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.

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?

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. 

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3 Things Millennials Want from Accounting Firms

3 Things Millennials Want from Accounting Firms

Bill.com recently presented results from a survey they conducted with more than 1,000 business owners on services, technology and billing. The 2017 Millennial Business Owner-Accounting Firm Survey primarily focused on accounting expectations from Millennials and other cohorts as it relates to their roles as business owners.

Why Is the Focus on Millennials?

Well, as of the beginning of 2015, they are the largest cohort in the US labor force. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to figure out how and why this cohort is fundamentally different from earlier generations. Based on insights from the survey we have summarized the 3 main things millennial business owners want from accounting firms.

1. Go Paperless

Paperless is no longer an expectation, it’s the norm. Filing and storing paper is cumbersome. We live in a digital world. Electronic and cloud-based services offers access anytime, anywhere and from anywhere. 82% of respondents said they would be “very pleased” or “pleased” if their accounting firm offered paperless services.

2. Strategic Guidance

52% of millennials in the survey indicated that they need a firm that offers insight as it relates to strategy and guidance. Thus, they want services such as fractional CFO or controller services.

3. Respond in a Timely Manner

An overwhelming majority of millennials (72%) said that the most important trait of an accounting firm was to respond to their communications in a timely manner. We live in a world where businesses no longer have regular business hours. The Internet has extended the hours that businesses are operating and also changed consumers’ expectations. Consequently, millennial business owners expect prompt responses from their accounting firms.

So What?

The insights from Bill.com’s survey are not surprising. Cloud-computing is predicted to continue growing at a steady rate. Additionally, consumers continue to expect more as the digital climate continues to develop and empower consumers. Thus, the takeaway from this should be that accounting firms need to be experts on what their customers expects. The bottom line is – you want your customers to be happy – and to do so you need to make sure you are meeting their expectations. If your main customer base consists of millennials, then three things you should consider doing are going paperless, offering CFO services and oversee your processes on response time with customers.

To learn more about what millennial business owners want from their accounting firms, download the 2017 Millennial Business Owner-Accounting Firm Survey special report or infographic.