Why a ‘Try’ just wasn’t enough
When Joshua Park was young, he dreamed of being a Rugby player. This is something he had played and enjoyed since being a young boy. After finishing his high school career, he was invited to join the Blue Bulls academy. One of the top rugby academies in South Africa. This was Joshua’s dream to play for the club he had supported since his childhood and now he’d been invited to play for them.
He joined the Blue Bulls amateur Squad and shortly after Joshua was selected to represent the Pumas in the Currie Cup. This would be his first ever performance on TV, supported by his friends and family, watching on live TV was a dream come true for Joshua.
Three years later and a lot more Currie Cup games for various teams and Joshua was heading to Scotland to join a rugby club in the Scottish borders called Peebles. Joshua spent the next 3 years playing rugby in and around Europe for various sides at the Top-level. This is exactly what Joshua had wanted to do since his childhood and he was living his dream of being a professional rugby player.
Then on an early morning train heading to London, Joshua knew something was missing, he was doing exactly what he dreamed of doing, yet he felt empty. This had been his dream since he was 14 years old, to play international Rugby, but the success, money and fame meant nothing if he couldn’t share his life with the one person he’d left behind in South Africa nearly 5 years ago.
Realisation hit and so Joshua left Portugal shortly after, played his last professional and decided to change his career. It was a whim of a decision and he had absolutely no idea at that stage what he was going to do. After a few years in the UK, Joshua moved back to South Africa and got engaged to his wife Margot. It is then Joshua choose to head down the path of financial systems. He joined a Consulting company, and trained in distribution, technical consulting and Sage CRM. Joshua spent the next few years expanding his skills and moved back to the UK to continue his career in financial systems, working with Netsuite, which lead him into his latest role working at X3 Consulting as a Sage X3 and Intacct business consultant.
Joshua explains “Never give up on your dream, and if your dream changes, then why not try something new.”
Far too many solo and small legal practices utilise outdated and ineffective software for their law accounting needs. If you are one of them, you could be putting your firm at a significant disadvantage. Inadequate legal accounting software can lead to excessive amounts of time spent on accounting tasks, as well as the potential for increased billing errors. Whether you are stuck in the stone-age of paper systems or using accounting software that is not tailored to the practice of law, it is time you make the change to effective legal accounting methods and here are six reasons why:
You cannot have a successful law practice without detailed knowledge of where money is being spent. From your firm’s overhead costs to expenses incurred on behalf of a client, you need to constantly maintain an accurate record of these costs. When there is no adequate legal accounting software in place, your solicitors and staff may attempt to track expenses by saving receipts or writing payments in a ledger.
This type of practice is potentially problematic for a number of reasons:
- Receipts and pieces of paper can go missing, leaving you with unaccounted for expenses.
- The memory is unreliable. You or your staff may forget to enter an expense into the ledger or enter it incorrectly.
- This type of data can disappear. A ledger or envelope of receipts can be lost or even destroyed.
Accurate trust accounting
Trust accounting is a major responsibility for solicitors, as clients rely on their lawyers to hold and keep their funds in trust. But trust accounting comes along with a lot of rules and responsibilities, so it is vitally important to keep accurate records and follow your industry guidelines. Failing to comply with trust account regulations can lead to serious problems with your clients and the approved regulators.
The right legal accounting software takes these specific rules into consideration, allowing you to collect, track, and reconcile all money going into and out of your client trust accounts. It may provide safeguards to ensure that funds are earned before they are withdrawn and help you in the prevention of overdrawn accounts.
QuickBooks is one of the most widely used accounting software packages among businesses across the board, and that includes the legal profession. Many lawyers choose to use this software to handle their firm accounting needs. While QuickBooks offers many benefits, it is not customised for law firm usage and the specific needs of a legal practice. For example:
- To segregate client trust accounts from firm operating accounts in QuickBooks, you need to establish a separate company profile within the program. Moving funds from a client’s trust account for invoice payment also requires extra steps, which can be particularly cumbersome for firms making 10 or 20 of these transactions each month.
- QuickBooks also requires you to manually review trust account balances and send out replenishment requests to clients.
- QuickBooks does not offer the mobile time tracking services that busy, modern law offices need.
