As organizations seek to modernize their finance function, the most important decision they make is deciding which accounting solution to use.
While they may be known by many acronyms such as ERP, FMS, etc., accounting solutions all serve one important function: enabling organizations to manage and analyze their financial data.
Historically, accounting solutions were housed “on-premise,” which meant that the implementation, maintenance, and upgrades required a heavy IT presence and cost. This also meant that many old systems could not scale quickly or efficiently. Now, organizations are seeking to take advantage of the modern cloud.
In addition to realizing cost savings on IT and infrastructure, they are more easily able to manage and grow their business utilizing the power of cloud products. With modern solutions like Sage Intacct, managing and analyzing an organization’s financial data takes on a new meaning. Built around a strong general ledger, Intacct offers robust functionality for all of an organization’s finance needs. Managing your Procure-to-Pay and Order-to-Cash processes are a native part of the system, even if that involves complex business processes or accounting standards such as ASC606 for contracts.
As a premier Sage Intacct partner, we’re spotlighting 12 key Sage Intacct features that can transform your business, beginning with Roles & Permissions.
1. Roles & Permissions
Sage Intacct has two options for assigning permissions: user-based and role-based. User-based permissions, as you’d expect, are assigned manually on a user-by-user basis. While this is rarely a challenge for very small companies, organizations experiencing rapid growth find individually assigning detailed permissions for each additional user frustrating and time-consuming.
Enter role-based permissions!
Companies can create roles for each position within their organization and assign only the permissions required for that role to be able to fulfill its responsibilities. A single role can be assigned to multiple users in Sage Intacct, allowing fast-growing companies to assign permissions for new users quickly and efficiently. Roles can “stack” as well, allowing organizations to assign multiple roles to a single user, which increases access for employees who serve multiple functions.
As an added bonus, well-designed roles help secure the system by preventing risks associated with poor segregation of duties. For example, an Accounts Payable clerk may be able to add a vendor to the system, but only their manager would be able to enter financial information to send payments.
2. Dashboarding & Reporting
Sage Intacct has an excellent data model built on modern cloud architecture. As transactions are entered, they are automatically posted (if approved) in the general ledger. These exceptional reporting capabilities allow managers to view data in real time, helping them to make informed business decisions.
Companies gain access to summary-level dashboards that allow users to view financial results across timespans (monthly, quarterly, year-to-date, inception-to-date) and multiple key financial metrics (revenue, cost of revenue, expenses, and project margins). They can also drill down from summary dashboard reports to see the line-item details to determine which projects are running on plan and which ones might need my attention.
For managing indirect costs, users can set up another dashboard that shows actual expenses-to-date compared to the budget for marketing, sales, organizational development, and conferences. This shows whether orgs are trending on or over budget, and has the functionality to help users see the individual transaction that may be driving them over. This real-time data presented in intuitive graphs and key performance indicators allow users to, at a glance, understand what is happening in the business.
Prior to Sage Intacct, companies relied on Excel spreadsheets that did not contain enough data or the detailed transactions needed to run a business.
3. Procure-to-Pay Solutions
Sage Intacct offers a full “Procure-to-Pay” solution right out of the box. The purchasing application enables companies to create and maintain complex procurement processes, transactions, and approval workflows with ease. Whether you need basic vendor invoice approvals or complex workflows with requisitions, purchase orders, and vendor invoices (or more), Sage Intacct has you covered. If you also need dynamic approval workflows for each of those transaction types based on what is being purchased, then you are all set.
Once all of your transactions have been fully approved and the product or service is delivered, Sage Intacct then provides robust payment selection and approvals. Their “Pay Bills” functionality allows you to select bills for payment based on any number of attributes, including custom fields. Once you have selected the bills you would like to pay, you can choose to route them through an approval process or have them released right away – either manually or through various payment automation tools.
Switching to Sage Intacct and using the purchasing application allowed a client of ours to implement a formal purchase order process across the organization, thus ensuring that nearly all spend receives approval before an invoice is even generated by the vendor. Creating this process also guaranteed that controls are in place to detect things such as duplicate bills or over-billing, which may need to be rejected or routed through additional approval.
The client also added two key wins when it came to payment processing. First, they added additional approval steps to the release of payments to ensure all cash leaving the organization was fully approved. Second, they used one of Sage Intacct’s marketplace partners to automatically connect to and release payments from their bank, ultimately saving time, and money, and reducing the risk of manual error.
And, they did all of this while processing invoices in more than 25 currencies across more than 50 countries!
4. Quarterly Releases
Each quarter, Sage Intacct provides customers with new features and enhanced product functionality, which means you don’t need to wait a whole year for improvements to your ERP system. Their seamless release process performs the upgrade behind the scenes, requiring no action from users. The morning after, users can simply sign into their Sage Intacct environment and immediately begin taking advantage of all of the new and enhanced functionality.
