September 23, 2016 | by Mark Wald
Leading finance and accounting operations for over 100 different organizations across a diverse set of industries over the past two decades has taught me a great deal about what it takes to run a successful business. It all boils down to people, processes, and systems. The abundance and variety of affordable and innovative software tools available to small and medium businesses is transforming the role of finance and accounting professionals from after-the-fact score keepers to the kingpins of business intelligence.
The Right Tools
Selecting the right tools for your business can be overwhelming, and that’s where experience pays dividends. At the time I’m writing this, Supporting Strategies has over 1,200 clients and has been using cloud-based accounting software tools for a dozen years. We’re constantly learning about and testing all the latest tools, which allows us to customize a curated selection of the best available software solutions for each of our clients.
A Team of Professionals
But sophisticated software tools on their own will not consistently deliver beneficial results for a business. While they promise to enable their users to do more with less, they invariably require thoughtful coordination between human and machine to yield a net increase in value for the organization. Pairing these tools with a skilled team of professional accounting and finance resources is critical to achieving competitive advantages in operational efficiency and strategic insights for business leaders.
A Proven Process
A well-planned and properly staffed implementation is critical to attaining value from technological change, and this is an area where experience really counts. It begins with understanding the current workflow and objectives of an individual organization, then considering different ways that technology can efficiently augment human resources in the performance of programmable repetitive tasks, complex calculations, and large scale data analysis. I’m fortunate to have a very strong team for this. Since each of my staff members have an average of 15-20 years of experience working in finance and accounting teams of operating businesses, we thoroughly understand how individual accounting transactions aggregate into meaningful financial results and key performance indicators for a business. We leverage that innate knowledge to select and effectively implement new systems and processes for our clients.
Once implemented correctly, business automation software can generally be relied upon to tirelessly perform its intended functions. But it doesn’t work entirely on its own! Because the software has to live in the real world with humans and a sometimes unpredictable combination of input variables, it’s important for a business to have experienced finance and accounting professionals who have a process of controls to identify and resolve exceptions that the software isn’t programmed to solve for independently.
In the context of business intelligence software, the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” refers to the fact that capturing inaccurate or poorly organized data into the system results in poor quality reports. A business should rely on people with a strong fundamental understanding of accounting principles to manage the collection of transaction data in their business. Those people should have a detail-oriented, process-driven mindset and the business acumen to analyze financial results to deliver timely, actionable key performance metrics to the business leaders.
A Higher Level of Analytical Thinking
With sophisticated software tools and updated processes in place, the experienced accounting team’s attention can shift to a higher level of analytical thinking about the key business metrics. Instead of spending the majority of their time doing basic data entry, accounting and finance resources can perform more strategic analysis, investigate changing trends in the company’s financial performance, and bring new insights to the business leaders that are now possible with the new data that’s being collected. So it’s a combination of the right accounting and finance team, paired with properly implemented and managed systems, that enable business leaders to elevate their focus to higher-level analysis and equip them to make forward-looking decisions based on insights derived from factual data rather than intuition alone.
My all-star team of experienced and forward-thinking finance and accounting professionals is shaping the future of small business accounting by approaching our work differently. We bring measurable results for our clients in the form of cost savings, strategic insights, and lasting value. This is the future of finance and accounting, right here, right now.
Mark Wald, Managing Director, Supporting Strategies | Santa Monica, LA, and Ventura County, provides bookkeeping and controller services to growing businesses.
This website is created by Supporting Strategies to provide general bookkeeping and accounting information only. Supporting Strategies does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice, and the information contained herein is not intended to do so. As such, the information provided should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, legal, and accounting advisors, and you should consult with a tax, legal and accounting professional before engaging in any transaction.
Supporting Strategies is not a CPA firm.