Find out why many practices have chosen to move away from QuickBooks to Sage Intacct by reading this Case Study from Legal Monkeys. By switching software Legal Monkey freed up 6 days/month from tedious accounting and reporting tasks and shortened monthly financial close by 5 days.
Law firm invoicing can be extremely time-consuming and tedious without the right legal accounting software. Your solicitors may have to look back and review client matter tasks in order to submit their times to support staff. Your support staff may have to go around the office trying to round up time tracking records from the attorneys. Then, once all of that is completed, your staff has to sit down with an outdated, inefficient accounting system to create invoices and manually send them out to clients. The entire process can be unreasonably time-consuming and filled with opportunities for inaccuracies.
When it comes to subscriptions, specialised contracts, and recurring billing services–and the added complexities of revenue recognition compliance–Sage Intacct is the cloud financials solution finance trusts. We provide the automated workflows, smart revenue recognition, and seamless data flows that streamline the revenue cycle across your organisation.
A large part of accounting is the ability to review your firm’s financial position on a regular basis, identifying areas for potential improvements. Solicitors need accounting software that allows them to run numerous reports about the firm’s billing practices, realisation, accounts receivable, and expenses.
With Sage Intacct, financial reporting and analysis options are almost limitless. Compare operational statistics with financial metrics. Check summary roll-up figures for multiple entities—even if it’s only mid-month. Drill down to source transactions for granular transparency instantly. Flag trends and spot exceptions with powerful report visualisations.
With Sage Intacct dashboards and reporting, you can compare performance across any business driver that matters to you. You get 150 built-in financial reports as well as the ability to easily create custom reports. Forget Excel reporting, waiting for customised projects, or relying on external tools.
Accurate and timely time tracking is crucial to the success of your legal practice, so it is also a top reason why you need the right legal accounting software. Gone are the days of jotting down times and tasks on the corners of legal pads or sticky notes. This type of time tracking is unreliable and often inaccurate, leading to the overbilling or underbilling of clients. You are either going to damage your clients and reputation by overcharging clients or damage your firm’s bottom line by undercharging for your valuable services.
Sage Intacct makes it painless to manage time and expenses. Your employees can enter time and expense data anytime, anywhere. Managers get instant alerts to review and approve reports. Employees receive prompt reimbursement in the right currency.
Your legal practice has specific accounting needs, and you need a legal accounting software that adequately meets those needs. X3 Consulting takes pride in providing solicitors and law firms with comprehensive and useful accounting tools. Click here to register to watch a 20 minute demo of Sage Intacct to find out more.
AI in Financial Services
The topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics is pervasive. If you Google “industry trends in Financial Services,” you’ll see a long list of articles talking about digital transformation happening in the industry – all fueled by the latest technologies, with AI at the heart of it. The subject is so prevalent that when a seasoned executive recently asked me, “Is this emphasis on AI all hype?” I was taken a bit off guard. So, how has AI become a core technology that promises powerful benefits and transformational rewards?
Before we dig into it, let’s define what we mean by AI. According to Investopedia…
“AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving. The ideal characteristic of artificial intelligence is its ability to rationalise and take actions that have the best chance of achieving a specific goal.”
AI technology continues to get better and better – not only in terms of functionality, but also in terms of affordability. Today, advancements in AI are driving change – good, long-lasting change – across the entire financial services spectrum.
AI in financial services – there is a need for real-time visibility into data and complete transparency to support better decision making across the investment ecosystem. Family Offices, for example, who want better reporting, quickly discover that this can be a time and resource intensive endeavor. However, implementing new, cloud-based technologies not only help free up the finance team to focus on more strategic projects, but also allow for more affordable and less complex options.
Likewise, the insurance space is also experiencing transformative change with AI by putting massive amounts of data to optimal use. Insurers can now offer highly personalized policies, automate time-consuming back-end processes, and provide estimates with greater accuracy to customers worldwide.
- Insurify uses an always-on-call, virtual agent named Evia. Facebook Messenger’s Insurify instantly verifies customer data to compare real-time quotes from carriers in various zip codes and provide coverage recommendations. Its engine quickly finds the best insurance for each user based on that user’s profile.
