Going Beyond Spreadsheets into the World of ERP Cloud Solutions
April 2, 2018
In emerging and high-growth organizations you likely juggle several priorities, wear numerous organizational hats, and burn the candle at both ends.
But, imagine if you had a partner that could shoulder the finance and accounting burden, and solve some of your most pressing organizational needs, such as:
- Eliminating manual work by automating transactional, tactical, time-consuming functions
- Providing more efficient, straightforward revenue and expense planning and reporting
- Gaining real-time visibility to drive decision-making and overall success
On this episode of our Now to Next podcast, we sat down with Mike Lynch, Principal at SC&H Group and the leader of our Accounting Solutions practice, who discusses how we help organizations with implementing best-in-class solutions and running day-to-day operations better, our growing partnership with Sage Intacct, and where he sees the industry heading in the next two to three years.
Welcome to SC&H Group’s “Now to Next” podcast. We are joined by Mike Lynch, Principal at SC&H and the leader of our Sage Intacct practice. Mike is just getting back from Sage Intacct’s Business Building Conference in Dallas. He’s ready to take a deep dive into what his team does, more into Sage Intacct ERP cloud software, and also detail our partnership with Sage Intacct.
Q. Mike, we want to get started with a brief overview of what your practice does here at SC&H Group.
We do a couple things specifically well, and that’s really advise finance teams’ best practices, and we do that in two main ways. One of the ways is we bring it in-house and we become a part of their finance teams. So they’re able to utilize us in either a full outsourced accounting model or a supplemented accounting model. And often, what goes along with that is a revamping of their accounting system. So we use the cutting-edge technology, Intacct being one of them, to put together a solid workflow plan that will make the teams operate very effectively and efficiently.
That’s one way. The second way is we’ll go in and we’ll work with the finance teams, and we design a system and a solution that they own themselves and operate. And we help implement that solution so that they can have an in-house answer versus an outsourced accounting answer.
Q. When it came time to evaluating the technologies, why did we originally decide to partner with Sage Intacct in 2016?
You know, it was a collaborative effort. A number of people at SC&H Group were looking at different software partners, and ultimately it came down to a handful of reasons for our selection. The first one that really kind of teed us off to Intacct being the right answer is their partnership with the AICPA. They are the preferred solution of accounting professionals. And with that comes a real solid validation of their place in the market. Secondly, their Partner Enablement programs are second to none. It’s a really rich community of people both from the Intacct side and other partners like SC&H, who are willing to share ideas and resources and collaborate to get to the best solution.
And then lastly, the most intriguing part is the open API platform of Intacct. They are a best-in-class ERP accounting solution, and they have the ability to partner with other best-in-class softwares, whether that’s an additional inventory module, AP workflow, or expense management. So there’s plenty of other third-parties that have deep integration so that not everything needs to reside in the Intacct platform. We are able to team up and give a real holistic solution at a very reasonable entry-level price.
Q. Let’s talk a little bit about Clients that we’ve already advised and started working with, and are using the software. Where are they finding the value? Where do they see the return on their investment? And how do we help them realize that as soon as possible in a scalable and efficient way?
It’s interesting because we’ve done implementations for companies of 1 to 250, and upwards to 500 at a top level for us right now. But different people see value in different ways. Some seek us out and they know the product, or at least they know what they’re missing in their daily finance life. They’re not getting the correct KPIs and information timely, or maybe they’re not getting it at all. So they feel like they’re missing a large portion of what they need to do their daily business operations. So when you implement the solution for them, they’re really gung-ho and they see the value right off the bat with real-time data. They can access it a number of different ways from cell phone to laptop and they have drill-down capabilities, dashboards and charting, and really interesting financial information.
