Written by Teresa Meek
Organizations have long been in search of the Holy Grail of financial management: a single source of the truth for accurate reporting and budget planning. This post will explore how an open, configurable cloud solution can break down data silos, improve integration and connectivity, and enable your organization to scale for growth.
Share and simplify for success
As a financial manager, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the quest for the Holy Grail, that single source of truth you can use for accurate reporting and budget planning. The reality is that financial information can be scattered among applications that don’t communicate with one another, making data management unwieldy and time-consuming.
The lack of a holistic organizational approach to data management doesn’t help. Fewer than half of business and technology leaders have a clearly defined data and analytics strategy, according to Foundry’s 2021 Data and Analytics study. This can lead to data silos that impede sharing and collaboration and create inconsistencies, since information is formatted differently among applications, and updates occur at different times.
“Siloed data operates on different schedules, making processes like revenue recognition difficult,” says Scott Freedman, director of marketing for Sage.
In addition, financial leaders and teams who manually transfer data into spreadsheets and reports may make errors along the way. Foundry found that leaders identified data-quality problems as the No. 1 roadblock for organizations adopting data-driven initiatives. So, you will need to build in any shortfall of time and resources from this into your strategy.
Dependable data defines your business efficiency
Integrating financial data into a single cloud-based platform improves data quality and accuracy and makes sharing information easier across your team and the wider organization. Instead of individuals “owning” their own set of data, an integrated solution provides everyone with a common, updated, and accurate set of numbers to work with across the business.
When you improve data accuracy, it can have a tangible impact on business performance. A recent Gartner study found that breaking down silos and sharing data boosts business outcomes. Gartner also predicts that by 2023, organizations that promote data sharing will outperform their peers on most business metrics, so it’s a good idea to start implementing those new processes now and give your business a head start.
Courier service Quicksilver Express reduced the time for doing its monthly close by 50% by shifting to Sage Intacct, a unified cloud solution for financial data. Credit card and bank reconciliations are now done daily, reducing errors and eliminating a week’s worth of manual work. And overall accounting efficiency is up by 75%.
Family-owned investment firm Halstatt experienced similar benefits after switching to Sage Intacct. In the past, because valuation reporting took over 100 hours, the company only had time to do it annually. Now the process takes just a few hours and is done quarterly, giving executives a detailed view of asset value and costs throughout the year.
Digital data for future-proof success
Data is projected to play a greater role in business strategy in the future, as leaders gain new insights from advanced analytics. According to Foundry’s study, 78% of leaders expect data and analytics to fundamentally change the way they do business over the next 3 years. The cloud, along with advanced capabilities enabled by AI and machine learning, will help your organization be more proactive in mapping the best path forward.
“When you have an accurate view of what’s going on today, you can use AI and analytics to project that data out and determine future needs and capacity,” Freedman explains. “That helps you deal with unanticipated surges in demand, or make adjustments to marketing campaigns, based on their performance. Connecting systems through consolidated reporting makes the whole business run more smoothly.”
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