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.


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
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.

Recommended Reading:

Intacct’s New Tool Provides Focus for Non Profits

Intacct’s New Tool Provides Focus for Non Profits

Mission-based, non profit organizations have a clear agenda – doing good work around the world. Unfortunately, accomplishing that is more complex than ever, requiring leaders to rely on a lot more than just good intentions in order to achieve the positive outcomes they desire.

As the scope of non profit organizations has grown, decision-making has become a high-stakes process. At the same time, donors demand a level of transparency and accountability that raises the stakes of decision-making even further. For many mission-based organizations, the decision-making process produces a lot more confusion than clarity.

Luckily, the means to practice decision-making using high-quality, real-time, complete sets of data is both attainable and easy to implement with Intacct’s spend management tool that provides focus.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

Intacct Spend Management Application

Intacct cloud ERP software is already a powerful tool for enhancing the decision-making process and eliminating the kinds of uncertainties that lead to poor choices. But this leading ERP solution has recently become even better thanks to the integration of a dedicated spend-management tool.

Users can rely on this tool to strictly keep spending within budget thresholds. By providing a top-down perspective to the spending process, along with the capabilities to set flexible but strict controls, decision-makers can ensure that every purchase is a prudent one.

Intacct’s spend management application is a unique asset to non profit organizations because it delivers the confidence of centralized budget compliance, even when spending decisions are being made at points across the globe. The kinds of cash flow issues that compromise mission projects and damage the confidence of donors can be reliably eliminated without relying on a cumbersome or complicated process.

Related: Should Small Businesses Forecast?

Understanding Intacct Spend Management in Action

The strength of this tool lies in its flexibility and broad applicability. But that can also make it difficult to imagine how a specific mission-based organization would use it in practice.

Think of a decision-maker looking at a purchase order that has just landed on his desk. The amount of the order is not substantial, but it is large enough that it can’t be rubber stamped. Previously, it would require a deep dive into financial figures and a flurry of confusing cross-referencing to determine if that purchase was fiscally viable.

With Intacct Spend Management, the determination is made instantly-in real time. The decision-maker simply has to reference where that spending category stands against the budget. It does not even require simple arithmetic in order to confidently say yes or no. That introduces a welcome level of efficiency to the decision-making process while also ensuring that budgetary issues do not compromise the organization’s agenda. It also allows the organization to convincingly demonstrate a level of sound financial governance that sustaining donors require.

If decision-making in your mission-based organization is characterized by a lack of clarity and prone to mistakes and mishaps as a result, Intacct Spend Management is the overnight solution. What tools do you use in your organization to keep track on spending and comparing it to set budgets?


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...
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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...
Read More

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,...
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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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
Read More

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...
Read More
Business Intelligence is a Competitive Advantage

Business Intelligence is a Competitive Advantage

It’s the first day of the month, the finance and accounting teams are reconciling balance sheet accounts, recognizing revenue, accruing expenses, and recording financial transactions. Everybody is busy working against the clock to have the financial statements ready on time. Then, a request from the senior management team arrives. They want a series of sales reports so they can decide when to launch the new product line. This is a situation where a Business Intelligence (BI) solution would’ve been very handy. But let’s start with the basics.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence is the set of strategies, processes, applications, data, products, technologies and technical architectures which are used to support the collection, analysis, presentation and dissemination of business information.

Business Intelligence Systems

To implement BI, you need BI systems. These are solutions created to collect, store and analyze data for informed decision-making. These systems are particularly useful for evaluating customer or brand profitability, carrying out statistical analysis, undertaking inventory evaluation, and being part of a market research project.

Good BI solutions, at a minimum, include reporting with multidimensional aggregation and allocation, real-time information, reliable integration with the data sources and key performance indicators.

Challenges of BI Systems

Quite often, data is scattered in disparate systems such as accounting, forecasting, sales, customer relationship management (CRM), project management, inventory, etc. So, when a company decides it’s time to implement a BI tool, a big project must be launched. Not only because the new system needs to be implemented, but also because the IT department needs to create programs and processes to feed the BI tool with data extracted from all these systems.

Writing interface programs with instructions to extract data from a system requires extensive knowledge of the database. This means you need an experienced IT programmer in staff—or hire an expensive consultant—for each system that has data needed by the BI solution.

Then comes the problem of deciding how often to refresh the data in the BI system. Should it be weekly? Nightly? More than once per day? Unless you refresh the data in the BI database as soon as a transaction occurs in the originating systems, the BI information will never be real-time.

Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

ERP Solution with Integrated BI functionality

These issues don’t exist in an integrated solution with business intelligence capabilities. Software like this acts as the trusted system of record and depository of most of the financial and operational data. It offers the whole spectrum of core financial modules and it can be extended with fully integrated Intacct modules such as project accounting, time and expense management, contract revenue management, contract and subscription billing, inventory management, and more.

And built in the solution, multiple software companies offers the business intelligence components required to make smart and informed decisions:

  • Multidimensional aggregation and allocation. Thus, you can tag transactions to as many dimensions as needed. These dimensions can then be used on reports as criteria to sort, filter and aggregate.
  • Real-time reporting. Being an integrated system, all modules update a single database. Once a transaction is entered in any module, it is available for viewing and reporting. No IT interface programs and no IT experts are required.
  • Reliable integration with the data sources. Most systems offers pieces of software (APIs) that allow easy integration of third party systems with the database and functions.
  • Key performance indicators optimization. Most software solutions integrates dashboards that provide real-time access to key information and indicators that can be customized to meet the needs of the business.

Is your company at a stage where BI solutions are being considered? If you’re interested in learning more, check out the free whitepaper below on how to successfully launch a BI initiative.

Learn Secrets to Drive A Successful BI Initiative

A 2014 report by Dresner Advisory Services, the Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study, surveyed more than 1,200 IT and business professionals at companies of all sizes, from around the world, about their use of BI.

The study revealed that companies that achieve BI success follow five common best practices. We share these approaches to help you launch and drive a successful BI initiative at your organization — before your competitors crack the code first and pass you by.

Engaging a Fractional CFO/Controller Service

Engaging a Fractional CFO/Controller Service

Rapid Growth Causes Increased Risk

Small to medium sized businesses that are in rapid growth also are experiencing increased financial risk as a result. Growth requires expansion of the company’s automated systems and access to additional financing to fuel the growth. Managing these financial risks may be foreign territory for the business owner and his team. The company needs a CFO to manage the bigger picture. The CFO will make sure that the systems, processes and people are in place to produce accurate financial information so that the owner of the company can make better decisions managing growth. However, many small and medium sized companies simply cannot afford to hire a full time CFO.

Fractional CFO and Controller Services are the Solutions

Fortunately, there are firms that provide fractional CFO and Controller services that are affordable. The best way for a company to identify a good service provider is to tap its network of trusted advisers, such as bankers, investors, attorneys or CPA firm. These advisers can direct their client toward a firm that provides the comprehensive accounting and financial reporting support, as well as strategic financial initiatives, that will help drive growth.

What Does the Role Entail?

Businesses who decide to engage a CFO are looking to acquire a person that can guide them with strategic initiatives, but what does that look like? In our experience, a fractional CFO can:

  • Assist companies who are preparing for an acquisition or sale and guide them through the examination phase and financial due diligence required to execute transactions
  • Provide guidance in reconciliation projects
  • Offer advice in software system reviews and recommendations
  • Review company processes and offer guidance on optimization
  • Enhance reporting setup and support

Ultimately, the role will depend on the needs of the company who is interested in engaging in controlling services. Are you interested in engaging a fractional CFO for your business, and if so, what would that role look like?