Sage intacct Buyers Guide

Make an Informed Buying Decision by Surveying
the Value of Cloud Accounting Software

Why Cloud Accounting?

According to Gartner Research, spending on “cloud” or browser-based applications will dominate the software budgets of North American organizations in the years to come (Gartner Research). This finding includes planned spending for cloud accounting systems. Why? Because businesses are realizing the combination of power (functionality specific to their market vertical) and the outsourcing of software maintenance are transforming their operations, and creating real returns. We’ve lent our top ten reasons why “cloud accounting” is better (see below).

Top Ten Reasons for Why It's Better

We’ve considered ten reasons why cloud accounting applications are transforming business practices and helping business owners realize high return on investment. “Why it’s better” is considered in light of our software offerings – Intacct.

1. You Don’t Host It – Because cloud accounting is “browser-only required” it refocuses your efforts. That is, cloud accounting shifts the paradigm away from IT infrastructure and hosting to using systems focused on executing and tracking your business strategy. This pivot allows for greater specialization, fewer management resources dedicated to compliance, and less concern about data loss and business continuity.

2. Automates Your Processes – By automating basic functions like invoicing, collections, bill payment, data input, reporting, and more advanced processes like consolidation, scheduling, metrics calc., and forecasting, cloud apps reduce staff time, errors, and admin focus. Custom workflows, advanced features, configuration, and some tinkering go a long way to automating your business processes and reaping returns.

3. Solves Complex Processing & Reporting – Cloud accounting apps offer advanced features for transaction processing and reporting. Key, because despite other favorable aspects of cloud accounting, businesses likely won’t migrate from starter systems unless they need features like multi-entity management, multi-currency, e-commerce integration, revenue recognition, industry specific reporting, or other advanced options.

4. Offers Real-Time Results – Cloud accounting offers stakeholders two important means of gaining immediate feedback: reporting and notifications. In best practice environments, financial and metrics reporting is summarized onto dashboards offering a unified view of financial and operational results. In the second instance, notices related to use events, approvals, and scheduling are available. Both in real-time.

5. Distributes Workflows Effectively – With cloud accounting, the distribution of work (processing and reporting) can take place across multiple groups, locations, business types, and trade requirements. This distribution also extends the specialization of your workforce, allowing your business to have third parties play a role in the servicing of your accounting function, reporting, and analysis.

6. A Unified Solution – Big business has long realized the value of centralized systems to manage their operations (Viz. common technology infrastructure with a single database). Cloud apps apply the same “stack” and “suite” approach, and because of browser-only access, allows sharing of data, workflow, reporting, and the “plugin” of staff where needed. This approach also relieves the need for certain custom integrations.

7. Highly Configurable – Implementing a new system pays off when it conforms to your internal (sometimes manual) processes. Matching system configuration to your business practices is especially important for accounting transactions, approvals management, report distribution, and the gatekeeping related to access. Custom workflows, advanced configuration, and know-how, allow us to match many internal processes.

8. It’s Evolving – Our featured offerings push updates on a quarterly or semi-annual basis straight to your browser session. Updates address significant requests of a large cross section of the user base and their ongoing needs. The nature of these enhancements seeks to address ease of use, and extend functionality. Over time, the release of features specific to specialized verticals will extend their share of niche markets.

9. Portable – With the advent of smart devices it’s a “take it along world.” No different with cloud accounting. Employee and management maintenance of basic data input and reporting can be executed using portable devices, with the development of extended functions in the works. The point being that moving from browser access on your desktop/laptop to a PDA is a straight-forward transition in the Cloud.

10. Gaining Market Share – Recent announcements from respected research and technology services show that our featured vendors are gaining market share and experiencing rapid growth. As with any major trend, increased market share and acceptance allows for further internal development, and external partnerships with key third parties. Both result in better functionality, specialization, and return on investment.

“As economic pressures increase and other factors come into play, such as resource limits and skill shortages, organizations have expressed overwhelming interest in cloud computing and other options that externalize IT.“ (Gartner Research)

When to Do It?

According to Gartner Research, spending on “cloud” or browser-based applications will dominate the software budgets of North American organizations in the years to come (Gartner Research). This finding includes planned spending for cloud accounting systems. Why? Because businesses are realizing the combination of power (functionality specific to their market vertical) and the outsourcing of software maintenance are transforming their operations, and creating real returns. We’ve lent our top ten reasons why “cloud accounting” is better (see below).

