CFOs are indispensable in today’s ad agency landscape, serving as crucial pillars of the executive team. They are expected to possess foresight and execution in economic planning, budgeting, and investment, along with important expansion efforts that account for not only financial but also the geographical growth of an agency. An effective and integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution is critical for enabling and navigating such growth, especially when agencies plan to expand across borders.
Now more than ever, industry trends demonstrate an emphasis on expansion across national and international borders leading many agencies to follow suit and establish multiple subsidiaries around the world. Gone are the times when an agency needed to track only a single time zone. Instead, we’re witnessing a new global era in which agencies are feeling the imperative to expand their resources internationally and open outposts across borders.
A CFO will generally view this kind of expansion—and rightly so—as a critical stage of an agency’s development. Expanding internationally allows an agency to increase its market reach while also growing their strength and financial achievement. A kind of chain reaction is also possible wherein the increase in revenue yielded from geographical expansion can enable further expansions into more and more remote locations.
Global Flexibility and Modality
Mobility and flexibility are also important parts of the global expansion process. Agencies face changing processes that include tax and legal codes, financial regulations, and cultural differences, which shift across international borders. CFOs are encountering a need to move between such environments without the hindrances of yesterday. No longer do executives sit in a single office location while awaiting that elusive deal. So, what are the characteristics of this kind of flexibility?
Agility is the keyword here. Today’s agencies are feeling the effects of a business landscape taken over by short-term agreements. No longer can organizations rely on Agency-Of-Record (AOR) relationships that at one point had been standard. This trend received the designation from Forbes as the Agility Era, a term that defines the increase in flexibility and streamlined production over stable relationships with agency clients.1 This kind of agility demanded is coupled with a drive toward globalization, thus ushering in an era of global flexibility and mobility.
CFOs are therefore seeing a movement toward more cooperation with international partners since opportunities open up for working with more businesses through global expansion. Yet there are also important implications around such trends, which includes a heightened state of global competition. The stakes are now higher, especially for CFOs. There is indeed more pressure than ever to appeal to wider audiences while maintaining relevance across an increasingly international audience. CFOs have observed that growth is occurring today in multiple directions: horizontally, in physical space; vertically, in financial terms; and, diagonally, with agencies increasingly called up to open up across genres and other cultural divisions. So, what does this mean for CFOs and their infrastructure toolkit?
How Netsuite ERP Solutions Empower CFOs
We’ll be exploring three different areas in which CFOs can gain a significant advantage by utilizing a truly global and integrated ERP solution. First, we’ll look at the global features afforded to CFOs in NetSuite’s highly competitive global ERP solutions. These features include valuable scaling tools that foster important financial growth schemes, built-in automation and accounting for international tax code variables, and, finally, tools for navigating financial compliance issues. Next, we’ll touch on some of the ways that, with its fully cloud-based functionality, NetSuite saves valuable resources by avoiding on-site upgrades and IT maintenance fees. Finally, we’ll take a look at NetSuite’s core CFO functionality that drives financial decisions critical for the growth of competition in agencies worldwide. These include Key Performance Indicator (KPI) tracking, multiple levels of visibility into financial transactions, and visualization tools that help you make decisions with unprecedented financial foresight.
AN ERP for the Global CEO
As your agency grows, CFOs will need an ERP solution that can accommodate genuine international expansion with its global challenges. NetSuite is used in more than 100 countries and across over 190 currencies. It supports upwards of 19 languages and tax reporting in 50 different regions. This creates a centralized “version of the truth” that is accessible wherever you, as the CFO, may be viewing it.
Furthermore, managing tax codes and compliance across international borders can be challenging. However, with robust automation tools, many of the most vexing global hurdles can easily be overcome. NetSuite can further enhance such international features. It’s noted in Oracle’s own site that “a strong global ERP system should handle multiple tax schedules, be updated with the latest regulatory requirements, and automatically update currency conversion rates.” In other words, a truly effective ERP solution needs to handle the complicated terrain of international tax code filings. Multiple languages and currencies also come into play when considering international expansion. Your global ERP solution should facilitate—and indeed automate—such processes, rather than getting in the way of their smooth functioning. Oracle also notes that “because such systems can generate receipts and invoices in multiple languages, your customers can be assured that the documentation and information they receive always reflects the latest tax and/or currency updates for their location.” This allows agencies to scale back human processes and focus on what matters most: business outcomes.
An Ownership ERP that Lowers Costs
One of the crucial aspects of obtaining and managing the use of ERP software relates to maintenance costs. After the initial purchase of an ERP solution, there are multiple questions that should be asked; how much will it cost to maintain? What kinds of services will be required on a yearly or even monthly basis? How frequently will upgrades become available? And how complicated are such software updates to install and become acquainted with?
These are important considerations that every CFO should be aware of before purchasing an ERP solution. These considerations turn on cloud-based functionality versus on-premises solutions. With a cloud-based solution, software updates are done entirely remotely, with little if anything for the end-user to do in order to take complete advantage of new features and functionality. With a cloud-based ERP solution, there is no longer a need to schedule costly on-site upgrades in which an IT is tasked with costly physical work. Thankfully, NetSuite provides a complete cloud- based solution that contributes to lower IT costs for the end-user for updates. Similarly, installation is easy, with any station equipped with a web browser instantly becoming an ERP client – one can log on anywhere to access critical financial data.
CFOs can even access powerful business information from mobile devices, an important feature that supports the imperative for agencies today to be constantly on the go. Can’t wait to finish your next game of golf to view some of the latest company financial trends? Need to send an urgent memo to the rest of the financial team? How about alterations to resource management that need to be done in transit? With the power of cloud-based mobile-friendly ERP, NetSuite facilitates the always-on-the-go CFO to access your data wherever and whenever you need through your mobile phones.
An effective global ERP solution brings together important data points across multiple subsidiaries. Metrics, analytics, and KPIs provide invaluable insights that CFOs will become regularly tuned into. Interested in viewing figures from the Sydney subsidiary and comparing them to the New York office’s performance? What about utilization costs from the Singapore subsidiary? A CFO can access each of these data points through a customized login replete with dynamic KPI graphs and visualizations. One can see data displayed as a graph and view shifts in performance for any time window. Agencies in the process of expansion will find these features essential to their success. Toggle between time windows, and compare results in revenue. CFOs can drill down into multiple data points to reveal specific client information such as geographical and location data. This kind of insight is critical for CFOs managing competitive agencies in today’s global era. Achieve genuine foresight with lucid KPI data.
We’ve seen then how NetSuite empowers CFOs through a genuinely global and integrated ERP solution. Global features and scalability allow crucial financial growth, while international tax code tools and financial compliance automation also solve some of the most difficult international issues. With its cloud-based functionality, furthermore, NetSuite is a truly economical choice because it avoids on-site upgrades and related costs incurred by IT. Lastly, NetSuite’s KPI tracking and financial visibility drive financial decisions and foresight that are critical for an agency’s growth in this global era.