Does Your Company Have & Use the “Right” Technology?
A recent survey by CFO Research and Big 4 accounting firm KPMG revealed that “nearly 40 percent [of those participating] reported that their existing information systems could not support analysis of financial and performance information well. Further, they admitted that the financial and performance information that management uses for decision making is not as accurate as it could be.”
At Advanced CFO Solutions, our experience with existing and prior clients supports these findings. In fact, historically small businesses have not had access to the kind of technology that they needed in order to get access to timely and accurate financial and operational information so that management could make decisions based on good information. This has primarily been due to the sheer cost and difficulty of implementing enterprise resource management (ERP) systems that could provide it to them. In addition, most small businesses don’t have the kind of financial expertise to really analyze and understand the information or to marry it with critical operational data to create measures of their company’s critical success factors or key performance indicators.
Fortunately, that is no longer the case! Technology is affordable and more great new software, features and apps are being introduced all the time. Now the smallest companies can have a robust ERP system with complementary and integrated “add-on” web-based apps that provide excellent work flows and improved controls over information and assets. In addition, if a company has competent finance staff, documented procedures and well conceived controls, they can generate dashboard of key metrics that provide real-time (or near real-time) feedback for owners and managers to monitor and utilize for decision-making.
The other critical element that still eludes many small businesses is having a sufficient budget to build finance team with the expertise to provide strategic value to management (i.e., someone to interpret the data, help management understand what it means, and provide suggestions on how to fix problems or take advantage of opportunities). This too is now available to and affordable for small business since the process of outsourcing controller and CFO-level services has come of age.
In the survey, the majority of respondents were interested in technologies that would boost their insight into the company’s performance. If you have a need for better systems resulting in better information flow, don’t wait any longer. Begin by exploring some new technologies that can open your mind to what is possible such as Tableau, Expensify, and Bill.com, all of which are easily integrated with most financial systems.
Kent Thomas is the Founding Partner of Advanced CFO Solutions. In that role he has served as the outsourced CFO of over 75 different businesses. He currently serves as the Acting CFO of three global businesses. Kent is a licensed CPA and recently served as the President of the Utah Association of CPA’s. He was a founding member of the Olympus Angel Investors and is active in the Utah entrepreneurial community where he advises companies, associations, and educational institutions and is a frequent speaker on finance, accounting and entrepreneurship. Kent is married to Kim Ericson – between them they have eight children and seven grandchildren. They enjoy running, hiking, water sports (especially Lake Powell) and international travel.