FinancialForce ERP & Professional Services Cloud Demonstration
Welcome to today's demonstration. My name is Andy Campbell. I'm a Solution Evangelist here at FinancialForce, and I'm going to be your guide today as we take a short trip through all the solutions that FinancialForce can offer to support growing businesses.
Before we get into the demo today, let's just set some context for the day. If we think about a typical modern growing business - say, in the technology space - well, most of them typically start off with an entrepreneur who comes up with a great idea or a fantastic new product. They build a team around them, get a few customers, and the business starts to take off, which is great.
What then happens as the business starts to mature and grow from, say, five people to 50 people to 500 people is that things start to change. Increasing numbers of customers usually means increasing complexity. One product becomes multiple products, and usually, services start to creep into the mix, and new business models, such as subscriptions, appear as well.
Companies then get to something of a tipping point where the systems that they put in place where the business was smaller, they start to creak. So, the business needs to do something about it before their whole enterprise is compromised. At this point, they need to think about moving to a more robust, more scalable, flexible platform that will support the business through the next stage of their growth. This is especially important if the business is thinking about something such as an RPO, when investors will start to do their due diligence on the resilience of the business and all of the underlying systems that go with them.
So, what I'm going to be taking you through today is a bit of a whirlwind tour of the FinancialForce applications and sharing how they can support those kinds of businesses, and deliver what growing companies need in the services and high tech sector. We'll cover how you can handle several different lines of businesses, several different revenue streams, and not just operationally. We'll also see how those affect our financials on the back end, and what that looks like in terms of financial reporting and from an analytics perspective as well.
So, to start, here I am, signed into a CFO dashboard. There are a couple of things I'd like to point out. The first is that it looks very much like a Salesforce screen, and that's for a very good reason. FinancialForce is built natively on the Salesforce platform, and that means you get all the value that this platform provides. Some of our customers have said, “Well, where does Salesforce stop and FinancialForce start?”
To which I would reply, “Well, if you can't tell, then that has to be a really good thing because it shows how seamlessly they work together.”
The second thing to mention is the dashboard itself. Now, this is based on my role as a CFO. So, I can see what I need to do for my job as a CFO. If I had a different role, such as a Project Manager, then I’d see a completely different screen based on that role. We'll see some more examples about this. The important thing is that everything I need is all in one place of glass, all designed for me, my job, to make things as simple and user-friendly as possible.
So, we're looking at sales, service, finance, data all in one place. I can see how my projects are performing, what does a project delivery look like, maybe look at things using a red-amber-green traffic light system. I can see our people, our utilization rates, to make sure they're not being over- or underutilized. In essence, our visibility of all the business triggers is that I need it all in one place.
As I scroll down a little bit further, can see here the term or the acronym ARR, which stands for Annual Recurring Revenue. So, as a services business, you may have a subscriptions offering that might be recurring, non-recurring, usage-based, whatever. There are lots of different options. These kinds of models may well behoove your business as it grows. We'll look later into how FinancialForce can support all these different business models and the billing arrangements. We'll do that later in the demo.
Over on the left-hand side, you can see some more information that may be of interest to me. In this case, there are large deals that are in our Salesforce CRM system, maybe some important documents that we price list, discounts, whatever I need access to.
The last thing to note is these approvals at the bottom. Now, one of the benefits of being on the Salesforce platform is that we take advantage of all their advanced technology to manage and direct things like approvals, alerts, and notifications. So, if I submit something for approval, where does it go? Now, you can easily build business rules that might be quite simple, such as basic if/then statements, or they could be quite complex depending upon your business processes. Same goes for workflows. You're going to see me click a lot of buttons as I go through this quick demo. But, if you want to automate some of these things instead, then you can. If you can define the logical criteria - such as if a B or C happens, you then go over a numerical threshold, you then do X, Y, and Z as a result. The system is designed to be really flexible so that you can easily adapt your business processes as you change and you grow as a company.
Okay, so let's get into the system in a bit more detail.
The best place to start is in the customer record, which is where we get a 360° view of the customer. In this case, a company called Prestige Worldwide. Now, rest assured, this is the exact same account used within your Salesforce framework. FinancialForce is not creating our own account. We're not duplicating information. We’re simply looking directly into that same record you've used in Salesforce to date. So, we have visibility of all of the information that you'd expect there: all of your opportunities, or contact, or maybe even cases if you're using service plans. What FinancialForce does to extend that investment and let you see what happens when you take that opportunity and do something with it. It might be a sales order you need to fulfill by maybe pulling something from inventory, or arranging a dropship. If we want a professional services unit, you may need to manage projects: making sure we have the right people, right skills, right place, right time, or to deliver on these engagements. Or maybe we're selling something like a subscription, and we need to manage their contract. Are we billing them monthly, quarterly or on a usage-basis? Do we have ongoing service contracts and renewals we need to worry about?
