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Outgrowing QuickBooks | Is Sage Intacct the Next Step?

Mar 20, 2024

With growth comes challenges that QuickBooks just isn't built to handle. EisnerAmper's experienced systems team explains how organizations can access and analyze business data to inform strategic decisions using Sage Intacct.


Emily Madere: All right. Thank you so much for that warm introduction. Welcome, everybody. I know Karen and I are very excited to speak on this topic, Outgrowing QuickBooks: Is Sage Intacct the Next Step? This is a topic very close and near and dear to our heart, so let's go ahead and I'll kick it off. As Astrid mentioned, we have Karen Penhallagon, a senior manager with EisnerAmper, and myself, Emily Madere. I do business development for our practice. On the screen, I've included our LinkedIn information as well as our emails, but let's get into the agenda. For today, we really are going to be covering some challenges facing growing companies, we're going to be talking about a better way, we're going to be going into the future of Sage Intacct with a concentration in AI and machine learning, and then we're going to go through some wrap-up slides.

Let's go ahead and get started. For many smaller sized businesses, QuickBooks is the preferred choice in financial management software in an organization's early days, and for really solid reasons. QuickBooks is well known, it's easy to use, and really offers the basic functionality to get any business off the ground. Unfortunately, every growing business soon realizes that there comes a lot of scaling issues with QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online and is soon overtaken by limitations and compromises that emerge. Sound familiar?

With growth comes challenges that QuickBooks just simply isn't meant to handle. Karen and I work with a lot of organizations who are deciding to make the switch from QuickBooks and these are a lot of the common themes that we see what organizations are facing, so the inability to manage multiple entities, just using a few spreadsheets, really primitive reporting, and the need for a lot of accounting workarounds that leads to a lot of manual workflows, and there are a lot more when it comes to the different industries. When we're looking at a construction or project-based industry, there's a lot of needs around integrations that QuickBooks just can't handle. When it comes to healthcare organizations, kind of the same thing, a lot of integration needs.

But the fact is QuickBooks just simply wasn't designed to provide financial management capabilities to organizations. Kind of day one QuickBooks gives organizations what they need, but they soon found out that QuickBooks just isn't meant to scale and give the organization what they need years down the road. It really kind of boils down to the inability to kind of put all of those needs into the funnel and the funnel soon becomes overrun with those limitations, and ultimately the organization is unhappy and it's time to make the move.

Fortunately, there is a better way with Sage Intacct, a cloud-based financial management solution that provides a clear path to graduate from QuickBooks with sophisticated functionality, but it still uses the easy to use functionality. But what is Sage Intacct? Sage Intacct is a cloud-based best-in-class accounting solution, but that's a mouthful so let me help you break it down. At its heart, Sage Intacct is a cloud-based solution, which means it's in the cloud, you can access it from any internet browser, which means that you don't have to have Sage Intacct installed on a browser so there's going to be no downtime when it comes to updates. The next piece of that is best-in-class, and that just means that Sage Intacct excels in kind of these functions that are underneath the cloud. They've put a lot of R&D dollars into these functions and they're just really good at these icons.

But let's say on this list there are some items that aren't on there like EMR or project management tool. Sage Intacct is a best-in-class solution, which means it just can connect in these other solutions through APIs or data feeds, and APIs are just the way systems talk to one another. Sage Intacct is really giving organizations the ability to kind of create a tech stack perfect for the organizations with the ability to connect in and out different systems for where each area of the business can kind of pick what solution works best for them and we can pull that into Sage Intacct.

Sage Intacct is the only financial management solution that is endorsed by the AICPA, but kind of going above that two icons you see on the screen here is G2 and TrustRadius. That is two sites. We call it the Amazon reviews of software that end users can go out and actually rank software and give reviews on software, and Sage Intacct has remained number one in customer satisfaction year over year as well as a visionary in cloud financial management by Gartner. The next circle you see here is just Sage's culture. It really does have a culture of doing what's best for its customers, and that's why years ago when EisnerAmper decided to partner with Sage Intacct, why we kind of chose Sage Intacct as our preferred financial management solution to work with our clients with. I will now pass it over to Karen.

Karen Penhallagon: Thanks, Emily. I'm going to get into things that are a little more technical about Sage Intacct and then we're going to jump into a demo. Just starting out, though, with some key pillars that I think make Intacct really unique compared to traditional or legacy systems that are out there, including QuickBooks, and the first is the chart of accounts. Traditionally, GL accounts, they were really trying to hold a lot of information that's going to be used for reporting. Whether you were creating longer accounts maybe that had segments or subaccounts and going down a lot of layers and subaccounts, you're really creating a lot of complexity in your chart of accounts and making it difficult for end users to be able to accurately code things. Well, what Intacct's focus is to really simplify that chart of accounts. We'll see in a minute. We're going to use dimensions as a way to get that additional detail we're trying to report on, so that's going to turn our chart of accounts into something that is really just more the natural classifications. Really the focus is to give you a lean, mean functional chart of accounts that is simple and easy to code against.

The next one we'll see on here is going to be books. Of course every system has least one book, maybe it's an accrual book or a cash book, but Intacct has the ability to give you unlimited books. Out of the box, you can choose to have accrual, cash, GAAP, and tax books, one or all of those. You can also add on unlimited user-defined books, so if you have any other reason or why that you might want to report on or look at your financials you can actually create these additional books and you can either stack them into a financial statement or you can separate them out to separate columns on that statement so you can clearly see what entries were made into each of the individual books.