Then, you have a second class of people who, they are getting information from their finance team, and they don’t realize that the information they’re getting is an outdated way of consuming that information. So, they get a PDF and it has the P&L on it, and they’re able to read it and ask questions. But you put together a dashboard that has really meaningful data and having the ability right there without having to email or pick up the phone and call the controller, allows then to be really self-sufficient. You can drill down and get all of the information in much less time. And, instead of picking up the phone to make the call, you’re actually picking up the phone to be proactive and it really changes the dynamic. When people who didn’t know they were missing get it, it’s a really cool thing and they’re very appreciative.
Q. One of the things that we’re very conditioned to is a lot of software being in the cloud nowadays, and it adds a whole other level of ease and facilitates business happening a lot quicker and more efficiently. How has that impacted your clients? And specifically, what has the evolution been like since you first started in the business?
Good question. Well, you mentioned the cloud. There’s a couple different viewpoints on the cloud. Intacct is a software that is true cloud. It’s tenant-based. It’s built in the cloud for the cloud. You have other providers that want to get to the cloud, and they do it in a hosting solution and it’s not ideal. It isn’t always easily accessed for integrations and workflow, and even accessibility. So when we talk about getting in the cloud and true cloud, Intacct, you can check the “Yes” box there, which is great. Because it’s the future of a lot of software, especially accounting software. So you’re already there. There’s not going to be a reinvention of the software infrastructure.
You also mentioned, “How has this been able to positively affect startup companies?” The entry point on ERP systems can range vastly from $10 to hundreds of thousands of dollars. So if you have a startup company who really doesn’t have the cash flow to do a full ERP implementation, but they’re able to team up with an Intacct accounting partner such as SC&H, Intacct gives us some preferred pricing, which allows them to get in at that ground level. From a scalability and long-term solution, maybe they’re only using the core functionality of the product and it’s a replacement for entry-level software like a QuickBooks, but they have a fast-growth track.
Maybe they have inventory and they are going to have order fulfillment. They’re going to need to track shipping and invoicing and some of the real high-level functions that come with selling a product and doing business. They’re in the right solution. It’s just a matter of turning on that functionality when they get there and not reinventing the wheel.
Q. You mentioned QuickBooks. A lot of our clients are outdated. They need to move on from QuickBooks. Right? So that next solution is looking at a Sage Intacct. If a CEO or business owner is listening today, what are some of those signs that it might be time for the next-level solution and look at a Sage Intacct, or even look at a partner like SC&H to come in and advise them on what’s the right next step for their organization?
You can probably track that a few easy ways. How much Excel-jockeying are you doing on a daily basis? Are you having to slice and dice information outside of the accounting system? If you’re doing that daily or weekly, then potentially you’re in the wrong solution. QuickBooks has its place in the market. I mean, it’s a great product for a specific set of clients and customers. But when you really want to get to the next level of tracking your data, dimensionalizing it, digging in and making profound decisions for your business with solid real-time data, then, that’s when you want to think about that next step.
Q. Let’s wrap up with, what is the next stage for Sage Intacct, for our partnership, and our clients?
Sage Intacct, is really an amazing company. They have a very, very vigorous roadmap. It’s a product that is continually evolving. So the product that you’re looking at today will be different tomorrow. They do four releases every year, all functional, all backwards compatible. So you’re always running the same platform as everyone else in Intacct, and you’re always running the most up-to-date version. Their focus on consistent improvement of the product is really remarkable. You know, because of that, really the sky’s the limit of where you could go. It’s tough to build a case against a certain client or customer being a good fit. Intacct does amazingly well at consolidations, global currency, multi-entity accounting, and these are really complex things to do. And to do it so well, and to perform time and time again at the top of their peer group is pretty exciting for the long-term proposition of SC&H’s partnership.
This has been a pleasure to sit down with you today, Mike. Thanks a lot for your time. If anyone would like to learn more about SC&H group and the work that we’re doing with Sage Intacct, please visit www.schgroup.com. And with that, thanks for listening to today’s episode of SC&H’s “Now to Next” podcast. Take care and have a great day.