8 Benefits of Using Cloud-Based Tools for Finance Operations

By Toni Buffa Posted January 18, 2022

 

Cloud technology continues to revolutionize many aspects of our society. This is especially true for various business functions, including finance operations. In fact, a company’s finance operations may be especially well-suited to cloud-based solutions since flexibility, cost containment, and efficiency are all critical for finance teams. 

So how can various aspects of a company’s finance operations be moved to the cloud? And how specifically can cloud-based tools streamline the different processes in finance operations? We tackle these questions below.

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How Can You Move Finance Operations to the Cloud?

While “migrating to the cloud” might sound like a daunting prospect, cloud-based solutions are readily available and relatively easy to implement. Cloud-based software platforms are becoming increasingly popular. These platforms are generally offered on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, where the pricing is subscription-based.

By turning to cloud-based tools for finance operations, you are also shifting away from the use of software installed on your on-premises server. This frees your company from the need for purchasing software upgrades. And as we discuss below, your finance team is not compromising security, as cloud-based technology has proven to be just as secure (if not more) than on-premises software.

Benefits of Cloud-Based Tools for Finance Operations

Cloud-based tools provide some unique advantages for a company’s finance team. The following are some of those most prominent benefits.

1. Better Collaboration

With cloud-based workflows, members of the finance team and the entire company can collaborate with much greater ease. Documents can be accessed and shared on the cloud platform. The request-and-approval processes so common in finance operations can also proceed in the cloud. Employees can execute steps in those processes from any location. This means that processes formerly convoluted and drawn out, such as vendor approvals and capital expenditure requests, can be performed more efficiently.

2. Enable Automation

Unlocking the benefits of automation is one of the best aspects of cloud-based tools. When your finance team moves away from manual processes, such as Excel spreadsheets and paper-based tools, the entire finance function can take a considerable leap forward. Combined with the greater collaboration enabled by cloud computing, automation can make the most time-consuming processes hum along with relative ease. Consider the amount of repetitive administrative tasks common to many finance functions, such as accounts receivable and travel-and-entertainment reimbursements. When these areas are automated, the finance team is freed up to focus on big-picture goals and strategies.

3. Greater Accuracy and Efficiency

With increased collaboration and the use of automation, the efficiency of your finance processes will naturally increase as well. Yet another upside is increased accuracy — obviously of paramount importance for finance teams dealing directly with monetary sums. Automated workflows can minimize or even eliminate human errors arising from duplication or miscalculation. 

Just as importantly, an automated process can ensure compliance with internal controls. So if a certain request needs to be elevated to a higher level for approval, or approvers need to be reminded of pending requests, the cloud-based platform can automatically perform those functions. This is yet another instance of cloud technology increasing accuracy and efficiency without the trade-off between the two so common in manual workflows and server-based software.

4. Reduced IT Spend and Other Technology Costs 

Utilizing cloud-based software for the finance function can dramatically reduce the burden on a company’s IT department. The SaaS vendor takes responsibility for the platform’s maintenance with cloud-based tools. Then your IT team is no longer responsible for software upgrades and patches, and the company does not need to include those upgrades and patches in the budget. Considering the constant pressure on finance teams to rein in costs, this is a welcome development.

5. Remote Access

The COVID pandemic has accelerated a trend toward increased remote work. Cloud-based platforms are ideally suited to this environment because finance teams can now be geographically dispersed and still perform their functions. Remote access can be even more effective when team members can use various devices, such as mobile phones. Cloud technology enables finance teams to be increasingly flexible with their work arrangements by enabling remote work.

6. Improved Security

Those resistant to utilizing cloud-based tools for finance operations often perceive that the cloud is less secure than on-premises software options. In reality, cloud platforms are generally every bit as secure as server-based software, in some cases more so. 

Gartner report found that the security of cloud providers is generally equivalent or superior to the security of on-premises data centers. Cloud-based solutions can include robust security features, such as data encryption and two-factor authentication, often lacking in traditional software. And there is another advantage of the automation enabled by cloud platforms — it reduces the potential for human error, which is often the cause of cybersecurity attacks.

7. Increased Scalability

Yet another benefit of cloud-based solutions is the increased scalability it allows for finance teams. Cloud technology enables the finance team to upgrade storage capacity or add additional users quickly. The ability to scale rapidly at a low cost allows the finance department to help where they are needed most — maximizing the company’s bottom line.

8. Higher Transparency

The cloud also enables higher transparency in finance processes. The reporting of cloud-based solutions allows real-time visibility into different facets of your finance operations. Cloud-based automation also enables the generation of audit trails, allowing for immediate visibility into the status of any individual request or approval.

Looking into Cloud-Based Solutions for Your Finance Team

When searching for cloud-based solutions for your finance team, keep in mind that you can make the move gradually. Instead of immediately shifting all finance operations to the cloud, you can attempt the move with one or a few aspects of those operations, such as invoice approvals or journal entries. Most importantly, ensure your solutions have all the benefits listed above, so your finance team can enjoy the whole fruits of modern cloud technology. Learn more about how Integrify can help your finance department here

Toni Buffa

Toni is a member of the Integrify marketing team and writes for the Integrify blog. Toni lives in Colorado and loves animals of all stripes.

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