How cloud accounting helps you grow your business with less admin

Imagine that you needed separate mobile phones for separate apps, and that each time you wanted to call someone you had to do it the old-fashioned way and dial out each digit (and correct your mistypes).

It would be, in a word, inefficient. We take it for granted that apps are integrated and routine phone tasks are automated.

Unfortunately, countless businesses today follow an inefficient business model characterised by disjointed systems and manual, repetitive processes. Every day, they put up with thieves of time and energy that add up to enormous costs in opportunities, revenue, and time:

  • Manually stitching together reports to get a clear picture of their finances, team progress, and resources available, rather than having all of this instantaneously with a few clicks
  • Disjointed, poorly connected systems such as different apps and databases for their accounting data and their customer data
  • Excessive admin and other data entry, such as manually processing payments and invoices, filing and processing tax forms, cross-checking information, correcting human error, and other important but time-draining tasks
  • Desktop-focused applications, which limit access to mission-critical information outside the office

But the times are changing. The standard way of doing things is giving way to more a nimble, efficient, technology-driven approach. Competition is intensifying as new entrants take advantage of these approaches.

This change is happening across all industries, not just in software. Cloud-based technologies are leveling the playing field: they’re making it cheaper, easier, and faster for startups to “go to market” and scale up.

The flexibility enabled by the cloud is helping new entrants to out-compete long-standing competitors who are saddled with laborious bureaucracy and stodgy processes.

For larger, more established businesses, the cloud is helping them to steer clear of the looming “Kodak moment” that befalls long-standing companies who stay the same while the market — the needs of customers — changes around them.

General Eric Shinseki, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff, pithily summed it up:

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

To keep up with the pace of change and to deliver in-demand services to the market, business owners can gain a tremendous advantage with these 3 strategies:

  • Focus on innovation and value-creation, and minimise the time spent on admin and red tape
  • Get full visibility into their business —into their cashflow, sales, inventory, customer data, finances — to make evidence-based decisions
  • Adapt quickly to changing market pressures and client demands

Sage Live was built for ambitious mid-sized businesses that want scale up with minimal complexity. It was built to help growing businesses overcome the core challenges of succeeding in the digital era.

Sage Live is mobile-first and designed for efficient collaboration — manage your business from any device, anywhere, anytime.

How much of your time and money is lost on admin?

Sage Live integrates your accounting with your other critical business functions, enabling better collaboration, communication, and project management.

As a smaller business you could get away with having disjointed systems, but it’s devastating for larger businesses.

It gives you a secure portal to your mission-critical data, which you can access on any authorised device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, smartwatch) — bringing applications, operations, and people together.

You can choose from among thousands of professional business apps from the Salesforce AppExchange and the Sage Marketplace to create an individualised solution for your business.

Sage Live was developed with the flexibility of your whole business in mind: you get simple, intuitive accounting, real-time dashboards, collaboration tools, rich configurability, an enormous variety of apps, and continuous upgrades, feature releases, innovations, and improvements to the User Experience and functionality.

Who are Sage and why Sage Live?

Sage provides easy-to-use technology to help people build profitable businesses that last. As of writing, Sage has over 6 million customers (and growing) across 23 countries. In Britain more than half of the total businesses use Sage.

Sage Live is a partnership of two market leaders: Salesforce, who provide cloud solutions for customer success, and Sage, who provide solutions for Financial Management, Payroll, and Business Management.

Sage Live is built on the Salesforce platform and comes with predictive analytics (Salesforce Einstein™) to give businesses an in-depth, connected picture of their customers and finances. It gives businesses the tools to manage their entire business from one platform.

In June 2016, Sage Live won “Best Cloud Application” at the World Cloud and DevOps Awards in London.

Sage Live is currently live in 7 major markets (the USA, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, and South-Africa).

