The Future-Ready Business: Is Your Financial Software a Brake on Growth?

Posted by Mark Woodhams, NetSuite EMEA Managing Director

Any business still running their financial systems on manually updated spreadsheets or archaic on-premise software will come to a sudden realisation that in order to continue to grow, they’ll need to invest in a financial system that facilitates -- not hinders – growth. Unfortunately, many small and midsized businesses in the UK have chosen poorly, thinking only of their immediate accounting needs rather than future scalability requirements.

Recent research on financial systems in the UK, conducted by Loudhouse on behalf of NetSuite, illustrates the perils of choosing aging, outdated software. Among the leaders at small and midsized firms the research group surveyed, 69 percent said growth is their key objective and 91 percent believe the right accounting system is critical to achieving this goal. Yet at present, 60 percent of Sage users among this group have problems sharing their financial data within their organisation. It is mind boggling that finance departments are still effectively keeping the rest of the business in the dark as they are unable to share the information needed to make decisions. Financial data that is manually updated will never be real-time creating stark differences in availability of information.

According to the Loudhouse research, the majority of NetSuite customers surveyed spend less than two days closing the end-of-month reporting cycle. In comparison, a shocking nine out of ten Sage customers take longer than that to close their report. The process is lengthy due to the manual consolidation of many different streams of business data.

Two businesses among many in Europe switching from on-premise to the cloud are Netbiscuits, a leading provider of mobile web analytics and device detection, and CKD Galbraith, an independent property consultancy, who have both switched to the next-generation NetSuite cloud offering from their previous Sage solutions. From services to software, NetSuite is streamlining business processes to ensure continuous business success and significant growth with a true cloud solution.

In fact, there is growing awareness that scalable cloud-based systems, like NetSuite, enable businesses to avoid the ‘stop, upgrade, re-learn, go’ process enforced by on-premise software upgrades. Being caught up in the on-premise cycle means there’s significant time, resources and people power needed to make upgrades. In fact, according to Gartner, by2018 at least 30 percent of service-centric companies will move the majority of their ERP applications to the cloud. It is clear we are coming to the end of the line with on-premise software.

The Loudhouse research highlights the inability of non-cloud systems to support business diversification and growth. Of the Sage customers surveyed, they estimated their system would support organisational diversification for less than 25 months. In comparison, NetSuite customers felt that their business development would be supported for over 50 months. For example, NetSuite customer CKD Galbraith has diversified from its roots in estate agency to incorporate other streams of revenue within the business from holiday lets, and commercial property management to forestry.

Growing your business is all about agility, and this doesn’t stop at the services or products you sell. For a modern business, a responsive cloud-based business management system, which offers mobile working, and real-time visibility from one unified platform is mission-critical to achieving your growth objectives. It’s time for businesses to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee, the future of business is undoubtedly pure cloud.


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