High growth rates are the lifeblood of a SaaS company and the cornerstone of its valuation. The success in rapid revenue growth comes with pains in supporting functions. The finance leadership found itself with an inflexible accounting system and a lack of adequate support from its system consultants. While the company used Salesforce and built an in-house system for its billing records, the systems did not talk to each other. There was no integrated ERP.
It became apparent to the CFO that something needed to change when she observed accounting staff spending weeks every month reconciling, generating and emailing between 600 and 1000 invoices. Sales staff stored catalogue, billing and contract records in a custom-designed billing application. However, there was no effective way to get the records into the accounting system, and then get the invoice data out of the accounting system in a way that was easy to handle, reconcile, distribute and report on. The CFO approached the accounting system consultants to build an integrator/API but the cost was excessive, and the level of control that the consultants wanted to assume over the systems while in development was not acceptable. Replacing the accounting system would require months and a major capital outlay.
The CFO has previously used OTB Advisory’s custom-built application to automate its public reporting and approached Elena again to see if there could be a different solution.
“We have spent years trying to solve this problem and Elena figured out the solution over the Christmas break!”
Less than two months later, the CFO’s team had a custom-designed application that automatically obtained all the billing and customer master data from the billing application, reconciled the data to the accounting system records, generated invoices for multiple invoice types, and emailed them to the various customers, all at a click of a few buttons. It also automatically generated monthly management reports such as the churn report, which previously took days to build. Weeks of work could now be compressed into a single day.
The development and implementation involved a detailed understanding of the client’s process, testing with real data and multiple user-defined scenarios, and training the client’s staff. Any feedback obtained during user testing was quickly incorporated into application development.
The application used proprietary code that was owned by the client, allowing for the development and implementation expenditures to be capitalized as software costs.
As getting data into the accounting system still required manual entry due to the lack of a standard API and the decision not to use hard uploads directly into the accounting system databases, the next stage of the project will utilize robotic process automation to load the data from the standard reports produced by the invoice generator application built by OTB Advisory.
The cost and time requirements for this solution were dramatically lower than the alternatives, giving the finance leadership another path beyond an integrated ERP with expensive cloud licensing costs and giving it more time to investigate the business case for a different accounting system. For the finance staff, it was truly liberating!