Now, the next one on here and something that we find affects a lot of our QuickBooks clients, and that is multiple entities. If you're working with multiple entities today, you probably have a lot of QuickBooks files out there that you're jumping in between. Intacct is natively multi-entity, so all of the entities are going to live in one single environment, you're going to log into one place to access all of them, and they can share master data so they can have a shared chart of accounts, maybe a shared customer or vendor list, any other shared dimensions, and that way that's going to give you not only an ease of use factor because you're not having to jump in and out of companies, it also means that we can automate consolidations, we can automate inter-entity transactions so you don't have to go make two transactions, one in each of the companies. You can actually just make a single transaction and let Intacct auto balance it for you through the due to and due from accounts.

But then the last one on here is dimensions, and I really think dimensions are the superpower of Sage Intacct. This is all the factors that you're maybe wanting to relate to one of your transactions. You can almost think of them as hashtags when you're in a transaction, but what I sort of think of this as, and a lot of you probably use Excel every day like we do, it's really turning your general ledger into a big pivot table. We're taking all these additional fields that we're tagging to every transaction and then we can turn around and report on those in any way that we see fit. On top of that, not only do we have these fields available, but we can use both hierarchies and groups. We'll see both of these today. During the demo I'm going to show you. The hierarchies allow us to automatically roll data up and report at either lower levels or the top level and groups allow us to group our dimensions in different ways and report on those groups, so it'll add an extra level of power even on top of just the ability to track things by dimension.

I've got this slide in here you're about to see that's going to be all of the different common dimensions that we see used. These are some of the standard dimensions that you can get with Sage Intacct and some of the ways that we see clients use them. Whether you're going to track things like jobs or projects and the cost codes and cost types associated with those, whether you're tracking things like vendors, departments, locations, we can flexibly use all these different pieces of information and you'll see in just a minute how we can actually include those on all of our transactions within the solution and then turn around and report on them.

All right. Before we actually jump into Sage Intacct, I want to give a quick overview of what you're about to see. I've divided our demo today into two main areas. First, a section on reporting and insights. We're going to talk a little bit about some of the additional reporting you're able to get out of Sage Intacct because of that dimensionality we just talked about, going to go through a dashboard that has a lot of examples of the different types of reports you can get, talk about the drill-down capabilities, and then we're even going to do a little bit of ad hoc reporting and actually sort of edit a report and look at how you can do that on your own in the system.

From there, then we're going to move into something a little more detailed. We're going to talk about process automation. We've got just three of the examples of ways that we can automate some of your processes within Sage Intacct, so things that you may be doing manually today, starting with inter-entity transactions, we'll talk about AP bill automation and how you can automate the entry of your bills, and then finally I want to talk a little bit about cash management and bank reconciliation and some of the ways that we can automate those processes and help you with your month end. All right, I'm going to go ahead and hop over into our demo company now.

Emily Madere: I just wanted to pop on and say if anyone has any questions, we will be taking questions throughout the entire time of the demo so just pop it in the chat.

Karen Penhallagon: Yes. Absolutely if you have a question as we're going through, please just put it in the chat. If I don't see it, Emily will interrupt me.

Okay. I'm going to go ahead, like I said, and start out just with kind of a high-level overview of some of the reporting functionalities, but I want to even start a little bit before that and talk about security a little bit in Sage Intacct. I'm going to be logged in today as a user called Emma. You might see that here at the top of my screen. Emma is a CFO, an administrative user in my particular system, but what I always like to point out is that actually you have a lot of abilities to limit users to what they specifically can see and do. Intacct has very granular security, so we can go down to an individual task level and determine if a user can add new records, just view records, edit records, any combination of those. It's got a lot of ability to really be flexible to your needs as far as the security in the system. We can also limit users to only see certain entities or departments, so if you have multi-entities and some users don't need to see all of them, we can control that as well.

All right, moving on down into some of the actual navigation through the system. The first thing I want to talk about is this concept of top level versus entity level. Usually we're going to actually operate at the top level, and what this is, it's not actually a place where you enter transactions. It's a non-transactional area. It just means that we can see and enter transactions to any of our entities from here. As you can see in my example company here, I have three entities set up. I'm going to be able to see as I go through my various demo transactions I can see and transact with any of these entities. Now, next piece of navigation that I'll point out is the dropdown you'll see right here, the navigation area. This application's dropdown is going to contain everything that I have access to. Case of Emma, it's quite a lot because she has access to everything in the system, but if we have someone who has more limited access, they're not going to see the various options that they cannot actually access so it limits this list down a great deal and you don't have people clicking on things and it saying access denied.

Just as a quick example, you'll see here under general ledger this is all the tasks I have access to, but there's also a couple of different ways that you can make the navigation a little easier. You can choose to favorite items. You might see these items that I have starred here. These are favorites. That creates a little dynamic menu that you'll see up here in the top left of my screen here or I can choose to bookmark items. These both work similarly. It's just up to your personal taste. Bookmarks work kind of like a traditional bookmark that you would use in any browser. You'll see here I have a bookmark option and I've got some various bookmarks that I already have set up in this particular instance.

