Much has been made about the use of technology between businesses paying other businesses and the way software can boost sales in the field and invoice management.
Though it may garner less press, there’s another niche within Software-as-a-Service that has potential for flexible technology and one that belongs to the chief financial officer. Companies are increasingly complex, with feedback coming from global operations, across time zones, languages and currencies.
To that end, cloud-based ERP firm FinancialForce, which runs on Salesforce applications. has announced a spring 2016 update to its key financial management flagship offering in a push to streamline the workflow of finance professionals.
In an interview with PYMNTS, FinancialForce General Manager of Financial Management Raphael Bres said that the newest edition of the company’s software lets financial management professionals customize screens and, specifically, the information displayed across those screens, in an effort to present the information that is most useful to them.
The aim, the executive said, is to get better granularity of data in actionable fashion to the chief financial decision-makers as they grapple with increasingly digital interactions across an enterprise’s departments.
For the CFO, said Bres, there is a reliance on data that comes through from the overall finance department, “across profit and losses, transactions, portfolios, consumer … and personalization," he added, that is “not just about invoices" but the ability to confront and correct the inefficiencies that have been obstacles to timely management at the hub where finance meets everything else.
With the newest software iteration, personalization allows CFOs to choose how accounting information is maintained and also should be differentiated from customization, which Bres said can typically include more time spend on changing software and training users. But, in the case of the FinancialForce offering, he added, data entry, usage and viewing (all across a single cloud function) becomes simplified enough so that finance professionals with less of a technology bent will find the program more intuitive, partly through control of the graphical layout.
Those are functions that can speed time to gathering and organizing financial information at a period end when a firm’s books are headed toward closure — an event that Bres said can be shortened enough so that it “can take only days to close,” rather than weeks (or longer).
The personalization function operates with the basic building block of the traditional Salesforce platform, and then the CFO or other finance professional can use other forms to move across functions, through preset templates (if desired), dealing with financial minutiae as varied as customer collections, revenue recognition and logistics.
One key rests with expanded functionality that lets users across departments deploy commentary and content tied to social networking features, which fosters real-time collaboration across departments. The ability to have such dialogue across transactions but also have a 360-degree view of intercompany flows and payments, with tracking of U.S. GAAP and international accounting standards, is another boon to efficiency, said Bres.