The SaaS CFO Tech Stack: A Guide for Growth

Every SaaS CFO needs a good tech stack to make decisions easily. This list of software that will make your scale-up grow faster at each stage of growth.

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The State of CFO’s and Tech Stacks in 2021

Over the past decade, the role and responsibilities of the SaaS CFO have evolved significantly, moving away from transactional to become a more strategic finance leader and business partner.

As time passed, the technological environment has continued to expand and become more advanced. Thus, strategic SaaS CFOs have been updating their tech stack to keep up with the constant changes and shifting demands of an increasingly complicated market while also meeting the needs of their own business.

To highlight the trend of CFOs investing in technology and financial tools that will reduce time spent in manual tasks, IT spending is expected to increase 6.2% in 2021. This shows the quick recovery after the devastating consequences the pandemic left and provides a brighter look into the future.

In addition to this boom in spending, CFOs also have great expectations for the future of technology, have made it a top priority for them and 54% will increase their spending in finance.

Their need for comprehensive solutions that addressed a wide range of requirements has shaped the landscape and today's specialized tools enable them to pick and choose the greatest fit for each individual necessity the business has.

A best-of-breed approach that customises each solution to meet a specific requirement is an excellent method to optimise the CFO stack and deliver greater value throughout the organisation. For a SaaS CFO to effectively scale up their business, they must have expertise in the following areas:

  • Relevant rules and regulations;
  • Business strategy and development;
  • Payroll implementation and troubleshooting;
  • Data visualisation;
  • Human resource allocation and management;
  • Management over administrative, legal, and financial branches of the business.

To help you along the way, we will provide a breakdown of what business tools you can use to help your business scale up move through each stage of growth.

Remember… choosing the correct financial planning tools and software can mean the difference between success and failure in your business efforts.

Stage 1: Startup

At this stage your company is still fighting to prove if it can be successful in the long term. So, to make things less complicated you probably only use Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of everything, and because you are going to spend a lot of time analysing data here are some tips. However, if you want to improve the process and reduce time spent analysing data, you need accounting software to at least forget the crazy mess of spreadsheets.

Accounting Software

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a large number of accountants and financial advisors are still reliant on the old-fashioned spreadsheets of yesteryear. Admittedly, these can still be useful, however, with more advanced tools which can streamline financial data and reconciliation, there is no reason not to stay up to date.

Accounting platforms allow you to manage your books from anywhere and reduce the amount of manual data entering you do. This software is designed for small-medium businesses, and those CFOs later will require greater capabilities.

Biggest benefits for SaaS CFOs

  • No more manual data entry for accounting
  • Highly intuitive design
  • Cloud-base

Some examples of good accounting software are:

FreshBooks

FreshBooks, is a cloud-based accounting software that is designed to simplify and automate all of your most crucial accounting procedures. You can simply create, change, and manage ledger entries, and you may export this data without having to put in a lot of time and effort.

FreshBooks, like the other programmes on this list, is cloud-based, which means you'll be able to access your files from any location. FreshBooks reports are simple to create and comprehend, which is consistent with the rest of the FreshBooks experience.

Xero

Xero is one of the fastest growing and most well-known cloud accounting systems on the market. It is specifically designed to make accounting as simple and accessible as feasible, as well as to eliminate as many superfluous stages as possible.

When compared to many of the other accounting tools available, Xero is straightforward and user-friendly. As a result, more skilled financial teams may find this to be a constraining factor. But, if you are able to handle your accounts in a seamless and straightforward manner, why not?

Stage 2: Survival

As your company begins to grow and show potential, you’ll need to add some kind of payroll and HR management software to track your growing staff.

Payroll Management and HR Platforms

It's possible that payroll is considered to be more of an HR function than a matter for CFOs, yet both responsibilities are closely related. Everything from salary to sick leave has an impact on the efficiency of a firm and the amount of money it makes. So, what are your best options for streamlining payroll while also staying on top of critical employee issues?

Biggest benefits for SaaS CFOs

  • Wide range of features including automatic enrolment and RTI
  • Less cluttered than spreadsheets
  • Saves a lot of time for payroll management
  • Gives employees good visibility over their pay, leave, and more.

Some of these solutions include:

ADP

ADP or Automatic Data Processing, is one of the biggest providers of human resources (HR) software solutions and outsourced services in the world. It offers effective managed payroll services and human capital management (HCM) to aid in the running of compensation, attendance, compliance and more.

BrightPay

BrightPay is a fantastic cloud payroll solution that was developed exclusively for the United Kingdom market. Users can rest certain that their payroll operations are HMRC-compliant, and the auto-enrolment option makes it simple for firms to set up employee pensions without the need for additional staff. The platform's ease of use is the platform's second most important selling element.