All of these things, all these parts of the puzzle that you need once you win that opportunity, that’s where FinancialForce is going to come in and is going to help you fill and deliver those gaps.
So once we've delivered the service, how do we translate that to cash in the bank? We need to think about how we can capture that revenue, how we decide to invoice the customer on what terms, how to ensure that cash is collected correctly. Of course, all this lovely revenue, once it’s recognized, has to be done so in a compliant manner. If you want all this done in an automated fashion, then, of course, that's absolutely fine as well.
Now, all of this can be handled within FinancialForce in a way that just extends your existing investment in Salesforce. In addition, for any finance folks online, it doesn't stop there. Financialforce offers a full ERP system. So, there's a comprehensive accounting solution, the full general ledger, that supports multiple multi-ledger for companies that need that kind of technology, or may do in the future, of course.
So, going from the opportunity through the operational areas, back to finance, and we're actually collecting all of the cash, recognizing the revenue, driving the business. That's what we're going to focus on now: how to get to this situation, and how FInancialForce handles all of these operational activities.
So, to start, we'll jump into an opportunity. Just to reinforce what I mentioned before: this is not a FinancialForce opportunity; this is a Salesforce opportunity within your existing Salesforce environment. Again, just like you saw in the account record, all that we're doing here on the opportunity is adding on additional information, depending on what the transactions are that you want to do. is it a project that we need to build out and resource? Do we need to supply products from inventory to deliver to the customer? Are we going to dropship? Do we need to start up a contract? If so, what do I need to do? Is it a new customer? Is it a recurring customer? Is it an upgrade, an upsell? Is it a transition? Whatever it happens to be, we can accommodate all those situations, and when we look at the products or SKUs that you're selling, these products are the exact same products and price books that you'd use within your Salesforce environment. We're simply looking directly into that sales data in order to leverage it from an operational perspective.
So, let's look at the example. If we drill down into this opportunity, you can see here, we've got five different line items. Let me explain what they are. So, the first: they're all subscription line items. First, we're selling some users. Second, we’re selling some engines. Third, we’re selling some additional users, they're going to be billed on a monthly cadence, or they’re billed annually, whatever.
Next, we're also selling a hosted, dedicated sell, which was going to go through our inventory component, whether that's something we pull from our own warehouses or maybe we arrange a drop shipment from one of our vendors. There, at the very bottom, we're also having some professional services. This might be the implementation of that dedicated server; this may be some other services that are based on something else. The concept is that we need to build a project, we need to build an engagement, we need to ensure staffing, and we need to deliver that project.
So, in this one opportunity, we have a lot going on in this single opportunity. Now, a lot of our customers choose to separate this out. You could have a subscription opportunity, a separate inventory opportunity, and, lastly, a service-based opportunity. That's entirely down to you based on how you want to approach it for your business. The system is really flexible. We can accommodate all of those things.
But, if you think of the world where all these things can be on one single opportunity, just by moving the status of this particular opportunity to closed won, then that can kick off a whole load of automated processes and triggers. The system is smart enough that I can take that Salesforce opportunity, all of that contractual information that we're talking about, and seamlessly build up a contract - which is, obviously, really powerful.
Now, I'm just going to navigate back to this, and we can see that we have an active contract. Now, this contract has those products and services that we've seen before. It ties back to the customer account of Prestige Worldwide and to the specific opportunity we looked at. You can see over here the contract start and end dates. A particular interest to any auditors and accountants listening: do decouple billing and revenue recognition. So, the start date of this contract could be completely different from the bill data of this contract. It's just going to result in some different GL entries.
You can also see here we have renewal reminders. Now, for a growing services company - such as a SAAS company in high tech - contract renewals are critical. So, this renewal could be automatic, or there might be an uplift. We can see that this contract is actually quite big: it’s 300,000. So, we may want to get a salesperson or a customer success manager to reach out and engage with the customer to ensure they're happy, and make sure the renewal is not compromised.
