During the past two years, the accounting close market has shifted from older on-premises offerings to “Cloud Close” solutions as finance organizations sought improved software capabilities, cost efficiencies, greater flexibility and shorter time to value.  These solutions and their adjoining FP&A offerings are typically easier to use and manage than the previous generation of on-premises software.

This shift was driven by significant new investment at each software vendor in the market, coupled with greater corporate willingness to use cloud-based software.

What is Cloud Close Software?

The components of a Cloud Close solution perform the monthly, quarterly and annual financial close. Each software vendor typically includes the following components:

  • Financial consolidation
  • Financial reporting
  • Reconciliation management
  • Close management
  • Intercompany transactions
  • Disclosure management

What does the Software Market look like?

The market has moved forward, year over year, as financial close solutions have improved and product adoption, innovation and execution have progressed. However, we believe it remains notably under-penetrated as finance professionals are not ready to leave the comfort of their familiar processes. This inertia has stifled adoption in the Cloud Close space.

Despite the hesitation, this market has attracted major investment over the past few years.  These software products work well once put into use. Several vendors were acquired, while others received significant capital infusions. As shown in our table, these vendors gained over $3 Billion of investment through private acquisitions, partnerships and public offerings.

 

Software Vendor Recent Events
Adaptive Insights Acquired by Workday for $1.55 Billion
Anaplan $263 million IPO
Blackline 2016 IPO and 2018 SAP Reseller Agreement
BOARD International Nordic Capital purchases majority ownership
Planful (formerly Host Analytics) Acquired by Vector Capital
OneStream Software $551 Million Investment by KKR
Vena Solutions $115 Million Raise, led by JMI Equity

The new investment in Cloud Close software has allowed these vendors to rapidly scale up marketing and software development. We see this external attention as an inflection point for the Cloud Close market and anticipate greater competition and growth through 2020 and 2021.

Lessons Learned

Do your research in selecting your Financial Close software: Take the time to gather business requirements and perform thorough due diligence on each software provider. The process to gather requirements and compare various software providers is critical, but can usually be completed within  6 -12 weeks, depending on scope.

Finding the best implementation partner is part of the process. Some software vendors can provide in-house implementation specialists, while others rely upon a range of outside integration partners selected by you. Finding the right partner for your company can lead to a successful implementation.

Summary

The market for Cloud Close software has become hot. The benefits of purpose-built, cloud-based financial consolidation software are now readily available to customers of all sizes and pocketbooks.

As finance organizations have gained confidence that their financial data is secure in a public cloud, cloud solutions have become the preferred approach for most deployments.

About Fisher

Fisher is a specialized consulting firm that helps clients in the Columbus Region achieve strategic and operational business objectives. We specialize in critical, cross-functional initiatives driven by two types of need:

  • Execution of new corporate transformation strategies
  • Rapid corporate expansion through acquisition, equity infusion, or market growth

We are your partners to implement these initiatives. In our Finance Solutions practice, we help your team with strategic initiatives, performance improvement and finance software tools that upgrade skills and expand the leadership role of your Finance organization.

 

 

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