Gusto

Gusto, like the other two services mentioned above, assists businesses in automating payroll. Among the tasks are everything from payslips and federal and state tax filings to time-consuming calculations and compliance with healthcare standards (including the ACA). Gusto works seamlessly with accounting software, ensuring that all of your most crucial (and time-consuming) operations are taken care of without you having to lift a finger. In a nutshell, it simplifies the complicated process of payroll administration.

Stage 3: Success

Now that you moved out of the survival stage, your company has proven its economically sustainable, it can be good to change accounting software for ERP system that lets you do more and a financial planning software to help make decisions easily and supported by data.

Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERPs)

There are numerous ERP’s which can manage a specific subset of capabilities required by a CFO in order to allow them to reach a specific goal. Depending on your businesses structure and aim will heavily influence what ERP you should use. Below are two of the most popular financial planning tools which may help your business.

Biggest benefits for SaaS CFOs

  • Company-wide data easily available with financial records and dashboards
  • Useful search functions
  • BYO system for great adaptability

Two useful tools are:

NetSuite

NetSuite is one of the most well-known and widely used cloud enterprise resource planning tools today. For many CFOs, this is the gold standard when it comes to financial reporting. NetSuite is an all-in-one solution that serves as an ERP, CRM, business process development tool, and eCommerce platform. The obvious advantage of using a comprehensive platform such as this is the ability to have all of your vital data in one place at all times. If your CRM and ERP are able to communicate with one another, this is quite beneficial.

Unit4

Unit4 is a very powerful ERP system with a slick interface. What distinguishes this platform from others is that it is mostly a do-it-yourself platform. You have a great deal of latitude in constructing the system in the manner of your choosing. Which is excellent if you have the time to do so and are clear on what you want to achieve. Some startup CFOs, on the other hand, may choose a solution that is ready to use right out of the box. If this is the case, you'll most likely want to consider another choice.

Financial Planning and Analysis

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) solutions support finance teams' budgeting, planning and forecasting efforts. And increase their ability to manage performance by linking corporate strategy and execution with modelling, collaboration analytics and performance-reporting capabilities. The FP&A market is accelerating its shift to a more tech-driven landscape, so including these solutions in your tech stack will help your company grow quicker.

Abacum

Of course, we had to include a collaborative financial planning and automated performance analysis tool. You can automate manual tasks, share your findings, collaborate and drive decisions, faster than ever. This means taking strategic finance to the next level.

4th stage: Growth

At this stage you are looking to expand your business and spend, payment and focus on financial planning

Payment Processing Tools

In order to run a successful business, it is usually necessary for clients to be able to pay for your products or services… this much is obvious. Fortunately, there are excellent tools available to make this process as easy and straightforward as possible.

Biggest benefits for SaaS CFOs

  • Multiple currencies supported
  • VAT and other taxes automation
  • Ready-to-use dunning process for unpaid invoices

They include solutions such as:

Stripe

If your customers want to pay with a credit card online, Stripe is almost the de facto industry standard. It allows you to issue invoices and collect credit payments through your app or website without having to invest a lot of time and money in technological development quickly and easily. Due to the fact that every consumer can pay in the same manner, it greatly streamlines the money collection process.

GoCardless

GoCardless assists clients in making payments quickly and conveniently. However, rather of accepting credit card payments, it operates on a direct debit basis. Customers can authorise your firm to collect direct payments from them on an ongoing basis with just a few clicks of their mouse. One-time invoices are also supported, and your customers will have an easier time setting them up with the help of the service.

Spend Management Solutions

When discussing financial planning software, it is vital to utilise a solution which can help any CFO stay on top of the corporate expenditure.

Biggest benefits for SaaS CFOs

  • Company spend tracked in real time
  • Single-use or recurring virtual cards
  • Creation and storage of digital receipts

Spendesk

Most businesses find it difficult to keep track of their spending. A spend management solution like Spendesk eliminates all of this by providing you with intelligent, trackable spend management. Your employees have access to their own cards with adjustable limitations, which eliminates the need for them to pay with their own money altogether. Meanwhile, as a SaaS CFO you will have complete visibility into the spending of the company, thanks to thorough records of every purchase.

By implementing these solutions to your tech stack, your scale up will improve not only results, but also the finance team's performance. However, keep in mind that this software will require extensive research to adapt to your own organization's needs and budget.

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Now that you know what kind of solutions exist out there for your finance team, it's time to begin making that investment.

With Abacum, we empower finance teams of high-growth tech companies to become true strategic partners in the organization by driving time-to-insight with powerful automation and seamless collaboration. Request a demo now to see the product live and start your own transformational journey.

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