The tech revolution that swept through the business world over the last two decades transformed sales, marketing, product development, and more. And all but skipped over the world of finance and accounting.
Accounting software is nothing new. But manual processes and Excel spreadsheets still dominate the space, whereas colleagues across the business have enterprise-grade automation in consumer-grade user experiences.
Times are changing quickly, though.
Now, there’s an abundance of accounting software on the market that could help you elevate your role as a strategic partner in the business. You just have to know how to navigate that market and implement solutions that will deliver outsized ROI.
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How Accounting Software Benefits SaaS Companies
In the world of high-growth SaaS, companies can only move as quickly and proactively as their data allows. That means stakeholders from across the business are constantly pushing accounting teams to deliver data faster and create a foundation for more agile decision-making.
Manual processes will only get you so far until you can’t keep pace with business demands. But as you apply accounting software to tedious, manual workflows, you unlock efficiencies for your team that pay dividends for the company at large. This is what will take you from the constant scramble to produce financial statements to a more strategic role that helps you highlight insights in financial data.
Temi Vasco, Controller at Gem, has a self-admitted obsession with technology and automation and has used that obsession to elevate the value of accounting in her organization.
Just because we have these tools in place, keeping in mind that we were doing all of this in Excel before, has really helped us scale… We can do so much because we have that technology helping us, and we can focus on those really important things, right? You know, serving our customers, which is pretty much everyone in the company, and making sure that we’re partnering with them better.
The promises of accounting software are clear — simpler data aggregation, faster close processes, better insights for business partners, improved reporting accuracy, and more collaborative workflows.
But the real challenge is assembling the right stack of accounting solutions that talk to one another and work together to drive better outcomes for your team.
What to Look for in Accounting Software
The market for accounting software, which was once limited to a few major vendors, has exploded alongside software for finance, with upstart companies looking to modernize outdated workflows.
This gives you an abundance of platforms and point solutions to evaluate, which may seem overwhelming.
As you dig into the market for accounting software, keep these critical factors in mind.
It Improves a Painful Workflow for Your Team
We asked Temi how she decided which workflows to automate, and she said she looks for three criteria:
- Is it repetitive? Look for processes that your team runs month after month and that take more time than skill for the most part.
- Does it require structure? Look for workflows that adhere to some sort of strict guidelines or compliance requirements rather than ones with a lot of subjective review.
- Is it painful for everyone? Consider how the workflow impacts the accounting team as a whole and the company at large. Prioritize new software solutions for workflows that solve business needs for a wide array of stakeholders.
If the workflow checks all three boxes and a software solution you’re evaluating improves it, you can expect strong ROI.
It Integrates with Other Systems in Your Tech Stack
Your primary focus when choosing between accounting software solutions for a particular workflow should be whether or not it integrates with the rest of your tech stack — and, specifically, your ERP.
Take the spend management category as an example. The tools in that category are feature-rich and can likely modernize your old expense report processes. But if you can’t pipe the transaction data from the spend management system to your ERP with proper tagging, you’ll sink as much or more time maintaining and reconciling the data than if you just did everything manually in the first place.
Ask pointed questions of every vendor about how their tools work with your existing tech stack. Don’t settle for vague answers or less-than-ideal integrations.
It Will Scale Alongside Your Organization
When looking at different tools, think about how they might fit into your tech stack two or three years down the line, not just today. Implementing software solely to solve today’s challenges is a straight path to bloated tech stacks and inefficient processes.
Especially in high-growth SaaS companies, it’s important to evaluate how well the vendor will be able to support your needs as you grow. And because accounting is so structured, you know what your needs will be at later stages of growth. If the close management software you’re implementing today will be insufficient a year or two from now, is it worth the investment for your team?
The 11 Best SaaS Accounting Software Solutions
Not sure which accounting software is worth evaluating for your SaaS company? We talked to finance and accounting leaders like Howard Katzenberg, Parker Gilbert, Temi Vasco, Amy Garefis, Lauren Bahr, and our own internal experts to which ones to look at.
Here are 11 options that can help modernize your accounting workflows and unlock new levels of efficiency for your team.
1. The ERP System
The ERP is your accounting system of record. Rather than adding a separate entry for each solution, there are three main systems we’d recommend for SaaS.
- QuickBooks. Simple connections to your bank accounts and an easy means to manage your chart of accounts, bookkeeping, and basic financial reporting in the early stages of your business. Integrating Quickbooks with other source systems like Salesforce or Hubspot can be a technical challenge.
- Xero. Similar to QuickBooks as far as functionality is concerned, but Xero is more popular outside of the United States. Our experts say that Xero’s reporting and cash flow forecasting features are more robust than QuickBooks, but you won’t go wrong either way.
