Using Sage 200 to Overcome Common Inefficiencies

Artificial Intelligence in Finance

This is a topic that I am passionate about and I thought now would be the perfect time to write this article. With so much hype surrounding AI these days, it’s both mind-blowing and scary. Only a short while ago, we were amazed by the power and capabilities of AI. As time has passed, its boundaries have become much more blurred. Where can it go from here? What are the societal implications of AI? The other factor that I find both exciting and scary is the speed at which technology is moving. Have humans created intelligent beings with potential to outwit and potentially deceive humans? How is that even possible? Regardless of where you stand on this topic, it’s fascinating to see.

Wearing my technical director hat now, our business is all about cost and time savings, delivering automation and technology solutions to make it easier for our customers to do business. So, I thought it would be a good place to start by exploring the practical uses for both AI and Machine Learning in business. So, before we get started, let’s do a quick re-cap on AI and Machine Learning definitions:

AI – Artificial intelligence refers to the general ability of computers to emulate human thought and perform tasks in real-world environments. 

Machine Learning – Machine learning aims to teach a machine how to perform a specific task and provide accurate results by identifying patterns.

 

The Finance Department

Finance Leaders don’t want to be behind the curve. They want to be in the know at all times across all departments. They want their teams to be highly productive with technology and automation stepping in to take away the tedious, monotonous activities.

The Finance Team wants proactive data to be sent their way. They want to use technology to present emerging opportunities and risks to them on topics that they may not ever had on their radar.

I’ll bring in Machine Learning at this point, where machines can be taught to carry out a specific task and provide accurate results based on identifying patterns. Running a business with an “always on”, “ready to report at any moment”, strategy is what most finance leaders aspire to. However, this is only valuable if the data is accurate to begin with. Machine learning can be hugely beneficial in spotting anomalies and inconsistencies within the data based on previous patterns.

 

The Whole Business

But it doesn’t stop there. The scope for using AI across the business is enormous. It will present accurate, real-time data, at any point. So, cloud is key. I’ve mentioned data accuracy and detection of anomalies, but it goes much deeper into complete process automation, security monitoring, seamless integrations between different applications and flexible workspaces and user interfaces that adapt based on user activity and preferences.

 

The Value of Data

Many organisations struggle with data analytics as in they don’t have any or they have but they are not using it in a meaningful way. Some organisations are highly advanced in this area and are tapping into a wealth of data to help understand their opportunities and risks. I think it would be fair to say, however that the vast majority of businesses don’t have these visual insights to help guide them along the right strategic path.

Guesswork, fingers in the air and spreadsheets will just not cut it. Competitors are banging on doors to let them in, to let them do business with your customers. The power of your data should not be underestimated. It just needs to be harnessed and leveraged to help plot your strategic direction as well as managing the day-to-day with a critical eye.

 


Sage Intacct

I’m going to explore 4 key areas where Sage Intacct delivers AI benefits to its users:

1. General Ledger

The concept of having a continuous close means that the data in your GL is open for business at any time of the day or night. The GL is the heart of your financial system and being able to tap into your data at this level means that you know exactly what’s going on. Powered by AI and automation, the intelligent GL allows you to post and report transactions immediately, share financials securely with specific people and reduces the reliance to manipulate data externally.

Manual data entry is reduced while accuracy is improved, just by simplifying and automating core tasks within your finance department and beyond.

 

2. Detection of Anomalies

With manual data processing comes mistakes, despite all the best intentions in the world. They are so-called “Human Errors”. So, what if AI gave us a helping hand to stop us in our tracks should it detect something out of the ordinary?

Sage Intacct’s GL Outlier Detection is magic. It leverages the power of AI to scan thousands of transactions in minutes. It will pick up any discrepancies and will flag any transactions that need to be reviewed. The GL Outlier Detection has built-in machine learning capabilities, so it grows to understand your business and its patterns. The system can be set up with parameters to set to tell the system what transactions qualify as an outlier.

The GL Outlier Detection is critical, not just as a time saver but for flagging serious anomalies such as fraudulent activities.

 

3. A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

Nice, easy to see, graphical data representations that sit on your dashboard, leave the humble spreadsheet for dust. You may ask… Couldn’t you just “pretty up” your spreadsheets to give the same result? No and this is key. It’s not just about the pictures, it’s about the collation of the data to deliver those nice graphs and charts. How long would it take to compile vast amounts of data and then start to analyse trends, patterns and correlations using spreadsheets? This obviously depends on your spreadsheet skills, but clearly it will need time and effort to get this information.

Sage Intacct has an Interactive Visual Explorer, which builds visual data representations of your data. In seconds, you can have comparative data, showing trends, patterns and correlations. You have in the region of 200 pre-built visuals, plus you can build your own.

Here is a very simple example of what can be achieved. Let’s say you want to view your actual revenue, month by month. Using Sage Intacct’s Interactive Visual Explorer, you will get a prediction of next month’s revenue based on the analysis of past data and patterns. This is just a simplistic example, but my intention here is to get you thinking about the potential power of this tool.

 

4. Time Capture

This is a real game-changer for organisations that rely on capturing timesheets for projects or for other reasons. With Sage Intelligent Time, the experience for users will be slick and efficient and for the Finance Team, the entire process will be visual and seamless. Billing delays will be confined to the history books, month end closing will just happen, teams will be freed up from monotonous and laborious tasks and the entire system will become much more efficient.