All right. Let's go take a look at entities and locations. Just as a quick example of one of our dimensions, you'll see here that this is my locations list. It's a combination, actually, of entities and their children locations. Just a quick example of how the hierarchy... We'll see how this is actually is going to work in the report in just a minute, but you'll see that, for example, entity 100 has some additional locations underneath it, a couple of branches, 200 has some, maybe 300 doesn't have any. I'm able to build this hierarchy out, I can go multiple layers deep if I want to continue building it out deeper, and then what's going to happen is automatically in reporting I can choose what level I want to report at and it will roll up to the next level higher if I would like. If I look at 100, I'll see all transactions that live in any of the locations below it or I can go all the way down to the lowest level and report on that. That's just a quick example of the hierarchy.

One other quick item I want to point out before we really start diving into our dashboard and reporting is this little bubble that you're seeing here at the top, and that's Intacct Collaborate. I really love this tool. It's the ability to almost have a Facebook comment feed style right inside of your Intacct system. On any transaction or record, what it will do is you'll see down here at the bottom I've got a little feed that users can post to and so I can see that Emma made a post here, I can see that she referenced James and made a comment here. When I mention someone like this, it's going to actually both send them an email and give them a notification in the system that you would see here. Then they can actually click, just like I did from this dropdown menu here, straight into that transaction or record and they can come straight in and actually interact and respond back if they would like to Emma, so you can keep that conversation that maybe previously you might've had in Slack or Teams or over email, it could be right here on the transaction.

Another benefit that I really like about this is just for personal use. If you're anything like me, I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday so remembering why I made a journal entry six months ago was really not going to be feasible, but if I come in here I can make a nice long comment and even upload files that are backup to my entries. Then I can always come back later, read my own notes, and understand exactly why I did that entry. Okay, I'm going to go ahead now and head back to my dashboard. Are there any questions on any of these topics before I keep going, Emily?

Emily Madere: Yes, there is a couple and I think we can address them right now. One of the questions we got is who owns the accounting data in Intacct? Is it the firm or the client?

Karen Penhallagon: That is a fantastic question. You always own your data. Intacct may be housing it in the cloud for you, but you always own it and you can always take it out. If you ever choose to leave Sage Intacct, you can download the data yourself if you would like, you can work with Intacct's professional services and they can provide it to you as well or you can also pay a small fee and just maintain read-only access to Intacct for as long as you need.

Emily Madere: I think but that's a very important question when you're dealing with cloud-based software.

Karen Penhallagon: Absolutely. That's a question you always want to ask whenever you're working with a cloud vendor for sure.

Emily Madere: Can you have multiple dimensions? If so, how many can be set up for reporting? How do you make all fields mandatory so proper reporting is performed?

Karen Penhallagon: Great question. You can have really unlimited dimensions. There are seven standard dimensions. There's also about another, I'd have to count, six or seven that come with the different modules of the system. If you purchase different modules, you'll get dimensions that relate to that. You can have those standard. You can also create an unlimited number of user-defined dimensions, so you really don't have a limit on the number of dimensions that you can create in the system. We don't use user-defined ones very often. I think I have one client total that actually has user-defined dimensions. Mostly we're able to use the standard dimensions and accomplish all their reporting needs.

Something else we hear a lot is the ability to require them because there's no point in having that data if you can't then report on it because people aren't filling it out. You can either require it on a per GL account basis. I can say that you must choose a department on every entry that goes into a certain expense account, for example, or optionally you can actually go into individual transactions. I might say for every AP bill I want to require a department, so we can do that either way. That's called a smart rule. The system allows you to dynamically set up your own rules that will make sure that you're compliant in your entry processes. Great questions.

Emily Madere: Yeah. We have two more if you want to take those.

Karen Penhallagon: Sure. We can go ahead and knock them out and then I'll keep going.

Emily Madere: Okay. Can you have multiple clients with multiplications in one database and can all the clients use the same chart of accounts?

Karen Penhallagon: Yeah. That's a bit of a tricky question because when you say clients, I'm not sure what you're referring to, but if the question's about entities absolutely. You can have as many different entities as you want in the same database and they will share the same chart of accounts, so that's native to Intacct. There's also options, though, if you need to have them separate for some reason. If they're truly... If you're maybe doing accounting on behalf of a client or something like that and you want to keep them a little bit separate, we have options for that as well. Maybe just want to do a little follow-up with you to get more detail on that question to understand if I didn't answer it correctly.

Emily Madere: Then just one more, Karen. In QuickBooks online, if I make a mistake in an entry I can easily delete it. Does Intacct have this feature of editing or deleting as a whole or are we faced to leave it as is and create credit entries?

Karen Penhallagon: That's a fantastic question. That's actually one of the complaints I hear about QuickBooks from auditors and accountants is you can delete anything, so I have somewhat of an answer. The answer is you can technically delete most things in the system if you choose to give people the rights to. Again, it's a user access right that you can grant them to delete things. We usually don't recommend that. We like to keep that control with the admins. However, you can edit any transactions that are in open periods with one exception, cash transactions. Any transaction that's going to impact your cash books cannot be deleted or it can only be reversed. That's just from an audit standpoint. If you pay a bill, receive a payment from a customer, make a funds transfer between bank accounts, those items can only be reversed. Good question.

Emily Madere: We have more questions rolling in, Karen, but I think we should continue with the rest of the demo. We can get to those when we get to the stopping point.

