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  • Banks are taking sides: Fintech disruption or fintech partnership?

    Today, online-only banks and alternative lenders pose a major threat to community banks that are unwilling to adapt to changing customer expectations. Startups, such as Better Mortgage, can offer mortgage loan decisions in just three minutes using only a credit score and stated income. Meanwhile, large banks such as Goldman…
  • How banks, credit unions can prepare for fintech disruption

    Community banks and credit unions face more competition and disruption than ever before. In an interview for the eBook, Agile Bankers – How Community Banks are Addressing Disruption, Risk and Growth, Tom Bugielski, CEO of Republic Bank of Chicago, says, “The retail banking challenge that we face today is something…
  • Sageworks wraps up successful 2018 User Groups sessions

    Interactive industry discussions, networking among peers and best practices for maximizing value from Sageworks solutions were some of the benefits to attendees of the Sageworks User Groups in 2018. Sageworks hosted seven User Groups throughout the year and will soon be unveiling the locations and dates for five 2019 User…
  • Banks tap technology to challenge fintechs in online lending

    U.S. Bank this week rolled out an online small business loan platform aimed at helping it compete with fintech giants like OnDeck, which announced this month it had surpassed $10 billion in total loans originated to small businesses since its 2007 start. It’s one of hundreds of banks across the…
  • What is change management and its impact on financial software implementation?

    The term “change management” is a popular one these days, though it may sound like consulting jargon. It is an important concept for any financial institution considering implementing financial software – whether it’s software to book the right loans at the right prices more quickly, manage lending relationships and the…
  • CEO webinar series: 15-Minute briefings on automating the lending process

    Community bank CEOs are keenly mindful that technology could help their lending businesses. Indeed, CEOs named lending most often when asked what parts of their banks’ business would benefit from automation, according to a recent American Bankers Association’s research survey. CEOs understand technology can mean faster, better customer service and…
  • Gartner analyst: Technology plans require focus on outcomes

    What will your bank or credit union look like in 15 or 20 years? Will there be tellers or even branches? What new products or services will be offered? Which services or products will become obsolete? These are common questions among financial institution executives, and the answers are critical for…
  • What is digital lending and how can community banks, credit unions benefit?

    Digital lending is the use of online technology to originate and renew loans in order to deliver faster and more efficient decisions. Many people know of non-bank digital lenders like Rocket Mortgage and Kabbage that market directly to consumers and businesses, but digital lending also encompasses activities of traditional financial…
  • 4 Ways for banks and credit unions to market to millennials

    The term “millennial marketing” is often touted across numerous industries in an effort to better understand a generation that’s growing in many ways. According to the American Bankers Association (ABA), millennials are the fastest growing customer base, account for 83.5 million people in the United States and is expected to…
  • 3 Ways to improve your bank or credit union’s customer service

    Exceptional customer service is crucial for your bank or credit union’s success in the market. But what does customer service look like today? As technology expands throughout the banking industry, the definition of customer service has also broadened. It doesn’t just mean a polite interaction at the teller line anymore,…
  • How community banks can level the business-lending playing field

    For a perfect example of how technology has the potential to level the playing field between large, national banks and community banks when it comes to business loans, look at First National Bank of Layton in Layton, Utah. The 7-branch, 113-year-old bank with about $320 million in assets shares a…
  • Human touch + high tech = business lending growth

    Even though mobile apps and online services are the norm in most people’s everyday lives, research shows that when it comes to borrowing, business owners still value personal service and existing relationships, too. About 90 percent of small business owners in a 2016 Aite Group survey said familiarity or previous…
  • A "No Data Entry" way to comply with customer ID regulations

    The Customer Identification Program rule, or CIP, implements section 326 of the USA Patriot Act, which requires banks, savings associations, credit unions and certain non-federally regulated banks to have reasonable belief that they know the true identity of each customer. These laws were established with a goal of preventing money-laundering…
  • How regulation and technology will shape the future of community banking

