Most finance executives instinctively know that a strong accounting system is critical for keeping the business running smoothly. Then why is it that we still see a lack of urgency to improve those systems? It's time to stop suffering in silence or let lethargy get the best of you - it can ultimately damage the business and even your career.
Hold the drama? But we are in 2013 and the FUD factor (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that used to surround cloud computing should be gone. Cloud accounting apps have taken the market by storm and are completely transforming the finance department for the better. So why are you procrastinating?
Below we've listed out the five biggest excuses (we've heard) as to why Finance is not making that jump to cloud accounting, along with a serious wake-up call. If any of this is what's holding you back, do not fall victim and settle for ‘good enough'. The cost of doing nothing is an expense you don't want.
Excuse No. 1: "Why fix an accounting that isn't broken? We just do a lot of workarounds."
Excuse Buster: Then it is definitely broken. No Finance department should be stuck doing workarounds, manual entry, re-keying of data, relying on volumes of spreadsheets, or using a system that does not integrate with your CRM.
A recent study from Aberdeen Group uncovered that time spent on repetitive tasks went from 48 hours per week down to four hours per month once moving to a cloud based financial system. That's more than a 1000 percent improvement! Who turns that down?
And it's not just about the administrative tasks. If you have been running a system that's 10+ years old, or even five, it's definitely not supporting your business growth. Does your system deliver 360° view of people, projects and accounts? Does it leverage social tools? Does it support customer interactions? Does it allow for departments to work together? Very likely not, but the right cloud accounting system does all that and more.
Cost of Doing Nothing: You could have saved 188 hours per month wasted on repetitive tasks. Imagine what could you do with that time and expense for business growth.
Excuse No. 2: "A new accounting system would be too expensive. We can't afford it."
Excuse Buster: You can't afford not to. Are you aware that upfront and maintenance costs can be reduced by 75 percent when going to a cloud-based system (Aberdeen Group). What's not to afford?
Typically offered on a subscription basis, a cloud system means you are
able to eliminate large, upfront capital expenditures for computer hardware,
systems software and accounting application software licenses. You pay for the
access and storage (and maybe some services) and get killer software in
exchange. This is the exact opposite of on premises solutions where costs only
go one-way: and that's up.
Add the fact that cloud accounting solutions are known to deliver higher ROI, real-time, multi-dimensional financial analysis, and a host of other benefits, from mobile access to enterprise collaboration - all geared toward efficiency and providing better value to your customers. Cloud accounting helps grow profitability, not hinder it.
Cost of Doing Nothing: You are spending 75 percent more than an organization that is using a cloud solution. Think of the possibilities that would mean for profit-sharing, or general operating expenses.
Excuse No. 3: "It will be way too hard to sell-in to the CEO."
Excuse Buster: Absolutely not. When he/she hears figures like an immediate 25 percent increase in productivity, a 50 percent reduction in invoice processing costs, and a 91 percent improvement in Customer satisfaction (Aberdeen Group), then your CEO should be jumping onboard.
The right cloud accounting system also offers the types of functionality that CEOs love - e.g. dashboards, real-time reports and analytics, mobile access, automated workflows - functions that make audits smooth and keep the company lean. Plus a cloud accounting system is scaleable so it will grow with the company and improve efficiencies across multiple departments. When you partner all that with a comprehensive cloud app strategy - where your apps, sync, grow and work together - you will be praised for moving the organization that way.
Cost of doing nothing: Customer loyalty is jeopardized. Productivity is compromised. Both deadly to any business.
Excuse No. 4: "It will take too much time to get a cloud accounting system up and running. Implementation might disrupt business/financials."
Excuse Buster: The exact opposite is true. Cloud solutions are ready to go — users need only a login and an Internet connection, and there is no need to procure hardware or do testing. Also, implementation is usually quicker, with a lighter, more iterative approach to configuration versus the heavy upfront customization that often characterizes on-premises deployment. That faster speed also applies to ongoing enhancements. It's also important to note that the entire time a cloud system is getting implemented, it doesn't interfere with your current system operations because no intersection is ever necessary.
Cost of Doing Nothing: The initial change-over might not be fun. But the benefits it brings in terms of CRM integration, speed, automation, is immeasurable.
Excuse No. 5: "There's no way my financial data is secure in the cloud."
Excuse Buster: You're probably not spending enough on security. So, spend less and get more. If you go with the right cloud app/provider, there's actually no place more secure for your data. Take salesforce.com, the host/cloud provider for FinancialForce Accounting - they have invested three times more than any other company in the world to ensure that the data that lives in their cloud gets state-of-the-art protection along with backup and disaster recovery. This is far more advantageous than the cost and uncertainty of trying to protect data held in house - which may already reside in a number of separate company sites. We haven't even mentioned that the Finance team retains complete control over the data and tools that each user is allowed to access and work with. This delivers reliable data security and underpins auditability.
Cost of Doing Nothing: You will end up with getting less security, paying more money. Or worse leaving your data more compromised than if you went to the cloud.
Don't make the biggest mistake of all - doing nothing.By Tom Brennan, VP of marketing, FinancialForce.com.