Take the Pain Out of Year-End Close
For many organizations, the only thing worse than the month-end close is the dreaded year-end close.
Especially if you rely on manual, paper-based processes, the year-end close can require weeks of tedious effort, with a long list of iterative steps, including:
- Collecting financial results from multiple systems and divisions
- Consolidating all the financial results according to IFRS or other guidelines
- Reviewing results for completeness and accuracy
- Making corrections and reclassifying revenue and expenses wherever needed
- Reconciling hundreds of accounts (or more)
- Producing clear, understandable financial statements
And that’s just for starters. If you uncover unwelcome surprises along the way, the last month of the year becomes even more stressful.
Less Agony, Better Results
There is a better—much better—way to manage your year-end close. Cloud-based ERP solutions like Sage Intacct, make it possible to streamline, automate, and accelerate closes with very little hassle.
One way Sage Intacct streamlines month-end and year-end closings is by offering a virtual close, which means you don’t have to move income and losses for a given period into retained earnings. Instead, those earnings are handled automatically, based on how your chart of accounts is configured. It’s features like that which make it possible for Sage Intacct to claim its customers can reduce time to close by as much as 79%!
Sage Intacct also provides real-time visibility into data from across your organization, which makes it much easier to spot errors when they happen—as opposed to months later. All the relevant data you need, including journals, books, and transactional data, is available at your fingertips, and accessible 24/7 from mobile devices.
The combination of automated processes, deep data analysis, real-time visibility with intuitive dashboards, and consolidated reporting—to name just a few key features—makes transitioning from manual ERP solutions to Sage Intacct worth considering, especially before your next year-end close.
Make the right decision for your organization
Insero & Co. is a public accounting firm with decades of experience working with both nonprofits and businesses. Our experts are available to assist you with your month-end and year-end closes, and with other ways you might be able to streamline your accounting processes.
5 Tips to Better Manage Your Cash Flow
It seems straightforward: Your business or nonprofit needs to know what you owe others and what they owe you. That’s your cash flow, and managing that cash flow accurately and consistently is one of the basic elements of accounting.
Look more closely at cash flow management, and you’ll find that it’s not so simple. As with every accounting process, there are good and bad ways to go about it. There are processes that work well and others that will cause you trouble—if not today then down the line. There are also advanced elements that can help separate your organization from the competition.
Let’s look at five tips for managing your cash flow not only to get by but to be more efficient and productive.
Step 1: Establish firm collections practices
When do your clients or customers pay you? If your answer is “it depends” or “it’s a long story,” you probably need to strengthen your accounts payable practices. Make sure your policies are clear, and make sure someone is keeping an eye on receivables—you might want to assign a single person to the task. That person should contact customers if they are late with payments, and persist as necessary to collect all your receivables as quickly as possible.
Step 2: Pay on time, but not early
It’s good business to pay your bills on time, every time, but that doesn’t mean you should pay a large bill the day you receive it. Check the payment terms—net 30, net 90? Then establish a process to ensure the bill is paid toward the end of the available term. This is assuming, of course, that you have cash on hand to pay the bill—if you don’t, that’s a more serious cash flow problem than the ones we’re addressing.
Step 3: Invest in the right software
Especially as your organization grows, it’s wise to invest in advanced accounting solutions such as Sage Intacct, the best-in-class cloud ERP platform. Sage Intacct’s cash flow management software provides a complete picture of your cash position on a secure, customizable dashboard accessible from anywhere. You can view all payments and all transactions across bank accounts and credit cards, and across every location and entity—and it’s ready for you in real time.
Step 4: Forecast your future
Look for accounting software that offers predictive forecasting capabilities, which provide access to accurate, automated cash flow forecasting across your entire organization, at the click of a button. The best solutions can generate models of your projected revenues and expenses related to sales, capital investments, and other information. The result is a crystal ball of sorts—a comprehensive picture of what lies ahead so you can better manage your cash flow.
Improve cash flow management
Better cash flow management processes can help you grow your organization with confidence. Insero & Co. helps organizations evaluate best-in-class software solutions to streamline cash flow management and other accounting practices.
The Latest Tech Trends—And Why You Need to Know About Them
Accounting and financial management are changing fast with the introduction of a dizzying array of new technologies and tools, from online solutions to new mobile accounting applications.
Determining which tools and trends are worth adopting, and when, is a challenge that businesses and nonprofits need to consider with care.
Which emerging technologies are worth your time?
It is remarkable how many new technologies and trends have emerged in just the past 10 years, and you can expect the pace of innovation to increase from here thanks to machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain, and other digital technologies.