Prior to each release, Sage Intacct will provide detailed notes that include particulars on which areas of the product are being impacted and how. Their team also puts together a short video covering the release highlights, which makes it easy to preview all of the new functionality.
Recently, a client of ours needed to include Accounts Payable bill approvals in their workflow but was not yet ready to commit to implementing Sage Intacct’s native purchasing module or using a third-party tool that would allow them to do so. In the first release this year, Sage Intacct produced functionality to allow users to approve bills before they are posted based on a pre-defined workflow set up by the customer. This is just one example of how Sage Intacct is always working hard to improve and enhance its product.
5. Marketplace Integrations
Sage Intacct was built to be a best-in-class financial management solution, and it keeps good company! To ensure that your organization finds the right tool to fit your business, Sage Intacct offers pre-built integrations to more than 200 software solution providers. These marketplace partners connect directly to Sage Intacct through their managed Application Programming Interfaces (API). This means that you get solution-to-solution connectivity without having to deal with manual data extraction, transformation, and upload processes. You also do not need to write or maintain any custom code – the marketplace partners have you covered!
The Sage Intacct Marketplace allows you to easily search through connections across a number of categories:
- Business management
- Finance & Administration
- Inventory management
- Point of Sale
- Time & Expense
In fact, nearly all of our clients use at least one marketplace partner.
Recently, one of our clients saw huge benefits from connecting Sage Intacct with Expensify, which enabled them to:
- Capture all employee expenses in real-time using dimensions within Sage Intacct. This permitted them to run full profit and loss reports against their employees, customers, and deals inclusive of employee expenses. It also allowed them to report on time and correctly on how much employees are spending and what they are spending it on.
- Eliminate the need for employees to manually keep track of expenses, which is time-consuming, error-prone, and, frankly, very boring.
- Let their finance team focus on value-add activities instead of chasing down reports from late submitters.
6. Open APIs
Sage Intacct offers a completely open, documented, and easy-to-use Application Program Interface (API), which enables customers to automate processes and integrate tools with ease. Their API allows you to create, update, delete, or process transactions within the system, saving countless hours of manual updates. If you also wanted to create a custom integration between Sage Intacct and another tool (such as accounts payable automation, loan servicing system, etc.) you can accomplish this through their interface.
All in all, you can do just about anything with APIs.
Furthermore, Sage Intacct offers several tools to assist users in creating their own API calls. In addition to the full documentation on their developer site, they also provide you a Postman collection to make it even easier to create code and interact with your environment.
One of CrossCountry’s SaaS clients recently utilized Sage Intacct’s open APIs to develop completely custom web-to-web integration with their AP automation tool. Using APIs, the tools automatically communicate with one another on vendors, bills, payments, and much more. This ensures no time is wasted with manual, error-prone double entry, leaving the finance team more time for value-add work.
7. Contract Revenue & Billing Management
Sage Intacct’s Contract and Revenue Management solution provides an automated way to handle all of your key contract requirements. From a revenue recognition standpoint, it provides a fully ASC 606-compliant solution ensuring that your team (and your auditors) get the accurate numbers without spending tens, hundreds, or even thousands of hours maintaining manual spreadsheets.
Their Contract and Revenue Management solution also lets you tailor billing templates to fit your business model, including automated monthly, yearly, or even customized schedules. It also handles custom “usage” billing scenarios that might pop up each month.
One of our Software as a Service (SaaS) company clients has used this solution to manage their 7,000-plus contracts and save their team hundreds of hours each month. Instead of:
- Having to re-key contracts from the sales team, they simply click a button in Salesforce and create the full contract in Intacct with revenue and billing schedules set up for each line.
- Manually updating and creating spreadsheets for revenue recognition entries, they simply let Intacct do the work for them and then post.
- Manually creating invoices for customers, they let Intacct generate and email invoices based on the schedules they have already defined.
8. Fixed Asset Tracking & Transacting
Sage Intacct Fixed Assets gives customers the ability to manage and track their resources in the same system where they manage their core accounting functions. Highlights of the product include automated depreciation through recurring journal entries and asset creation directly from purchasing, accounts payable, and cash management transactions. On top of this, customers can manage their asset data from right within Sage Intacct. Inside of each record, customers can track important details such as insurance information, warranties, and maintenance logs, and even directly drill into the transaction from which the fixed asset record was created.
The tool also comes with an out-of-the-box Roll Forward Analysis report that allows customers to reconcile net book values at period end, including beginning balances. This report also provides a centralized view of accumulated depreciation, as well as any additions and disposals across your company for that timeframe.
One of our financial services clients was managing their entire fixed asset sub-ledger offline in Excel. This meant that each month, they were spending countless hours creating manual journal entries to account for any asset acquisitions, disposals, and depreciation for the period. After implementing Sage Intacct Fixed Assets, the client is now able to create fixed assets directly from their Accounts Payable bills and view all of their financial and non-financial data in a central location on demand. Posting depreciation is a breeze now that the entries have been automatically created by Intacct, and with a few clicks, can be posted to the general ledger each month!
