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 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.

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.

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....

Modern Digital Workplace: 5 Current Trends Making Waves In The Office

Improving workflow is guaranteed to improve morale and modernize your workplace. But with all the tech on the market, it’s tough to know which solution is right for you. At Lavoie CPA, we know it’s a tough decision. We’re here to help.

With Microsoft cloud solutions, increasing employee connectivity–not only to each other but to the many Microsoft services offered–is a key element in being able to maintain flexibility while accessing data wherever you are.

With a little help, you can leverage Microsoft cloud solutions today. Contact us to find out how we can speed your transition to the cloud.

Customer story: Hershey

Hershey built their brand with data, using insights to come up with creative ideas. But to foster that creativity in the digital age, they needed to modernize their IT infrastructure. Doing so can seem daunting, even for a company like Hershey. At Lavoie CPA, we want to help your business make that change so you can begin to create.

With Microsoft cloud services, Hershey was able to connect employees together with insights gained from Azure, creating an agile modern workplace. Your business can leverage these same tools to modernize your workplace.

Contact us today to find out how we can help.

3 ways to protect yourself from a ransomware disaster

There’s no cure for ransomware. As the attackers grow more powerful each day, it’s up to every business to fight back by being prepared and keeping important data safe. At Lavoie CPA, we can help you do just that.

Microsoft’s approach to privacy and data protection is grounded in their commitment to customers’ ownership of and control over the collection, use, and distribution of information.

Leverage the security of Microsoft tools to safeguard your business and the data that makes it run. Contact us today to find out more on how we can help.

Customer Story: Taylor Wessing

International law firm Taylor Wessing needed the flexibility to scale, develop, and deploy where and how they want so they adopted the only consistent hybrid cloud on the market. At Lavoie CPA, we know you have a lot of the same needs, and we have the solution.

With Azure, you can easily connect data with applications, and devices by taking advantage of over 150 out-of-the-box connectors, all while meeting a broad set of international and industry-specific compliance standards, like GDPR.

You know where to find the tools, now you need to integrate them. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

5 key areas to focus on while integrating cloud-based strategies

Moving to the cloud does not happen overnight, and the road there can often appear winding and poorly marked. It may not always be clear which move is the right one for your company.

Advisors can help a business navigate this path, ensuring they are achieving the desired result and avoiding complications.

We here at Lavoie CPA want to ensure that your business is making the best possible choice when starting out on your cloud journey. Contact us to learn more about making the right choice.

Customer Story: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company

As a business, your greatest assets are your people. Their hard work and ingenuity have gotten you to where you are today. But in order for each employee to best serve your company into the future, they need the right tools.

Microsoft 365 keeps people connected across the globe, allowing them to come together and collaborate in real time to solve business problems faster and more effectively than ever before. Microsoft 365 keeps them agile, productive, and most importantly, secure, wherever they are logging in from.

Contact us to learn more about how to ensure your greatest assets–your people–have the right tools to propel your business to success.

Office 365 helps secure Microsoft from modern phishing campaigns

Phishing attacks are relentless. What are you doing to help prevent them from hitting your business? At Lavoie CPA, we want to help make sure your modern business has the tools you need to stay protected.

Office 365 works in near real-time to protect against phishing threats and safeguard data and intellectual property. It provides advanced security and reliability to eliminate known threats before they reach you.

Your information is too valuable not to protect it. Contact us today to find out more on adopting the Microsoft solution you need to stay in the game.

Day in the life Retail

With all the moving parts in your business, you need to stay in sync while maintaining flexibility and speed. At Lavoie CPA, we know that can be tough to do especially for small business owners. That’s why we’re here to help.

Microsoft business-class email gives you access to email, contacts, and shared calendars anywhere. You can work without worries wherever you work best and stay focused on what matters most.

Your mobile business needs the right tools and we can help you get them. Contact us today to find out how we’re poised to deliver the Microsoft solutions you need.

Microsoft uses analytics and data science to enhance the user experience

Whether you need a solution to look for information, attend meetings, or collaborate, you want a great user experience. Your customers do too! At Lavoie CPA, we know this can be tough to deliver.

To enhance user experience for employees, Microsoft employs several data science and machine learning algorithms to provide insight into how people use products and services to achieve their goals, how they perceive an experience, and any issues they have.

With all that data, anything is possible. Imagine what your business could achieve with the right tools. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Missing Metrics:  The Hole in Your Donut

Missing Metrics: The Hole in Your Donut

Good Decision-Making is About Having and Using The Right Information

If you are missing metrics you need when you need it, your business will experience difficulty reaching its full potential. So here are two important questions:

  1. Do you have the view you need of your business?
  2. Are you missing out on important metrics that could make the difference for you?

If you answered “No’ to the first question and “Yes” to the second question, it is likely time to upgrade your firm’s accounting and reporting software.

Accounting Software Solutions Are Often Limited

They may be fine for a certain select range of functions, but they won’t deliver a complete, 360 degree view of your business. And the comprehensive view is essential for optimized decision-making. For example, operational data, which includes everything from energy usage to inventory and beyond, is a critical part of your business. But does your accounting reporting incorporate this data? Can you see operational data side-by-side with your financials in your reports? If this information isn’t incorporated in a visible, intuitive manner, you won’t have the complete picture when making strategic business decisions.

