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Webinar Video: So Long to Spreadsheets & QuickBooks

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Spreadsheets vs ERP WebinarIncreasing business complexity amplifies the risks associated with using spreadsheets across the enterprise and using Quickbooks as your company's primary accounting system; errors and inefficiencies that can have a meaningful impact on company shareholder value. Continuing developments in cloud and related technologies have changed the economics of upgrading to, and unlocking the power of, an ERP solution and related financial applications that empower better strategic decisions. This Spreadsheets vs ERP Webinar offers an overview of the economic drivers of upgrading to a Cloud ERP; practical advice for changing the spreadsheet and/or QuickBooks culture at your company; and defines the potential value proposition of adopting Cloud applications which can raise the IQ of your data to drive better strategic decisions including financial planning and business intelligence applications.

This video is from the Proformative webinar "So Long to Spreadsheets & QuickBooks: A Fond Farewell" held on October 10, 2012. The webinar features presentations from Pat Falle, Sr. Vice President, Avalara and Tom Kelly, Managing Director, T-Edwards, Inc.

You can download a copy of the presentation slides here:


Spreadsheets vs ERP Webinar


"The question is: Is this you out there? We have plenty of information. It's all over the place. It's in spreadsheets, QuickBooks, reports we get out of QuickBooks, emails, but it wasn't integrated. Right? Everybody's coming to the meeting with their own separate piece of information, piece of paper, if you will, and trying to consolidate all this information as what I would argue is a very continual and tedious process. That takes many hours, days, if you will.

Then, when you get it all done, you get it all put together, it's very difficult to vouch for the accuracy of it because everybody believes their information is correct, and the other information that the person brings to the meeting is wrong. We sit around the table and complain and point the fingers at who's right and who's wrong, as opposed to focusing on what really matters for our businesses these days.

Let's talk about this. Think about a never ending applications journey. Right? You start with QuickBooks. You add Excel for analytics. Then, you maybe add an ACT, GoldMine, or even to get a little bit more laser focused on the CRM side of things.

You may have built a homegrown website. You've upgraded QuickBooks, added more seats. When you look at this, and you see the arrows continually going there, it's kind of a never ending process to some degree, because over time, there's more money, more resources, and more integration. It kind of keeps growing and ends up in a situation that I would argue doesn't give you the type of information you need when you need it and in the format you need it, i.e. accuracy, as we mentioned before.

This is a survey that was taken by the Institute of Management Accountants. Our friend there who just kind of popped up is Mr. Pareto, the person who's attributed to the 80/20 role. Right? 80 percent of things pretty much is what key thing is. You may have five customers driving 80 percent of your profit, and so on.

Mr. Pareto even boiled this down to tomato plants in Italy. That will be a whole other presentation here for Proformative. When you look at the frustrations that were identified, integration being the biggest, business intelligence, replaced silo systems. If you look at that, that's a significant chunk of what's going on in most organizations.

Obviously, other things are important too. Consolidation at the warehouse, moving to the cloud other. For the most part, when you look at integration BI and replacing silo systems, it's kind of what I just mentioned. We've got these disparate systems. They're not necessarily connected. We try to integrate them. We'll put a BI tool between them, spending lots and lots of money, when there's probably a better solution or better approach out there for most organizations.

Another question was asked. Where do you see your opportunities to improve? Hey. Kind of no surprise here. Right? Business intelligence. Ease of use. That's another thing to talk about because there's a lot of things out there that we can all leverage, but when you get down to the ease of use and whether employees within your organization will understand things intuitively, get up the learning curve quickly. That's something to consider.

I would argue you want to make sure you reduce the number of variables. Right? The less systems, the better. The less things you have to integrate, the better. The better your business intelligence is going to be, because you're going to have everybody, for lack of a better term, on that same sheet of paper.

Let's talk about the cloud. Okay? What are the top 10 reasons to move to the cloud? Number one, accessing IT data. There's 150+ leading technology applications out there. You can access this information when you do adopt a cloud anywhere, anytime, anyhow, and frankly, almost on any device.

When you think about the nature of what's happening today, and we're becoming much more mobile as a society, imagine if you have your iPhone, your Android phone, your Galaxy Tablet, your iPad, whatever it is. God forbid, you still have a laptop. You can pretty much get this information anywhere, as long as you have a high speed internet connection.

The other thing to consider is, think about the data center. If you do have on-premise applications, I would argue this. Kind of back in the day, when we think about outsourcing manufacturing, and folks are just appalled by the fact that there's no way we can outsource manufacturing. You come forward to today, and it's kind of a new point.

