What are the benefits of a solution as a service versus an owned solution when considering new finance technology?

The recruitment sector has seen significant changes to working practices, following the pandemic, new IR35 legislations, the Great Resignation and the shift to home working. With ongoing market fluctuation and changes, having an accurate and reliable finance system enables you to flex your financial forecast to reflect changes efficiently and stay one step ahead.

So, if you are looking to update your finance technology, how does solution as a service measure up against an owned solution?

Resources

Capacity

It’s common for recruitment businesses to outsource their back-office teams. Therefore, finding capacity amongst a limited number of in-house resources can be challenging. Assessing your team’s availability before deciding on implementation is important.

Skillset

Nowadays, most cloud finance solutions come with a user-friendly interface to make the transition from Excel-based processes as seamless as possible. Even though there is no requirement for your finance team to be tech-savvy, a fundamental understanding of dimensionality will be very useful. As part of our implementation services, we at RSM provide training material which can be customised for your solution which can help with change management and any upskilling activities.

Cost

It’s important to consider the cost of the solution, be it a service or a business-owned application.

Implementation costs

Depending on the application you are looking to install and the size of your organisation, the cost of the finance use case (eg a Rolling Forecast) will vary. However, generally, when implementing a system there will be some initial investment. When considering a system implementation, the following are the typical costs to be aware of:

  • Implementation fees
  • License costs
  • Maintenance/support costs

Even though there’s no initial implementation cost for solution as-a-service, there will still be contractual terms and fees for you to consider.

Cost to retained skills/ training

Another cost that is worth considering, is the cost to retain relevant skills in-house. Investing in end user training is a must when working with a solution. New product features now tend to be introduced more frequently, and users need to be aware of new functionality to enable an application to operate as efficiently as possible. If there are no internal resources involved in the process, you become highly reliant on the third party, which might result in a higher cost.

Data access

Changes in the recruitment market, driven by political and economic instability, often result in forecasts, plans and budgets requiring updates more frequently. Because of this, being able to access underlying financial data quickly can be very important to promote efficiency in the finance planning cycle. When working with a business-owned solution, you will be able to access and control your data at any point in any format you wish. Finance systems have large databases which can be accessed by any user with the right security rights and there is no need to wait for approvals for it to happen.

However, when receiving solution as a service, data is being controlled and maintained by a third party that provides this service to you. Therefore, you will most likely need to file a request if you want to be able to drill down or analyse datasets. This takes time and can cause a delay.

This process may work for some organisations and not for others, therefore it is important to evaluate how your finance team needs to work and whether they need regular/ direct access to the data.

Conclusion

We have summarised pros and cons of solution as a service versus an owned solution below.

  Solution as a service Owned solution
 Pros  
  • No training
  • No implementation costs
  • No additional resources
  • Can quickly flex and update forecasts/ data
  • Retain expertise in-house
  • Quick to learn
  • Data accessibility
  • Ad-hoc reporting
  • Business owned
 Cons 
  • Ongoing monthly costs/ contractual terms
  • Data visibility/ lack of ad-hoc reporting
  • Response times
  • Dependencies on 3rd party
  • Initial implementation costs
  • Cost of retaining trained resources
 

If you want to learn more about finance solutions that can help your team to work more efficiently, please contact May Ku.

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