Choosing the right finance tech for your clients
Client finance teams that are scaling up quickly, or navigating other types of business disruption or change, have a lot to deal with. They are likely to be reviewing everything from their operations and processes to their overall strategy, people and location needs as well as their finance systems. The industry experts at our recent Business Growth webinar with BDO identified the following three main pain points or growth obstacles they are likely to face.
1. Dealing with the limitations of existing and legacy systems
Many finance teams are keen to adopt more automated, efficient processes but find that their current systems have limited functionality. If their finance system doesn’t integrate with their other systems, they find it difficult to support the wider business and they’ll have costly and time- consuming software updates to deal with. Even if they have implemented an entry-level Cloud system, they may not be realising the full benefits and it may not be able to scale to manage changes and anticipated growth across the business.
2. Time consuming and error-prone manual processes
Many finance teams are spending too much time dealing with inefficient, manual processes. At month and year end, in particular, they’re drowning in paperwork and spreadsheets. They can also often be working in silos on different systems, which frequently leads to lengthy delays in reconciling different data sets.
3. Limited management reporting and financial insights
Leadership teams can’t be forward looking and strategic when they don’t have access to effective management information. As such, the pressure is on finance teams to deliver detailed business performance across departments, cost centres, products and regions. That can be a real challenge when working in multiple, sometimes incompatible, systems.
How can accountants help clients choose the right finance tech?
Every business will have its individual requirements and wish list when it comes to choosing finance tech. But a future-focussed finance function will want to ensure that whatever system they choose meets the following needs:
The workplace has transformed in the last two years. Every finance team now needs the ability to easily access all their data from anywhere, via internet and mobile apps. They also need to know that their data is secure and synchronised.
Finance automation can reduce many manual processes and data capture, from bank connections and invoice and expense recording, to data entry and number crunching. It makes it quick and easy for your clients to create reports and provide insights and impactful analytics in just a few clicks. That gives them more time (and headspace) to do the things that really matter (and can’t be automated), such as analysing the data, formulating the strategy and communicating across the business.
AccountsIQ customer, Integra Technical Services were keen to streamline specific processes in their finance function, such as multi-company accounting and foreign exchange. Integra’s Financial Controller, Sue Evans, finds that these features in AccountsIQ make her life much easier.
“We have a lot of inter-company trading and resource transfer. The process of re-charging costs and invoices across different entities is really smooth with AccountsIQ. It’s a big improvement from what we were using previously because I no longer have to log in and out to look at different entities. It’s also easy to map through and check you’re using the right FX. Previously, it was complicated, and we spent a lot of time working out variances. With AccountsIQ, you just know it aligns. In fact, we only need to do our FX updates monthly rather than daily. It’s so much better.”
Choosing a finance system with an open API enables your clients to connect data across their business systems. That means they can automatically populate their finance system and integrate with their financial reporting. It also helps them to scale their business as they can add applications when they need additional functionality and still ensure they can transfer data between systems.
The ability to store files and documents online will give your clients easy access to the information they need, from anywhere. They should also ensure that their finance system gives them an audit trail of their accounting records assigned to individual transactions.
Your client will need strong visibility across all their KPIs to drive fast, sustainable growth. And investors and other stakeholders will demand in-depth analysis of the company’s performance, beyond the bottom line of financial statements. Their finance system will need to provide up-to-date financial information with drill down to underlying transactions, along with dashboards and comprehensive management reporting for additional insights.
Clients with teams based across multiple offices or working from home will value the reassurance that their information is stored securely online. They’ll also want the ability to set up different user access profiles and two step authentication for login.
Watch the AccountsIQ/BDO Business Growth Webinar recording to find out more on this topic.
Find out more about how AccountsIQ enables you to get sophisticated analysis and business intelligence.
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