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How CFOs Paint The Whole Picture Of Cash Flow

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For the Chief Financial Officer, harnessing data from processes like accounts payable and accounts receivable is critical to obtaining an overall picture of the health of a company’s finances. But there are other factors that play into the big picture, too – like payroll and employee benefits — that aren’t always weighed as heavily as they perhaps should be.

HR and payroll software firm Namely brought this to light when it announced yesterday (Tuesday, Jan. 12) that it is now verified for NetSuite, meaning NetSuite corporate users can automate data entry from payroll and HR processes from Namely straight into their NetSuite ERP systems.

According to Namely, linking with a cloud platform as far-reaching as NetSuite is about ensuring CFOs get the whole portrait of where their company’s money comes from, and where it’s going.

PYMNTS spoke with one user of Namely, mobile analytics company PlaceIQ, to learn more about how CFOs can grasp a more accurate visual of corporate finances by including data from HR and payroll into their bookkeeping. Plus, Namely Founder and CEO Matt Straz offered his input into why cloud technology plays its own key role in providing a more holistic view of the books.

“Employees are our biggest asset,” said PlaceIQ Chief Financial Officer Matt Novick when asked how much areas like payroll and HR have an impact on overall finances, “in both a people-resources and finance sense.”

PlaceIQ uses location data analytics to help companies build their mobile audiences. According to Novick, PlaceIQ isn’t the only business where headcount makes a difference on the bottom line.

“In most cases, payroll and headcount make up more than 50 percent – usually higher – of a company’s expenses and is usually the largest line item on a P&L, on a monthly and annual basis,” he said. “Even when not greater than 50 percent, payroll is a big financial line-item.”

For CFOs, Novick explained that including payroll and HR data into overall cash flow management is about more than simply including paycheck amounts into expenses. It’s also about examining 401K plans, benefit packages and taxes, financial aspects of human resources that have their own sway on a company’s costs.

“These are items we constantly look at when setting budgets and when dealing with the financial aspects of HR,” the executive said.

Making sure that HR and payroll financial data are included in budgeting and resource planning is key, and for Novick, it meant finding a tool that can loop that information into the broader scheme of the growth plan for the firm.

“I am looking at higher technologies – let’s call it an ERP system – to better understand the entire suite of not just financial data, but of full business metrics so that the data can be viewed, interpreted and made actionable,” he explained.

That’s where NetSuite comes in for Namely. According to reports, NetSuite reaches 24,000 businesses, give or take, with its cloud technology – a tool that Straz said is key to not only accessing data from HR and payroll systems, but automating its flow into broader ERP systems.

“Namely was built in the cloud from day one,” Straz said. “Cloud technology provides users with the best experience because they can access our application and their data from anywhere, at any time.”

According to the CEO, about 60,000 employees are currently connected with the Namely platform – a figure likely to rise following the integration with NetSuite. Straz said that mid-market companies with a few hundred employees can most benefit from cloud-based systems that link HR and payroll financial data into overall ERP systems.

He added that this accessibility, as well as affordability, of cloud services is a “huge benefit” to corporate functions like HR and payroll, and that the data from these functions can be beneficial in more ways than one.

“Since HR data is also useful to employees and managers, the cloud provides great advantages for all kinds of users,” Straz said.

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