Many SMBs are increasingly choosing cloud deployment because of the benefits provided by the cloud model, such as constant access to real-time, consistent information, regular updates, and continuous innovation.

Financial planning has always been critical to a company's sustainability and expansion. To assess progress and make better decisions, businesses need good insight into operating expenses, sales, and profitability.

The good news for SMBs is that cloud-based applications will have these features without the headaches of installing and maintaining hardware, software, and infrastructure in-house.

Here are six tips for choosing the right cloud financial solution provider:

Connects you to Reference Customers

Request that the company associates you with businesses that are similar to yours so that you can learn firsthand about their experiences with the solution. Of course, you'll want to look at online customer reviews as well.

Speak the Language of Finance Fluently

Having a significant number of CPAs, CFOs, and finance experts on board means that the provider not only "speaks finance," but also knows how to create solutions that are customized to the needs of financial users.

Have an Active, Robust Partner Ecosystem

No single vendor can fulfill all of a company's needs. However, engaged partners can bridge the gaps with complementary services and products, like planning, implementation, integration, customization, onsite support, and more.

Understands your Business Requirements

Every company has its own set of issues and goals. Providers should take the time to learn everything they can about yours.

Provide a Clear Roadmap to the Future

Change is the only constant, and creativity can give the business a competitive advantage. Analyze how the provider is improving reporting and analytics, mobile and integration capabilities, artificial intelligence and machine learning, natural language processing, and other technology to help you get more out of the solution.

Offer an Easy to Understand, Comprehensive Contract

Service-level assurances should be included in contracts, stating the minimum appropriate performance level in terms of uptime, response time, and other performance variables. Data retention and business continuity requirements should also be included, such as security certifications, backup, business continuity protocols, and data ownership and return processes. The provider should also be able to make any necessary changes to meet your company's security needs and explain their responsibility for any losses caused by security breaches.