- NetSuite. The upgraded option for more mature businesses. If you have multiple subsidiaries or high transaction volumes, you may have outgrown QuickBooks or Xero and need a solution for more mature businesses. NetSuite’s report building features give bigger companies the diverse functionality they need to dive deeper into complex financials. NetSuite implementation is a challenge, but for a high-growth SaaS business, it’s often inevitable.
2. FloQast — Month-End Close Incumbent
FloQast offers a cloud-based accounting workflow automation designed by accountants for accountants to integrate with your ERP, general ledger, Excel spreadsheets, and other tools to close books faster. While this software caters to some of the largest companies in the world, smaller, high-growth companies can also take advantage of its well-known ease of use. However, some users note that it is somewhat costly and can be slow.
3. Numeric — Modern Month-End Close
Numeric is bringing automation to one of the most critical accounting workflows — the month-end close. The platform syncs with your general ledger in real time to streamline recurring workflows, reconciliations, and variance analysis. Numeric’s mission is to empower finance and accounting teams of all sizes to achieve a continuous close.
4. Glean — Spend Intelligence and AP Automation
Glean is an intelligent accounts payable solution that gives teams robust automation tools and complete spend visibility. The platform offers insights that help you benchmark vendor spend and negotiate the best deals with your software providers and contractors. Glean has an excellent customer support team, and it integrates with Sage Intacct, NetSuite, Dwolla, and Xero. The company aims to be the more modern alternative to Bill.com.
5. Airbase — Spend Management
Airbase is a spend management solution that optimizes a business’s spend request and approval workflows, lowers costs, and improves fraud security. The tool has real-time monitoring, reporting, and analytic features. It also integrates easily with Sage Intacct, QuickBooks Online Advanced, NetSuite, and Xero.
6. Ramp — Corporate Card and Expense Management
Ramp provides cloud-based spend and expense management to companies of all sizes. The tool can consolidate workflows (no more hunting down receipts and approvals), and makes it easy to set spending limits specific to teams and occasions. It integrates with Gusto, Workday, Rippling, Slack, and more.
7. Anrok — Sales Tax Compliance Automation
Automation can also solve sales tax headaches for SaaS companies. Different states have different rules about collecting sales tax on products and services — sometimes very complicated rules. Anrok automates large swaths of the compliance process and syncs with Gusto, Quickbooks, Netsuite, and Stripe, among other tools.
8. Occupier — Lease Management
Staying on top of lease accounting compliance at a rapidly growing startup has its challenges. But Occupier was created to do just that. Its tools make it easy for finance teams to comply with new standards while also breaking down the silos between finance and real estate teams.
9. Chargebee — Subscription Management
A SaaS billing platform built with the SaaS subscription model in mind. This software gives finance and accounting teams control over the full lifecycle of recurring revenue — from invoicing customers according to their contracts to cash collections, recording transactions, and managing accruals.
10. Chargebee RevRec — Revenue Recognition
ChargeBee RevRec is automated revenue recognition software that complies with ASC 606 and IFRS 15 to provide accurate, auditable transaction data. This platform syncs revenue and cash flow to minimize human error and unburden finance teams, helping to streamline month-end close processes.
11. Ordway — Billing and Subscription Management
Ordway provides cloud-based billing and subscription management tools to help manage recurring revenue, automatic payment processing, and more. The platform provides users with a visual dashboard complete with data visualizations and detailed reports. The tool begins to lose its shine when startups reach the enterprise stage.
Improve Your Accounting Processes with Mosaic
Mosaic is a Strategic Finance Platform designed to automate data gathering, sorting, and reporting from all of your systems of record. While it’s not necessarily an accounting solution, the ability to create a central hub for all financial and operational data can help you simplify your month-end close with greater visibility into revenue and expense data.
Botpress, a Series A company, took advantage of Mosaic’s automation features to shorten its month-end close cycles by 87%. Because Botpress is a Canadian company selling mostly to U.S.-based customers, the company had to manage multiple subsidiaries during the month-end close without much in the way of accounting resources to do so. Mosaic’s ability to handle financial consolidation made it easy for Botpress to report on key SaaS metrics and produce financial reports in both Canadian and U.S. currencies.
We use Mosaic to report our SaaS metrics for our standard accounting reports and period statements, and do it all in both currencies so we can adapt to the needs of our different investors.
So many of accounting’s historical challenges have revolved around data wrangling. You spend so much time trying to collect data that you can’t keep up with the needs of the business.
Botpress solved that problem with the help of Mosaic. Reach out for a personalized demo to learn how it can do the same for you.
SaaS Accounting Software FAQs
What is the most popular accounting software in SaaS?
QuickBooks Online is the most popular accounting software in SaaS because it covers the basic bookkeeping needs of businesses from the earliest days through some of the most important growth milestones. Depending on the complexity of your business as you scale, you can grow into Series C and maybe even beyond while still using QuickBooks.