• Sun. May 26th, 2024

Big business benefits in moving to cloud finance, accounting systems

Garrith Hyman, Team Leader: Sage Intacct, Brilliant Link.

The benefits of moving to a cloud-based finance and accounting system far outweigh any perceived downsides, such as potential disruption and the need for change management.

This is according to Garrith Hyman, Team Leader for Sage Intacct at Brilliant Link, ERP and accounting software specialists.

Hyman says: “There are two types of finance heads – those who have embraced that the cloud is the future, and those who are yet to. Among those who are hesitant about moving to the cloud, the main concerns are the perceived costs incurred and adapting to new software functionality and usability.”

He says: “There are many key differences between on-premises and cloud software. Our Sage solutions, when comparing in the same medium-sized business segment, for example, are very different on-premises and in the cloud. While core functionality will be similar, modern cloud financial software focuses on automation, ease of use, data visibility and integration of disparate solutions and functions. Many users and employees are resistant to change, as they are unable to see the benefits, such as streamlined system control and process automation and workflow, which inevitably will result in optimised operations and finance teams directly impacting company bottom lines.”

Hyman says one concern relates to specific tools and features companies are comfortable working with. “For any feature used on-premises, there’s an equivalent in the cloud, and it usually has superior, more modern features and functionality,” he says. “On-premises solutions are often considered ‘legacy products’ by the software publishers, with no new development taking place – vendors are investing their resources in adding features and functionality to cloud products.”

Cloud solutions offer a great deal more scalability, security and functionality, Hyman says. “Security is a big concern, and cloud solutions for the most part included improved security. This peace of mind with regard to data security, integrity and availability is part and parcel of what customers should expect when migrating to newer cloud-based financial and ERP software. These software solutions reside in state-of-the-art hyperscaler environments and are far more secure than what’s sitting on your server situated locally on-premises.”

Cloud-based financial software providers invest heavily in security measures to protect sensitive financial data. They also ensure compliance with industry regulations, relieving financial directors and CFOs of the burden of maintaining compliance on their own.

Hyman notes that automation and integration are quick and easy with cloud solutions. “Where older, on-premises solutions are challenging to integrate with newer third-party systems, cloud products – through their in-built API or application programming interface – are able to communicate with most other cloud products, for example, warehouse, document management and e-commerce systems,” he says.

“Companies that undertake the upgrade are typically very happy with the change and see significant return on investment within a short timeframe.

Big benefits for business

Hyman says cloud-based finance software delivers significant, measurable benefits for business.

“It streamlines financial processes, eliminating manual tasks and reducing the risk of errors. Financial directors and CFOs can use automation to improve efficiency and accuracy in budgeting, forecasting and reporting,” he says.

“Working in the cloud enables real-time collaboration with users working remotely or at branches across the country, which means improved efficiency and speed. Cloud-based solutions are also more scalable and flexible – whereas on-premises software may experience processing speed degradation over the years as data volumes grow; this doesn’t happen in the cloud due to modern scalability built into the software,” he says.

Importantly, investing in a cloud-based solution offers myriad cost savings, he says: “By transitioning to the cloud, businesses can significantly reduce IT infrastructure costs associated with maintaining on-premises software. On-premise software has a database management system running on a server. On top of this, you need to cover the costs of database management, and each user needs a suitable computer capable of running resource-hungry software. With a cloud solution, you reduce IT costs, server maintenance costs and end-user device costs. Users can be more efficient with just an internet connection and less higher specced devices.”

Cloud finance software operates on a subscription-based model, eliminating the need for upfront capital expenditures and providing predictable monthly operating costs.

Guiding customers into the future

Hyman says moving from on-premises to the cloud is a significant undertaking: “Most cloud finance solutions are feature rich and require experienced teams to ensure the success of the implementation, training and thus user and business adoption.

“With any implementation, we are in constant communication with clients and we ‘hold their hand’ for as long as it takes. We build the database structure, complete user acceptance testing and walk through new processes with them, and only once they are comfortable with the solution do we continue with the live implementation. We are also able to provide onsite or remote training countrywide. On completion of the implementation, we then provide continuous guidance and support to ensure the client adapts to the new system. On completion of an implementation, it is also extremely important to hold regular sessions between the implementation team and the customer in order to address gaps and optimise the solution,” he says. The future of finance and ERP software is already here, and it resides in the cloud. We believe all businesses not yet experiencing the vast benefits should begin discussions with their relevant service providers in order to begin their journey.


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