Karen Penhallagon: Perfect. We'll prompt you again. We'll go through reporting maybe next and that'll probably generate a few more questions and then I'll loop back around and answer them. All right. Let's move on and talk about this dashboard a little bit. This is just one example of a dashboard. I kind of call this an executive dashboard, just a high-level overview of some information that you might be concerned with in your company, but Intacct allows you to create an unlimited number of dashboards. It comes with a number of standard dashboards and then you can create your own. You might need things like I've seen purchasing dashboards, AR dashboards that people use for collections, AP clerk dashboards. Whatever it might be, you can create dashboards for it. Dashboards are built of what we call widgets or components. What I'd like to do first is just talk a little bit about the different components that you're seeing here on the dashboard and then we're going to use some of these to actually do drill-down and some ad hoc reporting and show you sort of the use of those dimensions that we just talked about a few minutes ago.

I'm going to start out across the top with what's called performance cards. These are usually KPIs or quick pieces of information that you want to keep your finger on the pulse of for your organization, so whether it's financial data like revenue or expenses, it could be a calculation like profit margin or it can even be non-financial data. Intacct can track other data, like maybe it's head count, number of orders. If you're a project-based organization, maybe it's active projects. If you're any of the number of healthcare organizations, like Emily mentioned before, it could be patients, number of beds, whatever you like to track for your organization. All that can come in and that data can actually be blended, we'll see in just a minute, with the financial data as well.

The other nice thing about these performance cards, though, is they're not just a flat number that really doesn't have a lot of meaning. You've got control over what you want this number to mean to you. You can control first of all the time period. These happen to all be for this month. You might run this for a week, a month, a year, a quarter, whatever time period you choose to run them for, and then I can make comparisons with them, so whether they're being compared to a budget, in the case of a couple of these you'll see here I have them looking at budget, or if it's maybe compared to a prior period. I can look at both of those right here on this dashboard and then it'll also will give me this visual indicator of, "Am I doing well or maybe not so well? Do I have more orders than last month or more orders than my budget or fewer?" It turns that flat piece of data that you might have to do some thinking and some digging to figure out what it really means to you into something that I can quickly look at and say, "Okay, one second. I have a green arrow. My revenue is over budget right now for the month." Easy as that.

Now the next thing I want to talk through on here is going to be some of these financial reports. Intacct's financial reports actually kind of can be non-traditional as well as traditional reports. I always like to start out with this first one that you're going to see here on the left, which is the profit and loss by location. This is a standard Intacct financial report. It comes with about 30 or 40 standard financial reports out of the box. This is one of them. It automatically is going to take your summarized profit and loss. You'll see here I've got a rolled up summarized P&L or income statement and it's going to have that as my rows and then my columns in this case are my locations. You can see here that I have all the different locations, in this case my three entities, and I'm getting a rolled up number for them right here. If you have multiple entities, this is probably something you're doing in Excel today because you don't have this ability, but here I can drop it right onto my dashboard. I also have the ability if I choose... There's a module that will also do automatic eliminations for you. If you're having to spend a lot of time doing eliminations for your consolidations, we can also help with that. In this case, I'm keeping it simple and just doing a quick roll up of my three entities on my dashboard.

Now, a few other things that are maybe getting a little less traditional. I have an actual versus budget report here. You can see here I've got... This is actually by department. I've got my same rows that I had on my first P&L, but across the columns I'm breaking things down by department and then down into actual and budget. Then on top of that I'm also able to do conditional formatting on my reports. You'll see all these colors here. I happen to have a color scale turned on for this one, but you can do different color highlights or indicators, however you'd like to look at your data. This gives me a very quick view into exactly how my budget is doing and how each department is doing and I can drill right into these and see... If I have one that looks particularly bad, I can drill into it and see exactly what's going on with that organization or that department.

The last one I'll talk about for now is going to be this one over here to the right, which is the gross profit per order. This is the example of being able to blend statistical data with my financial data. I've got first of all across the top here my account of orders. You're going to see this is broken out again by entity, but then I've got each order number along with my totals and then it's actually doing a calculation for me right here and saying, "Okay, what is my, for example, average revenue per order or cost of revenue per order and gross profit?" I'm able to take that non-financial data and blend it right in here with the financials to be able to give me really quick impactful information. I might quickly say, "Well, entity 300 is much lower than the other two. What do I need to look at here? Is it a different line of business or is there something that's going on at that entity we need to address?"

Now, the last thing I want to talk about on the dashboard before we actually start doing some drill-downs is the ability to do charts and graphs. What I'm showing here on the screen right now, by the way, is all sort of standard financial reports and graphs. There are some advanced reporting tools as well that will do more than this, but I really love the standard charts and graphs. Again, there's about 20 or 30 of these that come out with the system and you can create your own as well. You'll see a few of them here. I can do line graphs to do trendings, this is an example of order count by entity here that you see as the line graph, can also do all sorts of different pie, donut, bar, and column charts if I want, things like operating expense by department. Again, we're taking that financial data and combining it with dimensions to give me that extra level of insight or even just simple things like aging reports. If you want to keep a finger on vendor or customer aging, you can see that.

