How startups can benefit from financial systems and integrations

High-volume data and several data pipelines can be hard to manage and cause disruptions, particularly for startups. Explore ways to improve financial management to keep business processes up to date.

More is needed to have an innovative idea, as well as the hard work of the company's founders. As a startup, you will have to meet the market's high expectations and compete with many other companies, both for an audience and for attracting funding. The first step towards meeting such standards is creating an ecosystem that is useful for founders and understandable for investors.

The power of interconnected data systems

Companies often make the mistake of implementing as many SaaS solutions as possible without worrying about their integration. Modern businesses use, on average, more than a hundred different SaaS solutions. The usefulness of these systems will quickly diminish unless you integrate them into a single data flow, especially when compared to the costs of interacting among different divisions of the company.

In the beginning, it is worth focusing on interconnecting the most important of them:

  • HRMS: Human resource management systems, from hiring to payroll.
  • Project Management (PM): tools like Monday, Asana, and Jira are designed to track progress and task management.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): software like Salesforce or HubSpot for managing customer interactions and data.
  • Communication: Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Discord for team communication.
  • Accounting and Finance: QuickBooks, Xero, or FreshBooks for financial tracking and management.
  • Marketing: Tools like Mailchimp for email marketing or Hootsuite for social media management.
  • Analytics: MS Power BI, MS Fabric, Tableau, Google Data Studio and other instruments for deep analytics of any business process, from product to finance.
  • Productivity: office suites like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Workspace.
  • IMS: tools to manage authentication, authorisation, changes in roles and access, Single Sign-On (SSO) and many other tasks.

It is the core of any company’s activity. Industry-specific programs like CI/CD and Version Control systems for development teams, warehouse and logistics management for manufacturing companies are also critical for the business. It will be too difficult to describe them all here.

For instance, a Head of Product is required to hire a Junior Product Manager. With all the systems integrated, setting tasks in the Project Management Tool via Slack Bot is possible without even opening the browser. The task automatically goes to the PM system, and from there to the HRMS. This way, the HR team starts the recruitment process. PM calculates the time spent filling vacancies to build HR analytics and sends it to financial systems. After the Hiring process information will be automatically sent to IMS systems and accounts will be created, Payroll information will be automatically forwarded to the accounting and finance platforms and so on. Extremely comfortable way to use data and no human errors can happen!

As a CFO, I faced one of the most complex integration challenges: most accounting software must comply with local laws. Our company has spent about two years looking for a solution to enable all our legal entities to comply with legal requirements in 20 different jurisdictions. As a result of analysing all current market offers, we haven’t found any platform that can cover all our entities and still be not too complex and super expensive, so we began developing our own tailored solution while continuing to use 5 third-party solutions.

Optimising tools for enhanced productivity

After several iterations, we got the following stack from the financial department:

  • is the basis of all corporate processes and acts as a project and task management tool, a knowledge repository, onboarding software for new employees, and a CRM. In addition, information can be connected via API to dashboards, which allows all employees to keep an eye on their KPIs without opening another program or chat.
  • Workable is a good tool for searching and managing personnel, is integrated with many job-hunting platforms, and easily connects to
  • Miro is the best tool for visualising ideas when planning corporate and organisational structures.
  • Okta for user authorisation and cybersecurity.
  • Reliz Finance and Legal ERP. The data from the above tools enters our ERP, where all financial processes already take place. While our decision is not an open-market solution yet, let’s list some alternatives:
  • Deskera is a finance management tool used to manage processes like budgeting and forecasting.
  • Acumatica is also perfect for medium-sized ambitious companies, it will cover a huge number of tasks.
  • SAP S/4HANA - endless possibilities and customisations, ideal for medium-sized to large enterprises.
  • Sage Intacct also provides simplified financial services, but, unfortunately, it does not work in all jurisdictions.
  • QuickBooks Enterprise is a good tool for finance.
  • Tableau is a software for outputting all complex but standardised reports from all the above systems, sometimes unsuitable for ad hoc analytics.
  • Google Sheets - so far, this is the first time anyone has developed a better tool for ad-hoc analytics.

Measuring success and adapting to growth

Startups need to invest in the right tools and develop efficient workflows. The integration of financial systems supports both current operational efficiency and future growth. What I recommend paying attention to when choosing a software:

  • Keep in mind the size and ambitions of your company. The maintenance of expensive products like SAP can be labour- and resource-intensive. Software that is too simple may not meet your needs in the future, and in the end, you'll be forced to switch to a new program, which is more complicated than the initial integration.
  • Define the modules you need: for instance, not every business needs consolidated reports or online payments and many CFOs tend to forget about procurements’ importance.
  • Carefully monitor the possibility of integrating this software with other tools used in your company.
  • Pay less attention to appearance. There is a huge amount of data for financial services, so a more helpful appearance is needed.
  • Ensure you have team members who will implement and use this product. Otherwise, you will save time and money.
  • Each product must be pre-configured and balanced to benefit every team member. Otherwise, you can lose your only chance for this product to be accepted by colleagues.