Top 5 Financial Tools for CFOs

February 11, 2021

5 Financial Tools For Business Owners

As the world of finance becomes increasingly automated, the role of a CFO is evolving. Today’s CFO is responsible for handling all aspects of a business’ finances—from payroll, to HR, to management, to administrative, to business strategy. As such, CFOs need to leverage the top financial tools to help them seamlessly chart the company’s future. 

With many SaaS management tools to choose from, it can be challenging to find the best fit for your company and its needs. Here are our five must-have financial planning tools for business owners and CFOs: 

  1. Accounting platforms (e.g. Sage Intacct)
  2. Enterprise resource planning systems (e.g. Oracle’s NetSuite)
  3. Expense tracking tools (e.g. Ramp’s corporate card)
  4. Reporting and business intelligence (e.g. Excel)
  5. Payroll management and HR platforms (e.g. BrightPay)

Accounting Platforms 

Accounting software has been employed for decades now. Yet what used to be accomplished in various manually-created Excel spreadsheets by accounting professionals is now automated and streamlined through upgraded technology. 

Finding the optimal accounting platform for your business is important because you’ll use it daily to track and manage your cash flow. They can help you create invoices, account for incoming and outgoing payments, handle accounts receivable, and run reports to analyze the business’ financial health. 

Put simply, the top accounting platforms make it easy to optimize all levels of your organization. 

These days, one of the top solutions for growing companies is Sage Intacct. Built explicitly for finance professionals, this best-in-class cloud accounting solution is capable of going far beyond the more simplistic accounting softwares like Quickbooks. With a range of functionality and tools, Sage Intacct has everything your business needs to operate efficiently, including:

  • Accounts payable 
  • Accounts receivable
  • General ledger
  • Fixed-assets
  • Multi-currency
  • Forecasting and budgeting
  • Multi-company and consolidation
  • Subscription billing 
  • Order management
  • Procurement
  • Inventory management 
  • Project management
  • Expense management

As a cloud-based software, it’s accessible from any device, whenever you need to use it. Sage Intacct provides you with 24/7 access to your financials. With built-in integrations to other major softwares, it’s created to propel your company forward.  

For CFOs, accounting platforms such as Sage Intacct make it easier to manage the business’ financial obligations, particularly when it comes to forecasting, planning, and analysis. This specific platform is highly customizable, has an intuitive user interface, and capabilities that extend beyond the typical scope of an accounting software. 

And if you want an even tighter control over your finances, it helps to partner with a corporate card that comes with built-in expense management, like Ramp. Ramp integrates with high-level accounting platforms like Sage Intacct.

Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs) 

There are a wide variety of ERPs available. What you select depends on your business’ aims and company structure. Armed with the right ERP, a CFO can adapt to the constantly evolving time frame and strategic contexts impacting their company’s success. 

Oracle’s NetSuite is currently considered the gold standard for ERPs. The platform is multifaceted, functioning seamlessly as an ERP, customer relationship manager (CRM), accounting platform, eCommerce platform, and business process development tool. Whether you help run a small, medium-sized, or large business, NetSuite provides CFOs with a cloud-based software that can take their company to the next level. 

It’s a single solution for many of your company concerns, covering multiple areas of a business from accounting, to customer relations, to supply chain management. Within this platform, you can ensure that your company is financially streamlined and on track with your goals. 

The software is highly flexible and customizable according to your business’ needs. It can run multiple languages, currencies, and subsidiaries simultaneously. With biyearly upgrades, the team at NetSuite is constantly seeking to improve the product’s functionality and security. 

Put simply, this financial tool can scale with your business and help you make better decisions in order to achieve growth and success in four key areas: 

  1. Comprehensive accounting data – Integrates relevant data sets and analysis into workflows.

  1. 360° Treasury Management – Provides a complete view of all issues that might impact the business’ finances. 

  1. Data-driven financial planning – Gives CFO all of the data and analysis they might need to plan for the company’s future. 

  1. Real-time compliance and tax awareness – Offers CFOs a multipurpose toolset they can use to better manage compliance and tax-related reporting.  

