Technology & Innovation

LLMs for SaaS accounting: a CFO’s guide

Discover how LLMs can enhance your SaaS accounting processes and help you make profitable financial decisions.

A seismic shift is underway in how SaaS CFOs handle their financial data and processes. If you guessed that it’s related to artificial intelligence (AI), you’re on the right track.

Large language models (LLMs) are changing the game for SaaS CFOs. These cloud-based tools can work with and learn from vast financial datasets to help accounting teams automate and optimize all kinds of processes, from your payables to your relationship to your SaaS metrics, and so much more. And thanks to machine learning (ML) technology, no code generation is required.

In this blog, we’ll 1) Help you understand LLMs and their importance, 2) Dive into their value for SaaS accounting, and 3) Cover specific use cases for how they can streamline your accounting processes to maximize cash flow. 

Keep reading to learn how you can make the most of this new tech.

Explaining LLMs

As a first step, we’ll make sure you’ve got a firm grasp on what LLMs are before moving on to their benefits for SaaS finance. In essence, these tools use a process called tokenization that breaks human language into individual “tokens” that the AI model learns to recognize.

An LLM encountering an entire sentence, for example, would rapidly break it down into individual words–objects, verbs, pronouns and so on, “tokenizing” that data.

You’ve probably heard of ChatGPT from OpenAI, and you can find similar chatbots with a quick Google search.

At the most basic level, these tools follow a standardized process to produce new content using existing data. That looks something like the following:

  1. LLMs, which are language-learning AI models, to comb through massive amounts of training data from web pages all over the internet.
  2. The software leverages neural network technology that mimics the human brain to allow it to learn from that information.
  3. The chatbot or other software then uses generative AI (GenAI) and ML algorithms to produce original humanlike content based on what it’s learned.

Simply put, LLMs are a type of AI that can work with and learn from complex data far more rapidly than humans can. 

With millions or billions of parameters, LLMs have the capability to generate highly realistic text in a matter of seconds, giving them applications that range from historical accounting to customer service and beyond.

LLMs do, however, pose some risks. Common issues are product biases, necessary training time, and overall effectiveness. One of the biggest challenges CFOs have when seeking to develop trust with these tools is the potential for hallucinations–false or fabricated statements crafted by AI.

Falling prey to even a single AI hallucination could be a disaster. That’s why it’s crucial to thoroughly vet any vendor of AI accounting tools you’re considering working with.

How are LLMs changing SaaS Accounting?

LLMs are revolutionizing SaaS accounting with their advanced deep learning capabilities, transforming how SaaS CFOs manage their financial workflows.

With LLMs, accurate forecasting and cash flow management become much more achievable for SaaS companies than they are with legacy processes. Integrating these tools into your accounting department unlocks significant cost savings, eliminates manual errors, and enables you to maximize your strategic effectiveness.

By leveraging the power of LLMs, SaaS CFOs can navigate the challenges of a rapidly growing industry and access new avenues for growth and success. The future of SaaS accounting is bright, thanks to the transformative impact of automation. Let’s take a closer look.

The impact of LLMs and AI on SaaS finance and accounting

LLMs and AI can profoundly impact your SaaS finance and accounting processes. These advanced technologies revolutionize the way financial decisions are made and enable real-time insights for better outcomes.

Why is cloud accounting software with LLMs well worth looking into? 

Profitable decision-making is always within reach.

With AI-powered LLMs, SaaS finance teams can quickly analyze vast amounts of data, allowing them to make informed decisions on pricing and billing, budgeting, churn management, and much more.

Process automation creates significant efficiency gains.

LLMs automate repetitive tasks like data entry, freeing up valuable time for finance teams to focus on strategic initiatives.

Compliance and revenue recognition are centralized.

In a manual SaaS company that silos its data, effective ASC 606 management and reliable revenue recognition can be extremely difficult to achieve.

Cloud accounting software with LLMs centralizes and automates SaaS revenue recognition, plugging revenue leaks and using GenAI to create deferred revenue burn down readouts.

Deferred revenue for a software company.

By leveraging the power of LLMs and AI, SaaS companies can enhance their finance and accounting operations, driving long-term growth and success. Having said all that, let’s explore some practical and profitable use cases of LLMs in SaaS finance.

Top LLM use cases in SaaS finance and accounting

We understand the immense amount of trust it takes to bring AI into your department and let it act as a partner in your major financial workflows.

