Benefits enabled by modern cloud-based financial solutions, such as continual access in real-time, consistent information, frequent updates and continuous innovation, are increasingly making cloud deployment the obvious choice for many SMBs and mid-sized organisations.
Strong financial planning has always been essential for business survival and growth. Businesses need clear visibility into operating costs, revenues and profitability to measure progress and make better decisions to succeed long-term. Innovative financial solutions make it possible for you to achieve these goals.
The right solution can help your business automate financials, streamline planning and budgeting operations, and provide the visibility you need to steer the business through changing market conditions.
The good news for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) is that cloud-based solutions can give you these capabilities without the hassles of deploying and managing hardware, software and infrastructure in house.
These and other benefits enabled by cloud-based solutions, such as continual access to real-time, consistent information, frequent updates and continuous innovation, are increasingly making cloud deployment the obvious choice for many SMBs. While ERP cloud adoption has trailed in other areas, it’s primed to catch up quickly, as businesses get more comfortable with cloud solutions.
Of course, you need to make sure that the cloud solution you select will support the must-haves for your business today and provide you with access to new capabilities you’ll need in the future. But once you’ve created a short list of solutions based on functionality, it’s just as important to look at the softer side of what different providers can bring to the table.
The Softer Side of Cloud-Based Financials Solutions
These qualities are usually more difficult to quantify than things such as features and price. But they can often make or break your satisfaction with the cloud solution you ultimately select.
At the end of the day, you want to work with a provider you can trust—one that will work with you to ensure that you’re getting the results you need from the solution and will help your company navigate through change and uncertainty.
While no litmus test guarantees a provider meets this standard, several factors provide good indicators that the provider will “have your back” after they clinch the sale. As you assess different alternatives, tune into how well different providers match up on the areas below.
Does the provider:
- Ask the right questions? Does the provider have knowledge of your industry, and do their representatives ask questions that demonstrate their experience in working with similar organisations?
- Listen to understand your business requirements? Every business has unique issues and priorities. Providers should take the time to thoroughly understand yours.
- Answer all your questions? This sounds like it should be a given, right? But the #1 way that SMBs say vendors can improve the purchasing experience is by doing a better job of answering questions. In the case of financials, your entire business will rely on the solution—making it doubly important for providers to deliver easy to understand answers to all of your questions about the cloud solution, business practices, implementation process, security, and any other questions you may have so you aren’t left with any nagging doubts.
- Speak the language of finance fluently? Having a good percentage of their staff with professional accounting qualifications and experience that ensures the provider not only “speaks finance”, but also understands how to build solutions tailored to the requirements of financial users.
- Provide a tailored demonstration of the proposed solution? If you have invested time in explaining your business challenges to the solution provider, you should expect that a suitably experienced provider will offer a demonstration of the solution that is specifically targeted at the business issues you have discussed. This is very important to ensure the provider will be able to competently support your needs.
- Have an active, Marketplace ecosystem? No one vendor can do it all for any business. But engaged partners can fill in any cloud solution gaps with complementary services and products that ensure the solution caters for any specialty requirements not covered in the core solution.
- Provide a clear and easy to read proposal? Implementing sophisticated financial software involves several potential cost components including software subscriptions, implementation services, ongoing support etc., and it is important that the proposal provided is comprehensive and doesn’t leave the door open for future surprises.
- Connect you to reference customers? Ask the provider to connect you with companies similar to your own, so you can get first-hand insights about their experiences with the cloud solution. Of course, you’ll want to also check customer ratings on online sites as well.
- Make it easy for you to figure out where the buck stops? Avoid finger-pointing issues down the road by choosing a provider that clearly defines roles and responsibilities, and has executive oversight of implementations and the ongoing customer relationship.
Many cloud-based financial management vendors are vying for your business. Assessing functionality and price may be where you start your evaluation process, but it shouldn’t end there.
Providers that take a customer-centric approach in the buying process are more likely to also have your back once they’ve won your business. Look for those that are easy to do business with—and take the time to provide you with the knowledge and connections you need to make the best choice and get the best outcomes. For more information or assistance with your cloud-based financial system needs, please call Akuna Solutions on 1300 AKUNA 1 (1300 258 621).
The Akuna Solutions Team