    Community banks will always meet a need for local decision-making and person-to-person service, but they must see relief from disproportionate regulatory burdens and must leverage technology for innovation if they are to thrive long term. That’s the gist of comments made by several industry leaders, including former FDIC Vice Chairman…
  • Technology can help community banks tap into the “Buy Local” movement

    Everywhere you look, various industries are tapping into the “Buy Local” movement. Local retailers now get a boost from Small Business Saturday campaigns for holiday shopping the day after Black Friday each year. Restaurants have made “farm to table” a popular trend by using locally grown ingredients. Craft beer brewers…
  • How community banks can regain the small business lending market

    In today’s banking world, community banks are focused sharply on shareholders’ expectations for growth in earnings and return on equity. So, how can community banks support earnings and ROE growth in the face of intense regulatory scrutiny and competitive pressures on profitability? By leveraging their strengths in relationship lending and…
  • Marketing tips for credit unions

    In March 2018, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) held the 25th Annual CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in San Francisco. At this conference, they held a “Tech Talk” session that “digs into the intersection of marketing and technology.” Here are some takeaways: Embrace marketing automation During the…
  • Boost lending without adding staff: Sageworks client featured in American Banker

    Sageworks client Millennium Bank in Ooltewah, Tenn., was featured recently in American Banker for its use of technology to increase lending without hiring more lenders. “Many small banks that lack the resources to hire more lenders have made similar investments in recent years in an effort to compete with not…
  • How APIs help banks leverage their legacy core systems

    One challenge for banks and credit unions looking to compete with FinTech offerings is their reliance on legacy core banking systems housing the data to manage customer accounts and run the institution. Layering new digital offerings on legacy technology and infrastructure can frustrate timelines and budgets. However, replacing core systems…
  • Using technology to reclaim the SMB lending market

    Community banks have lost significant ground in the small business lending (SMB) market to large banks in recent years. While the number of small business loans hasn’t changed dramatically, the emphasis of control has. With the vast majority of small business lending being dominated by large banks, and that disparity…
  • Coaching clients to improve their enterprise value

    By Rich Greene, CEO - Director, Clarus Advisors Most entrepreneurs I have worked with are proud of the business they built and have not been afraid to take risks to “grow the business”. However, while most do an excellent job of managing the day-to-day challenges their businesses face – they do…
  • Infographic: Closing deals with a defensible business value

    From the lack of proper documentation to a sudden change in the market, there are many reasons businesses fail to sell. One of the primary issues facing the sale of businesses is the valuation gap. A valuation gap is the difference between the owners perceived value and the actual market…
  • Using technology to boost value for business borrowers

    In today’s competitive lending environment, financial institutions may be tempted to focus on interest rates and terms to secure the small business customer’s business. However, that may not be a sustainable way to drive business-loan growth, especially given regulatory scrutiny, the hazards of approving credit that is not appropriately priced…
  • A common thread among banking priorities in 2018

    Like clockwork, you can expect to see people making their bets for the “biggest trends” we will see in the New Year. Along with predictions for corduroy pants and cryptocurrencies, there are also countless predictions for banking trends in 2018. One common thread among many of the predictions is the…
  • Why is it so difficult for clients to discuss exit planning?

    By John F. Dini, CMBA, CExP, President, MPN Incorporated Understanding the Post-Ownership Void As advisors, we understand that our business clients should be preparing for the biggest financial event of their lives – the sale of their business. However, when we ask, “What is your plan for life after the business?,”…
  • Expected accounting trends in 2018

    As technology continues to evolve, 2018 likely holds new trends and improvements for which to prepare your firm. In order to stay competitive in today’s marketplace, keeping up with new technologies is vital for maintaining relevance. Shown below are 4 trends to expect in 2018: Further Evolution of Technology Though…
  • Client attraction: What to do in-house and what to outsource

