Today is an exciting day at Intacct. At Dreamforce 2014 in San Francisco we’re introducing Intacct Collaborate, a new collaboration backbone built directly into the Intacct financial system. Intacct Collaborate builds on our ten year relationship with to deliver a better way for Finance, Sales, and Services teams to streamline communications and speed work execution.

Intacct Collaborate embeds Salesforce Chatter, the leading enterprise social network, into Intacct to create a secure social layer across all finance processes and across devices through the Salesforce1 Mobile App. For Finance, Sales, and Services employees, this means they can now work collaboratively to keep processes efficient even in the face of snags due to requested exceptions, ambiguous data, or changing policies.

Intacct is constantly looking at innovative ways to make our customers more efficient and productive. Organizations that have reaped the productivity benefits of automated processes are now looking to further accelerate execution with more efficient collaboration. In a recent Forrester Research survey of finance software buyers, 71% rated collaboration capabilities as either important or very important, and 63% have either implemented or are planning to implement collaboration capabilities within a year.1

The addition of Salesforce Chatter inside Intacct will facilitate greater collaboration, expedite decision making, and ultimately accelerate business processes—making companies more competitive.

Working Better Together
Traditional financial systems force users into email in order to clarify the status of processes, to discuss and resolve exceptions to standard policies, or to interpret and discuss trends in performance metrics. Using email for collaboration introduces unnecessary friction by making employees swap back and forth between applications and by increasing the risk that important process issues are neglected due to email overload.

Intacct Collaborate offers a modern, streamlined experience—delivering a much more efficient way for Finance, Sales, and Services employees to collaborate around all key finance and accounting processes. Instead of spawning separate and external email threads, employees can conduct conversations right inside Intacct’s cloud financial management application, directly on specific records such as journal entries, accounts, projects, invoices, purchase requisitions, and more. For companies leveraging Intacct’s tight integration with Salesforce Sales Cloud, conversations appear simultaneously in both systems—enabling Sales to collaborate from the system they spend the most time in, while Finance has access to the conversations from the accounting system of record they work in.

Vijay Ramakrishnan, Intacct’s director of product marketing, recently sat down with me to detail the highlights of Intacct Collaborate and what this announcement means for businesses.

INTACCT: What is Intacct Collaborate?

VIJAY RAMAKRISHNAN:Intacct Collaborate is the collaboration backbone that we’ve built directly into Intacct’s cloud financial management solution. Collaborate embeds Salesforce Chatter inside Intacct and helps finance employees work together more efficiently, within the finance team, but also across the organization with employees in other departments.

Our driving vision behind Intacct Collaborate was to eliminate the barriers that keep people from executing as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

INTACCT: How does Intacct Collaborate help organizations work faster?

VR: Automated and connected systems have had a huge impact on making organizations more efficient; But even with automation in place, automation that moves data seamlessly throughout the organization, processes can hit snags.

Processes might come to a stop because exceptions to standard procedures need to be discussed and resolved. Or because data related to a transaction like supporting documentation is missing or unclear, or because someone needs clarification on the business need for a purchasing request, expense or other transaction before approving it.

Intacct Collaborate helps people work together to quickly resolve these types of issues and keep executing at top speed.

INTACCT: What are some examples of situations where employees need to work with each other to keep processes moving?

VR: Some examples would be: the sales rep that want to close a deal quickly, but can’t make the sale because he’s waiting on finance to approve his request for increasing the customer’s credit limit; the order entry specialist that wants to book an order in the finance system but sees some terms and conditions that are confusing or conflicting, and needs to get that clarified from sales. The AR manager that’s looking at unpaid invoices from a customer and wants to start the collections process, but they want to make sure there haven’t been any issues in delivering the products or services that have been committed to the customer.

During the close process, there’s the controller that notices that a journal entry is still in draft state and wants to know from the accounting manager whether this is just an oversight or if there’s an accounting or business reason to keep from posting it.

INTACCT: Why is it so difficult for people to deal with these types of issues today?

VR: The tool that most people are forced to use to resolve these types of questions and snags is email, and email is an incredibly slow way to address these situations.

First, email is its own system that’s disconnected from systems of record like Intacct or Salesforce.

Second, we’re all overloaded with email—emails about these process issues can get lost in the inbox, so there’s the risk that these processes stay stuck.

Third, many of these issues require a back and forth discussion around business or accounting issues. If this happens over email, and you need to go back and understand the rationale for a decision, it’s very difficult to find those old email threads.

INTACCT: How does Intacct Collaborate work and how does it make it easier for people to collaborate?

VR: Intacct Collaborate is different—with Intacct Collaborate, employees can make comments and carry on conversations directly on the relevant transaction or object, whether that’s an expense report, a customer record, a journal entry, an invoice, or a purchase requisition. There’s no more email back and forth—the conversation is centralized directly in the application. Because the conversation’s happening right next to the data, in-context, employees have the benefit of seeing all the information about a transaction as they’re assessing the situation and making decisions.

What’s also great about Intacct Collaborate is that for organizations who are using Salesforce, sales and finance can collaborate without leaving their everyday application. The sales person can request a credit limit increase on a specific account record in Salesforce, and the finance person sees that comment and conversation on the customer record in Intacct, and can respond directly from Intacct.

And last, with Intacct Collaborate, because the conversation is part of the transaction, part of the data, you have a record of the conversation for later reference, right in the application.

INTACCT: What are the main benefits you see organizations getting from Intacct Collaborate?

VR: The driving vision behind Intacct Collaborate was removing barriers to fast execution.

By making it much more efficient to collaborate around processes, the biggest benefit is improving the speed of every finance and accounting process in the organization.

When it comes to cross-departmental collaboration between sales and finance, Intacct Collaborate is going to speed up approvals, help resolve exceptions quickly and get deals closed and recorded faster. It’s all about speed.

To modernize collaboration within finance and across departments, Intacct Collaborate:

  • Is built on Salesforce Chatter, the leading enterprise social network
  • Delivers collaboration across applications (Intacct and Salesforce Sales Cloud) and across devices through the Salesforce1 Platform
  • Helps employees move quickly from discussion to action
  • Gives employees the complete picture as they converse, with in-context communication
  • Captures dialogue and decisions, for later reference, within the systems of record 

One of the early customer adopters is Canto, a leading provider of digital asset management software. Their CFO, Hans Schaedel, had this to say about the new functionality: “Collaboration is an everyday activity for finance, whether it’s working with Sales to resolve invoicing issues, clarifying and adjusting order policies, or reviewing transactions within the accounting team. As a multi-national organization, we anticipate that Intacct Collaborate will help Canto accelerate decision-making, deliver better customer service, and move faster as an organization.”

See Intacct Collaborate at Dreamforce 2014
To see a personal demonstration of Intacct Collaborate and Intacct’s best-in-class cloud financial system, please visit the Intacct booth (N2006) in the Dreamforce Expo all this week. Intacct will also highlight Intacct Collaborate in a breakout session at the conference on Wednesday, October 15, at 3:30pm in Century Theatre 3 entitled “Sales and Finance: From Aggravation to Collaboration with Chatter.”

You can also visit the Intacct website to learn more about Intacct Collaborate and our tight integration with Salesforce.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@aaron_r_harris) for updates from Dreamforce. You can also follow Intacct on all our Social Media channels: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube.

1 - Forrester Research, Inc. – Business Technographics® Software Survey, Q4 2013.