Should you move your finance system to the Cloud?
Blog // 16-01-2020

Should you move your finance system to the Cloud?

by Andrew Hicks, Chief Financial Officer

Research shows the majority of businesses plan to move their finance systems to the Cloud. Here’s a comparison between Cloud-based financial management software and on-premise finance applications to help you decide whether to make the move.

In today’s fast-moving world, any new software system needs to support growth, drive performance and optimise processes. It needs to help organisations restructure and adapt quickly to unexpected change, while helping them overcome challenges caused by regulatory burdens and skills shortages.

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), especially, need software that helps the business accelerate digital evolution, but with finance firmly in lockstep with the rest of the business. Reliance on legacy, on-premise technology and rigid data structures hinders this evolution; the result is often compromise, complacency and underperformance.

So, many turn to financial planning and analysis (FP&A) software which is Cloud-based; which incorporates intelligent technologies, integrates with other business systems and is delivered on a subscription basis.

Cloud solutions put finance, not IT, in the driver’s seat

Gartner predicts that Cloud will become the dominant deployment model across all areas of financial management applications by 2025. Three quarters of organisations (72 per cent) have plans to leverage the Cloud for financial applications in the next three years, according to Finance Moving to the Cloud: The Steps to Take and the Benefits You Can Expect.

Gartner VP Analyst, John Van Decker, says: “Gartner found that Cloud solutions are easier to implement, require no major future upgrades and offer capabilities on par with on-premises solutions, which will soon be surpassed. Perhaps most importantly, Cloud solutions put finance, not IT, in the driver’s seat, which will become an increasingly important differentiator as finance develops artificial intelligence (AI) strategies.”

Our latest Annual Trends Survey shows that 60 per cent of UK business professionals are seeing Cloud services supporting their work. Cloud adoption, and the use of AI and business intelligence, was flagged by a third of respondents as areas they’d like to see impact their daily working life.

On-premise Vs Cloud finance software

Traditional, on-premise financial applications are part of a sprawling hardware-based infrastructure, which has high ongoing costs for maintenance, upgrade and disruption. On-premise legacy systems create silos in departments, data and systems. Also, you can’t integrate intelligent technologies like AI and machine learning (ML) into core processes.

With a Cloud-based finance system, the software and data is hosted on a remote server, providing capabilities on a subscription-basis, like software-as-a-service (SaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS). The best Cloud financials software covers all the essentials you need to drive the core of your financial organisation, from accounts receivable and accounts payable to general ledger, assets and procurement. And there are many benefits.

10 reasons to move your finance software to the Cloud

  1. Cloud finance software applications have intuitive, user-friendly interfaces which unify experiences across all aspects of the system and enhance employee engagement.
  2. They enable remote accessibility anytime, anywhere from any device, which improves self-sufficiency and employee empowerment.
  3. Cloud systems eliminate silos within and across departments and entities (and between the back and front office) by aligning data, systems and processes.
  4. Cloud-based financial management software can seamlessly blend finance with business data as all organisational data is held in a single source of truth in the Cloud.
  5. This access to real-time, business-wide data enables more accurate, actionable insight, which increases data visibility to improve forecasting and decision-making.
  6. The more powerful reporting capabilities help with internal, statutory and regulatory compliance.
  7. Cloud finance software delivers a lower total cost of ownership than on-premise.
  8. It offers potentially unlimited storage and infinite optimisation of performance.
  9. Because the right Cloud financials software is supported by a PaaS, it provides the ability to inject an unlimited amount of new technologies, like AI and ML.
  10. Cloud finance software has matured — fewer CFOs are concerned about the safety of the data they hold as today’s systems have the highest levels of security and superior protection of data.

What does Cloud finance software mean for your business?

By migrating away from traditional, on-premise finance technology you are unshackling your business from rigid data structures and legacy processes. This means you no longer need to compromise, suffer complacency or put up with underperformance.

With the right Cloud-based financial management software, you can boost people productivity and organisational performance by reducing admin, simplifying control and improving the employee experience.

Cloud finance software allows for scale — both in terms of volume and operational complexity — by removing bottlenecks and the costly impact of operational disruption which blocks digital transformation. It enables ongoing optimisation through automation by streamlining processes, aligning departments, improving decision-making and enhancing forecasting.

In a nutshell these solutions help your organisation run lean, with finance firmly in lockstep, so it can react and restructure faster in response to any change.

Choosing the right finance software for the future

In the end, the choice is not just about what’s right for your business now, but what’s right for your business in the future. Going forward, customer and stakeholder expectations will not abruptly drop. Politically-driven markets will not suddenly stabilise. As technology adoption speeds up, digital transformation is not going to go away. And neither will your competitors.

While the solution for addressing all these challenges may be complex, one thing is clear: investing in the right software must form a vital part of your strategy.

Blog Financial Management CloudFinancials
Andrew Hicks

Andrew Hicks

PUBLISHED BY

Chief Financial Officer

Andrew joined Advanced in December 2015 with 15 years’ experience in senior finance roles. He is now leading the Group’s strategic and operational finance, legal and HR departments.

Read published articles