Realising the smart money is in looking at the numbers

Modern business demands modern toolsets, and cloud accounting brings major benefits to businesses of all sizes

Darren Cran, chief operating officer, AccountsIQ: ‘What we see with customers once they’re on our cloud platform is that they quickly get what we call multiple digital wins’

Traditionally, many businesses have seen the finance department as little more than a cost centre and certainly not a focus for strategic investment. But that’s changing. A combination of factors – from hybrid working and inflationary pressures, to a critical need for finance to provide strategic insights that support financial success and sustainable growth – are driving digital transformation and a shift to powerful and affordable cloud accounting software.

Darren Cran, chief operating officer, at AccountsIQ has a very clear vision of the future of finance that’s based on over a decade of researching the finance and technology needs of mid-market companies.

“Many finance teams come to us because they know they’ve been spending too much of their time doing manual accounting transactions and compliance tasks, and there’s really no strategic value in that,” he said.

All the compliance activity still needs to happen of course. But AccountsIQ’s customers are ambitious, growing companies and, for them, finance is not just a back-office function. They’re looking to create the time and space to add value by proactively collaborating across the business, analysing and reporting on trends and managing costs. Digital transformation and being on a cloud platform is the first, key step that enables them to do that.

“What we see with customers once they’re on our cloud platform,” said Cran, “is that they quickly get what we call multiple digital wins. Previously manual processes like expense capture and budget holder approval are all automated, along with more complex pain points, like multi-company consolidation and intercompany and FX transactions.”

Cran also pointed out that digital finance transformation is never actually just limited to finance. It’s something that reaches out across the business once finance can effectively collaborate and share information and insights with lots of different stakeholders. This is where finance starts to add real value; engaging, consulting and providing vital business intelligence, trends and forecasts to managers and the board, who can use that data to make smarter business decisions.

“This is particularly important in the inflationary times we’re in right now,” said Cran.

“Businesses are depending on finance to analyse the cost drivers and push the right spending and cost information to the right person at the right time. It’s incredibly important, you’re not going to be able to control costs and change behaviours without that information and inter-departmental collaboration, and you need the granular data to do it that everyone trusts”.

This is key because, in the past, the businesses that have tended to benefit most from cloud accounting have been micro-businesses that subscribe to simple systems that meet simple needs. At the other end of the scale are the high-cost, high-complexity ERP systems that are often too big a jump for mid-sized businesses. Targeting these businesses, AccountsIQ aims to meet the finance requirements of fast growing or established mid-market businesses that often have complex multi- entity and multi-currency needs.

Another key outcome for finance teams is automation, business insights and the ability to integrate critical systems and apps through its broad application programming interface (API).

Working in partnership with finance teams is a key part of the AccountsIQ offer. “We engage with our customers throughout their lifetime use of the product,” said Cran.

“We spend a lot of time understanding the different roles in finance and we have different pricing plans for different types of users, so you only pay for what you need, when you need it. That’s important because it makes getting started on the digital transformation process affordable”.

“Finance should be at the core of digital transformation, and a combination of efficient automation, connectivity and smart business intelligence puts finance leaders at the heart of strategic planning and business direction. This is where our customers are getting results. The question to ask is: is my finance system adding value or just adding up".