A bit further down, we can see some more information: proration, currency, company. FinancialForce is a global multi-company solution that allows you to manage several different currencies, several different entities, and do proration if that's what you need or perhaps you might need in the future.
So, taking a load of our line items, I like to call this “set it and forget it,” so that you can set things up once, and then you can largely automate everything. Here, we can see that the system knows exactly what line items were billed, how often we’re billing them. It could be a one-off fixed charge. It can be variable or usage-based. All of these can be accommodated in FinancialForce.
Then, on the right-hand side, we're setting out our cadence. This might be monthly, quarterly, yearly, or put it this way: as long as you can put something into a mathematical formula for the system to use, we can put that on as our intel. We can also see on each individual line item, they've got their own start and end dates. The reason for this is to give you greater flexibility that you need to support your customers. You may have some add-ons to this contract. There might be uplifts or upsells. In a subscriptions model, such as SaaS, you may want to arrange co-term contracts. This is just to assure you that in a subscriptions and services bill, FinancialForce can manage that entire subscription’s lifecycle for all your recurring or non-recurring bills.
Now, I could create a billing document or an invoice directly from this contract if I wanted to. However, what we're going to do in this particular demonstration is produce a consolidated bill. Now, this is going to have everything that you see on the screen now and also the dedicated server and the professional services we talked about before, all on one single invoice. Do I have to do it that way? No. We could bill for all these things independently on their own invoices, or a series of invoices if we wanted to. But don't worry, as I'm going through this demonstration, you may think, “That's not exactly how my business works.” It's not a problem. The system is very flexible to accommodate many different business models.
Now, a bit further over on the right, the last thing I want to call out is that we have a revenue recognition template. Now, these templates are extremely important because they drive the way that your revenue is recognized in the back end. In this example, we're equal-splitting all three line items, which means we're recognizing the rate over the course of the contract from the start day on the first of January 2021 to the end date on the 31st of December.
Now, that's just one option for revenue recognition. You could also be doing deliverable percent complete, or any other revenue recognition methodology - as long as you can put it into a formula. Okay. So, lots of flexibility in how we handle revenue recognition.
So, that was looking at a subscriptions based contract, which is likely to be a very important part of any services business. But if we go back to the opportunity, you'll remember we had some additional components as well. There was a dedicated server and there was the professional services delivery projects as well. Now, in a minute we'll have a look at how we can handle all those areas operational, and some of the FinancialForce functionality that can support all of that. Then, we'll take a look at that consolidated invoice I talked about, and we'll move into how we can recognize revenue on this information. Then, all of that good analytical stuff that layers on top of it. Finally, we can see the impact on our financials.
But before we do that, you’ll remember at the beginning we looked at a workspace that was dedicated to the CFO. Well, here's another example. This time, personalized for a Billing Manager with all the information that they need to undertake their job. At the top, you can see their frequent tasks with alerts such as overdue documents, contracts up for renewal, and the like. There are reports such as projected billings. Maybe I wanted to look at a live as-of aging report and see information moving around as I drill down into a specific answer. Lots of information, lots of analysis available to you. Again, as with the CFO workspace, it's designed specifically to make my job easier, and you'll see more of these workspaces as we go further through the demonstration.
So, coming back to our opportunity, the next thing we need to think about - the next piece of the puzzle - is the delivery of our professional services. Now, these might be projects that are very simple, but, well, they could be quite complex. There may be milestones we need to achieve, the tasks that need to be carried out; or it could be that, hey, we just need to deliver 100 hours over the course of a specific set of things. Now FinancialForce PSA is the market-leading tool for delivering and managing services and projects, and we have an entire demonstration that's dedicated to show how the detailed functionality works, but the concept is pretty straightforward. The project can be very simple, or it may be complex, as I said. But it's up to you to discern what that project plan looks like, for you to be able to build those projects out maybe using templates with appropriate values, tie them back to your opportunities, bill them on the right basis - be that time of materials fixed-fee not to exceed. There are many different ways. But we need to build out these projects and then track the financial ramifications, such as making sure that we're making the right margins. We’ll obviously need to staff and service the projects to produce Gantt charts to generate project status reports, risk logs.
As you can see at the top, lots of information. All of it's going to be embedded within this PSA project, ensure everything that you need to be able to run the professional services part of your growing business, and make sure you can deliver those projects for your customers are there.