One increasingly popular trend is to move from on-premises accounting software to cloud-based accounting software solutions like Sage Intacct. By moving to the cloud, you can improve visibility, streamline reporting processes, and make it easier for your clients and colleagues to collaborate and exchange information. In addition, cloud-based accounting can help you:
- Analyze more data in real time
- Scale as needed, with potentially unlimited storage space
- Access information securely anytime and anywhere, from any device
- Automatically back up files in the cloud
Another advantage of Sage Intacct is that it makes it easy to integrate third-party tools that offer benefits to your business or nonprofit. For instance, a growing number of applications are available to streamline expense reporting, automate accounts payable, and speed other common tasks.
You’ll also want to evaluate targeted technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR), which can scan printed and handwritten documents and convert them into machine-readable text. That means you can take handwritten documents, or even photos of documents, and turn them into electronic documents that are easy to store and share.
Why stay on top of the latest trends?
There are dozens more emerging technologies and tools that are worth considering because of their potential to deliver significant business benefits, including:
- Better customer and client experiences. Many technologies will help you deliver better customer service, which can provide a significant competitive advantage.
- Streamlined operations. The less time you and your team spend on mundane tasks, the more time you can devote to important responsibilities that build business value.
- Cost savings. The latest tools can save time, reduce training costs, improve productivity, and offer additional cost-saving benefits that lead to a stronger bottom line.
Get the help you need
It can be a daunting task to learn about and evaluate the value of every new technology that hits the market. For help, some organizations turn to an outsourced accounting partner to sort through all the options and identify which ones fit their needs.
Insero & Co. is a public accounting firm with decades of experience working with both nonprofits and businesses. From audit assistance to business consulting, our experts are available to help you identify the latest solutions to make your organization more efficient and productive.
The Accounting Tools You Need for Grant Tracking and Reporting
Winning grants is great news for nonprofit organizations. But managing those grants can be a time-consuming challenge for the accounting team, which needs to track, bill, and report on every one of them.
To streamline that process, it is important to have the right accounting tools in place, which often means moving from Excel-driven charts to more advanced cloud-based accounting software solutions such as Sage Intacct, which provide powerful report visualizations, as well as real-time reports that make it easy to drill down to the details that matter.
Save time and deepen insights
With a more feature-rich accounting software platform like Sage Intacct, you can easily centralize all your grant documents from corporations, foundations, government agencies, and more.
Simply import data from your membership and donor software, regardless of source or award type, and you can report and compare your grant budget to actuals on grants with reporting periods that differ with your fiscal year. It’s simple to search and report on grant delivery, impact metrics, and financial data, which can save you hours of time.
The customizable dashboards in Sage Intacct allow you to monitor all your grants in real time and collaborate easily within the system to ensure that budgets line up with performance and delivery. The dashboards clearly display non-financial metrics that are used regularly when creating grant reports or fundraising campaigns, including the number of clients served and how that figure compares to the prior year.
If your organization is involved in a grant to increase membership, you could easily see on the dashboard where membership stands today. Then you could drill down further to compare and contrast different membership groups.
More broadly, advanced software platforms give you more visibility and control across operations. By centralizing task tracking for grants and other projects, you can see at a glance what needs to be done and when. As your grant is used, you can monitor spending and track the budget plan in real time. And deadlines are a lot easier to meet when you can collaborate online with team members to ensure milestones are met.
Streamline your grant reporting process
Insero & Co. is a public accounting firm with decades of experience helping nonprofits achieve their missions and streamline their business processes. Whether you need business consulting or audit or other services, our experts are available to help.
What’s the True Cost of the Wrong Fit?
Hiring a full-time employee to join your financial team is like entering a marriage—it is, you hope, a long-term commitment that will benefit both parties. When that relationship unexpectedly falls apart, the cost to businesses and nonprofits is higher than you might think, not only in hard costs but also in lost morale and other soft costs.
The hard costs
Every new employee is an investment and a costly one at that. Before the hire, hours are spent reviewing resumes, conducting interviews, and performing background checks. After the hire, days or weeks are devoted to training the new employee, and if the employee doesn’t work out, you have to go through the costly search and training process all over again.
In addition, if a hire isn’t meeting expectations, that means your organization is suffering from poor productivity, as well as suffering opportunity costs related to what the employee should be doing well but isn’t. On top of that, there’s the added cost of intervention—meeting with the employee, developing plans for corrective action, and redirecting other employees from their responsibilities to cover for the poor performer’s faults.
Those hard costs are only the beginning. If your new hire is disengaged or burned out, if they have bad work habits or bad morale, it’s likely, if not inevitable, that their attitude will spread to the rest of your financial team.
If you’re lucky, you’ll notice the issue right away and take steps to correct their behavior or remove them from your organization before they damage your culture. Often, though, months go by in which managers struggle to pinpoint the issue and then devote precious time and resources to figuring out which actions to take. Throughout that process, negative attitude could be spreading.
