Financial management is often the primary factor separating a successful company from a struggling one. No matter the size of your organization, or what industry it’s in, excellent financial management is the key to running your business processes like a well-oiled machine.
Thankfully, there are many cloud based platforms and tools available that any business can use to its advantage.
We have compiled the following list of financial management and CFO tools that every manager or owner should consider.
What to consider when researching financial management tools
Your selection of strong business tools depends on several related considerations listed below. Think about them carefully before deciding on a set of tools.
- Balancing your budget. How much are you willing to budget toward these financial systems? Depending on the scale of your operations, you may deploy more integrated platforms and tools, and costs vary.
- Keeping your business secure. As financial matters transition away from paper to online platforms, companies must manage access to sensitive financial information on digital records. Businesses of all sizes need a financial management tool with granular roles for access control.
- Ensuring future scalability. A financial management tool must evolve with the needs of your business to avoid the costly hassle of converting to a new system when you outgrow your current software.
- Switching to the cloud. While some organizations use on-premise financial management to have full control over their processes, others opt for a cloud-based approach so that all records and workflows are available at any time. This unparalleled flexibility could boost your company’s success rates in the digital age.
- Achieving automation and efficiency. Cloud-based financial tools will save you time and money. Choosing companies like Approve.com for seamless requisition will consequently modernize your financial processes and boost the efficiency of approval hierarchies as your business evolves.
Let’s talk about some of the most popular financial management tools that companies of all sizes use, as well as some related CFO platforms.
Top Financial Management Tools
Business finances can be complicated and intimidating, but the right financial management tool can make it a whole lot easier to digest. These integrated systems can help transform specific parts of your business and focus on what needs to be optimized.
1. Xero (Accounting Software)
This list cannot be complete without mentioning an accounting tool. It’s safe to assume that any lineup of business tools you’re considering should include the keystone features of accounting. You will be able to enhance various value-added components with mobile access and integrate with point-of-sale software and other third-party apps.
Xero, a prominent accounting software company, offers a way to simplify monetary transactions for employees and customers alike. Functions include report generation, automated recordkeeping, expense calculation, and invoicing. Companies can also manage inventory and sales orders through Xero, removing the need for manual data entry.
Xero starts at $20 a month.
- Easy to use
- Lightweight software that can run on a variety of devices
- Suitable for small-to-medium-sized businesses
- Integrates well with other tools
- Starter version limits your number of transactions each month
- More advanced features for sophisticated financial teams may not be available
2. Expensify (Expense Tracking)
Keeping track of everyday expenses can be a strenuous task, but having the proper tools will save you the hassle of organizing and maintaining physical receipts and small company expenses. Monitoring such expenses is part of some accounting platforms, so look for a program that integrates with your accounting software if the feature isn’t already present.
Expensify is an expense tracking tool where employees can scan receipts or upload cash expenses from their mobile devices for convenient rebilling, expense accounting, and reimbursement. It also generates reports on user transactions.
Expensify has tiered pricing options for both individuals and businesses.
- Integration with third-party platforms like QuickBooks
- “Smart scanning” automatically categorizes certain entries to save time
- Extra features like GPS mileage tracking
- User interface takes a while to get used to
- Receipt scanning is reportedly slow according to some users
3. PlanGuru (Budgeting)
Creating a realistic budget and sticking to it, while vital for an organization’s financial health, can be difficult for emerging companies. Many accounting software packages allow you to manage cash flow and make projections months in advance. However, if you want to divide your assets strategically on a separate platform, PlanGuru may be for you.
Aimed at small businesses, PlanGuru allows you to analyze your budget and notice financial shortcomings before they become serious problems. It takes data from income statements, cash flow records, and balance sheets in order to do so.
PlanGuru is $99 a month with a free 30-day trial.
- Learning resources like demos and tutorials are available so that you can hit the ground running
- Integrates well with QuickBooks and Excel
- The money-back guarantee ensures you can try the service risk-free
- Only compatible on Windows PCs
- The cloud-based version is locked behind a paywall
4. Approve.com (Spend Management)
Approve.com is a spend management tool that improves visibility into spend operations. It’s easy to use and integrates with existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions. It’s the ultimate business partner when it comes to financial management.
Working with companies like Approve.com allows businesses to integrate and streamline many of their financial operations and modernize everyday business. With a specialization in requisitioning, Approve enables companies to control spending pipelines and create an accessible, unified process of visible spending.
The entirely cloud-based service features simple customizable forms, streamlined approval processes, and automated POs. It is targeted at medium-to-large businesses, hence the starting price of $1,500 a month.
- Easy integration with existing ERP, SSO, and HR systems
- Free demo and trial period
- Training resources available, including webinars, documentation, and in-person instruction
- 24/7 live support
- Virtual credit card support is unavailable
- Few options for the end user experience
5. FreshBooks (Billing and Payment Processing)
When it comes to online billing processes, customers expect perfection. The smoother and more seamless your billing process is, the faster final sales can be made, and the better your cash flow.
While a basic online solution with invoicing capabilities is an adequate solution, having added features and flexible pricing plans can make all the difference. With cloud-based billing systems like FreshBooks, you can ensure best practices and a value-added user experience that can increase customer satisfaction and maybe even long-term loyalty.
Designed for smaller organizations, FreshBooks automates important accounting tasks. Users create and manage entries and export them effortlessly. It works on the cloud, allowing you to access your data from anywhere.
- Simple to set up and use without too many bells and whistles
- Automatic reminders available for late payments
- Flexible API for integrations with third-party services
- Not many heavy-duty functions for larger enterprises
- Limited mobile app that cannot access reports
6. BrightPay (Payroll Management)
Managing every component of wage or salary distribution, sick leave, and holiday pay can be unnecessarily challenging through the standard Excel payroll management systems.
Implementing a system that makes managing payroll a seamless and integrated process can significantly increase the efficiency of your operations and give employees great visibility over their pay. These resources are accessible on various digital devices. BrightPay, for instance, is a cloud-based service from the U.K. that makes payroll processing easy and intuitive.
- Excellent ease of use
- The auto-enrollment feature helps manage employee pensions
- Relatively inexpensive for its functionality
- Free trial available
- BrightPay Connect, with several online features, is locked behind an additional paywall
7. Gusto (Tax Preparation)
Integrating automatic software that manages tax deductions is vital for financial management. Investing in tax preparation tools can prevent the financial side of your business from turning into a complicated mess.
Whether it is data imported from Point-Of-Sale modules, inventory management, or employee compensation systems, the right software like Gusto, complemented with an external accountant for error checking, is what your organization needs.
Gusto is a general payroll automation tool that takes most of the tedious work out of your hands. Features include support for tax filings at both federal and state levels and healthcare compliance (including the ACA).
- Automated forms and taxes
- Support for specific regulations like 401(k) in the U.S.
- Demo available
- No support outside of the U.S.
- No mobile app
8. SOS Inventory (Inventory Tracking)
You can choose software solutions that automate real-time inventory monitoring and tracking, which can save on costs and time. For more advanced features, working with companies like SOS Inventory can track purchases from order to sale using its integrated cloud-based solution right from the POS.
Inventory tracking is vital for your business’ efficiency and determines how quickly customer orders can be fulfilled. Other features like low quantity alerts and report generation ensure that you don’t have to worry about constantly counting your stock. SOS Inventory is ideal for medium-sized businesses.
- Robust QuickBooks integration
- Free trial available
- Training materials like webinars and documentation
- Steep learning curve
- Pricing options are somewhat unsuitable to smaller companies
CFO Tools You Should Consider
Having these automatic and integrated financial management tools can optimize business operations and make sure you are always ahead of the game. However, sometimes you need a broader solution.
Let’s move on to CFO tools. Being a Chief Financial Officer requires extensive knowledge and experience regarding financial business operations. This position involves juggling multiple responsibilities:
- Human resources
- Taxation and legal compliance
- Business strategy
- Administrative financial matters
- Scaling future growth
Tools designed for CFOs are more like platforms that offer multiple functionalities to streamline different processes. The following is a breakdown of these requirements.
9. NetSuite (Extensive Knowledge on Organization Scale)
Some CFOs have extensive expertise in just accounting, but it’s crucial for successful CFOs to have diverse skills and tools at their disposal. To transition a young company to a more established position, the company leaders need to demonstrate a range of disciplines that can lay down a solid foundation for the rest of the company.
Apart from financial analysis, a CFO needs to be well versed in the inner-workings of other departments that rely on these reports and financial support. Here, understanding the internal core of business operations plays a significant part in developing a more integrated company infrastructure. Accompanied with the right financial management tools, a CFO who knows the scale of their company puts it on the path for rapid growth.
NetSuite is a well-respected application for this purpose, as it puts all the relevant data for a CFO in one place. From small businesses to large enterprises, NetSuite works well as a CRM, an ERP, and an eCommerce platform.
- Highly customizable
- Easy to organize and search through data reports
- Intuitive user interface
- The many functions and options require a considerable amount of knowledge to use properly
- Implementation reportedly takes time
10. FinancialForce (Financial Planning Framework)
As experts in the systematic inner workings of their companies, CFOs can use this knowledge to analyze and predict business moves. A successful CFO should be able to plan annual financial targets, create budgets, and monitor assets and active capital for the future.
With the right financial management tools, creating these frameworks can be much simpler. Innovations in cloud-based services, file sharing, and financial report generation are tools CFOs can use to stay up-to-date with telecommunications, add value to the company, and efficiently work to grow the business.
FinancialForce is one example. It’s an ERP that tracks spending, resource availability, and profitability, among others.
- Strong Salesforce integration
- Easy to use
- Readily-available financial records
- Initial implementation takes some time
- Financial reporting functionality has a learning curve
Fintech is Making Digital Finance Easier
Managing the finances of a company is no simple task. As companies evolve, so do the demands of their business functions and everyday operations.
The modern fintech movement has changed the way companies approach financial management tools. Having an integrated and accessible financial management solution and meaningful CFO tools allows room for growth and innovation in the digital age.
With the right team and effective financial management tools, companies can thrive regardless of their industry.