What makes a winning finance tech stack?

What makes a winning finance tech stack?

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What you put in your finance tech stack will enable your team. The right toolkit can be the difference between success and failure – you want correct information fast and don’t want your tech to be a barrier to getting the job done. We spoke to Johan Strid, Director of FP&GA at Juni, to find out what makes up the Finance team's tech stack and what you should include when building yours.

How to build the right tech stack for your business

Mapping your business needs is the key to building a successful finance tech stack. What type of business you’re working with and its complexity will directly influence which software you should invest in.

You're running a straightforward organisation if you have simple accounting needs and a legal entity structure, such as one legal entity selling one or two products. You should choose a solution that caters to that, will be easy to set up, and is more cost-efficient for your business. As you grow, you’ll need to cater for more processes and require more features.

In comparison, you're looking at an entirely different tech stack if you have several entities, many different products, several revenue streams or multiple currencies. You’ll need a more advanced solution, which will take more time to implement and be more complex to run, but ultimately give you a more comprehensive range of features to facilitate your needs.

In short, what will make your winning tech stack is individual to your business. Here’s our take on what to include in a tech stack at different stages of a business – and what we have in ours.

Manage day-to-day processes with ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is software that manages day-to-day processes by collecting and organising key business information to meet accounting needs. ERP is essential for a growing business as it brings together financial information from across the company in one place. Understanding how the business functions across different departments is critical to successful financial planning, and your ERP can help with that.

We use Oracle NetSuite because it best suits our needs as a complex scale-up. You could benefit from an ERP like Quickbooks, Xero in the UK or Fortnox in Sweden if you have more straightforward business needs.

Your ERP is the heart of your finance tech stack, regardless of your business size. As your business grows, consider getting an ERP that integrates with other pieces of your tech stack, like accounts payable and FP&A software, to make sharing and centralising your data more manageable. An ERP can support inventory management, order management and customer billing, either in the ERP itself or by integrating with other tools.

Keep in mind that ERP software typically isn’t built for visualisation and analysis. You may want to bring in a second software, like an FP&A solution, if that's a significant need.

Look to the future with FP&A

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is essential when managing a company’s finances, even more so in the current economic climate.

As a simple business, it might be enough to download your data, merge it into Excel, and build on it. But, if you want to benefit from automation, increased forecasting capabilities and greater visualisation, you may want to invest in FP&A software.

The right technology can help you manage your data and use it to model future scenarios for your business. As with most financial automation, the right FP&A software can help you free up time from manually handling your data and instead allow you to focus on analysis.

We chose Pigment, which offers seamless reporting, visualisation and modelling together with collaboration capabilities. It also helps us combine data from our ERP with metrics from other sources. When selecting an FP&A software, look for one that integrates with your other platforms to give you a seamless workflow of data to analyse and work with.

The main draw of a great FP&A tool is modelling. You want to see your financial history, how it looks at present, and how it could look in the future based on different scenarios.

One typical use case which benefits from FP&A is budget work. With the right tool, you can view historical data together with forward-looking views from your model. In addition, you can invite colleagues from different teams to give input on the views when forming the budget. The collaborative aspect and single source of truth limits errors and makes the process more efficient.

An FP&A tool can also help visualise finances with specific tables or views, which is useful for teams with bespoke needs who want to see their data in a certain way.

Handle accounts payable at scale

Accounts payable (AP) is typically something you manage in your ERP. But there are integrations or features you can look for that will make the process easier.

Keeping track of accounts payable at scale can take time and effort, which increases as a business grows or product offerings diversify. As the volume of supplier invoices increases, so does the workload. Accounts payable software that can automate the process is a great tool to add to your tech stack.

We use Fast Four, an AP integration for NetSuite. Fast Four automates handling supplier invoices by scanning in their details using OCR, which converts an image of text into another format. Translating an invoice into a document our ERP can understand reduces the risk of errors and saves valuable time that would otherwise be spent manually inputting information. Fast Four also gives better control by providing an approval matrix for vendor invoice approvals. Every invoices gets approved by one or more senior people depending on nature, department or amounts.

Before choosing how to handle accounts payable, you need to choose your ERP. If you’re a smaller business using an ERP like Xero or Fortnox and have a small volume of invoices, it’s relatively simple to handle them there. However, for companies with a more complex ERP solution, using an OCR to translate your invoices will reduce your manual workload.

The key to successfully using an OCR tool to handle accounts payable is to organise the master data in your ERP correctly. To complement this, create good processes when onboarding a supplier to help get the correct bank and tax information on the invoice, enabling a smooth workflow.

Understand performance with business intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) helps you identify trends in data. BI software is a valuable tool, but if you’re running a small operation, you can start by choosing a simple solution.

A business can have different data coming from many sources. One software that brings all these together in usable insights can help you with data analysis. When used correctly, BI software is a great way to comprehensively understand performance, from supply chain to sales.

We use Metabase to handle business intelligence, which helps us visualise data and create easy-to-understand dashboards that are shared across the business.

Juni Insights is another way to see your ecommerce data. From cash flow and ad spend to Amazon and Shopify analytics, Juni can act as the single source of truth for all your ecommerce finances to help you make better decisions.

While you can model and build forward-looking views, most business intelligence tools aren’t typically designed for that. Instead, a good business intelligence tool will help you look at current data trends and track goals. If you have complex financial modelling needs then you should consider an FP&A tool.

Fill in the gaps with Excel

Excel shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s a staple for every finance team, no matter what stage of growth you’re at.

For smaller teams, Excel can be a sufficient tool for FP&A and a great compliment to your ERP. For larger teams, it’s still versatile and ideal for a deep dive into your numbers. From FP&A to expense management, Excel can have its place in your tech stack.

Streamline contract management

Contracts are essential to day-to-day operations, but managing them doesn’t have to be complicated.

You can easily handle contracts manually if you’re running a smaller business. As a company grows, so does the number of stakeholders who must follow the proper legal processes. Having a tool to help streamline workflows and coordinate stakeholders can save time and make collaboration easier.

PandaDoc makes creating, managing and signing contracts simple for us. It’s easy to share documents and get digital signatures. Having a library of contract templates makes collaborating and compliance straightforward.

Improve managing cash flow with Juni

Juni is built to help finance teams boost visibility and improve productivity with more control. Our virtual cards, multicurrency accounts, and accounting and advertising integrations give you a unified view of your finances. Plus, get increased visibility of your cash flow and transactions with insights and analytics tools. Get control of your transactions with custom notification settings and transaction reviews by assigning cards to managers. Juni can help you boost your cash flow with cashback on all your eligible spend and access flexible capital with extended terms*.

Whatever you choose for your tech stack, your business needs are the most important thing to consider. As your business evolves, it’s essential to continually assess whether your tech is still working for you or whether you need to invest in new programs. After all, tech is there to facilitate your work and make your job easier.

*Currently only available for companies registered in the UK. Eligibility, credit line, and credit line increase are subject to application, review, and financial circumstances. 37-day payment terms guaranteed, with up to 60 days available. Terms & Conditions apply.

What makes a winning finance tech stack?
Juni
Financial platform

Juni is the financial platform built for ecommerce. We give you a unified view of your finances, with cards, mulitcurrency accounts, and banking, accounting and advertising integrations - all in one place. We can even help boost your cash flow with working capital, cashback and more.

Download our free whitepaper and gain important ecommerce and marketing insights, directly from Juni.

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