SaaS Brief

How a Sage Intacct Sandbox Adds Value to Your Financial System of Record

During an initial deployment of Sage Intacct, our customers and implementation partners rely heavily on their Sage Intacct sandboxes. We often hear about the key role it plays in helping teams set up their chart of accounts, entity structure, and integrations perfectly before pushing everything live to a production environment. Soon thereafter, most customers make Sage Intacct their organization’s single source of financial truth.

Because of this, it can feel risky to train new staff using mock transactions in Sage Intacct, or to go back later and make changes to system configurations, app integrations, or even reports and dashboards. But there’s no need to do these things in your live environment. That’s why we offer the option to invest in a long-term Sage Intacct sandbox that adds value well past your initial implementation. It’s a real-time replica of your entire Sage Intacct instance, including all transactional data, configurations, and customizations.

From talking with several forward-thinking finance leaders, we’ve learned that customers use their sandboxes for everything from testing new quarterly updates and feature releases to experimenting with changes to business models, market offers, regulatory response, KPIs, operational processes, and new lines of business. The best finance teams are truly “learning organizations” that focus on continuous improvements, and they tell us their Sage Intacct sandbox is a primary enabler for this kind of culture.

When it comes to the sandbox, three of the top benefits we’ve heard about are increased agility and rapid decision making, improved ROI through risk reduction, and greater staff productivity and confidence.

Drive agility and rapid decision-making

A sandbox can be invaluable when you’re rolling out new processes or integrations, because it allows you to test every change efficiently, in a carefully controlled way. You can use your actual data to experiment with new processes and see the impact before making a decision. With a safe staging area, you can react quickly to evolving business needs and rest assured that big system changes—especially with third-party APIs—won’t wreak havoc in your critical system of record.

For example, companies might tinker with the relationships between new entities, locations, currencies, or dimensions before updating them in the active production environment. This can be especially helpful when you’re going through a major internal reorganization or mergers and acquisitions, as it helps you to make better-informed process and customization decisions, and take full advantage of all the data in your Sage Intacct system.

Abbigail Hogan, the accounting and finance department project coordinator at Community Dental Partners, told us about her company’s experience. “When we acquire small dental practices, we start by helping those entities transition their books to Sage Intacct, and we move them from cash accounting to accrual basis. Our Sage Intacct sandbox ensures that those transfers happen smoothly and our business has the ability to grow and scale easily as we encounter new opportunities in the future.”

Another way a sandbox can fuel agility is by empowering your team to more quickly embrace new processes and modern best practices that free them up to think beyond day-to-day transactions, says Shari Freedman, CFO at Room to Read. “We're not bogged down with routine practices any longer because our Sage Intacct sandbox helps us implement more automation at a faster clip, take advantage of what this system really can do for us, and embrace a mindset of curiosity,” she noted. “We're rewarded by going beyond our essential operations to experiment and grow, which gives us the space to take on big system updates even in the busiest years.”

Reduce risk while boosting ROI

A sandbox allows you to optimize your Sage Intacct investment while avoiding unintended impacts. “Without reservation, I can say that our Sage Intacct sandbox is probably the best investment we’ve made,” shared Julie Raskin, vice president of finance and accounting at WMHT. “It’s worth its weight in gold because it gives us the freedom to dream and helps us do our jobs better.” Freedman also noted, “Overall, the return for what we spend on the sandbox certainly exceeds expectations.”

All organizations are constantly growing or changing, and so you need to have the flexibility to adapt without slowing down work that’s in progress. This might involve testing transactions or different configuration choices to safely assess their value. For instance, Christina Perez, controller at Community Dental Partners, said, "The sandbox environment provides peace of mind, flexibility, and less risk. We can try something in the sandbox environment without causing any issues or entries in the live environment that need to be reversed or voided because what we tried out didn’t work.”

This might include trying out new quarterly release functionality, features like dynamic allocations, or advanced modules and integrations before you roll them out to all users. “Most finance teams are going to have different users that are the experts at their respective roles,” commented John Kalinowski, CFO at Alder Partners LLC. “It’s great to have everyone go into the Sage Intacct sandbox and just test everything to see if they can break it. That removes a lot of risk and adds a huge amount of value during a big project or integration because it helps you make sure things will go smoothly once it’s live.”

Empower productive teams with learning mindsets

The third key benefit of a sandbox is gaining the ability to easily train new users or temporary resources during periods of high growth or turnover. You can get new people up-to-speed quickly on your organization's actual data set, so they can learn and make mistakes without compromising your live data or risking any corruption in the production environment.

“We use our Sage Intacct sandbox to orient new staff joining our team, which gives them more confidence to learn and troubleshoot before escalating questions or issues,” said Freedman. “We’re also pushing ourselves with continuous learning, and it is a great transformation for the team as they get energized by doing more interesting work.”

At Prowess Consulting, Kate Figgis, director of business operations, also feels that their sandbox helps foster a learning culture. She shared, “As a result of the Sage Intacct sandbox, our team is building greater discipline and adopting more mature practices. That self-learning is important because, as a growing company, we’re getting more customers and don't want to stumble. Since we don’t have to worry about breaking anything, we’re doing more testing and becoming more methodical about investing in systems improvement.”

There’s no doubt that the heaviest users of Sage Intacct sandboxes tend to have some of the strongest business results. That’s because they have the flexibility needed to meet changing conditions and maintain a competitive advantage. To learn more about popular use cases for a Sage Intacct sandbox, download our new ebook.

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