Improving Business Visibility for Better Analytics in Finance

In a recent article over at EPM Channel, they highlighted some interesting results from their Finance 360° Insight Survey, which looks at where Finance is delivering game-changing value, where they are not, and what can be done about it. Two of the items that really caught my attention were:

  • While half (50%) of the senior finance executives polled believe that Finance can deliver “game changing” decision support, less than 15% say that’s what is actually being delivered today. And 10% rate decision support as “Unsatisfactory” or even a “Failure”.
  • An overwhelming 70% of senior finance executives said they know Finance spends too much time on mechanics, too little on analysis.

I'm not exactly sure why the numbers surprise me. The reporting and analysis-focused sessions at our annual customer and partner conference are always packed. You can never learn enough about ways to improve your business analytics and finance teams understand they need to spend more time on this. It is through access to increased business insight that finance teams can go from being "bean counters" to being true business advisors for decision support.

Intacct customers consistently praise the increased business insight they receive once they switch to our cloud financial applications. Whether they outgrew QuickBooks or moved from outdated, on-premises mid-market software from the likes of Microsoft and Sage, the story is the same. In their previous financial system, they were typically bogged down by time-consuming data re-entry, exporting of data to other systems like Excel, or struggling against a lack of flexibility in creating the reports they actually need to make informed decisions.

Take for example Signal 88 Security. In a recent case study, Signal 88’s revealed its corporate finance team saves over 20 person-hours each week using Intacct that were previously spent manually creating franchise-level reports for cash balance, payroll, invoices, and accounts receivables. These reports are now populated and shared easily using Intacct. Furthermore, franchise owners can log into Intacct at any time to view reports and dashboards for their entity—a powerful benefit for the many owners who operate their security businesses during nighttime hours.

Signal 88 Security's CFO, Laura Vodvarka, shared: “Now that we have greater transparency and don’t need to worry so much about time-consuming data entry, invoicing, and reporting, we can do more profitability analyses for our franchises. Intacct helps us advise them on all kinds of financial best practices, such as where they can grow and how they can adjust invoice terms and timing to improve cash flow.”

Another good example is The Knowland Group. Knowland’s leadership team regularly reviews executive dashboards in Intacct that summarize the profitability of the organization, as well as general finance overview reports that highlight bank account balances and aging cash flow for daily financial management. The finance team easily modified Intacct’s wide variety of pre-built reports to create collection and transaction reports for specific accounts. In addition, Intacct’s multi-dimensional general ledger tracks key attributes for all data and transactions, making it easy to provide every manager in the company with their own personalized dashboard to view detailed transaction information to help them make decisions for their department or location.

Jeff Haslow, CFO at The Knowland Group, commented in their recent profile: “With Intacct, we now have access to real-time financial data from anywhere, so we can look at our profitability, collections, budget vs. actuals, you name it. Our senior management team can see what’s going on in different departments at any given time, and make decisions to change direction or curtail activities based on budget assessments or other key financial information.”

In the end, it is about having a financial system that gives use easy access to the data, metrics, reports, and dashboards to analyze the business and find ways to make improvements. If you want to learn more about Intacct's reporting and analytics capabilities, I would encourage you to attend our upcoming educational webinars.

Be sure to follow Intacct on all our social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. To network with other people interested in cloud financial applications, join the Intacct Cloud Accounting group and the CFOInsights group on LinkedIn.