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The best of both worlds: Will your financial management solution play well with Salesforce?

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Gaining a unified view of financial data from across the business is vital for today’s CFO.

In a previous post, we explored how finance leaders can gain this business-wide view, along with many other benefits, by integrating their financial management solution with Salesforce.

If your organisation is looking to undertake such an integration, there are several considerations you must first make to ensure its success. When choosing a financial management solution, it’s important to carefully evaluate how it connects with Salesforce, to ensure data flows seamlessly between the two.

Let’s take a look at what you need to consider when choosing a financial management solution, to ensure it can successfully integrate with Salesforce.

Separate fact from fiction

First, don’t be caught unawares. Some financial management solution vendors create confusion by implying that connections with Salesforce are virtually automatic for products built on the Salesforce1 platform.

In reality, a Salesforce integration consists of a select set of data passed between sales and finance—regardless of platform. To make sure your needs are met, you need to understand how data flows between a financial management solution and Salesforce.

Whitepaper: The Business Case for Integrating Salesforce CRM and Cloud Financials

Learn how deep, pre-built, vendor-maintained integration between Sage Intacct and Salesforce is transforming how finance and sales align, collaborate, and execute to create greater efficiencies, speed, and accuracy.

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Start with (your) Salesforce

We recommend starting with your Salesforce implementation, because this is generally the first place information is captured in your opportunity-to-cash process. And because each implementation of Salesforce is unique, no real evaluation is possible until you understand your Salesforce workflows.

Examine your Quote-to-Cash process, or perhaps your Project-to-Cash Process, and understand which Salesforce Objects (fields) you use today. For example, do you use Customer Records? Do you use Opportunities? What Custom Objects do you have?

Once you know which information fields you capture in Salesforce, you can then evaluate how different financial management solutions connect with Salesforce.

Understand pre-built Salesforce connectors

Many financial management solution vendors offer pre-built connectivity to Salesforce. (Note that some vendors who offer competing CRM products may choose not to support native connectivity to Salesforce.) When evaluating how financial management solutions connect to Salesforce, remember that every pre-built connector assumes a certain set of Salesforce workflow configurations. Simply ask yourself how well these assumed workflows match your specific implementations.

Evaluate tailored salesforce connectivity

If you discover that a vendor’s standard Salesforce connector isn’t an exact match for your workflows, you generally have two choices:

  1. Modify the existing Salesforce connector for your needs. This can be a cost-effective solution, providing a lot of standard functionality while still enabling you to achieve just the right connectivity you need.
  2. Create your own connections, leveraging Open APIs. This gives you the most flexibility, with the trade-off being a longer implementation. If you’re more flexible on the timing, this can be a great option to choose.

Other considerations

In addition to the foundations mentioned above, here are a few more questions to ask a financial management solution vendor about Salesforce connections:

  • How many objects does a Salesforce Connector consume? If you are close to reaching your Salesforce object limitations, a connector could force you to incur unexpected costs.
  • Are advanced features such as Single Sign-On included as a part of standard Salesforce Connectors?
  • Does the financial management solution vendor build the Connector, or is it created by a 3rd party? Who will support the Connector to ensure it doesn’t break over time?
  • Will you be able to integrate the financial management solution without forcing changes to your existing Salesforce configuration? This is critical to the ease of implementation and cost.
  • Does the connection include elements such as Chatter to speed exception processing?

If the vendor can answer these questions to your satisfaction, that’s a positive indication to proceed.

Completing this portion of an ERP evaluation may require the involvement of both finance and your Salesforce administration teams. Investing the time will ensure that you have a seamless, no-compromises solution—one that meets all of your financial management requirements with the connectivity you need, and one that pays dividends to your company every single day.

Choosing a financial management solution with Salesforce integration can be extremely beneficial to your organisation. With so many options on the market, you want one that can integrate quickly and easily. The advantages that integration gives you can’t be understated. Let’s look at some of those benefits.

1. Cost savings

One of the most appealing aspects of choosing to integrate your financial management solution with Salesforce is the reduction in costs it gives you. With so many of your operations relying on data, sharing that data across multiple platforms and the entire cloud environment becomes crucial to success. This effort can lead to a significant waste of resources as well as redundant software if done incorrectly. A financial management solution that integrates well with Salesforce can eliminate that waste and help organisations share data more efficiently.

2. Improved coordination and collaboration

Workers need the right tools in order to succeed. This is where a financial management platform excels, giving staff the resources to work together without difficulty. Salesforce is likely another tool they use, so integrating it with your financial management solution means everyone within the organisation has what they need to reach their goals as a collective.

Integrating your financial management solution with Salesforce essentially helps workers collaborate and coordinate with each other, removing some of the most common obstacles that might impede their progress.

3. Streamlined management

Salesforce offers a lot of features and capabilities that can truly enhance an organisation’s operations. It can get quite sophisticated, which may put added pressure on IT staff. A financial management solution which integrates easily with Salesforce helps to streamline that management, giving IT workers the ability to deal with monitoring and maintenance challenges quickly.

4. Enhanced security

Data is a vital component of every organisation today. Should an organisation’s data become compromised, that can spell disaster and devastation for everyone involved. This is why data security has become a much talked about subject.

Software that provides enhanced data security measures are often sought after. This is one area where Salesforce has shown prowess. While some businesses may choose to invest in their own data security measures, for those who may need help in this one aspect, integrating Salesforce with your financial management solution can provide that extra boost to your data security efforts.

5. Better customer information

There are times when your customers’ information might be spread out among multiple platforms. Some CRMs might store data for sales and leads while the financial management solution might be focused on storing billing data. This can end up creating confusion and inconsistencies, however.

By enacting a two-way integration between your financial management solution and Salesforce, you can ensure that data remains consistent and any redundancies will be eliminated. The two platforms will be able to synchronise their data to make sure all information is always updated.

6. Improved flexibility

Going with a cloud solution means avoiding choosing a rigid platform that can only be accessed while on site. A financial management solution which integrates with Salesforce brings you added flexibility. Not only is the data you need more accessible, but you can change it more easily.

This is especially helpful since data can grow by enormous amounts, so you need a solution that can scale as you grow. This scaling capability can keep organisations competitive. At the same time, a financial management solution that works well with Salesforce leads to an improved ability to go mobile, meaning you can have access to important data from almost anywhere and at almost any time.

Whitepaper: The Business Case for Integrating Salesforce CRM and Cloud Financials

Learn how deep, pre-built, vendor-maintained integration between Sage Intacct and Salesforce is transforming how finance and sales align, collaborate, and execute to create greater efficiencies, speed, and accuracy.

Download Whitepaper