ERP in the Cloud: 4 Game Changers for Your Accounting and Finance Department
The role of the accounting and finance department has changed. There is pressure like never before to share data with the entire organization and offer meaningful insights gleaned from that data to support the success of the company. Cloud ERP solutions, with functionality that was previously unavailable in on-premise systems, offer more opportunities than ever before, empowering the accounting and finance staff to play a more strategic role in the organization. Here are four ways cloud ERP changes the game for accounting and finance:
Cloud ERP game changer #1: Reporting
Today’s leadership teams require immediate access to performance data so they can respond quickly to changing conditions or developing issues before they become problems. Most cloud ERP systems offer real-time dashboards and standard reporting that let the financial staff quickly identify issues. In addition, cloud-based business intelligence tools can sift through mountains of data to arrive at the reasons behind the changes, suggest corrective actions, and offer possible future outcomes, giving financial teams a more influential role in the organization’s overall success.
Cloud ERP game changer #2: Compliance and auditability
A major concern for all organizations is the ability to meet audit and compliance requirements. Even a minor oversight can lead to significant financial and legal penalties. Automation, workflows, and transaction details are features available in most cloud ERP systems today, and these can go a long way to reducing an organization’s exposure to risk.
- Automation helps eliminate the human errors that typically accompany repetitive tasks.
- Workflows help ensure the organization’s policies and procedures are followed and approval authority is handled properly.
- Transaction details give auditors and senior staff the ability to drill down into financial reports and gain visibility into each transaction, providing a complete audit trail of every one.
Cloud ERP game changer #3: Data security
Your financial data is one of your organization’s most valuable assets. Maintaining the security of your data from hackers—or from corporate spies within your organization—should be one of your top concerns. A common misconception is that on-premises systems are more secure than cloud ERP systems. In fact, the opposite is true. Platforms from major cloud hosting providers, such as Microsoft Azure, have significantly more security than most businesses can afford themselves. These providers offer:
- Secure facilities
- Regular hardware and software backups and maintenance
- Systems to ensure uninterrupted power and network connectivity
- Multiple geographic locations for automatic failover in case of catastrophic loss of a data center
- Sophisticated network security and intrusion detection
Cloud ERP game changer #4: Artificial intelligence and machine learning
The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into financial applications has turned out to be a game changer for many financial teams. AI and machine learning can help organizations identify their most profitable products and store locations, predict inventory and material shortages, and suggest optimal markets and product mix. In fact, these technologies are already being used by accounting and finance departments to:
- Consolidate and reconcile information for quarterly and annual close.
- Select the best suppliers at any time throughout the year
- Leverage OCR technology to read AP invoices and enter data automatically, eliminating user error
- Accelerating the audit process by gathering and evaluating the data
Don’t let opportunities pass you by. Put powerful tools in the hands of the people who are experts with the numbers–and watch what happens. If you’re thinking of moving to ERP in the cloud, contact us to discuss your organization’s needs.
To learn more about ERP in the cloud, download this free Ebook, The Case for Financial Management & ERP in the Cloud – A Guide for Skeptics and Advocates.