- Lemonade provides paperless and personless renters and homeowners insurance using chatbots and AI to create policies and handle user claims via desktop and mobile. Customers can choose which nonprofit organizations receive underwriting profits as part of the company’s annual “Giveback” initiative.
With the increasing number of technology vendors in market, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to be unsure where to start. Like most new ventures, it’s important to understand where you are and where you want to go with your finance team before you can make progress. Core questions to ask yourself are:
- What is your long-term strategic vision for you and your finance team?
- What are the capabilities you must have to get more real-time visibility, speed, accuracy, and peace of mind?
- What are the key challenges you must overcome?
- How can technology help?
Answers to these questions will help you pinpoint where you can improve processes and potential data quality issues. Plus, an open conversation with third party vendors on what is needed to improve upon financial and operational outcomes can help uncover more streamlined, cost-efficient ways to meet strategic objectives.
So, to the executive who asked me, “Is this emphasis on AI all hype?” My answer: “No, it’s real and it’s game-changing.” Based on just the few examples cited above, I’d say AI will only continue to become more intertwined in personal and professional lives. Regardless, for finance leaders in financial services not quite ready to make the leap into the world of AI and advanced analytics just yet, I’d say, it’s OK to proceed with caution. However, take the time now to know what your strategic vision is and determine what you need to achieve it. Then, explore how technology can help. Talk with finance peers who have recently made cloud-based technology investments, conduct research online, explore a demo or two. Whatever you do, be informed on what’s possible so that when you’re ready to take the next step, you’ll know what to do and why.
Sage Intacct empowers finance leaders in financial services to integrate data-driven decision-making across an entire organisation, transforming the role of finance to forward-thinking analysts and trusted advisors. Learn more by viewing this newly released webinar: “AI and the Future of Financial Management.” Or if you’d like a real-person discussion, please get in touch and we’d be happy to give you a call or arrange a demonstration of the software.
STOCK UP ON BETTER BUSINESS INSIGHTS AND PRODUCTIVITY
Using flexible dimensions like item, location, and warehouse, Sage Intacct financials for wholesale and distribution combines wholesale ecommerce and distribution data into a complete, real-time view of your company.
Deliver better financials for your wholesale and distribution business with powerful erp software from Sage Intacct. The wholesale distribution industry is seeing a consolidation at the high-end by Amazon and large public warehouses, who have the automation and scale to dramatically undercut small to medium-sized distributors on a cost per order and cost per shipment basis. Small and medium-sized distributors must add value (e.g., kitting, light assembly) beyond basic distribution to compete, which is where Sage Intacct comes in.
Over 106 years, warehousing and logistics provider Peoples Services has thrived by making it easy for its clients to store and move products.
Yet storing, moving, and utilising financial data was a challenge for the 700-person company. Reliance on an antiquated AS/400 system made it difficult for Peoples Services to manage financial data and leverage it to support informed business decisions.
That’s all changed since the Ohio-based company upgraded from the DOS-based AS/400 to Sage Intacct. Adam Herman, the company treasurer, offers a frank analogy for the switch:
“It was like going from the Wright brothers to the Apollo program overnight,” as Herman says in our new Peoples Services Case Study.
What if you could save 20 hours per month?
Peoples Services knew it needed to modernise financial management to improve efficiency, visibility, and data accuracy. After evaluating Microsoft Dynamics GP, Peoples Services selected Sage Intacct as its ideal cloud financial management platform.
Speeding the month end close by three days
Peoples Services, a network of third-party logistics (3PL) companies with 45 warehouses, 8 million square feet of storage space, and local truck transport services across seven states, has realized remarkable efficiency gains with its move to Sage Intacct. The company has:
- Eliminated 16 hours a month previously spent on journal entries
- Saved another four hours a month on consolidations across 10 entities
- Cut up to three days from month end close time
- Trimmed eight hours in annual budgeting with custom reports exporting to Excel
Plus, Peoples Services no longer needs to engage its original AS/400 programmer, a retired employee now working as an independent contractor, to administer and tweak the system.