Now, a key part of that obviously sits with the Resource Manager. Again, we can see here that they've got their own dedicated workspace to help them do their job more effectively. Again, we can see that information that needs action is brought to their attention. It might be alerts on things such as unfulfilled resource requests. You know, “What do I have and where have I got low utilization rates?” for example. We have all these lovely reports that enable us to understand how we're managing our resources, who's been stacked on these engagements. We need to know if we have the appropriate people to staff our pipeline and address our backlog. Do we have demand for certain roles, and can we deliver? We may have project managers and other folks out in the field that are requesting certain resources. What does that mean to our capacity? Can we deliver? Can we not? Do we need to hire someone in, such as the third-party contractor, and how much is that going to cost us?
The key thing is that not only do we have all the information that we need operationally to run these projects, we also have that lovely analytical layer on top that enables us to still identify stock gaps, areas for improvement, and what that means in terms of potential for customer delivery.
So, that's from a Resource Manager’s perspective, but the same is true as far as the Project Manager is concerned. Again, I want everything that I need easy to use on one payment plans. I want to track maybe projects that are going over budget or maybe late. I need to understand my project margins, and I can see here and, yeah, that looks pretty consistent. As I look back in the history, maybe there's a dip or a spike. What happened that month? Can I analyze, and what caused that dip there?
At the bottom, I can see a very simple view of all my projects with red/amber/green status. Just a nice easy, simple way to access all of my projects and take action on them. On the left are all the activities that I want to take on as a Project Manager: my log time, record expenses, manage risk and issues, all sorts of activities. The important thing is, again, everything I need all in one place. All of my alerts and notifications, all the operational data that I need, and all these analytical and reporting tools that sit on top of them. So, I've got a complete view of my professional services business.
Now, we've seen things from a recurring resourcing perspective, and we see things through the eyes of the Project Manager. What about the consultants who are actually out there with their boots on the ground and working with clients on a daily basis? Well, again, I have my own personal workspace. I can see alerts that show if I have outstanding time cards or other actions. I can see my utilization rates. I can carry out simple actions like logging time, creating expense reports. I can review my skill sets and certifications. As you can see on the left, I can use social collaboration tools to engage with my team members and colleagues. Again, really simple for me just to log in and do the things that I need to do on a daily basis.
Now, if we return to our opportunity: we've done the subscriptions, we've done the services. The last piece is to manage that hosted a dedicated server. Now, we have a sales order that we can go ahead and start to track for that server. We may well deliver the servant direct ourselves, through our inventory stored in our own ways, or we could place a purchase order with an external vendor and arrange for a drop ship delivery direct to the customer. FinancialForce has a suite of products called Auto Procurement and Inventory that can deliver all this functionality. We haven't really got time to go into that in any depth now, but if you do need to deliver physical products as part of your service to customers, then we’d relish the opportunity to dive into each of those areas specifically for you and really tie them all together in a more succinct way than now.
So, that's the whole operation side of the business. We can support subscriptions, delivery of projects to supply physical goods as well.
So, back to the opportunity, and as I said at the beginning of the demonstration, for this customer, they wanted us to produce a consolidated invoice. So, when I moved the opportunity through to Closed Won, we delivered all of the operational pieces. The system now just says, “Okay, you're allowed to actually create our invoice.” I said before: we could have invoiced the subscription separately. We could have just invoiced the project. We could have delivered the dedicated server and invoiced that completely separately. But I chose to show you that we're able to invoice all of these things on one single invoice. The decision there is entirely yours, and you can agree what's best for you and for your customers. They may want to separate invoices because they think they're easier to track, or they may prefer a single invoice because that means they got everything in one place. The important thing is that they get the information that they need in the format that they need it, which results in a happy customer and ideally one that quickly pays their bills without any dispute or delay as well.
So, moving swiftly on. Let's look at the next step in the process, which is revenue recognition. Now, you can simply recognize revenue based on the sales, or based on a project, or based on the subscription contract. However, if you have more complex requirements, there are new compliance standards that have recently been introduced: the ASC 606 and our IFRS in Europe. FinancialForce has a solution that can address these needs. You can bring all these obligations together in what we call a revenue contract, which is underpinned by a set of business rules. This allows us to bring all of our different performance obligations into one area. In essence, when you set up the opportunity, the rules engine delivers the correct rules to use for those items, and then the system automatically applies them to ensure that you recognize your revenue accordingly. Not only does this automate the process, but it also separates your billing from your revenue recognition, which is precisely what your auditors in your accountants want to hear.