What are your options?
All of this is not to suggest that you should never hire a new employee. Rather, recognizing the extremely high cost of the wrong fit will hopefully inspire you to devote more time and energy to establishing excellent hiring practices that reduce the likelihood of making a hiring mistake. You might also consider outsourcing some financial responsibilities as an alternative to hiring full-time employees.
Make the right decision for your organization
Insero & Co. is a public accounting firm with decades of experience working with both nonprofits and businesses. Whether you need recruiting assistance or business consulting, our experts are available to help.
Why Real-Time Visibility Matters
Business today moves fast—extremely fast—which places a lot of pressure on executives to quickly evaluate data and make informed decisions without delay. To do that, they need visibility into real-time metrics from across the organization, and they need that information to be readily available and easy to understand.
Take, for example, a retailer that operates two outlets. During a holiday sale (or on any given day), the manager might want to examine key metrics at one store and then see how those figures compare to those at the other location. By finding variances, the manager can identify opportunities and best practices to rapidly improve operations at each store.
Or consider another business that needs to track financial as well as business metrics. If executives need consolidated accounts receivable, or want to look at key data by programs or clients, how long should they have to wait? To be competitive, they need to be able to access that information, sorted as necessary, and take action within minutes.
The value of the latest accounting software
People who work in finance and accounting are often tasked with producing real-time reports to help executives make these types of on-the-fly decisions. That’s not easy to do with some accounting systems that require downloading accounting data to Excel and then combining it with statistical data. Sometimes IT has to get involved or new fields have to be added to accounting tables, which takes time and can lead to mistakes or oversights.
Every delay costs the organization in several ways: Employees are spending their valuable time on the task, executives are being delayed, and the business is losing out on whatever improvements could have been made in the interim.
These issues are why many organizations have adopted advanced accounting solutions such as Sage Intacct, the best-in-class cloud ERP platform. Sage Intacct is based in the cloud and can be accessed anywhere, anytime, from a range of mobile devices. The customizable dashboards are easy for decision-makers to understand, and they can drill down with ease to get to the bottom of the data that matters most to them.
In addition, Sage Intacct uses what it calls “Dimensions” to better capture the business context of transactions, budgets, and more. The eight built-in Dimensions include project, department, employee, and item, and additional Dimensions can be added as needed. That means organizations can quickly create reports that analyze real-time business performance by whatever business driver interests them—without having to create and manage a chart of accounts with hundreds of segments.
Get the visibility you need
With better visibility, decision-makers can make fast, smart decisions with confidence. Insero & Co. can help you evaluate best-in-class software solutions and transition to solutions that give you real-time visibility—and a competitive edge.
10 Ways Automated Accounting Can Help Your Organization
Probably you know that automated accounting processes are more efficient than manual processes. And yet many businesses and nonprofits hang on to old, familiar accounting methods involving manual data entry, spreadsheets, and basic financial tools like QuickBooks.
One reason for maintaining the status quo might be that organizations don’t realize the full range of benefits of automation. With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 benefits of transitioning from manual accounting processes to advanced software solutions such as Sage Intacct that automate key processes.
1. Save time
If your month-end closes are taking most of the month, it’s time to consider automating your accounting processes.
2. Focus on what matters
When employees no longer have to spend hours on mind-numbing manual tasks, they can instead devote those hours to strategic efforts that add real value to your organization.
3. Reduce errors
Automated accounting alleviates common data entry errors and ensures that every task is performed identically, so you and your clients or customers can trust in the numbers.
4. Lower costs
Manual tasks require more employee hours every week, month, and year. Automation makes you more efficient—and helps prevent errors that can lead to unexpected additional costs.
5. Make better decisions
By automating billing, collections, sales, and other processes, you can record and report on key metrics in real time, so executives have all the information they need to make smart decisions.
6. Reduce risk
Automated accounting solutions help ensure that you’re always in compliance with the latest regulations, as they’re automatically updated to adhere to the latest guidelines.
7. Be more secure
Top accounting software providers follow strict security protocols to ensure your organization and its data is protected against data breaches and other security threats.
8. Improve service
Manual processes lead to mistakes and oversights, like late payments to vendors and overlooked bill payments. With automated solutions, you can provide more reliable service to customers, partners, and your own employees.
9. Better audit preparation
By automating your accounting processes, you can prepare more effectively and efficiently for audits, ensuring that you have all the documentation you need to make the process as painless as possible.
10. Improved cash flow
By reducing the time it takes to get approved expenses into your accounting system, you can reduce the time between paying the credit card and getting reimbursed by the client.
Is it time to automate?