Four ways Sage Live accelerates business growth and efficiency

In marketing parlance, Sage Live “smashes silos”; in English, it gives you fast and easy access to the data you need. Here are four ways Sage Live does this:

1. Flexible, simple customisation: Connect thousands of business apps from the Salesforce AppExchange

Customise Sage Live to your unique business needs by instantly and easily integrating third-party apps, such as apps for banking, inventory, supply chain, and document management. (These are deployed instantly, and removed just as easily.)

It also comes with a range of apps for improving the flow of information across your business; for example, using the collaboration software Chatter your team can communicate together while making changes to files and records, or update sales opportunities, create private groups (which can include customers), and much more, all updated in real-time.

2. Unlock customer and business insight: Get real-time data, intuitive dashboards, and analytics

When you’re asked questions about any aspect of your business, you’ll be able to respond quickly with accurate answers.

All your key financial data and business transactions are displayed in one centralised hub. No delays, no errors, no manually stitching together reports.

In an instant you can see the ROI of your projects and clients, along with the financial and analytical insight to see exactly what’s working and what isn’t. This helps you continually focus on what works best, such as improving customer segmentation and prioritisation. The data include:

  • Real-time billable time tracking
  • Resource forecasting and management
  • Data into areas for margin improvement
  • Real-time insights into projects, clients, teams, project profitability and more

Information is updated in real-time (including your Payroll, Invoicing, Expenses, Inventory, Bank Feeds, and CRM*) and the dashboards let you easily track the profitability of each customer and project. The real-time analytics give you the insight for effective forecasting, and the customisable dashboards give you the visibility needed to ensure profitability.

3. Greater convenience: Connect your financial and customer data in one intuitive, powerful, secure platform

Integrated data gives your team immediate (but controlled) access to the information they need; they never have to waste time switching between systems, and they can work from anywhere.

Have a few minutes to spare while waiting for a train? Just take out your phone or tablet and manage your daily tasks in real-time, whether that’s approving expenses or accessing customer data.

Rather than letting admin turn into a mountain to be summitted when you get back at the office, you can take care of admin — through a highly automated, convenient design — from anywhere.

When trading overseas, Sage Live ensures you’re automatically compliant with local legislation, giving you the peace of mind to do what you do best, and further shrinking the bureaucratic mountain.

Sage has worked closely with Apple to revamp the user interfaces to be as intuitive and convenient as possible.

4. More productivity and time saved: Automate repetitive admin

Using predictive automation you can eliminate spreadsheets, paperwork, and tedious admin (such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, expense reports, invoicing, receipts, payments to suppliers, and bank reconciliation).

By unburdening your team from admin, you can focus more on decision making, innovation, strategy, and growing your business, to say nothing of getting more enjoyment from your work.

(You can browse the full features here, and view a growing list of case studies here.)

Making new sense of the business landscape

From the Gutenberg printing press over 500 years ago to open-API software today, the freeing of information has resulted in enormous leaps forward in innovation.

Bill Gates summed it up 1999: “Power comes not from knowledge kept but knowledge shared”.

Major trends enabled by technology are shaking up the business landscape, and the choice is to “pivot and adapt” or keep doing what you’re doing and risk falling into irrelevance.

In short, the trends are towards

  • Integrated systems and easily shared information, not disconnected, fractured information
  • Automation to free up creative focus, not draining human capital on repetitive tasks
  • Real-time analytics and clear, actionable insight, not playing catch-up with a hodgepodge of post-hoc reports
  • Mobile, collaborative, flexible working, not bureaucracy-laden, desktop-limited work
  • Streamlined, efficient, convenient systems, not a mire of unnecessary complexity and clunky outdated software

Sage Live helps you transform the typical byproducts of growth — fragmentation, complexity, and inefficiency — into consolidated, intuitive data that you can grasp at a glance.

The dashboards give your team everything they need to pull together towards shared KPIs, to get actionable information in real-time, to easily manage and share this information on-the-go, and to take advantage of the best-available smart technology to make all of this as uncomplicated as possible.

You can take a free tour of Sage Live here.