The internet and technology has been a catalyst for many organisations that have gone from start-up to a multi-million pound business. Managing this explosive growth can be a challenge for even the most capable FD. We’ve drawn up a list of the five additional ways that accounting software can – and should – support you in your role:
1. Integrate niche processes: integrating back office finance with payroll and front office systems isn’t anything new. But it’s worth exploring what other niche processes can be integrated into the finance system as well. Any process that has to be repeated on an ongoing basis is a prime candidate for automation. And today it can be more cost effective than you think, particularly with workflow forms which can recreate most business forms electronically so that the business isn’t losing sight of that all-important data.
2. Make the business accountable: self-service means that non-finance staff can submit things like expenses, timesheets – and manage and report on their budgets. No business should be spending hours rekeying information and equally, finance shouldn’t be the bottleneck when it comes to the business getting reports. If, for example, a project’s losing money the project manager can instigate changes to stem the loss much sooner. No need for finance to step in.
3. Manage non-financial reporting: these days, companies of every size are expected to have some degree of corporate and social responsibility. They also need to be able to report this back to multiple stakeholders, whether internally to the Board, private equity backers, or externally to customers. Being able to account for this is becoming an important part of the business mix.
4. Measure business performance in new ways: with the ability to layer BI over your accounting software and data from other business systems you can combine data to uncover issues and missed opportunities within the business. This could lead the finance function and the rest of the business to gain new perspectives and to open up new ways of measuring business success.
5. Bring enterprise solutions to SMBs: Small and mid-sized businesses are often just as complex as larger organisations as our head of aCloud, Josh Gilbertson, highlighted in an article on accounting trends published by AccountingWEB earlier this year. Running a lean business and automating where possible, including integrating finance with enterprise level systems and reporting, will enable it to scale. What’s more, it’ll instil good practice in the coming years as the company continues to grow helping the FD, the finance function and business as a whole to cope with any challenges ahead.