All of this data can be drilled down into. From a chart standpoint, if you just want to see what's behind a chart there's always a show data option or you can actually drill into the data, but anywhere that you see a blue number and even some places that you don't are actually drill-down capable. I love a pretty dashboard, but what's the point of the dashboard, in my opinion, if we can't get to what makes that dashboard up? Sp this drill-down capability to me is really critical to any solution. Just as a quick example, I could drill into a performance card or a chart, but I'm going to choose this profit and loss because I like to show that you can actually bring this up to full screen right from this magnifying glass here on my dashboard. It's just going to confirm my filters.

Then here I have the ability now to do greater reporting and then see it on a larger screen on top of that. You can see here that I actually have rolled up account groups, is what these are called, and I can continue to drill down and actually look in more details. I'm wondering what's under utilities and facilities, for example, I can open up that category, I can see what's underneath there, and I can even drill into any of these numbers. Let's just say I want to drill into repairs and maintenance just for an example, and what Intacct is going to open then is the general ledger report. This is a GL detail. It's going to have every single transaction that made up the number that we just drilled into, but then I can keep going.

I can see here this is a bill here. I can drill one step further even and say, "Let's look at the actual bill that created this expense." Here I can see this is a bill from Shore Waste Management. It's going to have summary information across the top. This one happens to be paid and it has a link to my payment. I'll see information on the vendor, of course, all those standard things you might see on any bill. I can create attachments. You can see here I can attach this bill. We're going to look more at creating bills like this when we look at AP bill automation in just a bit, but just to kind of give you a flavor of it that's how this bill would work.

But then down here in the entry section is actually where my coding is happening. You can see here the GL account that I have chosen, and this is where all my dimensions live. I can see here in this case I'm actually splitting this across two different entities, so I can have multiple entities on a single transaction. I can see that they happen to be for the same department. Then the rest of my dimensions, whatever they may be, whichever ones I'm using, are all going to be set up and you can actually put them either up here on the entries line if you use them or you can kind of... I say hide them below the fold, if you will. If you don't use them as often, then you can put them down here and just select them as needed. This is a functionality you can do on every screen as far as what shows. That's just a quick example of being able to drill down all the way into a specific transaction. Then if I want to go back, it opened up new windows for me. I simply close out my new windows and I'm back on my dashboard.

Now the last thing I want to cover here on reporting before we start jumping into some actual process automation is going to be reporting, so ad hoc reporting. Like I mentioned before, Intacct comes with actually over 180 I believe now standard reports. About 30 or 40 of those are financial reports, and the financial reports we can actually edit and customize to make our own. You can create as many financial reports as you would like. Normally we would use these financial reports or duplicate standard financial reports to create new ones because that's the easiest way to create a new report. It's got everything pre-built for you. This is the financial report writer. Just going to give you a quick flavor. There's an eight-hour class on this, so if you really are interested I could talk for hours about this tool, but I'm going to give you the 30,000-foot overview and then we can always answer any questions about it at a later date.

Very quickly, the couple of things that every report needs to have are going to be rows and columns. In Intacct, your rows can be either GLs, so either GL account groups, what these are you're about to see here, or it could be dimensions. You can actually flip it on its head and put dimension values on your rows and then use your columns for GL account groups. In this case, this is sort of a traditional P&L so what I'm seeing here is all the account groups that make up a profit and loss statement. These are exactly what they sound like. They're groups of accounts. What we do is when a GL account is created, you select the group that you want it to fall into and that produces all the standard reports. These reports come out of the box, they're there as soon as you set up your chart of accounts and have data, but you can also create your own custom account groups if you need to.

I can control the level of detail that I see them at if I want to see every single GL account on the report or if I want to do something rolled up like I have for this summary example. I can also put any account group that I want onto the report. Just because I called it a P&L or an income statement does not limit me. I could put my assets on here if I wanted, things from the balance sheet or my statistical accounts, so if I wanted to put number of orders. A common one we see is, "I want to put something like maybe EBITDA on here." This is a standard account group that would come with the system for you. I can quickly just add that to my report. Let's not show every detail of what goes into calculating EBITDA. Let's just show it as one number, and then simple as that I can now preview and actually see EBITDA of her location right here on my financial report. Can also, as you noticed, preview without saving so that if I decide I don't like what I did, I can go back and I haven't actually hurt anything.

Briefly I'll also mention columns. In this case, columns, like I said, of course, are your actual values. That's why you see this is called actual. I can report on accounts by number or name, same if this was a dimension report, and then I can report for my actuals on any number of reporting periods. You can see some of the reporting periods that come with the system, whether you're using fiscal or calendar year, even down to individual days. We can use all of those in my report, but then we can also do what's very important on here, is this expand by. I can expand my example, in this example current month actual numbers, by any dimension or by time period. If I need to break a year into months, a month into weeks or if I want to look at things by department or customer, vendor, project, any of those, I can quickly expand and the system will automatically create a column for each one of those values that it finds.

Last thing on reports before we jump back and start talking about automation is one that I find critical, which is permissions. On top of the permissions that we're granting users at the role level, we can also individually permission reports, dashboards, charts and graphs, each one of them. I can choose whether it's a group of people that's going to have access. Usually everyone will be denied, but since we're a demo company have everyone set to access. We define exactly which people can access each individual report. If you're letting additional users into the system, maybe you're letting your salespeople, your project managers, you can control exactly what they see because they probably don't need to see your balance sheet, but maybe they need to see gross profit by project. We can actually give them that and allow them to access just the reports that they need. All right. Maybe just a couple of questions real quick, Emily, before we talk about automation. I'm sure there's probably more questions.