There are risks involved, though as we mentioned, you can mitigate the vast majority of those by selecting a top vendor.

There’s another risk you might not have taken the time to appreciate, however: the risk of not adopting these technologies, sitting on the sidelines and being surpassed by your more innovative peers and competitors.

The rest of this post will look at some of the top use cases of LLMs in SaaS finance to help you fully understand the major opportunity cost of not working with these tools.

Unparalleled SaaS metrics integration and reporting

Unleashing the power of LLMs in SaaS accounting brings unparalleled metrics integration and reporting benefits. LLMs enable SaaS finance teams to instantly generate comprehensive financial reports with full SaaS metrics integration.

Advanced KPI analytics powered by LLMs provide valuable insights into your SaaS performance, empowering you to make data-driven decisions at every turn.

With LLMs automating the aggregation and analysis of complex accounting data, your finance team can redirect their valuable time and attention to strategic initiatives.

Real-time integration and reporting of SaaS metrics are only a pipe dream when you use legacy accounting methods. With LLMs, they become a reality.

RELATED: Automation, metrics, and MUD: a CFO’s guide for SaaS success

Advanced fraud detection capabilities

LLMs have also revolutionized fraud detection in SaaS accounting. These advanced models leverage natural language processing (NLP) techniques to enable real-time monitoring of financial transactions for suspicious activities.

SaaS CFOs can leverage LLMs with NLP functionality to identify and prevent fraudulent behavior in an array of contexts: AP fraud and fraudulent invoices, free trial abuse, refund fraud, and many others.

The advanced algorithms used in LLMs contribute to robust fraud detection systems, ensuring you can promptly detect and address problems.

Customizable role-based dashboards

Customizable role-based dashboards powered by LLMs instantly upgrade how SaaS finance teams monitor and analyze their key metrics. 

With an automated cloud accounting suite, finance professionals can create fully customizable dashboards tailored to specific roles, providing actionable insights at a glance.

These role-based dashboards can significantly enhance collaboration and decision-making within your organization. LLMs enable the integration of customizable widgets, improving data visualization and making it easier to digest complex financial information.

Streamlined and dynamic SaaS forecasting

Legacy SaaS forecasting is a risky business from beginning to end. For starters, the manual forecast assembly process relies on email chains full of spreadsheet attachments. That alone should raise an eyebrow, since that assembly method exposes your valuable financial data to breaches.

After that, you and your team have to slog through a tedious and error-prone manual forecast assembly process. 

And once you finally get your forecast, it’s only good for one go, with one set of assumptions and results. And due to the unreliability of manual processes, there’s a fair chance you’ll be dealing with more variance than you’d like.

Let’s compare that to automated forecasting with cloud accounting software. AI forecasting follows a process that looks like this:

Forecast model generation: 

Forecast models are created using ML algorithms, with all applicable model documentation automatically stored and backed up for you in the cloud.

Some brief text input: 

You briefly key in your input text or starting data and click a button.

SaaS forecast creation:

A dynamic SaaS forecast will be generated. In contrast to a manual SaaS forecast, which is only good for one run, dynamic forecasts can shift with the financial changes happening around you.

An automated SaaS forecast.

This makes them vastly more effective for generating cash flow by identifying threats and opportunities.

What else can LLMs do for SaaS CFOs?

Automated capitalization management

Capitalization management is a crucial aspect of modern SaaS accounting, and LLMs play a significant role in streamlining this process. By harnessing the power of AI, LLMs offer end-to-end management of capitalization and funding activities for SaaS companies.

Cloud accounting software can:

  • Create detailed capitalization tables to help you keep track of your funding.
A capitalization table for a SaaS company.
  • Keep your company on track with its performance obligations across your business lifecycle, ensuring a clear path to future funding.
  • Eliminate employee errors that risk putting a strain on your company’s relationship with key investors.

If your SaaS company takes external funding or is considering doing so, you can’t afford to leave your capitalization management to legacy accounting processes.

Are you ready to revolutionize your department?

The SaaS industry is more crowded and competitive today than ever before. This means that winning your market requires a constant drive to innovate and excel.

Today, there’s no better way of increasing your probability of long-term financial success than by embracing automation. It represents a historical shift in accounting that you don’t want to be on the wrong side of.

If you’re ready to see what cloud accounting software with LLMs can do for you, check out our AP automation datasheet.

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