Intacct Brings Business Intelligence to SMB Accounting

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted June 16, 2014

Intacct blends cloud-based accounting and business intelligence (BI) to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) get a better handle on their financials.

The San Jose, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based accounting and financial management software has launched a new feature that displays snapshots of how their businesses are faring. Performance Cards—a no-cost addition to Intacct—now offer customers real-time business metrics in an easily digestible format.

Why now?

According to Vijay Ramakrishnan, director of product marketing for Intacct, Performance Cards come at a time when business as usual has increasingly grown more complicated for SMBs. Complexity is building, he said, particularly among companies that occupy the "M" portion of the SMB space. "

Business Growth Begets Complexity

"Mid-market companies are becoming much more complex earlier in their growth [cycle]," he said. They, like small businesses that plan to expand, require "fast, deep insights to make business decisions and they need them in a very efficient way," Ramakrishnan told Small Business Computing. Intacct classifies mid-market companies as firms with 20 to 1,000 employees that generate a good amount of revenue, from $10 million up to $500 million.

In a survey of 270 of finance executives at American mid-market companies, the company discovered that just 22 percent answered "strongly agree" when asked if their financial software had the data visualization features that they needed. Eighty-eight percent were forced to rely on external software and tools to glean the business insights that they require.

Typical small businesses "struggle with reporting tools," said Ramakrishnan. What's more, since small business operators run very lean organizations," they have very little in the way of time or resources to fully leverage business intelligence software, let alone exploit the insights that they would otherwise unearth. "Getting that real-time insight to manage complexity has always been difficult."

At-a-Glance Business Intelligence

Performance Cards are compact, configurable panes that appear in the Intacct dashboard, arrayed across the top. A snack-sized complement to the product's built-in reporting and graphing features, of sorts.

They provide eye-catching, real-time visualizations on financial metrics like net income and profit margin per month. Icons, such as upward-pointing green arrows, show how a particular figure is trending compared to previous periods.

"They pack a lot of information in a small amount of real estate," said Ramakrishnan. And they render equally well on mobile devices as they do on a PC, he added.

Users can create their own Performance Cards that are tailored to their specific needs or roles. The feature supports custom titles and selectable reporting periods, account groups and even icon sets.

Diving deeper, additional filters let you "trend for revenues from a particular customer, particular geography or a particular project," offered Ramakrishnan as examples. You can monitor practically any financial metric in any business context using a wizard-driven interface.

It's all made possible by the company's "multi-dimensional general ledger" technology, said Ramakrishnan. Entries are "tagged with a dimension value that reflects the business context of the transaction," he added. The result is an accounting system that can "capture both financial data and the business meaning together, in a real-time way."

Intacct's software is "not just about dollar figures," said Ramakrishnan. It lets small businesses "monitor trends in operational measures," he said.

Performance Cards are data-driven visual manifestations of applying analytics to the company's contextual financial software foundation. The platform performs the heavy lifting, masking the complexity of BI while generating visuals that instantly convey the financial health of a project, a department, or the entire business.

In short, the days of poring over Excel files, cross-referencing data points and generating time-consuming reports are over, according to Ramakrishnan. His company's Performance Cards generate "visualizations that deliver the fastest business insights of any financial system," he boasted.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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