Finance teams worldwide, in businesses of all sizes, are overwhelmed with the SaaS tools that were supposed to make their lives easier. With a growing tech stack full of software that both ingests and produces data, plus a catalog of mundane, repetitive tasks, it’s become increasingly difficult for finance teams to be strategic.
In this new era of financial technology, it’s essential for businesses to be prepared for the wave of change and opportunity that a growing financial tech stack has wrought upon the world. The essential question every finance leader should be asking themselves is: can we confidently grow in an environment where it’s become increasingly difficult to know, in real time, all of the financial corners of our business? If you’re asking yourself that same question, you’re not alone, and you’re most certainly in the right place.
In this piece, we’ll explore the challenges CFOs and finance departments are facing, along with a look at the ideal state of Strategic Finance—a place that isn’t so far away at all. A place where finance teams can stop looking backward to tie the bows on each month, and start looking ahead, driving their business forward.
For those that work in the world of finance (just like you, dear reader), it’ll come as no surprise that SaaS tools dominate your team’s work life. Depending on the size of your organization, you’re no doubt juggling a set of SaaS tools that care for the vast majority of the inner-workings of your business.
You manage payroll software to make sure the company gets their checks correctly and on time; there’s employee expense software for reimbursements; you have billing, subscription, and payment management software to process incoming revenue; then there’s tax management software to deal with the intricacies of monthly and yearly tax repercussions…... oh, and then there is an ERP to try to tie the whole mess together. The list goes on and on, and for most companies, it gets longer every year.
In the past decade, it’s become plain to see that—just like sales, marketing, and engineering—finance too, has their very own tech stack now. While it may be the newest to emerge, it’s arguably the most crucial of any team in your company. It’s a tech stack that keeps the lights on, and the employees paid. And while it’s true that there are tools designed specifically for accounting and finance professionals, the reality is, the finance tech stack also needs to sit on top of, and consolidate data from every other department’s tech stack to assess the financial solvency of your business. That’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s also grounds for a massive opportunity.
Of course, the new tools your team uses are great. Many of them are more than mission critical; they’re daily-business critical. But new tools can also complicate things. For those who work on finance teams or lead them, this isn’t news to you. The vast majority of the tools you use both ingest and produce incredibly essential data. But in most cases, those datasets don’t automatically talk to each other, and that means a handful of things.
We’ve all had business leaders preach the benefits of breaking down silos, but it’s true that the financial big-picture of your company is impossible to see, if you can only view a handful of pixels in one place at any given time. That applies to every tool in the finance tech stack—but it also goes beyond it, too. There are numbers that your department relies on that live inside of tools you don’t own, manage, or potentially in some cases, even have direct access to.
When your data is siloed, you’re only ever getting part of the story that your team needs to be able to tell if they want to truly be effective. And whenever you’re looking to paint the entire picture of the state of the union for your company's holistic finances, you’re working extremely hard to do it. Which leads us to the next point...
When your tools don’t automatically talk to each other—but they still rely on data from one another to paint an accurate, holistic picture of your business—your team finds itself doing lots of manual data entry and reconciliation. Whether it’s taking numbers from one system and plugging them into another, or consolidating data by dropping numbers into shared algorithmic spreadsheets, your team is using costly time and effort every month to get a solid look at what’s actually happening with the finances of your business.
And even as studious number-crunchers, manual data entry leaves an area ripe for accidental errors. When data is in multiple places, and input manually, your team spends crucial cycles making sure every number is right... in every single place. And if a number changes in one SaaS tool, there can be 5, 10, or 20 systems that need it updated manually there too. Which, as luck might have it, leads us to the next point...
When it requires this much effort to input and reconcile data, your team is perpetually behind the eight ball, focused on the rear view instead of the horizon.
You know your team holds key data that impacts the forward-facing trajectory of the business. But it’s incredibly difficult to be the stewards of that future, when so much of your time and effort is taken up looking at the past.
With the above challenges in mind, every month can feel like another mountain to climb for any finance team. But it shouldn’t. It shouldn’t be such a slog to get through another 30 days. It shouldn’t require so much manual effort to piece together the puzzle of numbers your team has to touch every month. It shouldn’t be so hard to see the big picture of your company’s finances. And it damn sure shouldn’t be so hard to look forward.
If we’re in agreement that this current state of affairs is broken—what could fixing it look like? If we’re in agreement of what it shouldn’t look like—well then, what should it look like? At Mosaic, we’ve experienced all of the above challenges firsthand. And we’ve spent years working to answer those exact two questions. When it comes to fixing the frustrations of worldwide finance teams, we believe in a handful of essential things.
If important financial metrics are difficult to determine, and walled off from most of the company, it leads to a disconnected and unaligned operation. In other words, a Finance problem is a problem for the entire organization. We believe it’s essential for the right people inside your company to always have access to the financial big picture, whenever they need it—and the onus shouldn’t be on your team to constantly be responding to requests or pushing out financial data to teams. Democratized financial data creates a shared language inside your company, and that shared language helps drive trust, letting business leaders arrive at consensus, and grow faster.
Your team should be able to focus on being strategic with what they already know, not on constantly trying to make sure the numbers are right across the business. Those basics deserve to be handled automatically by a software tool, not through manual effort from your employees.
Mission critical data should flow freely from each system, pulled from where it needs to be into an engine that consolidates insights —automatically. There should be no room for errors when it comes to getting data from one system into another, and your team shouldn’t have to manually fix new numbers in multiple locations every time there’s an update somewhere.
When your tools are interconnected, you should be able to see that holistic big picture you desire in one place. And that doesn’t just apply to finance tools in your business. It applies to any system that produces data that affects your P&L. That means sales and marketing tools, contracts closing, paid media spend, etc. should all be in one place, so that big picture is actually representative of your business as a whole. You need to be able to see overarching reporting and metrics from disparate systems in one place to be effective. And we believe you should be able to do just that.
We believe finance teams should no longer be trying to earn a seat at the table—they should be hosting the party. And that means having the insights to steer critical business decisions at their fingertips, not constantly trying to close the previous month. You should have real-time data in hand, anytime you wish, so you can use the past to inform the future at a moment’s notice. You should be spending your time making strategic recommendations to leadership and seeing into the future of your business—not just being a machine that continually tidies up the past.
These core beliefs aren’t just things we say. And they aren’t things we hope for. They’re values we’ve actively been pursuing for years, and promises we’re excited to deliver on for finance teams around the world. We’re excited to save finance teams time, effort, and money, but even more excited to help turn them into the data engines that drive top-level company strategy in any and every business.
The problems of the finance tech stack have lived long enough. We’ve felt them firsthand, and we’re ready to to solve them for ourselves, and solve them for the world. We’re ready to start connecting data to make it useful. We’re ready to deliver the tools finance teams need to make the right decisions quickly. We’re ready to eliminate manual data entry. We’re ready to empower CFOs, controllers, and finance teams like they’ve never been empowered before. And in turn, we’re ready to empower the C-suite, and business leaders across companies, so that everyone can benefit from the shared financial knowledge in their business.
But more than anything, we’re ready to usher in a new era of Strategic Finance. An era that gives finance teams the tools and the power to focus on the future, while painting holistic pictures of the financial past, and present. We’re ready to help finance teams know what they historically haven’t known, so they can help their teams confidently grow. We’re ready for the future.