Robert Kugel's Analyst Perspectives

FinancialForce Sharpens Customer Focus in Services Businesses

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 31, 2023 3:00:00 AM

FinancialForce offers cloud-based ERP and professional services automation (PSA) software. The company targets midsize and larger services companies, especially those that provide professional services (such as consultants or field service organizations) as well as those that offer subscription-based or recurring revenue services and products. FinancialForce’s key point of differentiation is that it is built natively on the Salesforce platform, ensuring that CRM data is already located on the same platform as accounting and back-office data so organizations can orchestrate end-to-end, front-office to back-office processes without having to integrate different systems.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Business Planning, Digital Commerce, ERP and Continuous Accounting, Subscription Management, digital finance, Revenue Management, Revenue, Lease and Tax Accounting

Optimizing Subscription Management for Finance and Accounting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 24, 2023 3:00:00 AM

The subscription and recurring revenue business models became a significant part of the economy this century with the advent of streaming services for entertainment and software as a service. They have grown in popularity because they enhance customer lifetime value by evolving what had previously been a one-time-sale relationship into a delivery of ongoing services which can create a more loyal customer relationship as well as provide a regular, more predictable revenue stream. I recommend that corporations that have adopted or are planning to adopt either of these business models take a continuous accounting approach to managing their record keeping. Ventana Research asserts that by 2026, one-half of subscription organizations will use continuous accounting to remove constraints limiting sales and marketing flexibility, streamline back-office processes, shorten the accounting close and improve customer satisfaction.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Financial Performance Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, digital finance

2023 Market Agenda: Greater Agility for a Less Certain World

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 20, 2023 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2023 research agenda for Operations and Supply Chain, continuing the guidance we’ve offered for nearly two decades to help organizations across industries derive optimal value and improved outcomes from business technology.

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Topics: Continuous Planning, Product Information Management, Operations & Supply Chain, Enterprise Resource Planning, continuous supply chain, supplier relationship management, Property Technology

Office of Finance 2023 Market Agenda: A Brave New World

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 19, 2023 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research recently announced its 2023 Market Agenda for the Office of Finance, continuing the guidance we have provided since 2003 on the practical use of technology for the finance and accounting department. Our insights and best practices aim to enable organizations to operate with agility and resiliency, improving performance and delivering greater value as a strategic partner.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Business Planning, Financial Performance Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, digital finance, profitability management, Revenue, Lease and Tax Accounting

Professional Services Automation Increases Efficiency

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 17, 2023 3:00:00 AM

A professional services automation application marries front- and back-office functions, helping services organizations address core business challenges by ensuring that:

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Topics: Office of Finance, Financial Performance Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting

Epicor Enriches Vertical-Plus Approach for Growth

Posted by Robert Kugel on Jan 10, 2023 3:00:00 AM

Vertical strategies for enterprise resource planning systems are not new. They emerged more than two decades ago as vendors looked for ways to reduce costs and shorten time-to-value in a software category that was notorious for high costs and extended timelines. A vertical-plus strategy – the plus means it’s a platform, not just an application – takes advantage of recently available technology to extend the ease of implementation and maintenance of the system by having deeper integration with complementary applications, available low-code/no-code customization capabilities and a data pantry that enables the amalgamation of data from multiple sources for situational awareness and decision support. Moreover, the ongoing shift from on-premises to cloud-based ERP systems, especially those designed to address specific types of businesses, will accelerate over the next five years as more configurable and customizable systems designed for specific business verticals become available. A cloud-based platform facilitates the creation of a digital ecosystem that can enable a software vendor’s users to enhance customer experiences.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Cloud Computing, ERP and Continuous Accounting, AI and Machine Learning, digital finance

Workiva Simplifies ESG Reporting

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 28, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Workiva offers an environmental, social and governance application that enables organizations to manage the highly distributed tasks necessary for reporting to regulators and stakeholders on ESG matters. ESG issues have grown increasingly pressing over the past few years as investors and government entities urge organizations to measure and disclose relevant metrics. I’ve already covered the broader topic as it relates to external reporting and how financial planning and analysis groups are likely to own this mandate going forward. I’ve also addressed the data strategy that finance organizations should adopt to meet regulatory compliance requirements. Notably, I assert that by 2025, more than one-half of corporations required to comply with ESG reporting will centralize responsibility for preparing reports and filings with financial planning and analysis to achieve accuracy, control and efficiency objectives.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Business Planning, Financial Performance Management, digital finance

The Data Pantry Accelerates Actionable Analytics for Decision-Making

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 22, 2022 3:00:00 AM

Ventana Research uses the term “data pantry” to describe a method of data storage (and the technology and process blueprint for its construction) created for a specific set of users and use cases in business-focused software. It’s a pantry because all the data one needs is readily available and easily accessible, with labels that are immediately recognized and understood by the users of the application. In tech speak, this means the semantic layer is optimized for the intended audience. It is stocked with data gathered from multiple sources and immediately available for analysis, forecasting, planning and reporting. This does away with the need for analysts to repeatedly perform data extraction, enrichment or transformation motions from the required source systems, all but eliminating the substantial amount of time analysts and business users routinely spend on data preparation.

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Topics: Continuous Planning, Business Intelligence, Data Management, Business Planning, Data, Financial Performance Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, AI and Machine Learning, continuous supply chain, data operations, digital finance, profitability management, Analytics & Data, Streaming Data & Events

The Planning Center of Excellence

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 20, 2022 3:00:00 AM

In the face of a very uncertain future, companies have been discovering the value of rapid planning and budgeting cycles. As events unfold, they’re changing expectations for the future significantly on a daily or weekly basis. However, even when the world returns to a steadier state, companies will benefit from making their planning and budgeting processes faster, easier, more relevant, more strategic, more agile and more accurate.

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Topics: Office of Finance, IBP, Business Planning, CFO, Integrated Business Planning

Virtual Audits Improve Financial Statement Quality, Work-Life Balance

Posted by Robert Kugel on Dec 15, 2022 3:00:00 AM

After decades of overpromising and underdelivering, technology has now evolved to the point where it is fundamentally changing how accountants work – for the better. The pandemic and resulting support of remote work set the stage for a transformation of how accounting efforts are structured and performed, all for the better. Remote audits that became routine during lockdowns are evolving into virtual ones, where auditors take full advantage of advanced software to achieve dependably higher audit quality with less effort, while improving working conditions for auditors and staff accountants. Although discussions I’ve had with practitioners over the past two years indicate that organizations are using this approach to some extent, widespread use has become practical only recently.

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Topics: Office of Finance, Financial Performance Management, ERP and Continuous Accounting, digital finance