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Optimal efficiency from anywhere: how to optimize the SaaS tech stack for accounting excellence


Optimal efficiency from anywhere: how to optimize the SaaS tech stack for accounting excellence

The sudden shift to remote work took us all by surprise. Still, for accounting teams in particular, the shock of moving to a work-from-home policy meant much more than just ensuring IT provided extra monitors to employees. Before March 2020, very few accounting teams had formalized remote work policies in place. Given the nature of their work, however, many SaaS companies found themselves in a better position when word came down to pack up the desk and get ready for an indefinite period of WFH. Still, in far too many cases, this was limited to ensuring teams had the equipment to accomplish their day-to-day responsibilities and not much more.

Yet, here we are. Accounting and FinOps leaders responded to the challenges faced with such a momentous few months to meet expectations and exceed them while establishing a new standard for accounting departments: Accounting operational excellence.

So how did they do it? Let’s take a look at how a few users optimized their accounting tech stack using Sage Intacct and FloQast to improve communications, provide transparency into critical accounting processes, and set their teams up to offer more value to the business.

A rocky start leads to a solid finish

Andrew Rankin was hired as Stack Overflow’s financial controller in April 2020, and, as a result, had only been to the office to meet the team once: When he was interviewing for the position.

Onboarding from home, Andrew joined a team operating at peak efficiency with Sage Intacct as its cloud ERP and FloQast as its accounting workflow automation resource. Still, he was tasked with identifying areas for improvement and leveraging the resources in place to make the changes. He just had to learn about the resources before he did that.

Thankfully, that proved to be pretty simple. “It was actually very easy to get up to speed with Sage Intacct,” Rankin said. “And FloQast specifically, it’s been very intuitive to use. You can get up and running quickly, so we were able to really turn up our utilization.”

In time, Stack Overflow, a technology company with a public platform for developers and technologists was able to replace outdated processes using Sage Intacct for preparation of consolidated financial statements, and FloQast to track assignments.

“We’ve been able to assign responsibility to particular accounts or individuals in FloQast, hold them responsible for explaining what’s going on, and then presenting both, so we have our Sage Intacct report, our FloQast, and we use that to inform the senior management,” Rankin explained.

Today, Stack Overflow’s accounting team is humming along, with a close process down to just five business days, improved team morale and communication, and a proactive mentality that promotes proactive thinking at every level.

“We have a lot more comfort and confidence now that we have additional clarity and precision and are being more comprehensive in terms of our close,” said Rankin. “That can sometimes be a bit difficult to measure in numbers, but there’s a feeling of more control and of more satisfaction.”

Multi-entity, high-growth SaaS company finds structure with Sage Intacct and FloQast

With numerous global entities and a wide variety of customer orders, Code42, a provider of insider risk management software, found the perfect fit with Sage Intacct when it finally was able to transition from QuickBooks after a period of tremendous growth that has yet to ebb.

According to controller Grant Christianson, the complexities of usage billing proved to be quite simple to handle in the Sage Intacct ERP.

“Before, it was all manual,” Christianson said. “We exported the trial balances in the local currency and then manually converted them for the consolidation. But now, with Sage Intacct, we just push a button. We can run a consolidation multiple times a day. It just saves us a tremendous amount of time.”

With a solid foundation in Sage Intacct, Christianson and his team started looking for resources to add to its SaaS tech stack, starting with the month-end close. Ultimately, the company opted to implement FloQast, finding value in its ability to consolidate close-related tasks in one place while ensuring a consistent link with Sage Intacct. As a result, the company cut its monthly close from 10-15 days down to just seven.

According to Christianson, the tech stack built on Sage Intacct and FloQast has improved more than just day-to-day accounting operations. It’s helped with staff retention and engagement, which can negatively impact accounting teams if the right resources aren’t available to them.

“Getting [accounting staff] out of that mundane day-to-day stuff keeps them interested in their work and gives them an opportunity to learn new things,” Christianson said. “Not everybody stays at the same company for 25 or 30 years. I think what they learn here will benefit our accounting team members in their overall careers. Thankfully, we’re very fortunate that our accounting team has all been with the company for quite a while. When you have the right team and implement the right tools, it just clicks and things get done.”

The Final Boss: streamlining the annual audit with the right resources

It would be callous to say that the shift to remote work en masse couldn’t have happened at a worse time, but with teams preparing for the annual audit, the transition probably couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Both Stack Overflow and Code42 were confident in their organization and preparation for their respective audits. Executing them with remote staff and auditors seemed daunting, however.

“What happens if there’s a complex accounting issue, we just adopted ASC606, and we need to use the whiteboard or show the auditors our laptop or screenshots,” Christianson recalled thinking. “How can you do that remotely? That was our issue.”

The auditors took the raw general ledger details from Sage Intacct, importing them into an analytical tool and investigating unexpected variances and outliers instead of testing massive samples of transactions. Thanks to FloQast, any documentation the auditors needed was securely stored in an easy-to-navigate folder structure and available remotely — with no need to sort through paper files or make copies.

“It goes back to knowing that we have the tools in place to rely on, and we can believe the systems and the process that we’ve put in place produces accurate numbers for us,” Christianson said.

At Stack Overflow, things went equally as smooth, according to Rankin. “We had a great experience. We started the audit in the last week of July and had our finished audit opinion in September. For a first-year audit — let alone a remote one where the firm had never seen our systems before — that’s a huge accomplishment. A big part of that was the preparation involved, and FloQast played a big part in that. It was a place where we could track what was done versus what still needed to be done and it offered a central place where we could ensure the quality of the audit schedules was up to par.”

Accounting teams have proven that they can operate at a higher level than just a few years ago, regardless of their physical location, with the suitable systems in place. For teams to have such positive not negative experiences with intimidating processes like the annual audit is a testament to the effectiveness of solid leadership, the right resources, and engaged staff.

Looking forward to the next audit, Christianson didn’t seem at all worried. “This audit is going to be a piece of cake for us,” Christianson said.

Interested in learning more about how to properly optimize your SaaS tech stack to increase efficiency and communication? Hear about the impact Sage Intacct and FloQast have had from none other than Code42’s Grant Christanson! Check out the on-demand webinar, whenever you can find the time, for free!

Interested in learning more about how to properly optimize your SaaS tech stack to increase efficiency and communication? Watch a replay of a recent webinar where Sage Intacct and FloQast were joined by special guest Grant Christanson, Controller, Code42to discuss ways to automate and improve key accounting processes like the month-end close and annual audit. Access the recording today.

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