The ongoing COVID-19 crisis creates new challenges for financial firms — as noted by Business Wire, Canadian financial organizations are now struggling to meet client expectations around online service and satisfaction, while simultaneously developing new strategies to drive ongoing success in a rapidly-changing market.
While solid financial management software is fundamental for firms to weather the storm and survive pandemic pressures, deploying best-fit solutions can help companies both streamline and simplify key processes. Here’s a look at three key features of the best financial management software solutions — and how they can help your firm navigate the new normal.
When “Good Enough” — Isn’t
Banks, credit unions and investment firms can no longer afford to rely on software for finance functions that’s just “good enough”. It’s a common conundrum — many organizations are still using multiple, disparate legacy systems to handle modern challenges but these systems simply weren’t designed for the real-time requirements of on-demand, client-first financial interactions.
As a result, it’s critical for companies to find a financial management system that doesn’t simply get the job done, but provides them with the tools they need to dig deeper into data, intuitively interact with key functions and ensure the right people have the right access to the right data. In other words, “best” is the new buzzword — and it’s not just hype.
1) Critical KPI Management:
Metrics form the backbone of financial decision-making, but firms often struggle to locate and leverage these critical measurements. Here’s why: Legacy systems weren’t designed to handle modern measurement modalities such as AUM, IRR, cash-on-cash, net income period-to-date or employee turnover — and certainly not at scale.
Cloud based financial systems, meanwhile, put metric management and control at your fingertips, in turn making it possible to identify and adjust key performance indicators (KPIs) as needed. The best financial dashboards provide real-time snapshots of current financial health across all relevant KPIs, giving you the relevant data you need to take immediate action and develop long-term strategies.
2) Intuitive Options:
Even the best metrics and the most accurate KPIs won’t matter if users can’t easily access and understand them. While many software solutions provide pre-built templates that allow some flexibility, financial firms often run up against the hard problem of continuing process evolution — as new data is collected and metric measurements evolve, companies need dashboards that keep pace by empowering on-demand customization.
Solutions such as cloud-based financial management software from Sage Intacct, meanwhile, prioritize intuitive operations. While the tool’s general ledger delivers eight key dimensions out-of-the-box — including department, employee and item assessments — it’s easy for administrators to create and add their own categories for comprehensive reporting.
In practice, this emphasis on starting strong delivers an average ROI of 250% and 65% productivity improvement, plus solution payback within six months.
3) Role-Based Dashboards:
Not every metric matters the same way to every staff member. For example, while CFOs need quick access to profit-and-loss (P&L) statements and balance sheets, financial controllers are often focused on actuals versus budget numbers or cash-on-hand. Role-based dashboards allow users to customize their view based on what matters most to their position — then add or remove metrics as required.
The role-based reporting structure offers two key benefits. First, users aren’t overwhelmed by financial data. As both the volume and variety of this information accelerates, over-full dashboards can increase operational complexity, forcing staff to spend more time searching for specific data instead of developing actionable, financial strategies.
This functional framework also empowers greater control over who has access to data — and how they’re using it. Consider the CFO: Role-based solutions let companies customize dashboards to show highlights but also allow these C-suite members to drill down and discover source transactions. Compare that to mid-level managers — while they may need access to specific budgetary data and financial health markers, they don’t require the in-depth analysis offered to CFOs or controllers. Deploying role-based financial management software allows organizations to streamline key processes without compromising security.
Good, Better, Best
Good accounting software is required to ensure financial firms can navigate the new normal. Better options — which include critical KPI management and control — make it possible for companies to gain a competitive edge. The best solutions, however, deliver complete dashboard customization and role-based accountability to give Canadian financial firms the foundation they need for long-term, data-driven success.
About us: At IWI Consulting Group, we’re proud to be certified Sage Intacct consultants. As your trusted Sage partners in Canada, we bring 20 years of experience in deploying and implementing financial management software, business ERP, manufacturing, professional and non-profit solutions.
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