After having navigated the overwhelming finance and accounting technology landscape, and (hopefully) successfully chosen and implemented the right solutions, most companies are still left with what we call gaps in the important industry-specific functionality in “the last mile.” Most companies come up with manual workarounds for these last-mile gaps or simply live with them, never achieving true strategic management accounting.
Don't Settle for 80 Percent
If your goal was to summit Mount Everest, would you consider it mission accomplished with one mile left to the peak? Probably not. But often, even well-integrated best-of-breed solutions only get to 80 percent of the functionality organizations set out to achieve and really need. Worse yet, that remaining 20 percent is often where a disproportionate amount of the return-on-investment for implementing those solutions lies. So why settle for 80 percent?
As an example, Silvertip Completions, a Midland, TX-based oilfield services provider, went searching for best-of-breed solutions for finance and accounting, as well as an electronic field ticketing application. They chose AcctTwo and Sage Intacct as their accounting system and LiquidFrameworks’ FieldFX, a leading Force.com-based mobile field operations management solution. Even though these were the best solutions for two of the company’s key functional areas, they weren’t well integrated. They turned to AcctTwo to guide them through their Sage Intacct implementation and integrate the two systems for maximum efficiency.
According to Kyle Kirk, CFO at Silvertip Completions:
“Most companies, especially oil and gas service companies, are constantly under pressure from both internal customers, such as operations personnel, executives and owners, and external customers to provide more datapoints beyond 10 years ago [as well as] more timely data—gone are the days of invoices or data provided in weeks—and more efficient data without additional costs.
“No accounting system has an oil and gas-friendly front-end field ticketing and billing system that accommodates the point-in-time, detailed data collection needed by most companies, especially oil and gas service companies. Service companies are no longer providing simple invoices like we were a decade ago. We are expected to provide data that detail what happened every step of the process and track efficiency metrics, process exceptions and resolutions.
Without a front-end system like FieldFX, companies are relegated to tracking data in separate flat-file systems such as Excel or Access. Meaningful reports have to be created by hand, combining the Excel data with accounting system data, which makes reports time-consuming, prone to error and difficult to repeat.
“From day one, our goal at Silvertip Completions has been to automate manual processes that are generally accepted as standard, full-time employee (FTE) driven activities by most oil and gas companies. The implementation of FieldFX, LiquidFrameworks’ mobile field operations management solution, coupled with AcctTwo’s FieldFX integration with Sage Intacct has been the largest and most successful advancement for Silvertip in that vision.”
Even the most appropriate best-in-breed systems would have left Silvertip Completions with last-mile gaps both in their processes, as well as in their ability to get insights and KPIs from their data.
Strategic Management Accounting ROI is in the Last Mile
The modern CFO needs to look for a “whole product” solution - curated, stress-tested, and optimized by a solution provider with deep industry experience that can close the gap in the critical last-mile functionality and get you the insights that CFOs need to transform finance and accounting into a strategic business asset that uses data to challenge the status quo. This whole product solution should be available as-a-service, whether that be software subscriptions, outsourced finance operations, or even technology implementations, consulting, and development.
If you'd like to go more in depth, our eBook, How Can You Transform Finance & Accounting into a Strategic Business Asset? is available for instant download. I see it as the culmination of everything we’ve learned from supporting our incredible customers for more than a decade (most of whom are still with us) and a guide for finance and accounting leaders at all organizations to establish what they should expect in the future.