When accurate data is accessible to all stakeholders in real time - something that is extremely hard to pull off with spreadsheets - better, faster decisions are made that strategically move the company up the growth curve.

Last year, our team attended and sponsored the Sage Intacct Advantage Conference in Nashville, TN.  We had a great time making new friends and chatting with Sage Intacct Customers to learn about the challenges they are experiencing using spreadsheets for budgeting, forecasting and reporting.  With each of these businesses focused on growth, they are searching for a better way than Excel or Google Sheets to effectively manage their cash flow, expenses, revenue, headcount, forecast and reports.

The conference provided Sage Intacct Customers with several solutions from CPM vendors such as Adaptive Insights, Vena Solutions, Budgeta and Limelight (that’s us). But how do Sage Intacct Customers go about selecting the right platform?

Look for These 3 Key Features

  1. Seamless Integration to Sage Intacct
  2. User Interface - Web-based vs Excel-based
  3. True Cloud Solution

But, let’s first begin with defining the capabilities of each system.

What is the Difference Between an ERP and CPM?

An ERP system such as Sage Intacct is designed and optimized for back-office transaction processing and operational process support.

What is it not? A Corporate Performance Management platform.

Some of the key processes supported by an ERP system include:

  • Purchasing
  • Accounts payable
  • Order processing and billing
  • Accounts receivable and collections management
  • Fixed asset management
  • Treasury and cash management
  • General ledger accounting

Most ERP systems fall short in supporting the following CPM processes:

  • Consolidating and reporting financial results from ERP/GL systems
  • Iterative collecting, compiling, and managing of financial and operational budgets
  • Orchestrating and managing a rolling forecast process
  • What-if modeling of different financial or operational scenarios (M&As, reorganizations, new product or market entry, long-range planning, cash flow forecasting, etc.)
  • Multidimensional analysis of financial and operating results

How to Evaluate CPM Solutions

1. Direct Integration to Sage Intacct

Data integration is one of the most critical aspects of a CPM solution. Why? It’s because the effectiveness of your budgeting, planning, consolidation and reporting processes is fully dependent on getting timely and accurate data from your ERP, Payroll, CRM and other systems.

Lack of integration to Sage Intacct creates a multitude of problems, including manual steps, wasted resources and time, risk of errors, poor financial data quality, lack of traceability and auditability.

With a full integration you can go beyond seamless connection and attain the ability to drill through to transactional detail in Sage Intacct. Users can “drill-down” and “drill-through” from a summary report to the transaction detail to truly understand the cause and take corrective action.

2. Web or Excel - Why Not Both?

Choosing a tool that users will love is extremely important to help ensure adoption and collaboration. You have CPM vendors that offer either an Excel-based or Web-based tool. Here at Limelight, we have combined the best of both worlds to offer users the Excel functionality they love while making it easy to collaborate and access over the Web with any browser.

With Excel-based tools, every user needs to install an Excel Add-In to share data, leading to unnecessary manual maintenance. Also, implementing an Excel Add-In doesn’t necessarily remove all the pains of Excel - some of the typical pains still remain inherent to this tool.

Now that every software and application seems to go to the Web, you may think investing in a web-based budgeting tool is the way to go - but there are some disadvantages. The biggest drawback is user adoption. With Web-based budgeting and reporting tools, users will need to learn a completely new system including formulas and keyboard shortcuts. This learning curve can have a significant impact on productivity, reducing your team’s ability to spend more time on value-added activities.

So how do companies make the choice between an Excel-based tool which is difficult to maintain & administer and a Web-based tool that has a high learning curve.

Answer - they don’t to have to. Companies who want the best of both worlds with Web and Excel get it with Limelight.

As a web-based tool that has an Excel look & feel as well as full support for Excel formatting, formulas and functionality, users fall in love with Limelight and adoption is quick. Limelight is a cloud-based CPM application offering real-time integration to Sage Intacct for planning, forecasting and reporting.

3. True Cloud Solution

Business applications are moving to the cloud. For FP&A functions, cloud technology has many advantages. A true cloud CPM makes your whole workflow smarter through these 5 benefits:

  1. Faster deployment
  2. Lower upfront costs
  3. Greater flexibility
  4. Upgrades are managed by the vendor
  5. Cloud Costs are treated as an operating expense rather than a capital cost

By moving away from manual, error-filled spreadsheets to a solution that allows accurate data to be accessible by all stakeholders in real-time, companies can make better, faster decisions to strategically move the company up the growth curve. That’s why it’s so important to evaluate and invest in the right CPM tool - it can help to create, harness and accelerate your growth while allowing you to mitigate and minimize risk through in-depth modelling and forecasting.

Download our Brochure on Limelight for Sage Intacct to learn how Limelight can access real-time budgets, forecasts and reports out of Sage Intacct.