Prioritize Your Accounting Software
One of the most effective ways for a family office to improve efficiency and reduce complexity is selecting the best accounting software for its needs. While popular accounting software such as QuickBooks is suitable for family offices with relatively straightforward investments and accounting needs, a platform such as Sage Intacct may be a better alternative for more complex situations.
Several factors, such as delays in obtaining financial reports, relying on manual processes, not meeting family expectations about the availability of information, or uncertainty about the reliability of performance data can indicate the need for more sophisticated software.
In contrast, aligning the right software package to your family office’s accounting and reporting needs can enable real-time visibility, deeper insights and increased efficiency.
Situations Where Sage Intacct May be a Better Alternative:
- A broad range of asset classes. Expanding the family office portfolio beyond stocks and bonds, such as private equity and other alternative investments, can create complexity that may be challenging to manage with basic accounting software. Similarly, tracking multi-generational investments or using multiple custodians can create issues in consolidating financial reports.
- Manual processes and report preparation. Some accounting packages may not be able to integrate investment accounts with the rest of your family office business on a timely basis. Relying on manual processes and reports can create delays as well as opportunities for inadvertent or inappropriate data manipulation or fraud.
- Budgeting and forecasting challenges. Dedicated financial management packages that go beyond basic needs can enhance your family office budgeting and financial planning, enabling more effective decisions and a more efficient management process.
Aligning Accounting Software with Your Needs
In contrast, choosing a more sophisticated financial management software for your family office operations can lead to powerful advantages:
- Integration with other tools. A flexible solution that integrates with other applications is essential to eliminating manual processes and achieving comprehensive reporting. Some of the more common integrations we see in family office include, investment management reporting, bill pay, expense management, and payroll. It can be significantly easier for family office principals and staff to monitor and administer these aspects using one application instead of several tools.
- Comprehensive reporting. A sophisticated family office financial platform allows family members to customize dashboards and reports in different formats, highlighting the metrics they find most important. Similarly, comprehensive reports allow family members to gain deeper insights about investment performance and opportunities.
- Ongoing consolidation of results from different investment classes provides real-time insights while improving financial management and planning.
- Stronger controls. Sophisticated reporting tools have built-in controls to help mitigate the risk of fraud or errors. It will also save considerable time in reconciliation processes.
Some of the common challenges that family offices face when graduating to a more advanced accounting platform include the prospect of losing the familiarity of QuickBooks, having to train staff on a new system, and potential disruptions to office routines. While these concerns are understandable, an effective implementation plan can enable the family office to enjoy the considerable benefits of upgrading their basic financial management package to a more sophisticated platform.