Now, not later.
This is the reality for businesses worldwide: Your company can’t afford to be the slowest, weakest link in the customer, supplier, or business partner chain. Cloud finance solutions can help organizations better collect, manage, and use financial data effectively, in turn helping your business stay ahead of the curve.
But what does this look like in practice? Why is speed so fundamental to business functions? Where can cloud finance help you go faster, and how do businesses get started? Buckle up and let’s find out.
The Need for Speed
No matter the size of your business, people have big expectations when it comes to the speed of service and support.
According to recent research, one-third of consumers and companies expect an email response within an hour, and just over 11% want a reply within 15 minutes. A 2023 customer survey, meanwhile, found that 85% of customers feel that responsiveness plays a key role in brand loyalty. And they’re not giving businesses free passes just because the last two years have been challenging — 83% expect companies to be as fast or faster than they were pre-pandemic.
The result? For companies to keep pace in a digital-first, customer-focused world, all aspects of business operations must work in tandem to deliver on-demand support. While front-facing functions such as customer service agents often take center stage, companies can’t afford to ignore back-office functions.
Where Cloud Finance can Help Companies Go Faster
By implementing cloud finance solutions, companies can capture performance boosts in areas such as:
Manual tasks are time-consuming and potentially costly. Consider a paper invoice. Entering data manually may be a process of hours rather than minutes, and if data entry errors occur, teams will need to revisit invoice data, make changes, and potentially take action such as making additional payments or asking for a partial refund.
With cloud finance tools, automation comes standard. Rather than tasking staff with core financial data capture, companies can offload these efforts to cloud functions, in turn freeing up more time for finance teams to improve process efficiency at scale.
Accurate data capture is critical across all aspects of business operations, and especially in finance. This is because all other company functions depend on reliable and up-to-date financial reporting. From budgeting for sales and marketing teams, cash flow estimates for new business initiatives, and ROI estimates for current functions and future plans, speed isn’t possible without accuracy.
By removing the inherent complexity of manual data entry, companies can improve information accuracy and reduce the risk of costly task repetition. This also allows businesses to keep a human in the loop for oversight. No matter how good the solution, it’s always worth double-checking key data — by having team members regularly review data rather than being responsible for its capture and entry from start-to-finish, companies are more likely to spot potential issues before they become bigger problems.
Finance processes must be fully auditable and accountable to ensure compliance. Consider the growing impact of legislation such as GDPR or the CCPA, combined with more familiar standards such as PCI DSS. Cloud solutions make it possible for companies to quickly create and access comprehensive transaction records to satisfy compliance conditions in the case of regulatory audits or customer requests. This is especially critical as customer control over financial data is expanding — businesses must now be clear about what data they’re collecting, why, what they plan to do with it, and how it will be disposed. There are also increasingly strict guidelines around reporting processes and the time between customer data requests and business replies.
Getting Started with Cloud Finance Functions
Cloud finance solutions are now fundamental for success. But how do companies get started? With so many cloud options now available, from free tools to for-pay products, generalized offerings, and industry-specific solutions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by choice. Here are four tips to help your business get started.
1) Look for Expertise
When it comes to cloud finance functions, look for a solution created by finance experts for finance teams. While more generic solutions may help bridge the gap between legacy tools and basic cloud deployments, purpose-built products make it possible for companies to go beyond surface data and create long-term financial strategies that help boost profitability. Expertise also speaks to the longevity of the solution. Providers with a reputation for solid service delivery, consistent uptime, and regular product updates are less likely to fall by the wayside as cloud markets expand and new solutions emerge.
2) Ask About ROI
Don’t be shy about ROI. If solution providers don’t have — or won’t share — data about ROI, companies may be better served with a different provider. Consider Sage Intacct. On average, customers achieve 250% ROI and solution payback in less than 6 months, along with reducing total close time by 79%. In addition, companies report a 65% productivity improvement on average. In practice, this means teams can spend more time on developing new business initiatives rather than overseeing cumbersome and error-prone manual processes.
3) Consider Scalability
Can your prospective cloud solution scale? While scalability comes standard for core cloud processes, it’s also worth considering integration with other services. Sage Intacct offers built-in tools for growth with integrations for popular platforms such as ADP, Salesforce, and more. This makes it possible for your solution to scale both vertically and horizontally: Additional compute resources from Sage are available on-demand as your business grows up, while integrations with best-of-breed platforms allow teams to broaden their horizons.
4) Prioritize Form and Function
When it comes to cloud financial solutions, it’s worth prioritizing both form and function. For example, Sage Intacct provides intuitive dashboards that offer easy-to-understand but still in-depth financial data, along with flexible additional models for complete financial management functionality.
The sooner your business makes the shift to cloud finance, the better. With data volumes and customer expectations evolving in tandem, companies can’t afford to get stuck behind the curve. Instead, it’s time to take lead with powerful, flexible, and user-friendly cloud solutions.
Ready to get started? Get up to speed with Sage. Let’s talk.