by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 30 June 2011
By itself, accounting can be a pretty intensive and time-consuming job. Multiply that job with global operations and business intelligence (or making sense of numbers using analytics) and the task becomes even more complex.
Cloud-based accounting offers solutions for such complex problems.
This week we will look at one such solution: Intacct is a cloud-based financial accounting software that claims to improve your company performance and make your company more productive.
We will look at its interface, functionalities and see how it can be of use to you.
According to the company, the idea behind Intacct was to "leverage the power of cloud computing to deliver a shared scalable solution for accounting firms and businesses." The folks at Intacct say the solution has been built for and by finance professionals. In simple words, this means you can pretty much access your account books from anywhere in the world. All you need is an Internet connection and a browser. What's more it also integrates with other, popular cloud-based software such as Salesforce.com enabling flexibility in your product mix.
LET'S LOOK AT THE DETAILS
According to the company website, Intacct optimizes business controls, provides a service delivery and excellence model and deep financial expertise. In addition, it also provides real-time actionable and tailored information.
Let me explain this in simple words: you can throw that expensive on-premise accounting software away and access your account books from anywhere, including multiple time zones. You can also tailor roles according to employee and customer preferences. In addition, you can run reports for a wealth of financial data and tailor access to information based on customer preferences.
The company says it has four main areas of functionality including automated procure to pay process, comprehensive financial consolidation, anywhere and anytime expense reporting, and streamlined quote to cash process.
My personal favorite is the global consolidation process which rolls up core financials across multiple channels and currencies. Thus, at the click of a button, you can consolidate finances across multiple regions and currencies. Not only that, you can also customize and define your Key Performance Indicator (KPI) analysis.
Financial data is important and, possibly, the most critical part of your company's data store. The folks at Intacct have been pretty smart about this: access to information and screens is based on user permission controls, which can set and reset by the administrator.
According to the folks at Intacct, installation and deployment can be as quick as two months. Wait a minute, isn't cloud computing supposed to be quicker? Not quite.
"Installation takes less than five minutes, but getting up and running includes several other activities including importing of historical data into Intacct, configuration of the system to the customer's specific needs and wants, and training - which can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple months, depending on the complexity of the implementation" says an Intacct representative.
THE BASICS: WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
Let me admit straight away that I dislike complicated graphs. I like numbers but don't like complicated visuals. That is why, I was pleasantly surprised to see an intuitive interface that is fairly free to clutter. The software uses global navigation, which means that you can access any screen from anywhere. In addition, you can also customize your dashboard and clone it. This means you can compare and stack different visuals against each other i.e., clone and multiply graphs across the screen.
SUPPORTING YOUR SYSTEM
According to Intacct, customer feedback is incorporated in every release. The company also offers a Buy with Confidence guarantee that guarantees acknowledgement of your support request within 4 hours and resolution or update of your request within 24 hours.
Each customer is assigned a dedicated project manager, who helps out with installation, deployment as well as answering any questions that the customer might have.
Intacct is very responsive to new suggestions, customers can submit ideas and vote on which features should be included in the product on their support forum.
IS IT FOR YOU?
Definitely. Cloud-based accounting is an idea whose time has come. For small- and mid-sized businesses, Intacct is the best way to get started with that idea.