Validate Your Need for Change

  • Scale – Process and store significant numbers of transactions. Need high-volume data storage and throughput capacity for meeting growth.
  • Speed – Adapt operations to meet current market conditions. Need real-time and unified analysis of results to make quick and informed changes.
  • Multi-Currency – Sell and/or purchase goods and/or services in multiple currencies. Need automated translation to a single reporting currency.
  • Multi-Entity – Manage multiple separate legal entities for operations and/or holdings. Need automated consolidation to a single set of books.
  • Multi-Location – Conduct business at multiple locations or franchise sites. Need distributive workflow between central and branch locations.
  • Industry (Statutory) Reporting – Require industry compliance, such as FAR, NFP, Fund, etc. Need industry specific financial reporting overlays.
  • E-Commerce Integration – Sell goods/services on the Web via credit card. Need e-commerce integration to accounting system and PCI compliance.
  • Inventory Management – Hold and sell and/or drop-ship inventory items. Need SKU management, lot tracking, and/or serialized inventory control.
  • CRM (Sales) Automation – Run CRM software for management of sales. Need integration with accounting for order conversion and tracking.
  • Project Accounting/Management – Manage project teams and/or LT service contracts. Need task, phase, T&M, fixed fee management capabilities.
  • Segment Reporting – Report on results by market and/or geographic segments. Need detailed dimension reporting either stand-alone or matrix.
  • 3rd Party Processing – Execute payment and/or tax calc.’s via third-party. Need pre-integrated payment and sales tax management solutions.
  • Collaborative Work Process – Control accounting and/or transaction entry using multiple parties. Need delegated views and permissioned access.
  • Workflow Management – Regulate transactions and/or approval by custom definitions. Need custom transaction definitions and/or approvals.
  • Consider ROI

    Businesses adopt cloud accounting systems when they realize value in-excess of cost (positive ROI). To determine ROI, we analyze the costs of otherwise internally hosted software, your productivity gains (hours and errors reduced), and increased reporting visibility.

    ROI Framework by Nucleus Research – An industry model for determining returns from cloud accounting software.

    Nucleus Research Cloud Accounting Software | NDH Group Chicago

    Nucleus Research is an independent, full service Research and IT Advisory Firm that specializes in the financial assessment of technology throughout the product life cycle. The foundation of our research is a case based methodology that involves interviewing customers who have implemented a technology solution. By following this case based, investigative approach we can deliver factual advice and analysis that will help the organization articulate the financial, operational and overall business value of implementing the technology solution.

    Which system works best for me?

    Your business is growing and you’ve validated the need for change to cloud accounting. Now consider which system will best support your next phase of growth. An analysis of “best fit” is based on the specifics of your business and industry, other business applications you may be using (CRM, e-commerce), and your preferences. Our “showroom” (see below), highlights features, options, and other subscription details for our offered solutions. With great options available, let us help you consider which system is right for your business.

    How Does Discovery Lead to a Successful Selection?

    Discovery of your needs and business practices allows us to make a recommendation on the right system, when to move, and the expected payoff (ROI). Discovery also allows us to design a relevant proof of concept (demo), and migration plan. This full assessment is completed prior to an agreement to implement and support your system use. As your implementation begins, our expertise in project management, technology, accounting, and reporting ensure long-term success (more below).

    Managing Your Long-Term Success

    We manage for long-term success, and differentiate our services, using the expertise we’ve developed over the past ten years. Here’s our recipe for making your implementation work:

    • Build a Bridge – Develop a strong working relationship with your team, and leverage our collective efforts. This speeds the implementation, and ensures the system rollout keeps with your requirements. Building trust is critical to long-term success.
    • Manage with the End in Mind – Deliver the valued solution we planned with you for your business. For you, this could translate to greater efficiency, visibility, speed, compliance, and/or ability to scale. To keep your goals in mind at each stage of design and implementation.
    • Draw on Experience – Utilize our knowledge base and experience with implementing and supporting systems. Along the way, we’ve learnt a lot about our offered solutions, allowing us to find creative and detailed solutions to your needs.
    • Apply Best-Practice Project Management – Follow a project plan or roadmap with a defined set of end goals. Our project plans create structure for managing the innumerable details involved with bringing your system live, and supporting your custom use.
    • Support Accounting Standards – Configure your system to comply with accepted standards for transaction processing, internal controls, and reporting. We rely on GAAP and IFRS, and incorporate other specialized standards, including those for not-for-profit, government contractors, and funds.
    • Incorporate Management & Metrics Reporting – Deploy financial dashboards, management reports, and workbenches to draw the attention of your key stakeholders. These tools allow your executives to get immediate visibility into the Co.’s financial position and results.
    • Utilize Templates – Maintain a series of reporting and configuration templates to standardize setup and compliance. Our templates, including a financial reports library, significantly minimizes the time and effort involved with the initial configuration of your system.
    • Make it Yours – Train for self-sufficiency so the system becomes personalized to your needs for access, performance, and reporting. Our goal is for you to be a “super-user,” able to maintain and modify the system according to your ongoing needs.
    • Divide & Conquer – Align with skilled technology partners for e-commerce integration services. This allows us to maintain overall project management, but tap specialty practices. Applies in instances of integrating Intacct or NetSuite with other web-based applications.
    • Know the Product & Marketplace – Stay current with updates to our offered solutions, and the cloud accounting marketplace. Regularly scheduled enhancements, and other market changes, can have significant impact on your use, with our goal of determining which apply.