Insero & Co. can help you determine if it’s time to automate your processes and if so, help you make the transition as seamlessly as possible using best-in-class software. Contact us to talk about the relationship-based services we provide and how they might help save you time and money every month.
How to Tell When You Need Third-Party Accounting Support
Businesses and nonprofits need to weigh the benefits of in-house versus outsourced accounting support to determine which model is best for them. To make a wise decision, it is important to look not only at the more obvious hard costs but also at easily overlooked costs—including opportunity costs.
What is the real cost of in-house vs. outsourced accounting?
The first and most obvious cost to consider is the hard cost of in-house versus third-party accounting services. This includes not only employee costs compared to contractor costs but also the cost of maintaining on-site equipment to support your accounting team.
Many organizations find that outsourcing some or all accounting services can save money in the long run, but you will need to run the numbers to see what makes the most sense for your business.
What is the value of your time?
Another cost to consider relates to your time and where you choose to spend it. How many hours each month are your accounting team—and other employees—spending on accounting tasks, and could their time be better spent on more business-forward initiatives?
Careful tracking of employee time sometimes reveals that a surprising amount of time is spent on finance-related tasks that could easily be outsourced. Then the question becomes how those employees’ time could be better, and more profitably, be spent to help the organization grow and be more successful.
Are you missing out on valuable reports and forecasts?
Small organizations in particular often have owners and other executives working on bookkeeping and accounting-related tasks. They might be able to do the basics, but it is important to consider what value-added services they might be overlooking that could help the organization.
For example, accounting professionals can provide weekly cash flow forecasts that provide an early warning of positive and negative cash situations and offer insight into when funds are expected to come in and be paid out. These and other forecasts provide information that can translate into real savings.
Outsourcing to accounting professionals can result in other upgrades. For instance, more detailed, real-time reports can identify issues and opportunities that lead to better business decisions. Better audit preparation can also save hours of time and costs.
Is it time to outsource?
Insero & Co. can help you weigh the benefits of staying in-house versus transitioning to a third-party accounting service. If it’s the right step for your organization, we can help you get started.
Description of Infographic:
Do You Have the Right People on
Your Financial Team?
Do they know your industry?
Finding financial team members who understand the ins and outs of your industry can be difficult—and if they lack that knowledge, they could make mistakes or overlook new options or changing requirements, which could cost your organization in lost hours or fines.
Do they have the right skills and experience?
If your employees lack adequate skills and experience, that means a lot of training and management time for you, which increases your operational costs. On the other hand, hiring— and keeping—top-end accounting staff typically requires paying them high salaries.
Will they stay?
Every time an employee takes substantial time off or moves on to another job, you have to go back to the beginning— back to hiring and training another newcomer, which is a costly and time-consuming process. In addition, employees sometimes take critical knowledge with them, leaving you in a scramble to figure out how to plug the gaps they’ve left behind.
Time to outsource?
4 Reasons to Outsource Your Accounting
Outsourced accounting, bookkeeping, and other financial management services are becoming more common—and for good reason. Businesses and nonprofits that used to rely solely on internal accounting departments are finding that outsourcing some or all finance-related tasks results in significant benefits.
Lower personnel costs
There’s no getting around the fact that bookkeeping and accounting are time-consuming tasks that require ongoing staffing costs (including employee benefits), as well as equipment, facility, and IT costs.
Outsourcing finance-related tasks can be a cost-effective alternative that frees organizations to devote more time and resources to business-critical tasks and programs. Plus, some outsourcing costs can be increased or decreased as business fluctuates.
More expert assistance
Hiring a trusted on-site team with all the expertise you need is not easy, and every time an employee leaves, you have to repeat the time-consuming process of hiring and training a new employee.
Outsource accounting and financial management firms specialize in providing outstanding service, and they typically provide a dedicated team with the expertise you need in bookkeeping, accounting, controller services, reporting, and other tasks. Most are also familiar with the latest technologies and software to produce real-time reports, customizable dashboards, and more.
Fraud is a concern for any organization, especially those that have only one internal person in charge of accounting. With outsourced accounting services, multiple people look at your data and reports, which can help you reduce errors, as well as risks.
Support for business growth
By outsourcing finance-related tasks to external experts, you can free internal staff and leadership to focus on running—and growing—the organization. With less time devoted to data entry or learning the latest software programs, organizations can focus on finding new ways to grow the business.
Experienced outsourced teams can also provide a valuable outside perspective. For instance, they might be able to spot an overlooked issue with cash flow or expenditures or point out an opportunity to save time or money.
Explore your outsourcing options
Insero & Co. is one of the premier public accounting firms in Western, Central, Upstate, and the Southern Tier of New York. We offer deep experience across a variety of outsourcing services from bookkeeping to outsourced CFO services.