How Better Automation and Integration Increase Revenue and Margin

Written by Bill Fuesz – April 2023

The value of increased revenue and margin can’t be overstated. Improved profitability and financial performance help ensure the stability and security of any business, even in an economic downturn. More revenue and higher margins improve competitiveness and market position. Companies can increase their net promoter scores, reduce customer churn and find more cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and reduce time to market.

There are a variety of ways to improve revenue and margin, including price increases, reducing waste and inefficiencies in the supply chain, and adding new strategic partners. One of the paths to improved revenue and margin runs through automation and integration.

In its recent report The Total Economic Impact of Sage Intacct,  Forrester quantified the impact of automation and integration and how these affect revenue and margins. Let’s walk through the methodology it used to produce a real dollar figure.

Forrester interviewed four customers with experience using Sage Intacct. For the purposes of their study, Forrester aggregated the interviewees’ experiences and combined the results into a single composite organization, a technology services company, headquartered in North America with global operations. The composite generates $30 million in annual revenue, has 100 employees, and grows 20% annually via acquisitions during the three-year TEI analysis period.

The four interviewed organizations said that, prior to Sage Intacct, their accounting and financial systems were disjointed, complex and problematic. The financial processes resided across multiple platforms, such as enterprise legacy systems, bookkeeping software, spreadsheets and other applications. These systems included Oracle NetSuite and QuickBooks.

Due to lack of system consolidation and automation, the organizations used laborious manual processes to bridge data gaps, often requiring additional labor to perform maintenance tasks, such as replicating the data in prior legacy and third-party software solutions or tracking contracts and invoices in individual spreadsheets.

After the investment in Sage Intacct, the interviewees acquired visibility into their organizations’ financial performance and had confidence in their numbers due to the platform’s real-time data. They gained financial insights and the ability to slice and dice the data, drill down on numbers, and isolate any issues with a particular number, which they could not do in their previous environments.

With this, Forrester calculated a $598,500 total three-year margin benefit gained due to improved automation and billing, with a present value of $496,127. Let’s look at the details.

Evidence and data

In their previous environment, to sustain their high growth, interviewees said they had to hire additional personnel as the numbers of customers, orders, and transactions grew rapidly and started putting strain on their internal resources to cope with the redundancy in tasks.

Sage Intacct offered improved integration and visibility across all the data platforms and eliminated tedious and time-consuming manual processes. The interviewees were able to access and analyze the data in real time without needing to increase headcount. The CFO at a cloud software and services organization noted: “We find ways to get more efficient almost every month as we refine our solution within the environment. As a result, there’s no one on the hiring plan from an accounting standpoint in the foreseeable future because we think we can still scale quite a bit without adding more staff.”

The growth of interviewees’ organizations was mostly sustained through acquisitions, so their numbers came under severe scrutiny from investors. Data accuracy, proper revenue recognition at the invoice level according to GAAP standards and multiple-entity detailed reporting were crucial to successful growth.

In prior systems, interviewees required additional finance team members to compute revenue-recognition allocations. Sage Intacct’s automated real-time accounting processes addressed GAAP requirements and eliminated the need to hire additional headcount.

Interviewees whose organizations migrated from a bookkeeping solution to Sage Intacct replaced their external CPA at a cost of $15,000 to $20,000 per month with an internal accounting specialist earning a base salary of $38,000 per year. The CFO at an insurance company commented, “You’re paying a higher-level resource because of the complexities that were introduced unnecessarily.”

Modelling and assumptions

Based on customer interviews, the composite organization assumes the following:

  • The composite organization has five Sage Intacct business users: two accountants, two financial analysts and a CFO.
  • Due to higher-level data integration, automation and accuracy, as well as the elimination of complex tedious manual processes, the composite avoids hiring two people while sustaining 20% annual growth.

Risks

The optimization of this benefit will vary with:

  • The prior accounting system the company is replacing and its level of integration.
  • The organization’s growth rate and nature.
  • The level of scrutiny from investors.
  • Salary levels, depending on skills and geographic location.

To account for these risks, Forrester adjusted this benefit downward by 10%, yielding a three-year risk-adjusted total present value of $496,127. This assumes an average annual fully burdened salary of $105,000 per employee, multiplied by two.

In addition to cost savings, automation and integration with other business applications and business partners allows for the bidirectional sharing of information, so you can better manage your supply chain and transactions with trading partners.

A single connected system that integrates easily with other cloud-based systems helps eliminate time-consuming manual processes and takes full advantage of the connectivity and digital features of today’s smart devices and applications. Introducing automated digital processes for functions such as timesheets, expense claims and billing can quickly improve efficiency, enhance accuracy, cut costs and prevent revenue leakage.

When it comes to AP and AR, you can automate up to 90% of these processes. Through automation, you can potentially cut hours down to minutes. Your team can dedicate the additional time in their schedules to helping the business reach its larger goals and planning for the future.

You can also automate reconciliations with ease, regardless of the number of entities. Sage Intacct connects with over 10,000 financial institutions worldwide to give your team an accurate up-to-date picture of your cash. This lets you make investment decisions in hours rather than days and spot the potential for poor cashflow before your company begins to feel its effects. Easy matching and reconciliation mean you can soft-close cash daily, and you can provide business leaders with accurate and current cash positions to make critical decisions in the moment.

A configurable platform brings flexibility and automation to your organization’s operational workflow processes, tracking and reporting toolsets, freeing up time to focus on strategic financial management. As your organization evolves, financial operations need to keep pace with transaction tracking procedures, internal controls, and reporting views that support the current organizational needs. Designed to evolve with your organization, a flexible and configurable architecture can be adapted to the tracking, electronic approvals and workflow requirements for your current operational structure and provide insights to best support your mission.

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About TimeLinx
TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.

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