BTerrell Group Blog

Keith Karnes

Recent Posts

Three Questions Differentiating Intacct and Microsoft Dynamics GP

Posted by Keith Karnes on Wed, May 27, 2015

Let’s face facts. There is no shortage of ERP solutions on the market. As a result, I regularly hear questions from companies about the difference between one system and another. Here are three of the most frequently asked questions I hear about the difference between Intacct and Microsoft Dynamics GP (“GP”) and what I’ve found to be true.

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“I see that Intacct is only cloud-based, yet GP can be deployed on-premise or as a hosted solution. What is the difference?”
On-premise means your company assumes all responsibility, including data security, storage, and up-time. The software is housed on your own servers. Hosted means you outsource the servers that run the software, but you still have to coordinate the installation, configuration, and regular software maintenance with your ERP vendor; and your company continues to assume responsibility. Many ERP companies are moving away from these options. 

With a truly cloud-based solution, such as Intacct, all software is housed and managed in the cloud. This means no IT maintenance, better information security, and more reliable up-time, along with a shift in responsibility for all of these functions to the software-as-a-service (SAAS) provider.

“GP is built on a single tenant architecture and Intacct is multi-tenant. What is the difference between the two environments, and why is one better than the other?”
With single tenant architecture, the “tenant” purchases their own copy of the software, and the software is customized as necessary, using code specific to that instance, to meet the needs of that business.

With multi-tenant architecture, every customer runs the same version of the product and has access to all of the sophisticated features, which may be configured -- often without coding -- for the customer’s specific needs. In today’s cloud environment, ERP solutions built on a multi-tenant architecture offer more financial benefits, better integration capabilities, pain-free upgrades, and easier access to information on any device. Here is a great resource for additional information on this topic.

“How easy is it to integrate third party software applications with GP and Intacct?”
All Intacct third-party solutions are built for the cloud. The system was constructed with integration as a primary intent beginning with initial architectural design.This means integration is extremely easy. It is as simple as visiting Intacct’s marketplace and selecting the solution you want, using a development partner, or using the available system tools on your own. Many integrations can be done with writing code, using system tools.

Integration with GP can be a little more time consuming and costly, primarily going back to the issue single tenant architecture and that each company operates in a unique instance.

While these three questions are ones I hear often and know the answers to be true from first-hand experience, it is important to consider the facts that relate to your business and your unique attributes. Every company faces different challenges, so I encourage you to talk to representatives for multiple ERP solutions before choosing the solution and partner that fits your company best. In a previous blog, I suggested some key questions to ask potential cloud vendors; feel free to reference it in your search for a new ERP solution.

For more information about Intacct or a free consultation to determine whether Intacct and BTerrell Group are the right fit for your organization, contact us today.

Tags: ERP, Intacct

Key Questions to Ask Potential Cloud Vendors

Posted by Keith Karnes on Mon, Apr 13, 2015

As a provider of a best-in-class financial cloud solution, we know the advantages and benefits of the cloud, but we also know how overwhelming it can be when companies begin the search for a new cloud vendor.

In general, cloud computing offers a lower Total Cost of Ownership, higher reliability, better availability than on premise software, no IT maintenance, better sustainability, better automation, and better security. Choosing a cloud-based approach for your business can be a tremendous financial benefit, but how do you know you are asking the right questions to ensure you choose a provider who can address your concerns, exceed your expectations, and adapt with you? Diversity Limited published a great whitepaper detailing many questions companies should consider asking potential cloud vendors.

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Here are a few questions I believe are the most valuable to address when considering a new cloud vendor:

  • Does the vendor’s product fit your current needs, and will it adapt as your business grows and changes?
  • Can the vendor provide references and statistics about the solution’s reliability and availability?
  • Does an independent entity regularly assess the solution’s security environments?
  • Who owns the data, and what happens if/when you discontinue service?
  • How well does the vendor’s solution integrate with other key solutions you use?
  • Can you customize the solution to meet your needs? If so, who performs this work?

While my list mainly focuses on the product’s criteria, I want to note the value of determining what is important to your businesses, not just general themes. Companies don’t always fit a standard list of attributes; each company has its own set of unique ways of conducting business and handling processes. It is also important then to feel comfortable with the solution provider you choose.

BTerrell Group, for example, is an Intacct Premier Partner, which means Intacct recognizes us for delivering “comprehensive, high quality services, support, and software to help companies get maximum value from their Intacct investment.” In our 24 years in the industry, we’ve always believed in the power of helping our clients achieve success to attain our goals. We stand behind Intacct as a trusted cloud solution, and we would enjoy the opportunity to discuss Intacct’s features and benefits that will help you maximize your potential and continue on the path to success. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Tags: cloud computing, Intacct, cloud, new cloud vendor, financial cloud solution

How to Know It is Time to Consider Implementing a New Financial Management Solution

Posted by Keith Karnes on Fri, Mar 20, 2015

While there is no magic formula that calculates a company’s readiness for a new financial management solution, there are warning signs to be aware of in your business.

