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Does anyone have any insights on the accounting software, FinancialForce, a collaborator with SalesForce

FinancialForce reviews

Answers

Anonymous
(cfo) |

I do financial/accounting consulting and one of my clients went well down the path of switching from Netsuite to FF. They are involved heavily with SF and the move made lots of sense. The problem is that the reporting capabilities within FF really are weak. Most everything we needed to put together had to be built by "hand" - including basic Income Statements - there were really no canned reports.

FF was to come out with a new reporting package somewhere around March. I did not see the package as we backed off of the switch due to the reporting capabilities.

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

You might get some insight from this free white paper on SalesForce and FinancialForce integration:

"Salesforce CRM and PSA Integration"

Enjoy!

Best... Sarah

Jim Burtt
Title: Director Global Financial Systems & Proc..
Company: formerly at Guidewire Software, Inc.
(Director Global Financial Systems & Processes, formerly at Guidewire Software, Inc.) |

Especially if they are a software or services company, your client might want to check out Intacct. They have full drill-through capability and easily formatted financial statements.

Topic Expert
Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Anonymous - back in 2004 I evaluated the original software vendor behind FF (CODA Financials-now a unit of Agresso) and encountered the same issue. No pre-built reports, just a reporting tool and you had to start from scratch. Their reasoning: "no two clients have the same needs when it comes to reporting, so we don't deliver any pre-built reports."

As a software selection consultant, I found this to be uncompetiitive and unattractive to my clients and it was a key reason for not selecting them. It is a little surprising that 8 years on, they can still compete with this disadvantage. Even if you go with a 3rd party reporting tool, you start from level 0.

My reasoning for some pre-built reports:

1. a trial balance, a basic P/L are universal; moreover, the tweaks that each controller may desire should in fact be doable as MINOR configuration or parameter changes in the Report Set up function

2. more complex reports like AR and AP aging analyses MUST be available out the box; again, a good reporting tool would allow you to choose summary vs detail, modify aging buckets 30-60-90 to 7-15-30 etc etc.

3. the absence of these pre-built reports means that your client has to fork out unnecessary implementation dollars to design, develop, test, implement and maintain. That lengthens the implementation time extensively. It also means your client has to devote resources to ensuring reports retain their integrity. And that may add to your auditors' concerns too.

4. the absence of these pre-built reports also means that your client cannot conduct UAT (User Acceptance Testing) until the reports are done. For example, if you are testing AR Billing/Credit Memos/Cash Application, how can you properly UAT a scenario where a 120 day old invoice is partly reduced by a credit memo after 45 days and the balance in full 30 days later? How do you check that aging is correct at each stage?

Martin van Wunnik
Title: I realize financial projects for my cust..
Company: ARSIMA Projects
(I realize financial projects for my customers, ARSIMA Projects) |

Just to get a grip on the basics, you might want to check the documentation of my workshop "accounting basics" on slideshare (posted through "FinanceCoach24").

Good luck with your venture!

Martin
MvanWunnik

Anonymous
(cfo) |

thanks all, i didn't expect such a robust response...hopefully i can get a comment from someone using FF that can extoll its virtues

Topic Expert
Shannon Mathews
Title: Controller
Company: Aldrich Services LLP
(Controller, Aldrich Services LLP) |

We have been looking at FF for the last year to evaluate if we could switch.

The program looks wonderful on the surface, but if you get a more detailed demo pay very close attention on how long it actually takes to get through a whole transaction. Header information for AP vouchers are on one page, you then refresh to go to the details page and then submit/refresh again to post. That might not seem like a big thing until your AP person just tripled their data entry time. Also to get the "image" into the system you have to attach each invoice individually into the voucher. There is no automated way to start with an image and enter from there. Again not a big deal until your AP person is spending a lot of time individually scanning each invoice to their own computer and then individually attaching the invoice to the system voucher.

As for AR, their system assumes that you don't make a lot of mistakes. Make sure you ask how to "correct" posting errors of payments (ie. you applied a payment to the wrong client).

They have a lot of options however everything is in its own screen and you have to jump from screen to screen to screen to find things.

