A flexible and scalable finance system is a must if you have plans to grow your business. So what should an ambitious start-up business consider when choosing their finance system?
If you have plans to grow, you’ll need the right finance system to support your company and one that can grow with you as you add entities, expand overseas or to meet new financial regulations. The choices you make are important; in terms of accounting and finance, a flexible and scalable system will adapt to your needs as you develop your business.
Essential features for your finance system
Start-up businesses can grow and change rapidly, so the accounting system you started off with may not always match up with what you’ll need from your accounting software in one or two years’ time. For enterprises with ambition, finance systems must have:
- Scalability. A system that can grow with the business. If you’re planning on expanding overseas in the future, you’ll need accounting software that can operate in multiple jurisdictions and locations and handle multi-currency transactions. If you want to add subsidiaries, your accounting software will need to be able to handle consolidation easily.
- Sophistication. The accounting operations you require at the start might be quite simple, but if your business expands, it won’t stay that way. Looking ahead to the future, any finance systems you consider will need the ability to undertake more complex accounting or reporting. By starting with an online accounting solution with basic functionality only, or using on premise software, you could quickly run into problems when your business starts to develop and grow.
When choosing accounting software, bear in mind it’s so much easier to stick with one system, rather than needing to switch when your requirements change. If you plan well from the beginning, it makes sense to choose finance management software that can support the growth and development of your business and also help your employees collaborate with functionality like purchase order and invoice approval and expense capture via a mobile app.
Features that will make it easier for staff
To find out the essential features an accounting software platform should have read our full article and guest blog for
The nice-to-haves: features that will make life easier for staff
If scalability and sophistication are the vital characteristics that you’ll need from a start-up finance system, these are some of the additional extras that will help your business to run more smoothly:
- Real-time reporting. Get the latest figures and stats, wherever you are. You can do this by choosing a ‘live’ system that allows you to log in and see up-to-the-minute information.
- Automated month end. Getting innovative technology to do the processing and reconciliation work means that staff can focus their time on using information and growth strategies and initiatives.
- Reporting. Using an advanced reporting module means the ability to report in 360 degrees and get a group, divisional, department or project view by P&L, balance and cash flow.
- Integration with other software. Think about how smoothly things could run, if (for example) your accounting system could automatically ‘talk’ to your CRM or your booking software. Cloud-based accounting software has the advantage of being able to integrate easily with other solutions in this way.
- Flexibility. Your process and control environment may change as the business grows or your investors/stakeholders may request enhanced reporting and processes. It’s good to have the flexibility to simply add new modules like approval workflow, fixed assets register, advanced journaling or project ledger, by simply pushing a button with no need for a future transformation project, as you have selected a platform the business can comfortably expand with.
All of these will make a real difference to the way you run your business. They are also all features that you can only find in a cloud-based Finance Management System (FMS, previously called an accounting system).
We have worked with a large number of start-up success stories: companies that started off small and rapidly grew. Here are a few examples:
The coffee franchise
Insomnia Coffee Company is a franchise that grew quickly and is still expanding. For Insomnia, a cloud system to replace Sage 200 was an obvious choice, due to the low entry cost and added functionality. This allowed them to produce individual store reports for each franchise, as well as management reports, meaning that they can drill down easily to find the data they require. They also benefited from integrating our system with their EPOS system which takes a big processing and reconciliation burden away. Learn more about our franchise accounting software.
The tech startup
StitcherAds builds technology to help advertisers scale their marketing campaigns and use data-fuelled automation to drive sales online and in-store. They needed a simple system navigable by non-accountants, capable of rapid deployment, and Cloud-based with multi-user capabilities, consolidation, and ability to scale as the business grows. Read the StitcherAds Case study.
You don’t need to be an accountant to use AccountsIQ. It’s quite intuitive, the reports are very good and very reliable. It’s nice and simple to use; I don’t have to do lots of tidy ups. This is quite unusual for a platform of this kind. No manual intervention is required.” Fiona McKenna, Interim CFO, Stitcherads.
The social intelligence agency
Social insights and news agency Storyful was founded in Ireland and now has offices in Dublin, Sydney, New York City, Hong Kong and London. The company, which gathers content and insights for media and brand partners, was the first agency of its kind. Acquired by NewsCorp in 2013, it has grown to be a global leader in social intelligence. The business has been supported along the way, through simple consolidation and advanced financial reporting. Learn more about our accounting software for startups.
The travel retailing platform
Openjaw needed a solution to support its finance function. A start-up that ballooned into an international group, OpenJaw recently announced that they will be doubling their workforce to 450 staff. The accounting system we provided them with makes it easy for OpenJaw managers to log in and access key information for each separate subsidiary.
Start-up businesses need speed and agility on their side when they are growing rapidly – and your finance system should support and not hinder growth. The scalability and flexibility of finance systems can make a real difference to your success.
Download our whitepaper ‘Outgrown your Accounting Software‘ and learn:
- The reasons you need to change accounting software
- The tell-tale signs it’s now time to upgrade
- Key considerations once you’ve made your decision to upgrade your software.
Implementing a New Finance System Webinar
We are also running a Webinar on the topic of Implementing a New Finance System in September.
If you’re considering changing accounting software, this webinar is for you. We share our advice to ensure the transition is a big success, having helped thousands of customers make the switch from older technology and legacy systems.
See the power of AccountsIQ