Emily Madere: Yeah. No problem. Thank you, everyone, for putting questions in. We have some really amazing questions, but one I did want to address from earlier, it's about SaaS companies using Intacct. I will follow up with you after today's demo and I'll send you some information.

Karen Penhallagon: Yeah, it's a great fit for SaaS. Intacct themselves is a SaaS company, so they know that industry very well.

Emily Madere: Yeah. We have a lot, so I'll just take kind of... We'll say two for now.

Karen Penhallagon: Yeah.

Emily Madere: Yeah. We requires our PM to approve bills before they are paid. How would this work in Sage Intacct?

Karen Penhallagon: Great question. I'm actually going to talk about bills in just a minute, but that is absolutely an ability. You can set up AP bill approvals. They can be by department, by employee, manager, and they can be also by project, and so you can have project managers review bills that are assigned to their projects and that's all electronic right within the system.

Emily Madere: Sage Intacct is a really good fit for project-based businesses.

Karen Penhallagon: Absolutely. That's one of the reasons of course that SaaS is often heavily project-based as well, so it's a great fit for anybody doing project or job costing.

Emily Madere: QuickBooks allows you to edit a posted GL entry. How does this work in Sage?

Karen Penhallagon: You can edit a posted GL entry if it's in an open period, and if you have permissions of course. That's the limitations around it. You can still go in and edit GL entries as long as they were made in the general ledger. What you couldn't edit would be things like if an AP bill posts the GL entry, you have to go edit the AP bill. It does lock you down a little bit on that, but as long as that journal entry is in an open period you have the ability to go in and edit it if you need to.

Emily Madere: Just one more because this is a really good question. Can AP and other transactions be allocated across locations, different legal entities with intercompany auto balancing directly from an AP transaction?

Karen Penhallagon: Yeah. That's exactly what I just showed on that transaction. I'm actually next going to show you an actual entity transaction. We're going to enter one. It's a little simpler than AP. But in the example we just saw, that bill is entered across two different entities. When we pay that bill, that's when the inter-entity is going to occur. Whichever entity pays the bill is going to then have a receivable from the other company because the other company now owes them money and the other company is going to have a liability. The due to, due from entry is created automatically on the backend. When you drill in, I'll show you in a moment when we drill into the GL, you can see both the original entry created by the transaction and also the inter-entity transaction that Intacct created. I'm going to show you that in just a second.

Emily Madere: Yeah. Well, let's keep on rolling. We're at... We only have 20 minutes left, but thank you for the questions.

Karen Penhallagon: Yeah. I'm going to try to kind of roll a little bit quickly through these next few things that I want to show because we do have a few more slides as well. Keep in mind if we don't get to your question, don't worry, we'll reach out to you afterwards and answer any questions that you have. Okay. I do want to talk about inter-entity transactions. Let me actually... I'm going to do sort of the simplest possible inter-entity transaction, which is going to be a funds transfer, but I want to show you literally how that works. What I've done here is I've got an inter-entity reconciliation report here on my dashboard. It's another example of a financial report that I've built. Specifically this one has all my intercompany accounts. In this case, I have separate due to and due from accounts just because it makes it easy to illustrate in a demo, but we can be flexible on how you set your due to and due from accounts up. Then I've got a column for each entity.

This is a great report where I can easily see, for example, entity 100 has 4000 due from 200 and vice versa, 200 has 4000 due to 100. It's quickly, easily able to see that inter-entity. What I'm actually going to do now is I'm going to go pop over and do a funds transfer between those two entities, so quick example here. Let me just do a quick transaction. I'm going to add a funds transfer. We're going to go from the bank account that belongs to entity 100 to the one that belongs to entity 200, so 100 is giving 200 some cash. Let's go ahead. I'm going to backdate this because my demo company has things dated in a past date, but normally this would of course be whatever day you actually performed the transaction. Then let's just make it a number that I can recognize. Let's make it $555. If I had other information, I could of course attach other things in here, but I'm going to just keep it to the basics. This is just a quick funds transfer between banks. Now I'm going to save that. All right. As you might imagine, that funds transfer... Let's see. It's right here. $555, that was between two different entities that I didn't have to create any due to or due from entries. All done for me.

If I pop back to my dashboard, let's go back and look at that inter-entity report here. Now you're going to see my number change from 4000 to 4555. I can drill into that to see the transactions. Here's the transaction right here that was created, and one step further drill and I'll actually see... This was a cash management transaction. This is the transaction that the funds transfer itself created, so it's debiting one cash and crediting the other. This is the transaction Intacct added, so the inter-entity entry right here, that then is hitting the liability and the receivable automatically so it balanced the transaction for each entity for me. That's a super simple example, but this works the same way. It can work through journal entries, it can work through AR if you're receiving cash on behalf of other entities, AP if you're paying on behalf of other entities. All of those run through the same process, so you'd see the original entry and then the Intacct auto entries that it creates for you.

That's our first sort of automation example. The next one that I want to talk about is going to be AP bill automation. I actually have a quick slide on that, so let me pop back for a second to show you an illustration and then I'm going to jump in and actually talk about and show you the bill automation. What you'll see here on the left... I think of AP actually as two sort of processes. You've got first the process of getting the bill and getting into your system and getting it through approvals and then the process of paying that bill. They kind of happen at two separate times. That's what I've got in these two boxes here on the screen. On the left I've got the bill entry and on the right the payment.

