It wasn’t too long ago that Excel and TM1 were the go-to CFO tool to manage finance processes. Today, Excel is still relevant for many in finance and accounting; however, it does have several shortcomings compared to modern finance tools.
It should come as no surprise then, that 82% of CFOs and 85% of Heads of FP&A expect to spend more time prioritizing advanced data analytics technologies and finance tools this year, according to Gartner’s Finance Technology Trends Survey.
The modern CFO is a new breed of finance executives that requires technical skills along with traditional accounting and finance acumen. CFOs are the gatekeeper of company performance and metrics, and their finance function cannot only measure success but positively enhance it across the enterprise, which makes a finance leader successful.
To keep pace with the evolving digital landscape, new solutions and tools have emerged with no-code integrations, advanced robotics processing automation (RPA) and systems, like FutureView’s FP&A Platform, offering a centralized, single source of truth to report, plan and forecast within.
Our CEO and co-founder, John Baule, spent nearly 30 years as a finance executive and CFO for international pharmaceutical and domestic SaaS companies, including two IPOs on the NYSE. As a finance professional who experienced the digital revolution first-hand, we knew we could count on John to reveal some of his favorite tools to implement. In this blog, we compiled a list of the best tools and software for CFOs to adopt to not only become more efficient curators of metrics, but govern high-value strategic insight that drives the business forward.
Accounting software offers a general ledger, necessary to manage transactions and reconciliation, but oftentimes, the breadth of solutions are limited. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems aim to solve that problem with additional functionality, such as inventory and supply chain management solutions built in.
It’s a bit subjective to choose just one option, as different ERPs are tailored to certain business needs and industries, like certain manufacturing, so give us a bit of slack as we call the ERP race a tie for first place. We choose one option that is well-equipped for medium to large size enterprises with more integrated features, and another that is tailored to small and growing businesses.
NetSuite is a multi-purpose ERP system that combines accounting system elements of a general ledger, inventory management and pronouncement solutions.
Benefits of NetSuite include:
Quickbooks Online is a dedicated accounting software that manages your transactions, expenses and other bookkeeping needs.
Benefits of Quickbooks Online include:
ERP systems are often portrayed as a silver bullet for finance and accounting, but that is simply not the case. Yes, an ERP system is a step above a basic general ledger and accounting system that processes your transactions, but it was never designed to fulfill the financial planning, forecasting and reporting needs of finance teams. This is where a more robust and capable FP&A, reporting, budgeting and forecasting tool comes into play.
FutureView Systems is a robust FP&A software and financial service provider founded by experienced finance professionals. What makes the company and its offerings great is that the tools are designed with accounting and finance users in mind.
The company offers two specific software tools, Foundation and the FutureView Platform. Foundation is an ERP integration and data extraction tool with dynamic data structuring automation to expedite reporting and analysis in Excel or other analytics tools. The Platform is a fully realized application of Foundation, coupled with OLAP technology (built on Jedox), battle-tested methodologies and tailored financial planning and analysis tools flexible enough to work for companies of any size and robust enough to scale.
Benefits of FutureView Systems include:
Ties aren’t just for management team formal attire. They also take shape in our top CFO tools rankings. Centralizing data in a single FP&A system like FutureView, gives you control over your disparate systems for reporting, budgeting and forecasting with graphical representations and summaries. That said, there are times where advanced data visualizations are desired by investors and board members.
Data visualization tools offer more configurable dashboards with heatmap and infographic-like interface capabilities. The downside to these dashboard designs, is they require a steep learning curve and oftentimes require a dedicated resource to structure and maintain data, making them a potentially costly, but convenient solution for some. Like ERPs, we just couldn’t make a final decision as to which is best (you should see us mull choices of ice cream flavors at Baskin Robbins), so we went with two options.
Tableau is one of the most popular data visualization tools and rightfully so. It is renowned for its dashboards that are sure to wow management.
Benefits of Tableau include:
Power BI is a great analytics tool with open integrations to other Microsoft solutions, making it flexible and convenient to consolidate and visualize large data sets.
Benefits of Power BI include:
As more and more growth companies sprout up, so too does the equity distribution among executives, employees and investors. In 2021, 520 companies reached the illustrious unicorn status of over $1 billion valuations, according to CB Insights.
Substantial rounds of funding and influxes of cash lead to massive hiring sprees with a need for more detailed equity management given the breadth of shares granted, which can be a difficult process to lock down manually. Additionally, many organizations offer company options and equity in compensation packages to lure quality talent in an extremely competitive and tight labor market. This is a recipe for demand to dramatically expedite the need to implement a solution.
Carta is a useful tool to simplify how companies manage their equity plans and distribution of company shares.
Benefits of Carta include:
You can’t record transactions in your general ledger or ERP without a solution to process payments from customers and clients. According to Stripe, and as reported by Nasdaq, Stripe processed at least $200 billion in transactions in 2019. With its simple and configurable interface and go-to tool for companies like Amazon, Google, Salesforce and Zoom, it’s easy to see why the company continues its rapid growth.
Stripe offers easy-to-use tailored payment infrastructure tools designed for any business size and type of industry of service provided.
Benefits of Stripe include:
These are just a few of the many tools and technologies available to finance executives. Other solutions such as HR systems, typically fall under the CFO umbrella, but end users tend to have more input on such software. In other instances, additional software solutions are necessary, which is predicated on your industry, company size and your Finance Function.
If you’re looking for modern CFO and finance tools, created by finance professionals with your needs in mind, consider FutureView Systems. We offer multiple tools and solutions as well as finance transformation services to rapidly build a scalable, high-performance finanction function.