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For example, CFOs might experience increased manual efforts to literally dig-out critical financial information, increased breakdown in controls , or the inability to provide strategic vision, just because they are bogged down in manual accounting tasks. System users experience increased usage of spreadsheets with limited functionality, limited access to financial data on-the-go, and limited integration between systems, causing manual data re-entry.

Nine times out of ten, when we meet with a company who experiences several pain points across their business, we find they also developed bulky workarounds for these problems. Frequently, a quick fix solves a problem in a pinch; but those quick fixes compound over time and require excess time and costs that could have been used better in other areas that align with the business’ strategic vision.

Typical pain points we hear when speaking with companies considering a new solution:

  • Lack of real-time access to financial data
  • Costs and personnel requirements associated with operating and maintaining current on-premise hardware and software increased
  • Infrastructure doesn’t support scalability/growth
  • Cumbersome reporting
  • Disparate systems
  • Staff compensating for technology that cannot accommodate growth or business change
  • Productivity and user satisfaction reduced
  • Challenges integrating multiple locations, business units, or currencies due to growth and expansion
  • Too busy with compliance to actually manage the business 

If your company experiences more than a couple of these pain points, consider investigating a change. Typically, by choosing a new cloud-based solution, such as Intacct, companies find value in three areas: business visibility, revenue gains from billing corrections and efficiencies, and cost savings from countless areas. On average, cloud-based financial management and accounting systems achieve a 75-500% annual return on investment! To discuss whether now is the right time for your company to choose a new financial management solution, contact us for a consultation.

Tags: Intacct

Three Processes Where Spreadsheets Just Don’t Cut It

Posted by Keith Karnes on Mon, Feb 23, 2015

In a previous post, I covered that spreadsheets, while easy to use and familiar, pose many financial risks for companies and lead to costly financial mistakes. As a follow up, I want to explore three common processes that many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) manage using spreadsheets and how they could be improved by replacing spreadsheets with a dedicated financial tool such as Intacct.

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First, let’s look at revenue recognition. For companies who sell physical goods, revenue recognition is pretty straight forward; but for those who sell intellectual property such as software or services, the process can become complex. For example, many times software and services are sold in one instance, but are provided over a period of time under specific terms and conditions. Complications arise when details of the contract change, making it difficult to keep the spreadsheet up to date and accurate. Even when a revenue recognition spreadsheet is well documented, it also can be difficult for anyone other than its creator to use, which can disrupt a key process for the company if that employee leaves his position.

Next, a recent report from Ventana Research states that 75% of medium-sized companies are extensive users of spreadsheets in their closing process and 53% of medium-sized companies use spreadsheets to manage their consolidation process. Those numbers are staggering to me. Companies who heavily rely on spreadsheets for these processes not only require more time to complete their quarterly and monthly closes, but also have less time to take corrective action after reviewing financial reports.

Another common spreadsheet-heavy process used by SMBs is the time and expense process. Not only is this process frustrating and tedious for employees who supply the information and the accounting staff who re-enter the information, but it also doesn’t allow for timely approvals and can lead to inaccurate information. Expenses may be tracked by project, type, time period, or whether they are billable or not; these details compound to make tracking the information complicated. In addition, clients expect invoices to be accurate and transparent, but if errors from rekeying information occur prior to billing, problems arise.

While spreadsheets are easy to use and common for many finance professionals, sometimes they cause more harm than intended. If Intacct replaced spreadsheets in these three examples, companies would expedite revenue recognition, close their periods faster, and streamline the time and expense processes. By making the choice to eliminate spreadsheets, companies can save time, save money, and increase control over financial processes, thus providing a greater financial impact on the entire company.

Contact us to discuss your spreadsheet-heavy processes, and let us help you gain control and visibility in to your financials.

Tags: Intacct

Eliminating Financial Risks by Eliminating Spreadsheets

Posted by Keith Karnes on Mon, Jan 26, 2015

Spreadsheets have become a way of life for many growing companies. With overwhelming workloads, many finance professionals rely on spreadsheets because they are easy to set up and familiar to them. Many times, it is easier to believe that familiar equates to an indispensable resource; however, I believe the tool finance professionals choose should not just be familiar. I believe the tool should reduce risk of financial errors, streamline processes, and allow rapid delivery of critical financial information, ultimately freeing up time for finance leaders to focus on strategic initiatives and big picture goals.

As familiar as spreadsheets are, they are also error-prone and time-consuming. Errors in spreadsheets are more common and costly than you think. In fact, a recent study by Ventana Research shows that 35% of companies regularly find data errors in their most important spreadsheets. That number doesn’t include additional formula errors and formatting errors. Unfortunately, these small errors add up to big mistakes, and untimely information and costly decisions based on incorrect information are just the tip of the iceberg.

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The study by Ventana Research also states that replacing desktop spreadsheets with software designed for and dedicated to finance activities is the most practical solution a finance organization can make.

I agree. In my experience working with small- and medium-sized businesses, those who replace spreadsheets with a proven financial tool, such as Intacct, save time and money as well as increase control and auditability. By reducing your reliance on spreadsheets and the financial risks associated with the process, companies can reallocate the time previously spent on repetitive processes to activities that add value to the overall company. After all, isn’t that the goal for which we, as finance professionals, should strive?

Tags: Financial Reporting