    By Salim Omar, CPA, President, CPA Marketing Genius, LLC Many CPA’s that I talk to get overwhelmed and disillusioned by their marketing efforts. To be honest, prospects are feeling the same way. Most internet users report suffering from “information overload.” So where does that leave us? We do not want our…
  • Cash management 101: Controlling & forecasting cash flows

    By Rich Greene, CEO - Director, Clarus Advisors Cash Management by definition is the process of maximizing cash flow and minimizing unproductive cash balances. Speedier collection of receivables and diligent disbursement of trade payables definitively creates more free cash for the company. However, without understanding the cash and liquidity requirements of…
  • Infographic: 4 Reasons to leverage technology in your accounting firm

    Consultant Doug Sleeter, an Accounting Hall of Fame member, pointed out in 2014 that, “small and medium-sized businesses no longer simply require tax and compliance-related services. They need – and want – advisory services.” At this point it is no secret – businesses want their accountant to help their business…
  • Cash management 101: 3 Ways to control payables and increase cash

    By Rich Greene, CEO - Director, Clarus Advisors We have seen that managing collections can dramatically increase cash flow. The same is equally true when managing your payables. While we look to speed our collections, we must carefully manage the payable process so as not to disrupt or jeopardize your vendor…
  • There is no "I" in success

    By Salim Omar, CPA, President, CPA Marketing Genius, LLC There is no ‘I’ in ‘success’ but there is one in inspire, integrate and initiate. The day-to-day routine of coming to the office, typing away at the computer and eating the same chicken salad for lunch can become monotonous. This monotony can…
  • Ready, set, grow your CPA practice

    By Salim Omar, CPA, President, CPA Marketing Genius, LLC A garden will only be as abundant as the nutrients that it receives. This is a similar ideology I hold in growing my practice. The nutrients for growing a practice are finding innovative ways to market services, appeal to existing clients and…
  • Infographic: Tech drives growth in accounting firms

    A major concern for many firms is whether or not their technology investments will pan out. The big question is: “Will this expenditure return a profit for the firm?” This concern often leaves firms clinging to their previously purchased, outdated technologies and prevents them from reaching their greatest efficiencies. Because…
  • 4 Strategies to keep up with tech changes

    As technology continues to evolve, it is difficult for every team member to keep up. Employers can help by implementing strategies to ensure that employees are proficient in and knowledgeable of new industry tech. The below strategies will guide a firm’s development of well-informed, proficient employees.  1. Where do your…
  • 3 Ways CPAs can leverage technology for meaningful practice growth

    A major concern surrounding technology expenditures is whether the investments will generate a return for the accounting practice. Indeed, it is this worry that keeps partners and some firms stuck using outdated solutions when they could make their work easier and grow the practice with new, differentiated services. However, identifying…
  • Business valuation software: What are the benefits?

    In the same way that no two businesses are the same, no two business valuations are the same, either.  This is partly why the practice of business valuation is often said to be part art, part science. Valuation professionals must conduct research and apply professional standards, such as the AICPA’s…
  • Tech hardware for accountants & advisors: A primer

    Is it reasonable to expect a chef to prepare a gourmet meal when her only resources are dull knives, expired food and an oven that does not heat properly? Of course not, because despite the chef’s training and experience, she lacks the basic tools and quality ingredients necessary to even…
  • Your next accounting client wants paperless, mobile services

    Accountants looking for another reason to justify technology investments in their firms should consider this: The firm’s next generation of business clients are likely to require accounting services that are all or mostly digital. Moreover, younger business owners, in particular, expect accounting services that are in the cloud and accessible…
  • How to navigate technology choices: New resource available

    There’s a reason many people wait until their mobile phone is hopelessly outdated before getting a newer version. Technology change can be overwhelming.  Learning about new phones, selecting one that best meets current and future needs, ensuring it’s a fair price and getting it to work the way it should…
  • Performing business valuations with optimal efficiency

