Management often love throwing buzzwords at a problem, so it may seem as attractive as a cloud free blue sky. But is that really what finance staff need?

Finance staff don’t need ‘blue sky thinking’, instead they could do with a good bit of Cloud.

A recent customer survey by Intuit (US finance and tax software specialist) found just 4.5% of their customers had adopted Cloud software for their accounting processes, yet it is predicted that 50% SMEs will be using it by 2016. 

Cloud software integrates across the organisation so that figures, reconciliations, approval processes, and archiving.

And, in fact, everything else involved in the financial close process can be accessed by finance staff in office, or working from home and perhaps by the auditor from her office, if it is a small company. A larger company will find that all of its subsidiaries can work as if they were all sitting in the same room, even if they are countries apart.

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What’s more, by automating the entire reconciliation process, much of the long-winded manual work is done away with as well! 

Brian Sommer of ZDNet (IT news and analysis site) is an expert in software and services. His studies in to Cloud financial software adoption reveal that, of those companies who adopted integrated Cloud software to speed up business processes, their feedback tended to be that:

  • ”The security aspect in the Cloud is more robust that what the firm itself can come up with”
  • ”Vendors maintain the applications, not IT people”
  • ”Products are accessible anywhere, at any time”
  • And that ”products scale up and down to meet business requirements” 

 

Blue Sky = means no barriers. What about “Cloud”?

But why are so few companies adopting Cloud financial software?

In most cases the reason Cloud accounting software isn’t already universal is due to typical barriers being put up by management and IT. 

  • Security – IT are often worried about the security of Cloud applications, but in reality, this software offers security that is on par with most banks, keeping your data safe.
  • Vendor confidence – How can you trust your vendor to consistently deliver? This will come down to the vendor you choose, but 92% of users said they were happy with their current vendor.
  • Ease of use – Any change to software can bring about this barrier. But Cloud software is exceptionally easy to set up and is used just like locally installed software. 
  • Long-term contracts – If you’re worried about getting locked into a long-term contract, then look for one of the many vendors who offer a rolling monthly contract.

The four big challenges faced by finance department staff

Let’s consider the biggest challenges faced by the finance department as discovered by the recent Adra financial benchmark report

Financial Close Report

  1. Pressure to close faster…an overwhelming 90% of finance staff said they were under pressure to complete the month-end close process quicker, with a third taking over a week to close their books 
  2. Trust in the reported numbers…only 19% of front-line accounting staff trusted the reported numbers
  3. Lack of analysis due to a high workload…77% say they have a high workload during the month-end close process, with one respondent noting, “we have too little time, too few accountants, and too many balance accounts not always reconciled. There’s no time for analysis during month-end closing.” 
  4. Quality of the monthly close process…61% of finance staff are not happy with the quality of their monthly close process, citing using “manual processes and spreadsheets, rather than systems for tracking various items” as the problem.

These four key issues are easily overcome with some good Cloud accounting software…

 

What should you look for in good Cloud accounting software?

Here are the TOP demands your company should have of Cloud accounting software:  

  • …automate workflows for a swift and smooth financial close process
  • …reduce manual and spreadsheet errors with automated reconciliation
  • …gain in-depth, drill-down reports at the touch of a button
  • …improve visibility as well as governance, risk and compliance with built in modules for your CFO/FD
  • …store and organise your reconciliation and monthly close reports in an easy-access digital archive

 

Discover all of these great benefits for yourself – try the free trial of BALANCER.

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