I’ve focused on these four topics, but there is still so much more to discuss including AP Automation and Contract Renewals. I’ll look forward to writing on these topics later this summer, so stay tuned.

 

 

 

The Secret to Healthy Finances

Keeping Your Finances in Good Health Amid Rising Inflation

No business has escaped the inflationary surge over the past year. During these very uncertain times, many organisations have had to re-adjust and re-calibrate as they try to manage their finances and fluctuating costs caused by inflation.

Higher prices for goods and services impact on production costs, resulting in increased consumer prices and potentially lower profit margins. This can lead to reduced consumer spending, slower economic growth and greater uncertainty for businesses. In addition, rising inflation can (as we have seen) directly affect interest rates and the value of currency, making it difficult for businesses to expand into international markets.

 

Cost Containment

Organisations of all sizes that aim to thrive in these financially challenging times are turning to analytics and cost accounting to better understand their business.

High inflation will continue to be an issue in 2023, at different levels across different countries. Organisations will be doing everything in their power to limit their exposure with initiatives such as:

 

  • Paying close attention to cost accounting and leverage analytics to find those cost reduction opportunities

  • Conducting regular vendor cycles to put pressure on suppliers to absorb costs and look to re-negotiate terms on agreements, where possible

  • Continuing to rely on technology – with many organisations having moved to the cloud during COVID. Going forward, organisations will rely even more heavily on cloud technology with all the favourable security and agility benefits they came to appreciate during COVID.

 

Seeing the Value from your Technology Investment

Finance leaders are looking to their technology investments to see how to extract even more value from their systems by:

  • Reviewing existing systems to see where the gaps are and what is required to bring greater value. Upgrading, adding more modules, integrating more systems can all help to bring additional value to the organisation

  • Leveraging AI where possible across the organisation is key. AI may exist within current systems or it could be something that requires an upgrade. In any case, finance executives are leaning heavily in favour or automation to help exploit opportunities to save money and make teams more productive

  • Reaching out to service providers (such as Envisage) to help customers optimise their systems to take advantage of functionality such as AI, reporting and data analytics, predictive forecasting, budgeting and planning

 

Better Understand your Finances

Cloud Financial Systems such as Sage Intacct can transform your business from spreadsheet-reliant to slick and efficient, where a world of insights and analytics is unlocked. With 24/7 data at your fingertips, there are no excuses for not having the financial data you need in real-time.

By using Sage Intacct’s detailed dashboards and reporting capabilities, it’s easier than ever to keep a close eye on your data to ensure that nothing important is being overlooked. Not only does this increased visibility heighten your awareness to any financial problems or new market trends that may occur, but you can also forecast more accurately. The transparency and understanding that Sage cloud-based solutions provide means you can flexible with your approach to handling the current uncertain economic times.

If current inflation trends are causing uncertainty in your industry and placing further pressure on cost containment, it’s important to ensure you have the right tools in place to help you manage your day-to-day finances. There are several benefits to using Sage finance and accounting solutions like Sage Intacct to help you keep your finances on track and in good health.

 

Plan Ahead, Even in Uncertain Times

Although there is no crystal ball here, experts predict recessionary conditions ahead and so no matter what way things pan out, planning is key. The organisation that is equipped with the facts and figures in meaningful dashboards is already one step ahead of the company that just can’t see the wood from the trees. This is where Sage’s best-in-class accounting functionality comes in. Sage Intacct can help you overcome challenges all businesses are likely to face.

By analysing data regularly with Sage Intacct accounting software, you can lean into cost-reduction initiatives and eliminate unnecessary costs from your operations. This alone can make a big impact during these very uncertain times, helping you to save money and stay afloat. This flexible and powerful financial management system also connects with other industry-specific solutions to provide you with the data you need across your organisation to drive your future success. Having one comprehensive system is invaluable and it will help you to be as prepared as possible for whatever the future has in store.

 

Become More Efficient

Becoming more efficient has grown in importance for businesses of all sizes and Sage solutions can help you to streamline operations. Using automation modules can help you to extend staff and resources by reducing manual processes, and you can improve day-to-day operations. This can have a big impact on your bottom line and help you save money organisation-wide. Sage Intacct has a simple interface, so it’s easy for the whole team to incorporate into their roles.

Using automation can also help to reduce human error and inconsistencies, making your data more reliable. When employees don’t have to manually enter information into a system, which can be very time-consuming, you can trust that your financial reports will be accurate. You can then make business decisions based on up-to-date reports in confidence knowing that the data is correct and you don’t have to deal with the consequences of errors later down the line. As your business grows and scales, additional functionality is available to ensure Sage Intacct is still able to meet your requirements, improving productivity and profitability.

 

Speak to an Expert About Sage Intacct in Ireland

If you’re concerned about rising inflation and the uncertainty it has caused in your industry, then investing in cloud financial systems such as Sage Intacct accounting software can be hugely beneficial. With the correct tools, macroeconomic inflation factors won’t have such a big impact on your finances and you can ensure that you keep them in good health.

To speak to an expert about Sage Intacct in Ireland and to find out more about how you can manage your finances more effectively, get in touch with our team at Envisage today. We work closely with businesses to provide solutions that revolutionise their operations. We will happily discuss the Sage Intacct cloud-based system with you in more detail and help you determine whether it’s the best option for your business at this time.

We pride ourselves on providing outstanding customer service to businesses of all sizes and we genuinely care about the outcome of the projects we work on. You will be in very good hands when you turn to us for Sage Intacct in Ireland.

 

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