    Are business valuations at your firm as timely as they should be? Could the practice serve more clients each year if it could accelerate the process of performing business valuations? How long “should” a business valuation take? These are all relevant questions for advisory firms, particularly given the number of…
  • In a sea of tech companies, Sageworks rises to top award

    Over the past few years, the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, where Sageworks is headquartered, has been named among the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., the best places to live, the top boomtowns and the best places to start a business (among many other accolades). It’s also home to…
  • How to increase efficiency and minimize risk in the audit process using analytics

    Jackie McLaughlin, CPA, started her career in a Big 4 public accounting firm. Since leaving public accounting, she has been an internal auditor, a tax preparer and a controller. She's also done forensic accounting and has written extensively on the accounting field. Currently, in addition to serving as the controller…
  • What teens can teach advisors about technology

    I often find my teen-age son sprawled across the couch, watching YouTube videos on his tablet.  “Whatcha doing?” I’ll ask.  “Watching a documentary about whales,” he’ll sometimes say. Or,  “Watching a video about a videogame.”  The truth is, today’s teens spend a lot of their “down time” being entertained by…
  • 3 top tech trends for public accountants to watch in 2017

    Kimberley N. Ellison-Taylor, chairman of the AICPA, recently noted that technology tops her list of the most important trends shaping 2017 because it will drive so many of the profession’s opportunities and challenges in the year ahead. But how are accountants supposed to keep up with all of the technological…
  • 3 Ways you may be ruining your financial presentations

    For accountants, valuation professionals and other business advisory professionals, financial presentations are a fact of life. Even if you are among the many people who fear public speaking more than they fear death, chances are that you will be required to present financials to clients or managers at some point…
  • Technology considerations in an accounting firm merger

    Aside from the accounting firm’s staff, technology likely represents the area where a firm has made its biggest investments over the years, so it makes sense that technology considerations should be included in discussions about possible mergers or acquisitions. However, according to industry consultant Jim Boomer of Boomer Consulting, people…
  • Reduce your accounting firm’s cyber risks with these 8 actions

    Demand for effective cyber risk management is so strong that the AICPA is developing common criteria for CPAs to use as they help clients evaluate their programs and efforts. Meanwhile, accountants themselves understand the importance of good cyber security practices in their own offices, given recent reports of attacks by…
  • 3 Excel tips to help accountants avoid common errors

    In a recent Sageworks webinar, 3 Excel Tips for Accountants to Avoid Common Errors, Jeff Lenning, CPA and Author of Excel University, described key tips that can help accountants avoid common Excel errors and get their work done more efficiently. Lenning’s webinar is one of many resources Sageworks provides to…
  • Advantages of web-based software for valuation

    Businesses across all industries are continuing to transition to web-based software solutions from desktop applications as firms look to maximize technology investments and streamline operations in a way that meets changing client needs.  Indeed, some 77 percent of organizations in a recent survey said they use software as a service…
  • How to make your accounting firm more attractive to potential buyers

    Many accounting firms are offering estate planning or wealth management services, but ironically, a lot of CPAs aren’t necessarily ready for their own retirement. One in every four CPA firms currently faces challenges related to succession planning, according to a recent survey by the AICPA Private Companies Practice Section and…
  • 3 Signs your valuation firm’s technology is outdated

    For valuation professionals looking to grow their practices, technology plays a critical role. In order to scale any business, leaders must reduce time spent on repetitive or mundane tasks as much as possible to create the capacity and time to develop and offer new services or to handle new clients.…
  • What Oreos can teach accountants about growing the firm

    Accountants wanting to grow revenue by adding new services should look to the Oreo cookie for a few lessons, according to Katie Tolin, a member of the Association for Accounting Marketing’s Hall of Fame and founder of CPA Growth Guides. Tolin, who recently led a Sageworks webinar for accountants on…
  • How technology improves valuation practice productivity