“Our AS/400 had quite a bit of custom programming added to it over the years,” Herman explained. “We had to bring in our former in-house programmer as a contractor because if we needed something specific, he was the only one who knew how to do it.”
More Informed and Engaged Management
Instead, Peoples Services is taking advantage of Sage Intacct’s ease of use to provide personalised dashboards to about 36 managers. That equips them with on-demand access to timely information that’s building a more agile and data-driven business.
“Managers have the information they need right on their dashboards,” Herman said. “They can drill down on their own instead of calling us with questions, and that makes for a more informed and engaged management team.”
And each month, accounting couldn’t post journal entries until it had closed out its subsidiary ledgers, delaying the month end. “We’re now able to spread the work out more evenly over the month, instead of having this massive crunch when we start the closing cycle,” Herman said.
Transform your wholesale and distribution tracking and delivery with ERP and accounting software
Free up resources and improve productivity 20%-35%
In wholesale distribution, you need to keep a constant eye on supply chain operations. Whether it’s optimising product inventory, streamlining purchasing, or managing multiple business locations, Sage Intacct gives you complete visibility into real-time performance, automates complex processes, and easily adapts to the unique requirements of your wholesale distribution company.
A bird’s-eye view for wholesalers – with real-time dashboards and reports
Using flexible dimensions like item, location, and warehouse, Sage Intacct combines wholesale e-commerce and distribution data into a complete, real-time view of your company. Slice and dice that view by the performance drivers that are relevant to your wholesale distribution business. See daily logistics like product shipments and customer returns. Monitor inventory velocity to identify hot-selling and slow-moving products. And get complete profitability reports on margins, shrinkage, shipping errors, and stock-outs.
Scale your distribution business with confidence
As your wholesale distribution business grows, your cloud financials can adapt and grow with you – without adding IT resources. Add and report across multiple locations, warehouses, and entities – and consolidate those financials on demand. That lets you share information across your business, while efficiently managing multiple locations, warehouses, currencies, and international operations – with no added headcount.
Streamline warehouse management
Sage Intacct cloud-based financial management adapts to your wholesale business – now and in the future – to cut order-processing costs by 20-30%. Streamline your approvals, generate stock orders, trace inventory, and more. With Sage Intacct, your distribution business gets more done, without the spreadsheet hassles and without hiring additional finance staff.
Don’t let legacy systems hold you back
How many units shipped last month? What’s your most popular item? Who’s your best customer? Which warehouse sees the most turnover?
For distributors still using disparate legacy systems like spreadsheets and homegrown databases, getting answers to these questions in an efficient and timely way can be much more difficult than if they were using ERP and accounting software. Register for our coffee break demo ad we’ll send you a little treat!
Software for insurance companies
Are you an insurance company looking for insurance software, or a financial services firm, taking advantage of these technology innovations to deliver more? More financial insights in real time? More data-based decision-making? More efficiency with continuous consolidations that take just minutes versus weeks?
The digital age is bringing definitive change. Are you ready?
Real Customers, Real Business Benefits
Hear from leading-edge insurance and financial services organisations that are taking advantage of proven cloud financial management technologies in order to maximise the ability to use real-time data, smart automation, advanced analytics, and scale across multi-entities, seamlessly. Insurance companies needs business software that can reduce budget reporting and increase efficiencies so you always have a true picture of your business financials.
More Strategic, Versus Tactical
“We have completely transformed our finance team since partnering with Sage Intacct. We now focus 75% of our time on strategic initiatives versus tactical activities, have reduced budget reporting time from three months to one week, and have streamlined operational processes by as much as 20%, saving us tens of thousands of dollars.” – Freddie Daniels, Director of Accounting, Appalachian Underwriters, Inc. Read the infographic – What finance leaders need in order to thrive in a digital age.
Robust Integrations Across Business Systems
“Sage Intacct brings us tremendous reporting and dashboard flexibility”…(and its)…”robust APIs allow us to speed processes and ensure data accuracy by linking directly to our other business systems, even proprietary ones.” — Kristy Facchini, Chief Financial Officer at Auto Claims Direct. Read their story
Scale Seamlessly as Your Business Grows
Momentum is building in the insurance and financial services sector and Sage Intacct is the leading insurance software, here to help your business thrive on in 2021.