However our biggest deciding factor is that we are a multi-entity company and they didn't have a great inter-company accounting package. They have developed a "click-link" process that might have helped but it was just deployed this past quarter and they didn't have enough usage to show us if it would work for us.

I actually didn't get to the point of looking at the reporting (they never showed in it the 4 demos that I went through, leading me to believe that it wasn't something they were particularly proud of).

I wouldn't say that this is a bad software it is just in its infancy. If you have the patience and have a staff that can work with these issues than I would continue to look at it. Just make sure that they really show you how each step of your process would work so you know exactly the amount of time it would "save".

If you are looking at this product I would really recommend that you look at Intacct as well. They both integrate with SalesForce even if it isn't built on the "force platform'.

Frank Peavy
Title: Principal
Company: Peavy and Associates
(Principal, Peavy and Associates) |

You have gotten a lot of good feedback, which I will not re-iterate.

In looking at any Saas solution there are many areas that need to be examined. For example, is your business so unique that you would never need to integrate your financial systems to another system? Or, how willing is your vendor to customize your hosted solution to meet your needs? Getting on to the Saas software is one thing but how do you get off their systems, when you have outgrown them? Who is responsible for data breaches or loss?

Cloud-based solutions have their place and time. Not every solution is good or bad, but you should look at your requirements very carefully before any kind of system implementation.

Good luck!

Lynne Taylor
Title: Principal
Company: Cloud Accounting Services for Enterprise..
(Principal, Cloud Accounting Services for Enterprises (CASE)) |

I've been doing Financialforce (FF) implementations since 2009, when they were still called "Coda2Go" (as Len said, the parent company was Unit 4 Agresso out of the UK). My client at the time had a large quantity of complex, multi-company and multi-currency transactions and had finally reached the size that they needed to migrate away from Quickbooks and to a more robust system. They first implemented Intacct, which was a nightmare, particularly from an integration standpoint. At the same time the client was moving from Sugar CRM to Salesforce, and really wanted a solution that they could customize (using an army of coders/programmers not an option!) and create an end-to-end solution for the business on the same platform. FF doesn't just "integrate" with Salesforce, it is natively built out on the force.com platform. All the power, intuitive, easy-to-use reporting and flexible "clicks not code" functionality you get with Salesforce exists in FF. As Shannon mentioned, FF was in its infancy at the time and there were definitely some "pain points" around traditional "financial statements" reporting and even simple things like cutting checks, but I have remained a fan of the app ever since. More importantly, I've watched each release since Fall of 2009 (there are approximately 3 releases per year to roughly correspond to the Salesforce release cycle) and followed the product roadmap closely and its just amazing how far the FF dev team has taken the app in that time.

I implemented FF for another client (who had never really had a real accounting system for almost 20 years) as recently as last January 2011. We ran them "parallel" for the first quarter 2011 and then cut over on April 1, 2011. We uploaded hundreds of accounts, balances, open transactions, etc. in a few hours time, with only myself and someone who had never used Salesforce before in her life to help! Between the standard Salesforce reporting and an Excel Add-In package I was able to create every report we needed, including trial balance, income statement, and AP/AR agings in a few minutes. Recently FF has released new, robust reporting functionality that we are eager to try out however, since the options for creating period-over-period, actuals-to-budget and robust columnized reporting are now available too. The client now has the reporting features deployed in their Salesforce org, but we just haven't had the time in the last week or so to go through and create some reports.

I like Shannon's comments about the AP process though. It's true about adding invoices to the payable voucher created in the system. Almost all of this client's invoices are emailed to a "paymentsatxxxx [dot] com email address however, so the AP person usually just saves the .pdf to Google docs and adds the URL to the voucher record. I've seen them open the .pdf file from the email or Google docs, size it down and have both the invoice document and the payable voucher object open for inputting from at the same time. Frankly, we thought the ability to add the invoice document to the payable record in the system was a MAJOR selling feature of FF, since we've integrated that system invoice .pdf document to the objects used by the operations folks. It is an incredibly efficient and time-saving tool for the operations people now, since they are creating revenue (AR) invoices from the vendor payable invoices (which are costs they mark up on a percentage or dollar basis). Honestly, the CEO didn't really care if adding the .pdf document URL created one extra step for accounting if he could save 5 steps for the operations/billing folks!