Similar to the accounting platform integrations, Ramp integrates with NetSuite to ensure your accounting workflows are entirely streamlined.

Expense Tracking 

Whether it’s big purchases or small, all expenses need to be accounted for. SaaS creep and redundant expenditures, and other wasted expenses can add up quickly, especially if you don’t have the tools to detect and eliminate them immediately. That’s not to mention the larger expenses, such as vendor spend or travel costs. 

Put simply, if you want to meet your financial goals, you need to have control over your cash flow, understand your spending habits, and make any changes if necessary. As Harvard Business Review notes: 

“The best-run companies think of cost management as a way to support their strategy, and of cost as precious investment that will fuel their growth. They put their money where their strategy is and continually cut bad costs and redirect resources toward good costs.” 

The optimal expense management system, like the one built into the Ramp corporate card, can help you accomplish all of this, and more. With automated workflows and real-time visibility into company spend, Ramp can help: 

  • Cut back on time consuming and error prone manual data-entry
  • Gain greater control over your company expenses
  • Save time by eliminating manual expense requests and approvals
  • Close your books faster at month’s end    
  • Optimize your financial and accounting workflows
  • Reduce frustration for both accountants and employees
  • Achieve greater visibility over who’s spending, what, how much, where, and when.

Reporting and Business Intelligence 

Financial reporting leverages all of your software applications. Once you’ve collected all of your data into one place, it needs to be analyzed in order to make informed financial decisions. That said, the process relies heavily on manual work, which means that there aren’t many softwares that work for a variety of different companies. 

As Shareworks mentions: “This makes it difficult for software companies to design a one-size-fits-all solution for calculating forecasts, burn rates, run rates, churn, customer value, acquisition costs, etc.” As a result, to this day, most businesses still rely on Excel to help them calculate their three key financial statements:

  1. Income statements
  2. Balance sheets
  3. Cash flow statements 

It’s imperative that you and your team become intimately familiar with the inner workings of Excel to better leverage its various capabilities in order to help you reach your financial goal as a business. Whether you are making a budget, tracking your spending habits, or reviewing your financial accounts, excel can help your business in a number of different ways. 

Payroll Management

The larger the company grows, the more difficult it will become to manage the company’s payroll. Even though this is typically a function of HR, a CFO must closely oversee these duties since they impact the company’s bottom line. 

For many companies, the vast majority of business expenses are represented by payroll, personnel costs, and benefits. With the right payroll management system, you can better handle employee payments and the corresponding taxes. 

BrightPay is a cloud-based payroll software that’s easy-to-use, has a solid range of features, and can be used by someone with little to no payroll experience. BrightPay can help you:

  • Make payroll more efficient – There are a variety of things you must consider, including benefits, taxes, and hours worked. Payroll systems reduce errors, speed up the process, and ensure that all industry-related factors are taken into account. 

  • Integrate with other accounting packages – BrightPay has payroll journal API integration with other critical accounting platforms, including Xero, Quickbooks,and Sage One.  

  • Easy reporting – Payroll software makes it easy to build reports and then leverage those to make smarter financial decisions. 

  • Tax filing simplified – Taxes are difficult for all companies, but they become infinitely more complex when you have to account for the regulations of multiple states. Automated payroll manages tax policy, so you can properly hit deadlines and manage and tax withholdings.

Ramp: A Corporate Card and Financial Tool Rolled Into One

In a digital age, a modern CFO must leverage all of the financial analytics tools at his or her disposal. This includes their corporate card. 

Ramp is a unique corporate card in that it incorporates many of the critical software functionalities a CFO needs to get ahead. It not only helps with expense reconciliation and a faster month’s end close, but also integrates with hundreds of other financial softwares, including NetSuite and Sage Intacct. 

With Ramp’s fast accounting features, you can close your books five times faster and reconcile expenses in real-time. Save your team of accounting professionals days of work and heaps of frustration. Effortlessly create rules that automate most month-end tasks, such as categorization and collecting receipts.

Ramp is more than just a corporate card with high limits and 1.5% cash back on every purchase. It’s an all-in-one spend management platform. Get started today for free. 


Harvard Business Review 

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