If you are a finance leader who is challenged with:
- Working with multiple instances of QuickBooks to manage your multi-entities
- Taking weeks to close and consolidate the books every month/quarter
- No real-time visibility into your key financial data
- No clearly defined audit trail to manage compliance requirements
You likely have outgrown your accounting system. Don’t get left behind.
Today’s successful finance leaders are implementing digital innovations to help them change the role of finance from back-room financial reporters into forward-thinking analysts and trusted advisors. Where are you in the digital journey?
Why not grab a free Coffee Break on us and have a demo of Sage Intacct
Put your feet up and see how Sage Intacct helps you gain deeper insights, greater financial visibility and improved business performance – throughout your entire organisation.
In this 20-minute session you’ll get a sneak peek of Sage Intacct in action along with a live Q&A to get all your questions answered by our experts.
Register today, select a date that suits you, and make this a “coffee break” with a difference, we will send out a coffee voucher following the session for all attendees.
At the start of 2020, 87% of public sector organisations surveyed by UKCloud expressed a desire to move traditional IT environments into the cloud. However, due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the rate of cloud adoption in the UK has grown significantly this year, as many companies not already in the cloud were compelled to migrate to it by enforced remote work.
It is therefore predicted that the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market will be the largest market segment, and is forecasted to reach $116 billion in 2020, due to the scalability of subscription-based software. The overall demand, legislation and compliance requirements — and need to protect worker data as businesses rapidly shift to remote work — are all factors creating a groundswell of demand for simple SaaS offerings (or SaaS-based).
But IT managers don’t always share their colleagues’ enthusiasm, particularly at small and midsize businesses that have historically managed IT internally. As guardians of their organisations’ precious data assets, IT managers are instinctively cautious and may believe that giving control of servers and critical applications to a cloud provider is risky. Security, systems management, compliance and performance are also often cited as concerns.
These concerns are largely overblown, with many of them rooted in outdated perceptions. Commercial SaaS has greatly matured in the more than 20 years it has been available. The value proposition is compelling: cloud providers enjoy economy-of-scale cost savings that they pass on to their customers as subscription or usage-based prices. The same economics also enables them to provide security, availability and data protection that exceed the capabilities of all but the largest enterprises.
This article helps financial professionals address five of the most common issues about the cloud in general, and SaaS in particular, so that they can build a collaborative approach to cloud adoption with a local partner.
Will I have less control if I move to the Cloud?
Few businesses would say that managing computing infrastructure, installing and testing applications, applying updates and securing against cyberattacks is a core competency. For cloud service providers, however, expertise in these areas is essential to their business.
Cloud platform and SaaS providers unburden customers from the tedious and often risky details of managing infrastructure and applications. They provide reliable and scalable service and keep current with all the latest updates and patches. Contracts and service-level agreements (SLAs) guarantee specified levels of reliability, performance and availability. All other control rests with the customer, who owns the data and gets the benefits of speed, agility and flexibility without the cost and complexity of managing infrastructure and applications.
Is the Cloud secure?
This myth is rooted in one misperception and one out- of-date perception. The misperception is that the record number of breaches of data stored in the cloud in 2019 casts doubts on cloud security. The reality is that these breaches of public cloud data stores are almost always the result of user error rather than security failures.
Public cloud operates under a shared responsibility model in which infrastructure security is provided by the cloud vendor while customers are responsible for application and data security. Unfortunately, many customers don’t understand this distinction. Enterprise Management Associates found that 53% of the IT and security professionals it surveyed believe infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers are accountable for most or all public cloud security.
Does Saas offer any scalability or availability guarantees?
The reality is that no one can ever guarantee availability on-premises or in the cloud because of the number of factors that are beyond the hosting provider’s control. That said, for the reasons listed above cloud companies are much better equipped to provide reliable availability. They employ the best protections against such disruptions as regional outages and denial-of-service attacks and use state-of-the-art failover and backup practices that few of their customers could afford. Cloud SLAs also provide customers with remedies when service levels aren’t met.
Can Cloud applications be customised?