9. Project Accounting
Sage Intacct’s Project Accounting solution enables companies to automate how they manage their financial and non-financial time, expense, and project data. By providing different combinations of functionality as part of their project accounting offerings, Sage Intacct ensures that you find the right-sized solution for your organization. If you need a system that automates your entire project accounting (time tracking, invoice generation, labor cost postings, etc.), or if you require basic functionality such as tagging revenue and expenses to projects, they have you covered.
The Projects module is built to handle fixed fee as well as time and materials projects right out of the box. This means that your organization can be nimble and support your clients’ needs with ease. With straightforward timesheets and automated approval workflows for time and materials projects, you know that your clients are going to be billed correctly and on time. And with flexible billing schedules for fixed fee projects, you know that your invoicing will be exactly in line with your agreed-upon terms.
One of our clients, a professional services firm, uses Sage Intacct to manage all of their projects. This enables project teams to always be in sync on progress and budget, as well as allows leadership immediate insights into the firm’s global financials. This client also utilizes Sage Intacct’s open API to integrate with a leading procurement and expense management solution. Now they can easily track expenditures in their preferred tool and tag anything billable to the relevant project in Intacct. This ensures seamless billing and one source of information on their financials.
10. Financial Reporting Tools
Sage Intacct offers customizable reporting across your company’s financial and non-financial data.
For financial data-driven reports, users can utilize the standard out-of-the-box financial reports such as a Balance Sheet, Income Statement, or Cash Flow Statement. Additionally, Sage Intacct supports custom financial reporting, giving companies the option to create custom roll-ups for all of the reports. Or, they can be more creative and create statements that fit their specific business needs, such as through a Revenue by Department or Spend by Vendor report.
Sage Intacct also offers statistical account functionality, which allows companies to track non-financial data such as employee headcount or number of customers. This means that users can perform sophisticated analyses by combining financial and non-financial data. Some examples from our customers are:
- Revenue per headcount
- Revenue per square foot of office space
- Average employee cost per office location
While running reports, Sage Intacct offers comprehensive filters that allow users to analyze their data by date and dimensions, ensuring that they can review their financials exactly how they want.
We see clients take advantage of this functionality daily. Recently, a financial services client of ours needed a summary-level Profit and Loss by Department report that pulled in consolidated data across each of their 15 entities. Using QuickBooks, this report took them hours to create each period, but with Sage Intacct, they are now able to generate and distribute it within seconds.
11. 1099 Functionality
Every year, companies face hassle and frustration before the 1099 submission deadline. Often, as they are added throughout the year, vendors or employees are not marked as 1099 eligible, requiring companies to manually sift through records to determine which transactions should be indicated as qualified. Not with Sage Intacct!
Sage Intacct customers have benefited immensely from their ability to manage and maintain 1099 status and type by providing the capability to mass update their vendors’ status, type, and opening balance. Even if numerous vendors were not marked as eligible during the year, Intacct can easily track and update their transactions, including vendors with multiple 1099 types.
Out-of-the-box functionality provides customers the ability to print finalized 1099 forms directly from Sage Intacct or easily integrate with third-party services to enable e-filing capabilities.
One of CrossCountry’s financial services clients files hundreds of 1099 forms each year. To keep their accounting function running smoothly, they have chosen to integrate Sage Intacct with a marketplace partner who electronically files their 1099 submissions. This ensures their finance team is not spending hours (or days) printing and stuffing envelopes when they could be focusing on more value-add activities. This is just one of many examples of how Sage Intacct makes your finance function more efficient.
12. Automated Consolidations
As companies grow, their business functions, locations, and operations naturally diversify. With growth and change comes increased complexity when trying to obtain accurate financials across your entire organization. Often, this results in manual closing processes that are time-consuming and error-prone. By utilizing Sage Intacct’s Global Consolidations module, customers automate these processes and handle additional growth with ease.
This module serves two main functions that have historically been completed manually:
- First, it automates the elimination of inter-entity transactions which drastically reduces the time finance teams spend on reporting, creating journal entries, and reconciling their data, which is always welcome during tight schedules.
- Second, it provides flexibility across different types of organizational roll-ups and currencies. Organizations can have as many consolidation books as they want, so whether you need one consolidation to report on your entire company or multiple consolidations to cover different entities, regions, etc., Intacct can support you.
Customers also have the option to select their preferred reporting currency for each consolidation book, and all currencies within the consolidation are converted to their preference. This eliminates the time-consuming tracking of exchange rates from the finance team’s closing process.
One of CrossCountry’s financial services clients is a global organization that operates on three continents with transactions in 10-plus currencies. Before implementing the consolidations module, the client was required to perform days of manual, error-prone work in Excel to consolidate several books at the end of each month and quarter. With Sage Intacct, these processes have been automated and now take only a few seconds, freeing their financial team to perform other required tasks to close the books.
For expert Sage Intacct support, contact CrossCountry Consulting.