AP bill automation affects this left-hand box, the bill entry. What it does for you is it allows you to receive bills, whether you've got them through email, directly into Intacct they can be emailed or if you've scanned them or have them in your own email you can drag and drop them, and Intacct's bill automation tool will digitize that bill. Usually it's a PDF. It's going to read the PDF for you. It's going to pre-fill a draft bill out for you. It's going to fill it out as best it can based on what it read. Then it's going to give you the opportunity to review. This is where the human's going to come into the process and say, "Did it complete it correctly?" Or maybe there were problems that it couldn't finish for some reason. Then that human can choose to send it through the approval process once it's verified. Approval is optional, so you don't have to have approvals if you don't need. Separately, the payment process we're not really going to discuss today. Intacct out of the box can do ACH and check payments, and we also have a number of marketplace partners that can outsource payments if you choose not to do them in-house yourself.

Let's go take a look at actual bill automation right here in the system. I'm going to go into my AP bills here and I'm going to go ahead, actually, and change those to see my draft bills. The draft bills was what the state will automatically come in whenever the bills have been uploaded. You'll see here in this case these are all uploads. If it's an email, it actually will have the person's email in here as well that sent the bill in. It can track the information like that. You can also see here if there was any exceptions to the bill, so it noted in a couple of these that something is going on. For example, if I hover over this top one, it didn't find a vendor that matched this particular bill so that's why it's pinging that it's got a problem with it.

I'll point out I have not touched these bills. They came in straight from a PDF. I've done nothing else to them. If I take a look at one of them... Let's just look at this Shore Waste Management bill. You'll see here they're in draft still. What I'm going to be able to see is everything that Intacct filled out for me. I'm going to go ahead and pop open... I know my screen is a little bit small so it might be a little hard to see. I apologize for that. I'm going to try to back it up a little bit so you can see. But it's going to put side by side the actual PDF and the bill that it filled out. You can see here that it got the vendor from here, it got the due date and date of the bill, it got the dollar amounts. All that information came off the bill directly.

It also is going to learn how you code bills. You'll notice that this was probably the way I've coded this bill previously, and so it went ahead and pre-filled this in for me. This is where the machine learning and AI are going to come in because it's going to start learning how you code bills. Even notice that it even pulled this repairs to internal plumbing right into my memo for me right from the description. I can come in here, though, and adjust this, and as I make changes to it, it's going to learn as time goes on how I'm doing my bills and get better at it.

It also is sharing information on major vendors. If it's a vendor that 2000 other Intacct customers already use, it's going to sort of know what those bills look like already and so it's going to be ready when your bill comes in and say, "Okay, I know, well, in general if something comes from Shore Waste Management then it's going to have a total, it's going to have an invoice date here, it's going to have a number here. I know what to look for when that bill comes in." It's going to get better and better over time. It's really the heart of machine learning is to make itself better over time, but the goal being to get you to a 95 to 99% accuracy on your bills that are coming in and you have confidence and that you can really just take a quick look at them and click post to go ahead and move this along in the process.

All right. Then last example that I want to just briefly talk about. I think instead of showing it since we're bringing a little short on time, I'll just pull up my slides and talk through it there. That's going to be bank feeds. If most of you... I'm assuming you're on QuickBooks, you probably or might be using bank feeds, maybe not, already in QuickBooks. Intacct has a similar feature. It can connect to I would say most bank accounts out there. There are a few, especially smaller banks, that may not allow connections, but even if it doesn't have a connection you can still do an import for the same process. What it will do for you is of course download those transactions. That's the most obvious thing. It's going to, though, auto match them based on rules that you set up, so you're going to tell the system how to do the matching and how you want it to match.

On top of that, it can also do creation for you. If you have a transaction that is very consistent, like maybe your bank fee that they charge you every month, the system can recognize that for you, create a journal entry for it, go ahead and match it. The goal of this at the end of the day is to be able to have you just look at exceptions so when it comes time to reconciling, you can be confident that it's matched everything that can be matched and you're just looking at things that for some reason it didn't match. I have clients that are even doing daily reconciliations now and keeping cash up-to-date constantly because they're able to use these bank feeds and every day they just spend a few minutes addressing any reconciliation issues and they're constantly up-to-date. Really, really powerful tool for that.

Okay. I'm going to go ahead and wrap up the demo section. We've got a few slides on some AI topics and then see if we have any time for a few more questions. The point of this demo, and I hope that we sort of made this point, is as you're growing, and every organization wants to grow, but QuickBooks can actually become a bottleneck. All those challenges can cause a lot of manual processes and workarounds, and our goal is really with Sage Intacct to give you the ability to celebrate your growth. We don't want it to be a cause for more painful processes and manual workarounds, but rather the ability to easily grow and have a system that grows and scales with you.

All right. I do want to spend a couple of minutes. I'm just going to go through this fairly quickly, talking about really what I see as the next frontier really of accounting and financial solutions. That's artificial intelligence and machine learning. You've probably heard these buzzwords a lot. Sage has been dipping its toe into the AI world in accounting for years now, and they really have... It's a very unique approach to the innovation in this area, and it's based on three key philosophies. The first is continuous accounting. The concept behind continuous accounting is, and this may sound like a crazy concept, but eliminating the monthly close. The way to do that is actually to be continuously closing. The example we just saw really is bank reconciliation. Traditionally that's a process that you had to wait till the end of the month because you had to wait till you got a bank statement and all your transactions were in. Now, though, with something like a bank feed we can be doing that every single day so we've just eliminated the process of a monthly close for your bank reconciliations right there.

