FinancialForce has unveiled its latest release, Winter 2021. This is a momentum release sandwiched between the major release of Fall 20 and Spring 21. However, this year it contains updates that will make a significant difference to some customers. Both the PSA solution and the Financial Management solution see improvements. Details were revealed in a blog by Sarah Johansen, Marketing Communications Manager FinancialForce. Enterprise Times also gained further insights from Bennet Yen, Vice President of Product at FinancialForce.
PSA Winter 2021
FinancialForce continues to leverage Salesforce analytics and improve its revenue forecasting capabilities. Revenue forecasting helps professional services organisations gain predictability in their business, a key challenge, especially at this time. With more flexible and accurate forecasts business leaders can make timely data-driven decisions on scheduling, resourcing and recruitment.
Winter 2021 introduces scenario-based adjustments across project, milestone and opportunity records. It will enable organisations to create what-if scenarios for projects that may be uncertain or subject to change. The adjustments are flexible, and users can time-bound and apply dates against the changes. For example, a client may be unsure whether to initiate a project until a specific country’s lockdown has finished. Users can visualize multiple forecast scenarios visually to adjust decisions quickly.
Yen explained further saying: “Through PSA Revenue Forecast Analytics, users are able to compare forecasts generated at different points in time to not only see the variances between the forecasts generated but also drill further to see where those variances lie. Breaking it down by dimensions such as region, practice, group, project, and more. This experience is embedded within a user’s workspace so that variances between any two forecasts can be compared and analysed in a single drillable view without the need to navigate away from their Salesforce experience.
“Also, in addition to the analytics to compare specific forecast versions, within a version we now give you the ability to have Best case, Worst case, Expected scenarios and you can adjust and modify across these per period. This would be a “precursor” exercise that would result in the forecast that you want to lock and save as a version.
“So the Best/Worst/Expected scenarios allow an org to operationalize the process of reviewing and refining a forecast version; then the analytics lets you compare across versions, including Variance and Trend analysis.”
Another improvement sees better support for currency. It allows the user to switch between local and corporate currency within multi-national organisations. Enterprise Times asked Yen whether the solution could consider currency fluctuations.
Yen answered noted: “Any attempts to hedge future currency fluctuations in the forecasting process would have to be handled via Best/Worst case adjustments.”
Financial Management Winter 2021
There are two hugely significant improvements within this release. The first is the long-awaited localization for the Netherlands. This was deferred slightly due to the revenue forecasting work that FinancialForce rolled out against its original schedules because of customer demand during the pandemic. The localization for the Netherlands will no doubt please Alon van Wezel. He is the new Regional Vice President for Continental Europe and is based in that country. This will help his efforts to drive sales to companies headquartered there and enhance customer satisfaction for companies with locations there.
The second is the completion of the first phase of integration with Bank integration platform Plaid. In this release, North American customers can now ingest bank data automatically from their banks. Plaid partners with more than 15,000 financial institutions across North America and Europe. In the US alone Plaid supports more than 11,000 financial institutions including Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, American Express and Huntington Bank. Users will no longer need to export and import CSV files from their bank. They are thus making the reconciliation process smoother and more efficient.
Integration to the European banks through Plaid should follow in a future release. Plaid currently supports US, Canadian and UK banks and works with banks in other European countries in beta. Those countries include France, Spain and the Netherlands, all countries where FinancialForce has completed its localization.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
While this is a minor release by FinancialForce standards, its impact is big for many customers. Just the bank integration in North American is a significant step forward. It brings FinancialForce in line with many smaller accounting solutions such as QuickBooks and Xero that pioneered this integration.
It is too early for customer feedback on the new release. One customer of the PSA solution recently expressed their content at the general nature of how FinancialForce improved their PSA solution. The comment was made in a G2 review, where FinancialForce is named the #1 vendor in G2’s Winter 2021 main- Enterprise PSA and Mid-Market PSA PSA Grid Report. The user said: “One of the best things about FinancialForce PSA is the constant improvements which are released quarterly. They do a great job reaching out for customer input too, with roundtable discussions on large topics, individual input on new features in development, and lots of demos!”
The Winter 2021 release does not disappoint and Spring 2021 should have far more of substance to whet the appetite.