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Cloud-based financial apps no longer a brain twister for CFOs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ten years ago, chief financial officers were hesitant to put financial information in the cloud. They saw it as risky and wanted to keep control of the data reins. But today, with applications like Salesforce only in the cloud, the CFO reality has changed, and many consider using cloud financial apps a no-brainer.

"When we set out on that journey back in 2009, there was a hesitancy there, we had many conversations with CFOs who were saying, 'Hey, where is my data going, and should I keep hold of it?'" said Jeremy Roche, CEO of, a Salesforce partner. "And today, companies are saying, 'I'm out of moving to the cloud.'" Companies have evolved beyond the question of whether to put financial apps in the cloud and are now focused on how to get the most from that data.

To that end, Roche discussed the importance of using financial apps in concert with other front-office apps like CRM to have a more complete view of the data and a better means of serving one’s customers. Roche said that has also made its cloud-based platform persuasive for customers by building out a whole series of back-office functions, from financials to ERP to human resources and making them customer- or front-facing applications.

"We built applications that were traditionally the back office," Roche said. "We've taken those back-office applications, and as we've taken them to the cloud, we have built them as customer-facing applications."

With a single account record, FinancialForce can look at that record through a series of lenses and "wrap them into one," said Roche, from sales or accounting to project management to goods and services. That has become necessary in a competitive landscape in which customer service has evolved beyond simple transactions to become about nurturing a customer relationship over the long term; all back-office apps need to reflect this principle, Roche said.

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