Customer Impact Guides the Digital Transformation Journey
To stay competitive in this new age, finance digital transformation is a must—not a maybe. Companies are modernizing their finance architecture to support new digital services to be more responsive to their customers’ needs. Many businesses are adopting these new technologies at an unprecedented rate because of the global pandemic.
COVID-19 forced organizations to quickly pivot to enable remote work and navigate unique challenges in a changing economy. A strong digital foundation became essential for survival allowing companies to work lean yet efficiently. According to the recent Return to Growth Outlook report, one in three businesses say the COVID-19 pandemic sped up their digital transformation plans by three to four years, and the need to try new strategies accelerated the digital transformation timelines for most companies (81%).
In finance, digital transformation helped replace repetitive, manual tasks and unwieldy processes with automation. Removing old processes running on antiquated technology was vital to ensure the future success of an organization. Companies providing cloud financial management solutions helped businesses increase efficiencies, productivity, and enable more insight for strategic decision-making.
During the pandemic, this proved especially valuable as businesses had to make predictions during a tumultuous time. Budgeting and planning cloud technology enabled some companies to quickly reforecast for multiple scenarios when the pandemic struck. Software vendor MemberClicks was able to reforecast its business across dozens of revenue and cost scenarios with robust scenario planning and what-if analysis.
“When COVID-19 hit, Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning gave us the ability to model in real time and reforecast the entire business in just two and a half weeks,” said Brent Stringer, senior director of finance and accounting. “It was invaluable. I couldn’t have done it in Excel, even if I worked 12 hours a day.”
The accounting team at Whole Family Health Center, a nonprofit healthcare provider, was constantly scrambling to keep up as the organization grew steadily since its founding in 2013. An upgrade to Sage Intacct solved a host of challenges in core accounting functions and reporting just as COVID-19 arrived. With Sage Intacct, Whole Family’s accounting team has been able to absorb new workloads and demands linked to the pandemic. They were able to gain certification as a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike that provides healthcare to underserved communities.
Before their transformation, the strict reporting requirements would have been difficult to meet because they were relying on spreadsheets. Since graduating to Sage Intacct, the nonprofit has improved overall accounting efficiency by 80%, eliminated nearly 20 hours of accounting manual work a month, and improved reporting timeliness and accuracy and more.
These organizations had the right technology in place to be able to pivot and adjust to changes. Another must-have in digital transformation is business intelligence. AI-powered timesheets can reconstruct an employee’s activities to speed up their time entry and improve accuracy. And because it’s AI, it gets smarter with each entry, freeing the customer-facing employee to focus on the customer. At the Kinney Group, they love the convenience of continuous time entry with Sage Intelligent Time (SIT) AI-powered timesheets.
“I don’t have to get out of bed to approve timesheets,” said Senior Engineer Derrek Chapin. And Accounting Manager Christina Watts noted, “Since we’ve started using SIT, we’ve seen a 40% increase in employees submitting time daily because it’s so convenient.”
Automated billing is another opportunity to meet your customers’ needs. Billing customers late, when manual work piles up, can create frustration for those receiving the invoices – especially if it’s after the close of a financial period. They have to go back into their records and complete old transactions, using time that could be spent elsewhere on higher value work. Providing a solution that automates the billing process is a win-win. Businesses can provide more accurate and timely billing, and their customers are happy with on-time, digitized invoices, building better relationships. At Sage Intacct, we have seen customers’ billing errors reduce significantly from 60% down to less than 1% after implementing automated systems.
Komet Sales, a specialized software-as-a-service provider for flower growers, importers, wholesalers, and retailers, is a prime example. A lack of automation was creating a growing mountain of manual work for the finance team, not to mention the impact a slow process had on cashflow. With Sage Intacct, Komet Sales was able to save 100 hours per month by automating processes freeing up time for the finance team to work on higher value work such as planning in an evolving environment of COVID-19.
As organizations digitally transform their finance department, they will be looking to source new applications to meet business goals. The ability to integrate their systems with others becomes increasingly important. Smooth integration between multiple systems and services will create a better customer experience. In finance software, a built-in sales integration allows users to have more visibility into their systems and doesn’t just create a sales order, but gets it fulfilled, billed, and paid.
Subscription billing allows customers to automate subscription management and complex revenue accounting. Automating a single revenue stream across the customer lifecycle can save hundreds of hours each month on calculations and reconciliations. Contract changes such as renewals, upsells, downsells, and holds are automatically updated so financials are aligned. Automation saves time, eliminates errors, and reduces confusion.
It is clear that digital investments in finance are essential to not just surviving the pandemic, but for laying the groundwork for future growth opportunities. At Sage Intacct, our goal is to enable customers to accelerate their digital transformation journey. Keeping aligned with our customers wants and needs helps us to maintain the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry. With our rapidly changing global economy, elevate the work of your finance team and harness the opportunities digital transformation brings. Businesses that invest in growth in the midst of the pandemic will dominate once the economy rebounds.
According to Bain & Company research, “Investments made today in areas such as product development and information or production technology will, in many cases, bear fruit only after the recession is past. Waiting to move forward with such investments may compromise your ability to capitalize on opportunities when the economy rebounds. Well-prepared companies manage a strong defense and offense, reining in costs while simultaneously reinvesting in growth.”
Tina Wang started her career running reinsurance operations, where paging through a 3-ring binder for chart of accounts information was a common occurrence. Thankfully, today’s accounting systems have removed this manual tedium. Tina loves her current role leading product marketing for the Sage Intacct product line, directly supporting Sage's mission to transform the way people think and work so they can thrive.
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