Now, just like we saw earlier, we can also produce great reports in terms of how revenue is being recognized this period. What is our revenue by date, or the revenue type? What’s our deferred revenue balances? Again, a ton of information, easily available for when we need to make better decisions.
Then, to finish off, we've got cash collection. So, again, you see a dedicated workspace for our collections team. From here, they can manage the collection of all our money, send out reminders, send out dunning letters, and just let our customers know they owe us money in some capacity. We can also manage all of our aging to make sure that we have a good handle on all of our outstanding debt.
So, just a few things to finish with. First, let's look at the financial month-end close process. Now, FinancialForce has tools that enable you to manage this process, and, as a result, on average, customers have seen a 38% reduction in days to close. Which, if you're a CFO, I'm sure you’d think is pretty interesting. What it very simply enables you to do is put all the various steps you need to do as part of the close process into the system, make sure they're associated with the right person so they need to know what to do in order to get the books closed. That might include things such as managing into company transactions, revenue recognition - as we saw earlier - uploading bank statements, fixed assets, depreciation. Lots of information, all available fingertips to manage the whole process more effectively and efficiently.
Now, the last couple of things to leave you with, is starting with the ability to produce a financial statement. I might want to start by looking at a consolidated financial statement, and then maybe see what it looks like collapsed or non-collapsed. Or I'm able to see Company A, Company B, Company C, my eliminations, all of my consolidated balances on the right-hand side. So, it can also produce financial statements that enable me to drill down through the information to see what lies underneath.
Okay, so, in this example, we're looking at it, and we can see those balances, but I'm not able to drill into it. But what we have now done is to enable you to do just that. You start by accessing a high-level financial statement, and then with one click of a button you're able to drill all the way down through that information and start to understand how I got to some of those balances on my financial statements. So, that gives you some great power of your fingertips and true visibility into your financial position.
Talking of visibility, to finish off this demonstration, I'd like to quickly touch on the analytics layer. So, I might have a CFO over here that brings all that beautiful data together. I can start to look at profitability, I can start to understand my revenue, perhaps on a year-by-year basis. My margins, my expenses, my EBITDA. I can look at some of my balance sheet items, my AR, my DSO, my AP, cash, cash equivalents. I can use filters to select which companies, which currencies, or what periods. If I want to, I can compare my actuals to budget. But this is really just scratching the surface.
The interesting bit is when you start to set notifications and start to be proactive, not just reactive. For example, here my actual revenue gets to 112 million. I'd like to be told rather than just logging in one day and finding out. Perhaps I might want to notify somebody. I can mention them and annotate the report. I want to go ahead and actually say to somebody, “Check out this particular report,” where this amount is gonna tell you that at that specific point in time what the reports look like, so they can take some action against it.
We can also drill down through all this information. We may want to look at our revenue from one perspective on a year-by-year basis, but then we can look at it in a different way. I can start to filter things, maybe look at things by region, by practice, or by department, something else of that nature. I'm able to easily slice and dice this data, click around, drill into what's important, and really find the information that’s important to me from an analytical perspective.
Now, this, again, is just being done on revenue, but we can do this on margin, we can do this on EBITDA as well.
So, to bring this over to a close, let's finish by looking at predictive analytics. We want to be able to take what we saw in the last 12 months and understand what they're likely to be in the next 6 to 12 months. We can do this with confidence intervals. We can change them, depending on how we want to adjust that confidence. We can do this across multiple dimensions, revenues, margin, and we've even used regression analysis to predict where we're going in the future.
So, that brings us to the end of the short demo. A lot of information to digest, which we went through very quickly, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what FinancialForce is able to offer, and how we can add value to growing businesses such as yours.
So, to summarize, if you're looking to grow - and as we said at the beginning, there likely will come a time where existing spreadsheets and other systems will not be able to cope. They may not be able to scale. They may not be flexible enough to handle changing demands of customs. They may not be able to deliver business models such as subscriptions easily, and they may not be able to do that in a way that ensures regulatory compliance.
If you're aiming for growth, perhaps you're preparing for an IPO or some other significant investment, you'll need a robust, scalable platform to underpin your business and enable it to lift off. That platform could be FinancialForce.
Thank you for listening. I hope you found the session of value. To follow up, we'll be sending everyone on this webinar a recording of the event, and we’ll also be sending you a copy of our recent ebook, Reaching New Heights, that's written especially for growing businesses.
One more time, thank you for your time.