Sage Intacct Advantage 2020 took place on October 20-21. Just because the event was virtual didn’t mean it was any less packed with valuable activities for attendees.
Technology was front and center at the conference this year - and how could it not be? The event was entirely virtual for the first time in history, underscoring not only the distributed nature of business today, but also the way that technology has enabled continuity and productivity despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19.
We know it’s shocking, but many of the speakers had something to say about the *unprecedented* nature of 2020, specifically how digital technology can help finance teams navigate this new business market. And we were all ears.
Digital transformation enables quick decision making
“After several months in this pandemic, one thing has become clear: digital transformation is here and it’s accelerating,” said Marc Linden, EVP and General Manager at Sage, during the conference keynote. He later added, “digital transformation is the new normal.”
Finance teams that had adopted digital technology before 2020 were set up for success in the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else missed the boat. As Dan Miller, SVP of Product at Sage Intacct, explained, “research has shown that those organizations that invest in digital transformation during a downturn come out stronger than those that stall.”
Andre Lafayette, VP of Product at Sage Intacct, emphasized the role of digital transformation in finance agility. “The problem is, once you set a plan, it invariably changes. When a change occurs, finance must help steer the organization based on the data they have. And with digital transformation, finance is in a position to make the call much earlier.”
Dan echoed that point. “The ability to make fast, agile decisions is critical for businesses today,” he said. “As a part of the finance team, you have the power to transform your organization and bring more visibility, agility and resilience, not only to day-to-day interactions, but also to the strategic outlook of the company.”
Technology increases the productivity of your remote team
Tim Kitching, Controller at Volusion, praised his finance tech stack for enabling his team to work remotely. “It all comes down to the technology tools that the team has,” he said. “Everything is essentially cloud-based. As a manager, I’m able to approve things without being in the office. Employees can easily see what their teammates are up to and what work has been completed, no matter what time of day they log on.”
But even if a tool offers real-time collaboration, it’s meaningless if employees don’t use it. “As part of finance, you’re always looking at how to make things more efficient on the finance side, but we’ve kind of turned that on its head,” Tim explained. “We are trying to make it easier for our end users, which in turn makes our process better.”
He continued, “One major source of frustration in finance was getting approvals for employees outside of finance, who aren’t used to looking at accounting software. So, we transitioned to a tech stack that is extremely user-friendly and flows through to finance to make our job easier at the end."
When it comes to the pandemic specifically, Tim highlighted how Volusion’s technology allowed the team to quickly shift their focus. “We’ve really put expenses at the forefront, and Teampay has been really helpful in that regard,” he said. “It allowed our team to be able to move forward efficiently.”
Overall, Tim appreciates the speed that cloud-based distributed spend management software provides. “It’s pretty amazing how quickly the approval process happens. Sometimes we’re getting approvals within seconds of submitting them, which was unheard of historically when we pushed them through other software systems.”
On-demand insights allow continuous learning
Even with a few technical glitches, Sage Intacct Advantage 2020 proved that a large-scale conference can take place virtually and still deliver immense value. It mirrors the ups and downs of the past few months: both the unexpected challenges and ways that we were able to overcome them.
Efforts to explore virtual connections have propped up new methods of knowledge sharing that go beyond any singular industry meetup or networking event. Online communities of finance professionals—such as Controller Collective, CFO Alliance, and CFO Leadership Council—have gained popularity as a way to network with your peers across the globe.
When it comes to presenting information on the cutting edge of technology, Sage Intacct Advantage isn’t one to be left behind. Attendees can access all of the sessions on demand for the next 30 days, no longer constrained by the live conference schedule.
With on-demand content, individuals can watch multiple sessions that were first broadcast at the same time, join a breakout that they previously missed due to an important meeting, or rewatch a particularly insightful talk. Attendees can continue to reap the benefits of Advantage 2020, without ever having to set foot in a large conference hall.
Modernize your finance processes
Now that Sage Intacct Advantage 2020 has come to a close, the importance of initiating your organization’s digital transformation has never been more clear. It’s time to modernize your finance processes to set yourself up for success in 2021 and beyond.
Distributed spend management software in particular offers proactive controls and real-time visibility over spend, without sacrificing the speed you need to remain competitive. By enabling guardrails that empower employees to make business purchases, distributed spend management software improves your team’s productivity, decision-making, and agility, wherever they are.