Customising packaged applications is a controversial practice. Modifications to the code can introduce dependencies that invalidate support agreements and limit customers’ ability to stay current with new software releases. The process is labor-intensive, requires extensive testing and even then can’t be guaranteed to be reliable.
Cloud software providers rely upon extensible platforms for customisation and application program interfaces (APIs) integration. An extensible application can be extended without modifying its original code base using platform-as-a-service tools, plug-ins and/or modules. For example, an insurance company might use extensions to add custom fields to its invoices without altering the underlying invoicing functionality of the host application.
Can Saas meet my compliance needs?
Maintaining compliance with laws and regulations is a complicated process that requires expensive expertise. Few companies would call it a core competency.
While some rules and jurisdictions preclude the use of SaaS by requiring data to be kept on-premises, most regulatory scenarios can be readily accommodated. In fact, companies are usually better off using software partners with vertical industry expertise than attempting to manage compliance themselves.
For example, many companies spent millions to become compliant with the ASC 606 revenue recognition accounting standard, which went into effect in 2018. Sage Intacct was preparing its accounting software three years before the rules went into effect, and was fully compliant more than a year before the deadline.
Innovation in the software industry has clearly moved to the SaaS model as the mass migration noted at the outset of this paper proceeds. Nearly every new software company that has launched over the past five years uses a SaaS delivery model and many vendors of legacy applications are now actively encouraging their customers to migrate. For customers seeking the agility the digital business demands, SaaS is no longer an option but a mandate.
We hope this article has dispelled some of the common misperceptions. Having this up-to-date information in hand should better prepare finance and IT professionals to approach the SaaS decision with confidence. Read more on this in the Dispelling 5 Common SaaS Myths paper.
With the future remaining uncertain indefinitely, now is the time for companies to utilise SaaS technology to solve their data protection challenges to best prepare, why not get in touch and take a coffee break demo of the software.
X3 Consulting expands with the leading, best-in-class cloud financial management software, Sage Intacct, after being selected as a UK business partner.
X3 Consulting today announced that it is cementing its future with Sage by becoming a trusted Sage Intacct business partner. Sage Intacct is a cloud-based financial management application in use across the globe – including the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, and South Africa. The financial management platform that lets you do more, and do it better.
Sage Intacct is a cloud, financial management applications that provides full visibility across your organisation and gives you the ability to easily customise the way you work.
Today’s businesses require rich integration technology to give them an extra edge over the competition. Technology to drive efficiency and cost savings and allow you to make better decisions. Sage Intacct Platform Services is your ticket to making user expectations a reality.
Automation allows you to focus on productivity, whilst gainer deeper insight with accurate data. Through delivering real-time, multi-dimensional insights to inform decision-making, your Sage Intacct users will have the tools at their fingertips to propel business growth and boost profitability.
With the ever changing business landscape you want your software to adapt with you. Sage Intacct can handle flexible billing terms to enable you to win and keep clients.
X3 Consulting are pleased to have been selected by Sage to become one of their early UK business partners. As a leader in global Sage X3 delivery X3 Consulting bring to bear over 10 years of financial management deployment to the SME market.
Best-In-Class Business Software
“This is a natural next step for us. We are extremely proud to have been selected by Sage to be one of the early Sage Intacct UK partners. We can now service a larger market, providing leading ERP solutions for small to medium sized businesses not just internationals or large groups. With smart solutions, automation, intuitive dashboards, Sage Intacct offers everything for a future focused business looking for cloud SaaS, financial management. ” comments Nick Tucker, Director of Operations , X3 Consulting.
“As digital transformation continues to be at the forefront of business change, it’s important we have the latest software solutions to help our customers accelerate their business growth and achieve success. Sage Intacct is a true cloud accounting solution. It has an innovative technological framework that has the ability to deliver rich accounting capabilities across multiple industries. Sage Intacct customers achieve an average 250% ROI and payback in less than 6 months. X3 Consulting are extremely excited to bring these capabilities to the UK market.”
Sage Intacct is the undisputed Leader in Customer Satisfaction with a score of 98 out of 100 in 2020 G2 Grid® Report for Mid-Market ERP Systems.
Find out how Sage Intacct can empower your business and book a coffee break demo from the team today.
You can find out more by clicking here.