The Move Is "On" For Financial Management
The financial management market is playing catch-up with the move to on-demand technology, and Intacct is hoping to lead the charge. In a move to support that goal, the eight-year-old software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider -- which links front- and back-office applications, integrating financial data and processes with CRM systems such as Salesforce.com -- is announcing today its spring 2008 release, promising expanded on-demand capabilities as well as on-demand financial management for small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs).
George Jaquette, vice president of product management at San Jose, Calif.-based Intacct, describes the company's offering as "life after QuickBooks," a reference to Intuit's popular SMB-oriented financial application. He says that users looking to make the leap from legacy financial management will find a reliable, quick, and best-of-breed strategy with Intacct. (One sign that Jaquette's pitch is finding an audience? The company boasts a 40 percent growth in subscribers since 2007.) According to a recent survey conducted by Intacct, chief financial officers and other financial executives list the following as the most critical changes in their agendas compared to last year:
- cost reduction;
- business monitoring; and
- visibility across the company.
Less than 50 percent of CFOs say their current solutions are good or excellent for these needs.
Jeffrey Kaplan, managing director of SaaS consultancy THINKstrategies, says Intacct's offering is an indication that back-office departments are no longer hesitant to enter the SaaS arena. "It's the overall message that this represents a continued strengthening of [vendors'] on-demand capability aimed at the CFO and back-office function," Kaplan says. "It illustrates that companies are feeling more comfortable with utilizing a SaaS solution to meet those needs."
Today's release includes Intacct Insight, which provides Web-based dashboards, reporting, analytics, and performance management. Jaquette points out that the dashboards allow for a level of visibility that is crucial for multitenant companies as well as any business with multiple locations. In addition, Intacct allows for contract-renewal automation, a feature that saves time and adds CRM value, he says.
Also new to the Intacct on-demand offering is the implementation of Web 2.0 mashups. With mashups, users can link and embed external applications and content. Furthermore, the Spring 2008 release enhances customization capabilities as well as alerts and notifications.
Jaquette says he's convinced of the value of Intacct's best-of-breed integration, adding that more than half of the company's customer base is also using Salesforce.com. He says the company is committed to furthering its best-of-breed approach and exploring the multitenant nature of financial management. Intacct's software is readymade for SMBs, he adds, due to its low implementation cost, and the fact that it requires little reliance on an IT department. However, it's worth noting that Intacct claims there's been interest on the enterprise level as well.
Kaplan confirms that the attention from bigger fish is for real. "[Intacct is] getting increased interest and adoption at the high-end range," he points out. "This is an indication that the overall SaaS movement in financial management doesn't have to just apply to SMBs." Kaplan also says that, as on-demand gains more traction in the financial services market, similar offerings from competitors will appear.
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