When you think about trying to maintain your on-premise installation, if you will, your own data center, that's probably not most companies' jobs. Most companies' jobs are to get good products out there and services, and make sure you have happy customers so you can grow your business.

I would argue you have these companies that provide cloud services. They're tier four level data centers. Their key focus is to keep things protected, keep things up and running, and that's all they do. Frankly, if these cloud providers don't do it, guess what? They're not going to be around very much any longer.

Looking at cost effective capabilities. This is a personal experience of my own. I will tell you I've done over, used to be 25, that number has increased now. I have yet to come across an installation where we're taking organizations to the cloud, where we do not get, at worst, break even. Most cases, it's a savings on a ROI basis. That is something to consider.

We talked about working remotely. Again, think about monitoring and responsiveness. This is what these folks do. They do it everyday, all the time, 24/7, 365. That is their goal. That is their job. The infrastructure they put together is very scalable.

When you think about Google apps and the number of users on their servers and all, I'd be very, very impressed to find a company out there that has the number in the millions of users that is supporting their own data center. The scalability, again, somewhat of a myth.

Break the software upgrade adventure, as I'm sure all of you have experienced, whether it's QuickBooks or something else. When you're doing an upgrade, it's a major task, very arduous. Nine times out of 10, it does not go smoothly. I should go back to my friend, Mr. Pareto, that 80 percent of the time, we run into issues.

There's some other items on here you can read when it's out there. For the most part, moving to the cloud is something that organizations should consider. Not just because it's cool, but because it is effective. It's efficient. Believe it or not, it will really help drive your business and take the focus off of dealing with the data, whether it's right or not, to actually reacting to the data, I would argue in a proactive way, versus what we probably do most times in our business meetings.

Think about beyond core financials. My colleague here will be talking later about Avalara. There's more to this than just financials, when you think about the cloud and the applications that are out there. The idea behind this is, there are things when you're looking at your business, the opportunity to cash. It's an integration, so you can process bills faster. I'd probably argue, much better accuracy.

Procure to pay integration. You don't really need the spreadsheets anymore. Frankly, when you think about the work flow engines that many of these cloud providers provide, it's amazing how quickly and efficiently you can route, let's say, a travel and expense report.

When we talk about travel and expense on the next one, you can almost make it self-service. There's plenty of applications out there that work very well. You can view it as a data capturing vehicle. Right? Whether you have a smart phone or tablet, whatever, you literally can take a snapshot of an invoice. You can point and click. You can submit your expense report and not even have to leave the cab to do it, if you will.

Services to accounting. When you think about this, the accurate project profitability, many companies out there who are doing services don't really have a good perspective on, "Are we really making money on this project? Or are we losing money?" Even taking that a step further, if we did make money or lose money on the project, why? If we made money, how do we do more of that? If we lost money, how do we do less of that?

Editor's Note: If enjoy Accounting, Corporate Finance, and Treasury related webinars, take a look at: Corporate Finance Technologies Webinar, Corporate Budgeting & Planning Webinar, Cloud Accounting Webinar, New Corporate Finance Technologies Webinar & Euro Zone Financial Risk Webinar.

The key thing here I would argue is one view of the customer. If you have one database, you have all the information on the database, you reduce the need to do this reconciliation, tying of data between disparate systems. You really have that 360 view of the customer. Everything from if the customer is satisfied with the service you're providing to, "Is this a profitable customer for us?"

The other thing you want to also focus on is ensure whatever application or applications you're going to move to live and grow with your business. I mentioned the Google example, millions of users on their servers. Right? As you look at some of these offerings, make sure you're asking yourself some questions. Does it support multiple subsidiary capabilities and multiple chart of accounts? You can do consolidations, but as your business grows, you acquire organizations. You can fold them in, and you won't miss a beat.

Country specific tax and accounting regulations, or a shout out to my Avalara colleague. The next thing, automated sales tax management. For those of you out there who deal with [Nexus] and sales tax and filing all the sales returns, I can tell you it is not a fun process, to say the least. God forbid, you get an audit. We all love that. Right?

There are many opportunities out there to leverage applications that will combine quite nicely with some of these cloud applications. Such that, again, think about it like a data capturing tool. You're still on that one sheet of paper, but you're still able to provide the detail or the niche, if you will, that's required, given your business data, if you will."

End partial: Spreadsheets vs ERP Webinar

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