That's the concept around this continuous accounting, but paired with that and really probably the most critical of these three is continuous assurance. This is actually one of the areas that Intacct even has a greater focus on than the accounting area because they understand your accounting data has to be accurate. Sage themselves has over 20 patents in this area. If you're familiar with some of the terms, they have a lot of patents specifically around detecting model drift and hallucinations. It's the ability to identify when a model is getting out of control. If somebody has been following Google's AI controversies recently, that's a great example. That's what Sage doesn't want to happen and so they're very tightly monitoring that. They want your data to always be correct. But then the last piece of the puzzle then is what these two together give you. By having faster, better, accurate data, we can then get to continuous insights and so that's where you're starting to see the benefits. You can get real-time information and be able to make better decisions for your company.

I've got a couple of examples in here. I'm just going to spend a minute or two on each one and then we're going to I think probably drop to questions after that. One is something I'm very excited about. Sage just announced this at their conference about a month ago. It's called Sage Copilot. This is actually their first step into generative AI, and what it is is actually a productivity assistant to really just make your day-to-day easier. They showed a great demo actually at the conference of its ability to first of all prompt you, so it's not only going to be something that you have to put in a question and it gives you a response, but it's going to be proactive. It might prompt you to say, "Hey, you have these approvals that you need to approve or you need to send out reminders to other people who haven't done their approvals." But it can also respond to things like requests for reporting, so definitely a really great tool. I encourage you to look into that one.

The other one is actually something that's been out for years. Outlier Detection in your GL is something Intacct has had for a number of years. It was our first kind of toe dip into AI in general, and what it actually does is identify unusual transactions in your general ledger, so whether it is a specific combination of accounts with other dimensions or even just a dollar amount. Maybe you normally enter a $10,000 for your rent payment and for some reason or fat-fingered it, it's $100,000. It can help you catch that and identify it. This has been around for quite a while. It's a great tool that we recommend to all of our clients.

Then here's a few other areas Sage is continuing to work on as far as AI is concerned. Two in particular that are actually out on the product today and they're continuing to refine are invoice duplication checking. They're looking now at not only detecting it based on number and vendor, but even on the actual PDF or image as well as the PO matching that you see there at the bottom right. That is actually in beta at this moment. It's going to take that AP bill automation and actually match it to a PO in the system. That one's going to be out anytime.

I want to wrap up with a quote that I love that we heard this year at the Sage Conference which is about AI. This is from Aaron Harris, who's the chief technology officer of Sage, and he said, "You won't be replaced by AI. You'll be replaced by someone who uses AI better than you." The point of this quote to me or one of the points that I want to bring out is AI is not going to replace human beings. We're still going to be needed because we have actual brains that need to do the actual thinking behind processes, but what AI really is is just another tool. Just like computers were a new tool decades ago, just like smartphones were a new tool, AI is that next new tool that I think is going to revolutionize the industry, something that I think everyone needs to be considering if you're in this area. All right. With that, I feel like I've done enough talking for a little while. We have just a couple of minutes maybe for questions.

Emily Madere: Yes. We have a lot of questions in the inbox. Again, thank y'all so much for putting these questions in. There are a lot of good ones, but one that has been asked a couple times is how does Intacct pricing work? I think I'll cover this one for y'all. EisnerAmper is a value-added reseller of Sage Intacct, and that just means that we help you evaluate, we help sell, we implement, and we provide ongoing support for Sage Intacct. In the event that any of this resonated with you or you just have questions about Sage Intacct or you're ready to take a move from QuickBooks, definitely give us a call. I'll be sending everyone an email after this so you'll have my contact information. But as far as pricing, so Sage Intacct takes in consideration some modules that you'll need as well as the types of users that you have in the system, so really you just need to have a conversation with us and we'd be able to kind of walk you through the way pricing works.

Then how much time we have left? Let's take one question. We have one really good one and then we can kind of hop off, and Karen I will get back with you. Okay. We are a disaster cleanup company and our annual renewals and insurance vendors we work for require us to report on how much revenue in drywall, electrical, plumbing, water migration, asbestos. Would I lose this reporting capability with Sage?

Karen Penhallagon: Oh, that's a great question. Absolutely not. Actually, that would be one of the dimensions we would set up for you so that you could track that information quite easily. Any invoice that you generated, however you're producing them, I'm not quite sure, you're probably using project costing and billing, but that dimension can come in as part of that and then we can easily create those reports, just like you saw the P&L, by location or by department. We can create it by that dimension. You'd be able to just click a button and get that reporting. You're probably keeping that I would imagine in class today if you're in QuickBooks, so similar concept.

Emily Madere: Perfect. To wrap up, Karen and I will definitely address everyone's questions that we didn't get to today, but I will be emailing everyone after this webinar. If you are interested in taking a look at Sage Intacct, just drop your name in the chat and I'll make sure to follow up with you. But thank you for joining, Karen. I really appreciate it and we definitely hope you got some value out of today's webinar.

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