    Have you purchased anything online recently? If you’re like most Americans, you have, and you likely were grateful for the time saved in traffic and at the store, or for the time or money saved in booking a trip. The benefits of utilizing e-commerce technology are readily apparent to us…
  • The future of accounting: Key trends to know

    A friend on Facebook recently posted the following exchange with her adolescent son, and it’s an excellent reminder of the constant change we face in life and in our careers: Son: You know what I just realized?Mom: What’s that?Son: You must have been really smart when you went through school...you…
  • Everyday technology for everyday challenges at accounting and valuation firms

    By Melinda Crump, Sageworks Did you know that many of the daily maintenance and management activities in your firm can be handled more effectively with technology? And while the word “technology” itself sometimes sounds like a daunting challenge, good technologies are actually designed with the end user in mind --…
  • How accountants can leverage technology to boost client financial literacy, loyalty

    If you’ve ever listened to or watched “The Dave Ramsey Show” or another financial advice program that features people who turned around their finances, you’ll frequently hear the host ask what prompted the people to make a change. Often, it was a crisis – a lost job or a major…
  • Choosing loan portfolio software: New buyer’s guide available

    A recent survey by Sageworks found that U.S. bankers expect to lend more to businesses in 2016, and as they expand their commercial lending, some financial institutions may seek to better manage their loan portfolios and lending-related risks using loan portfolio management software. Sageworks has a new guide for evaluating…
  • Business development strategies for 2016: Marketing

    A favorite principle that financial advisors like to discuss is “compounding”: How saving a little now can help magnify your returns down the road as the interest or the investment gains multiply. This concept of compounding is appealing. After all, who doesn’t like to get back more than they put…
  • Incorporating accounting industry trends into your growth plans

    Reflecting on the past year, accountants can undoubtedly point to goals they have achieved and some that have been left unmet. The start of a new year is an excellent time to regroup and refocus your practice on growth and how to most effectively and efficiently achieve it. Katie Tolin,…
  • Whitepaper: How technology is changing the way firms operate

    The following is an excerpt from the Sageworks whitepaper "The Automation Revolution: How Technology is Changing the Way Firms Operate". As consumers adopt the latest technology, businesses must do the same in order to provide services and customer experiences that align with today’s technology. The feeling of visiting a financial…
  • Data, where art thou?

    Banks and credit unions rely on their borrowers for updated information, which they in turn use to make accurate credit decisions. Financial statements, tax returns, collateral appraisals, rent rolls, loan agreements, economic data, credit reports, images, etc. all factor into credit decisions, making document and data management a big deal…
  • 3 Ways to capitalize on your tax season engagements

    Every year, accountants brace themselves for the inevitable tax season. For many accountants, unfortunately, tax season means that lucrative consulting work that can diversify revenue and bolster firm growth throughout the year gets put on hold in order to handle the mountains of personal and business tax returns. However, tax…
  • Survey: Trends in technology decision-making

    Companies across the globe ask themselves the same question: Is adopting new technology worth it? As you can imagine, this question is not new. Businesses of the past have debated whether or not they should install telephones to connect to customers more easily, use refrigeration to extend shelf life of…
  • Technology overload: Which option is the best for me?

    Industry, especially the financial industry, has become packed with insightful and time saving technologies. In a recent Sageworks webinar, 60 percent of attendees said that one of their main road blocks to adopting new technology at their firm was their unfamiliarity with potential solutions. In today’s blog I will map…
  • Survey: 88 percent of people still favor an in-person banking experience

    In late December, CNBC took a peek inside the bank branch of the future. The piece looks at one possibility – a faceless branch, where avatars take the place of tellers. CNBC said in the article, “Community-level banking, particularly from large institutions, will become more cost efficient and less personal.”…
  • How will the Apple Watch and other tech evolutions impact banking?