Finally - and surprisingly - here is the most important benefit we've discovered about FF that the client had never anticipated. In fact, it's not even an actual feature of FF, but something that is native to Salesforce. But it is able to be deployed across FF and every accounting object in FF. That is the CHATTER feature. It has completely and radically changed the way the company exchanges, reports on and handles accounting information. Using Chatter, everyone in the company is able to engage around key financial information, and see and understand the information they need to about things like which customers have paid which invoices, what vendors operations people may be having an issue with and are perhaps expecting a credit from, what collections activities have been going on with a particular account, what check paid what invoice, etc. etc. So sales and operations both have the ability to see the information relevant to them, and be easily notified about issues or questions accounting has about transactions. The client has just started inviting customers and key vendors/partners to Chatter using private, secure groups so they should be getting feedback and participation by external users in the coming weeks and months.

Oh, and one other thing - the triggers and work flow process alerts we were able to add in a few clicks in order to alert AR and AP folks that invoices had come due according to terms have been pretty well-received. They love getting that reminder notice automatically so they can perform their collections or payment tasks timely and keep track.

I'm no analyst, but based on what I've seen in the past 3 years, we can probably expect that cloud-based applications like FF are going to be increasingly deployed in companies, particularly the 85,000+ and counting companies that are Salesforce customers. I have been evangelizing the freedom and empowerment that "clicks not code" provides to the average system user for some time. Companies and users have been shackled by big, clunky ERP systems and scattered, not-easy-to-integrate applications for multiple decades now and its only been in the last 3 years or so that I've finally come to believe that platforms like force.com and some of the best-in-breed applications built on them provide a path out the "darkness!"

Topic Expert
Dana Price
Title: Vice President, M&A
Company: McGraw Hill Education
(Vice President, M&A, McGraw Hill Education) |

Would anyone be willing to discuss more details like pricing and implementation (customized items vs. out of the box) for billing only. Looking for a solution to link our salesforce system into billing, but we are not changing our GL, which is Quickbooks? Please feel free to email me at dpriceatpriceadvisory [dot] com.

Paul Shaffer
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Five Star Airport Alliance, Inc/G&T Conv..
(Chief Financial Officer, Five Star Airport Alliance, Inc/G&T Conveyor) |

I am not particularly knowledgeable with respect to the functionality of Financial Force and its integration capabilities with Salesforce. That said, LiveVox has implemented Netsuite, and integrated the solution with Salesforce (our legacy CRM) quite seamlessly by enlisting the services of Celigo, a third party consulting firm in Silicon Valley. On the Finance side, we were clearly most drawn to Netsuite ERP of the solutions we considered, for a number of reasons, and we considered several SaaS ERP solutions. Our desire (as a Finance team) was to also utilize Netsuite’s CRM given the out-of-the-box integration with ERP. But as the Company had utilized Salesforce for several years through the Company’s start-up phase while running Quickbooks, migration to Netsuite CRM was not an option for us at the time. At the same time, upgrading our ERP was critical. As such, our decision was to implement Netsuite ERP and One World, while continuing to utilize Salesforce as our CRM.

The Celigo Salesforce Connector has afforded LiveVox full integration of Netsuite and Salesforce, and implementation was largely painless and managed remotely. Celigo has developed an out-of-the-box connector for Netsuite and Salesforce, which has driven a number of efficiencies for us, including (to name a few) affording our Sales team better visibility into customer financial data, superior management of account and contact information, and full automation of our sales commission process (via transmission of financial data from Netsuite to Saleforce and further on to Xactly Express, a sales performance management solution and Salesforce AppExchange Partner that is integrated with Salesforce). Celigo is not the only producer of such integration solutions for Salesforce and Netsuite.

With regard to reporting, we have found virtually no limitations with Netsuite. In fact, we continue to discover new ways to dissect, analyze, and report on our financial information regularly. In my mind, the reporting functionality in Netsuite is second to no other ERP solution we considered. We feel strongly that we made the best decision in selecting Netsuite over their competition.

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