The same is true when it comes to financial depth. After all, there are many layers of financial data that need to be analyzed. Do you have access to real-time up-to-date business performance metrics from any venue? Can you slice and dice your accounting information to make comparisons and tracking even more effective? Or is your accounting software static? Do your reports have limited metrics? Can you only see a sneak peek of your company’s performance, instead of the whole story?

The more flexible and comprehensive your accounting and financial reporting software is, the better. In fact, you can gain a serious advantage over your competitors if you upgrade to a more adaptable, in-depth solution while they’re stuck with rigid, unrefined tools – or, even worse, still using spreadsheets for their accounting. So what software solution should you choose?

Related: Cloud Accounting Software: Ultimate Guide

Intacct Dimensions

One of the software solutions that we employ for our clients is Intacct Dimensions, a cloud-based application that delivers best practice accounting and reporting solutions for companies of any size. Intacct’s accounting and reporting software is based on the notion of dimensions. Multiple dimensions of data provide a deeper and far more accurate picture of your company’s financial situation. With Intacct, you can look at all transactions through eight distinct filters:

  • Department
  • Location
  • Customer
  • Vendor
  • Employee
  • Item
  • Class
  • Project

Integrating all of this information into unified reporting ensures that business leaders have the ability to examine their financial operations from many different angles. Reports can be modified to incorporate any or all of these different dimensions, depending upon what the user is trying to discover. And because of the high degree of integration, examining this wide range of metrics is a simple matter. Business leaders become more agile, more informed and more confident in all of their decision-making.

This isn’t just an accounting issue. There should never be any blind spots or mysteries when it comes to your company’s performance, finances or operations. Choosing the right software solution – such as Intacct Dimension- ensures that you will know what you need to know when you need to know it. 

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

Our CPA Day of Service

For the last six years, the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (NCACPA) have challenged its members to give back to the community by participating in the CPA Day of Service. The idea came originally from one of NCACPA’s Board of Directors to...
Why Use A Fractional CFO or Controller Services?

Why Use A Fractional CFO or Controller Services?

Identify Cost Savings and Increase Efficiency

In order to stay competitive, businesses are forced to examine all aspects of their operations to identify cost savings and drive efficiencies. The companies that do this successfully will be rewarded with increased market share and improved profitability.

The challenge for small business owners is how to effectively conduct this analysis without the knowledgeable resources to do it. Typically, small business owners will try to handle the company’s finances on their own, even though accounting is not their core strength. Consequently, owners can end up with poor financial reporting that impacts their understanding of their business operations.

Specific results of accounting and financial reporting shortcomings affecting small businesses include:
  • Inability to obtain bank financing or raise equity investments
  • The financial complexity of the business has outgrown the capability of existing staff
  • A lack of financial bandwidth on a specific project such as a M&A transaction
  • Inability to respond to growth opportunities due to misunderstanding the relevant financial implications
  • Misperceptions about the origin of profitability

Most Efficient Method for Small Business Owners

For many small businesses, hiring a full time CFO or Controller is not economically viable. However, utilizing a fractional CFO or Controller service to access the financial expertise they need is affordable. On average, most small businesses (subject to size) should only spend between $15,000 and $60,000 annually for fractional services, compared to $90,000 – $120,000 annually to hire a full time CFO or Controller. Clearly, utilizing fractional CFO/Controller services makes sense for small businesses who are looking to identify cost savings and drive efficiencies.

Making the Shift: Four Secrets Behind Great Budgeting and Planning

Download the eBook to learn how to challenge the Status Quo; set targets for continuous improvement, how CFOs can lead improvements & how to set rolling forecasts.

Save Time and Capital With Managed Accounting

Save Time and Capital With Managed Accounting

What is Managed Accounting?

Free up internal staff to focus on your core business while saving time, resources, and capital. Managed Accounting is simply shifting the functions and tasks of basic and critical business processes, traditionally managed inside your company, to an external provider, such as an accounting firm. By taking advantage of the power of secure cloud-based technologies, your business would receive a comprehensive range of managed business services for its clients, from A/P and A/R to controllership and virtual CFO services and we provide the ERP system to scale with it all.

Related: 5 Myths About Outsourced Accounting

Benefits of Managed Accounting

Besides saving your company precious time, resources, and money by utilizing managed accounting services, you’ll also be able to free up and redirect your internal staff and resources to supporting revenue-generating core business functions, including strategic planning.

In addition, when you partner with a third-party, you won’t have to worry about software and hardware upgrades and maintenance, or security! And you won’t need dedicated IT staff to support an in-house ERP system. Cloud technology platforms are state-of-the-art and offer the highest levels of security in the industry. Your financial data and business information is always safe and secure. Most importantly your data is always accurate and in real-time.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

With real-time access to your data, we can generate custom reports, forecasting, benchmarking, and real-time data analysis. Why settle for financial reports and analysis that are out of date the day they are printed? Now you can be sure you are always working with the latest up-to-date information at your fingertips, 24/7. Get a better picture of your business in real-time. 

DOWNLOAD FREE eBOOK!

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.