The development of modern, powerful, and cloud-based business management software has made it possible for all departments within an organization to be more collaborative—using the same data from the same system. The reality is, however, that legacy systems and processes prevent many companies from completely eliminating “information silos” and achieving the desired collaboration. Sales and finance are two areas where this holds true often as they are, more often than not, the first systems and processes to be established within a company. So how do you push the importance of connected systems without resistance? Here are four reasons why integrating sales and accounting systems is imperative for success.
The ability to see and understand your business from a holistic view is critical. In businesses whose sales and accounting systems are not integrated, information is simply combined in look-back reports for the top-level executives, losing many vital capabilities you would find if they were connected such as transaction-level drill-downs.
While businesses may operate in silos, everything is connected at the end of the day. Thus, sales teams should be capable of seeing more than just past orders—they need to know how sales performance affects the bottom line, inventory, operations, etc. And vice versa; Accounting and finance teams need to be aware of the pipeline so they can provide more accurate reporting and budgeting. Other departments need to be kept in the loop about when and how sales are being made so orders are fulfilled in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Better Customer Service
By integrating sales and accounting systems, sales reps have access to more robust information and can provide service custom-tailored to each client. For example, the ability to review the status of all invoices prior to a meeting the client could help identify a decline in recent orders, unpaid invoices, or upsell opportunity. Likewise, if there is an aging problem, the rep will be equipped to better deal with a customer who might have operational or financial issues.
When accounting keeps a sales rep current on invoicing and billing, it’s more likely that potential errors will be identified before the customer encounters a problem. After all, customer service is eliminating a complaint before it is made. Likewise, the sales rep is able to use real-time invoicing as a form of early warning radar if a customer is slowing down their normal buying levels, which could indicate anything from competitive inroads being made to slowing business.
The bottom line is, the more information the rep is equipped with the better service they are able to provide.
By integrating sales and accounting systems, you can use real-time, connected data to become proactive as opposed to reactive. The ability to predict, plan for, and respond to new revenue opportunities is the key to increasing profits. With the right systems in place, you’ll be able to better handle situations such as inventory oversupply or shortages, special financing situations, and other financially-driven scenarios more rapidly and effectively. Automated data flows allow you to spend more time understanding and analyzing data—reducing your risk, errors, and time spent on manual, reactive, and disjointed processes.
Shorter Close-to-Cash Cycle
This one’s short, but sweet.
It’s not the sale that puts money in the bank—it’s when the cash is collected. Synergy between the teams means accounting will be notified immediately after a sale is closed which allows them to act quickly on invoicing, billing, and other activities that drive the close-to-cash cycle.
These realities make integrating sales and accounting systems at an operational level—not just at a reporting level—a number one priority. Management will see immediate benefits when sales and finance not only eliminate these silos, but they also understand their role in each other’s success. Eliminating the need for double data entry, late invoicing, and misalignment can be drastically improved by implementing a solution both sales and accounting can use.
Learn more about how NetSuite and Adaptive Insights can work together to bring better financial performance to your company.