    That five-inch screen is ready to move to your wrist, and, perhaps surprisingly, that affects a lot more than just your wallet.  It’s not just the technology industry that is constantly evolving – many other industries must also remain adaptable to the changing landscape of the American consumer. One such…
  • Beyond efficiency: Using technology to ramp up a valuation business

    By Brad Spence, Director of Sageworks Valuation Solution What drives new business for your valuation practice? Referrals? Marketing? Cross-selling current accounting clients? How about technology? Is your firm using technology to drive new valuation engagements?  Many accounting firms view technology expenses as overhead – costs that chew up precious revenue dollars…
  • What's ahead in 2015? 9 Trends accounting firms should look for in the New Year

    No matter your goals, the New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start both personally and professionally. To set yourself up for success professionally, you must be willing to understand the importance of and deliver on new trends, needs and expectations. It is no different for accounting firms. In…
  • Use technology to retain accounting clients

    Let’s face it: business owners need accountants for more than taxes alone.  Many people who start and run businesses lack the financial perspective to be able to look at their financial statements and see potential pitfalls or opportunities for improving performance. And they desire guidance on how to plan for…
  • What are banks saying about meeting technology needs?

    As the financial industry gets smarter, leaner and more heavily regulated, technology’s role continues to evolve from an extravagance just a few decades ago to a financial institution’s lifeblood in many instances today. Banks and credit unions are now able to handle complex collateral relationships in a few clicks, send…
  • Tech decisions for your bank's Board

    BankDirector recently released a new whitepaper, The Role of the Board in Technology, explaining how technology-investment decisions should include Board of Directors participation. More than just their impact on the bank’s budget, technology decisions often relate to strategy within the institution, including areas of growth, weaknesses identified through the exam…
  • Evaluating technological service providers for community bankers

    This week the FDIC re-issued three documents containing information on technological outsourcing for community bankers. The documents were originally issued in 2001 and were included in a Financial Institution Letter (FIL) to FDIC-supervised institutions with less than $1 billion in total assets. The topics covered in these documents are:  1.…
  • CFO Corner: Challenging cash-flow forecasts

    Paula Griffo, CFO of VoIP Supply, an Amherst, N.Y., provider of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions, discusses reducing operating expenses and the challenge of developing accurate cash-flow forecasts. What was the biggest challenge your company faced over the last 12 months and how were you able to overcome it…
  • Forbes - Sageworks Stats: Where the jobs are

    November’s job report Friday held positive news in the lower unemployment rate (to 8.6 percent from 9 percent last month), even though employers added fewer workers to their payrolls than had been forecast, and average hourly earnings ticked down by 0.1 percent. In all, the U.S. Labor Department’s news had…
  • Sageworks announces its first iPhone app

    Recognizing that fewer financial professionals today access the internet from their computer alone, Sageworks recently released its first ever app for the iPhone. The app allows current Sageworks and ProfitCents customers to access SIDA, our industry data platform that provides real-time benchmarking data and trend analysis using all available (more than…
  • 5 Ways Business Intelligence Transforms Your Company by Amanda Harley, MBA--Part 2

    Amanda Harley shares her insights into how business intelligence can vastly improve your company's performance. In the five-part post, her #5 was Business Intelligence is based on real numbers & information and NOT on a gut feel. This week, her next suggestion: #4 – Measure the ROI of products, suppliers,…
  • 5 ways business intelligence transforms your company by Amanda Harley, MBA

    Over the next few weeks, we will be counting down 5 of the ways I believe Business Intelligence transforms your company.  Let’s first start with what business intelligence is.  I describe Business Intelligence as taking your company’s data and turning it into meaningful knowledge that you can immediately apply to…
  • Dining on quality credit information

    In many respects, the challenges that a chef encounters in delivering quality fare to restaurant patrons are quite analogous to those faced by bank information technology personnel in generating reports for credit analysts, loan officers, and credit committees.  That is, head chefs and CIOs are both responsible for transforming numerous…