can Excel Be Bad For Your Business?, there are plenty of companies that have suffered financial losses from Excel blunders. With as many as 90% of Excel spreadsheets being prone to errors, the easiest way to avoid mistakes is to move to the cloud. Software as a service (SaaS) systems offer remote access and the ability to collaborate among employees, which has many benefits. Not only can employees access the data from anywhere, anytime and from any device; but, employees can also collaborate and work on the document simultaneously without the risk of having multiple versions of the data.

3. Ignoring the budget

Creating a budget is of course important, but if you’re not following the budget it is not doing you any favors. It is important to continuously follow up with the budget to make sure you stay on track with your projections. The use of visual dashboards has made this much easier for finance leaders, as you can easily track expenses and compare with the set budget.

Budgeting mistakes can be detrimental for your business. Make sure you know what the common mistakes are and how to avoid them. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Harvard Business Review’s “Why Budgeting Fails” below.

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

Learn what is wrong with the current approach to budgeting and how to fix it. 

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT
Should Small Businesses Forecast?

Should Small Businesses Forecast?

The short answer is ‘yes’. The longer answer is ‘absolutely yes’.

Seriously, there are multiple reasons why smaller businesses need to forecast and implement a FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) framework. First, cash is generally the most delicate asset of any small business, especially those under $20 million in sales. Cash (and the corresponding line of credit) has to use forecasting regularly so that potential shortfalls can be addressed as quickly as possible.

The second reason is not as readily apparent. Businesses who plan revenues, margins, and operating income regularly and compare actual results to these plans will do significantly better than those who do not. The former will seek answers to why plans fall short or are even exceeded. In such cases, strategies and action plans are the result of plans which are not met. Conversely, those businesses doing little to no planning are typically ‘winging it’ or flying by the seat of their pants.

A FP&A Checklist for Small Businesses

  1. Daily treasury management is a must. That means reconciling cash every day and drawing or paying down on the LOC each morning. Other daily processes need to be adhered to in the areas of billing, collections, purchases, and cash disbursement. No shortcuts allowed.
  2. Cash should be projected 8 to 13 weeks each week on a rolling basis, and this is not the job of the accountant or just the CEO. This should be done by everyone in the business who has an impact on cash (whether producing or consuming it).
  3. A few key metrics should be maintained and monitored weekly, but only a few which can lead to actionable change.
  4. Financials MUST be completed on a monthly basis within a reasonable time frame after month-end. There are no excuses to not making this happen.
  5. And finally, ensure your actual results are a part of your FP&A tool. What went right last month or quarter? What did not go according to plan, and why? Running a causal analysis is an incredibly powerful tool to use when answering these questions. At this time, re-forecast the P&L and relevant balance sheet items over the next 12 months.

Check out Harvard Business Review’s: Why Budgeting Fails: One Management System is Not Enough below to learn more about best budgeting practices. 

HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

Learn what is wrong with the current approach to budgeting and how to fix it. 

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT