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Marketing needs a good Accounting System too (Don't be afraid to start the conversation with Finance)

Marketing and finance have more in common than you might think. Sure, we spend most of the money in the company (I speak for marketing) but we’re always held accountable for it…every month, quarter, and year. Ever wonder how can you be responsible for a budget that you’re not able to track? Having the right accounting system can make or break your marketing budget. Think about how much time you and your team spend tracking down whether your vendors have been paid.  Will your campaigns go out on time if the check hasn’t?  Do you know your historical spend line to prepare for next year?  Board reports require spend data and you have none – PANIC.  These are issues that every marketer I know experiences with Finance unless they use systems that talk to each other or better yet, are built on the same platform. (marketing plug: Salesforce CRM and FinancialForce Accounting live on the same platform) No, this isn’t a brainstorming topic; it’s actually available for you and your finance department today. Tip #1: Open up that line of communication and introduce your Controller and/or CFO to apps that allow you to effectively manage your budget and allow them to run seamless accounting processes. WIFM? (aka, what’s in it for me?) A lot. Workflow approvals for invoicing, no more spreadsheets to decipher what you’ve spent, vendor status updates, budget to actual reporting…the list is endless. Tip #2: Find a product that talks to your CRM. If you’re like me, you live in Salesforce CRM and so does the rest of your company. It’s time to invite Finance to the sales, services and marketing family. Make sure everyone is working off the same accounts, contacts, and data in general. Tip #3: Establish the ground rules and stick to them once your new system is in place. Nail down the questions that need to be answered: What’s your budget? How is it allocated? What happens when an invoice comes in? How is it coded? What’s the approval process? When will the expense hit the books? Pre-paid expense? Who collects the I-9? (smirk if you’ve had to do this before) We’re not talking pennies here. I’m talking about thousands and thousands of dollars that need to be accounted for…accurately. As a marketer, you need to be confident and in control of your spend and know whether you’re on budget or not.  After all, your spending drives the bulk of leads and opportunities for the company. If you’re using FinancialForce Accounting, welcome to the “Always on Budget” Club. Well almost always. We do like our ‘ignore the budget’ happy hours :) Start the conversation with your CFO today.
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