At AcctTwo, when we refer to Sound Transaction Management we mean setting up the right chart of accounts, optimizing the order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes, and capturing all the relevant information in the right place.
Best Practices for Sound, Accounting Transaction Management:
- Have a well-designed Chart of Accounts. It helps organize your data in a way that allows you to deliver the reporting you need to run your business. A solid Chart of Accounts is key to making better, faster and more informed decisions.
- Be disciplined about setting up information flows from the beginning. How you manage order-to-cash and procure-to-pay might seem like a boring detail, it really isn’t. You won’t regret setting these up properly early on. It will make you far more scalable and your employees and customers happier.
- Capture data in the right place (i.e. system) to eliminate manual effort. It is equally important to capture data with the right level of detail to have the information needed, in real-time, to make the best decisions for your business.
Advice from a CFO and a Founder on Implementing Accounting Processes Early
I am small with just a few transactions and this seems like a heavy lift. I am trying to get my head around when I really need to start thinking about this?
David Wohlwend (CFO): You really need to start thinking about how you will manage your accounting transactions this from day 1. You want to build meaningful comparisons over time, and consistency in your metrics is vital for that. You need to start with the end game in mind, immediately, right out of the gate. That's easy to do if your metrics and financial information are optimized from day 1. This is the bedrock, which you are building your information - consistency is key and you need to start thinking about it right away.
Marcus Wagner (Founder): David is spot on. AcctTwo gets called in when it becomes a problem and it is almost too late when businesses have their hair on fire and they are making mistakes - dropping balls left and right and having accuracy issues. You can do it later, but it is weigh more expensive in the long run.
What if I don't have a CFO in place, what are some resources I can leverage to thinking about this some more?
Marcus Wagner (Founder): I think the key here is recognizing the difference between talking to people with operational accounting experience vs traditional CPAs that focus on tax & audit or bookkeeping. Operational accountants have experience working in the business and know the demands of processing transactions and the importance of tracking the data needed to report. That is the criteria I would use. You can use an outside CPA firm to produce your financials or prepare your taxes, but that's something that happens once a year and it is not going to propel your business forward with what we're talking about with Sound Transaction Management.
David Wohlwend (CFO): I can expand on that. The way I view our tax & audit providers is that they are looking in the rearview window and an operations accounting or finance person is looking backwards and forwards. A good operational accountant is worth his/her weight in gold and it is really critical for the business.
What are some of the gotchas you have learned being a VP of Finance that you would give to me as a first time founder?
David Wohlwend (CFO): I really think what you should focus on in the early days as a founder is being disciplined about setting up your information flows in your company. We talked about the need for consistency in establishing your chart of accounts earlier. And while that might seem like a boring detail, it’s not if you view your ERP system as a strategic weapon to drive performance in your business. If you are disciplined in how you design your ERP system early on and establish solid building blocks and KPIs for your business right out of the gate you will not regret it 5 years down the line. Especially if you are talking about a successful exit via sale or IPO at that time. You will be able to discuss KPI metrics and consistent information with prospective purchasers, or have select KPIs that you discuss with the analysts in an IPO scenario. Another thing you need to focus on early on is scalability of systems. You want to get your systems communicating with each other via API interfaces as soon as possible. Otherwise you are stitching things together with what i call "human glue". You add people to be the system interfaces and that's expensive and that doesn't scale. If you do it up front you will be able to scale your finance organization without throwing headcount at it. It’s short-term pain for long-term gain so don’t wait.
Watch The Webinar
We are so appreciative for our partnership with David Wohlwend, and truly value his insight. I encourage you to watch the full webinar.
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About Chris Grady
Chris Grady is AcctTwo's Managing Director. He is passionate about helping SaaS organizations achieve success by transforming Finance & Accounting into a growth enabler & change agent. Be it a cloud-based software solution, or outsourcing performed by AcctTwo's Managed Accounting Services team, Chris is dedicated to our customers' organizational longevity and their full realization of growth & vision. You can email Chris at email@example.com