It’s a wrap for Sage Summit 2019! Hundreds of Sage customers, partners, and sponsors took with them industry-specific insights, tips and tricks for savvier product use, and different perspectives on how to prepare for the business landscape of the future.
Here are the top takeaways from Summit 2019: where businesses thrive, to help you navigate through impending changes.
CPA bodies to accountants: Change is coming
Tom Hood, president and CEO of Maryland Association of CPAs and The Business Learning Institute said the business environment for CPAs and accounting professionals will be characterized by “unprecedented, massive, and highly accelerated change” through 2025.
His two-part session warned attendees that to thrive in this new era of hyper-change and growing uncertainty, it is now imperative to learn a new competency—how to accurately anticipate the future, to understand and anticipate trends and use them to find new opportunities for their firms and clients. This helped them to learn how to move from being a crisis manager to an opportunity manager and see farther into the future than the competition.
“The key to being future-ready involves the right mindset, skillset, and toolset. Apply the latest research to develop a vision for the future, create a winning culture, and create an action plan for a firm of the future.”
The Practice of Now 2020
Discover how accounting is on the brink of positive disruption and what accountants and bookkeepers should do to be successful.
Small businesses: How are you managing fraud and compliance risks?
Many attendees came for advice for avoiding gaps that may exist in their business’ approach to fraud prevention and compliance, and for recommended products, services, and tools available to help protect them against various forms of financial loss.
Session leaders Jeffery Chancellor (Sage) and Harland Clarke’s Trish Harkins highlighted some of the common hiding places for fraud and compliance risks and advised how a cloud-connected solution eliminates those concerns.
- Where possible, divide the tasks and duties required for data security and compliance rules among your employees to help mitigate error and risk.
- Even if you think your business processes are uncomplicated and well known by management and employees, there is value in creating written policies and procedures. Processes for accounts receivable, sales, payroll, and purchases are examples.
- Maintaining up-to-date supporting documentation is crucial for developing an effective and predictable internal control framework within a business. Proper documentation can also make it easier to research and respond to questions auditors.
- Employees should start with very limited access to information systems with only the rights to perform functions that are essential to that user’s work. Unnecessary access is often a convenience or oversight for small businesses but providing such access can expose the business to additional risks that business leaders may not be aware of.
In a session about driving success with an effective strategy, goal management, and coaching to boost employee engagement, attendees learned more about the direct and measurable relationship between employee engagement and organizational success.
The session showed the impact of employee engagement on the bottom line, helped managers improve how they coach so employees can achieve their goals, and showed how performance reviews are changing into ongoing performance management.
From a financial management perspective, small business leaders learned how to become a data-driven finance overseer and learned what technology and skills are needed to move forward in a data-driven world.
Larger businesses: Smarter data means better business performance
Kerstin Demko, Sage’s North American director of channel marketing, lead a session about how the role of the CFO is changing and how cloud solutions and digital transformation will forever changing finance.
The advancement of digital technology is changing expectations of the role of finance leaders. Mid-sized companies were interested in how to embrace data-driven financial processes like delinquent accounts, backorders due to stock shortages, and POs awaiting approval.
Kerstin said data integration has been proven to enable organizations to avoid surprises and anticipate and automate (rather than be surprised and react to) changing conditions in daily business activities:
- Strategic focus—automation will reduce manual tasks and workloads.
- Consolidation and integration—automated functions and integrated systems will facilitate faster decision making.
- Data and analytics—cloud-based analytics tools for easier access to insights to pivot faster, scale quicker, and accommodate growth.
- Collaborate—Become more responsive and strategic to drive better decisions.
Feedback from many manufacturing companies at the event revealed many supply chains are becoming increasingly more complex—which isn’t all that surprising given that they are contending with widely dispersed manufacturing, warehousing, procurement, and sales activities, along with more and more global and outsourcing issues. Attendees learned practical means to curtail this complexity costs and the inefficiencies that go along with it.
People leaders in attendance learned how a connected solution serves as the foundation for any HR system that needs to support a growing organization in a session lead by Sage’s strategic account manager Jim McCormack. Next generation business intelligence is enabling business leaders to steer their organizations to the true potential of their businesses.
In the session Sage Manufacturing: The connected warehouse and production floor, attendees learned how when paired with integration, business intelligence empowers users to visualize, analyze, and report on their company-wide information. For example, technology is intended to help us get bandwidth back, especially around routine tasks. Some systems are so rigid the point of diminishing return is too quickly realized.
With the workforce going mobile and the need for real-time data increasing, business leaders learned of the power behind an Office 365 integration for anytime, anywhere access to data. Connected organizations can view customer and vendor information from within Outlook 365 and build workflows to increase productivity and reduce roadblocks.
Summary: Sage Summit spotlights data innovation for thriving business
In summary, Summit 2019 put the spotlight on data innovation as the driver for smarter business regardless of size. Businesses must be willing and prepared to transform business-as-usual processes into seamless data exchanges in order to thrive, which requires a modern way of thinking and working.
Connectivity and intelligence are the foundation for this transformation. The sooner businesses adopt, the sooner they can take advantage.