Network Partners is a professional services firm that specialises in the medical device, pharmaceutical, and biopharmaceutical industries. Its expert consultants help bring clients’ life-saving products to market in fully compliant ways through a variety of packaging engineering, labelling, regulatory affairs services, quality and project management.
In a new Sage Intacct customer story, Network Partners’ Director of Finance, Kylie Kehres, shares how her team worked with Sage partner, BKD, to significantly improve the company’s project management and financial reporting with Sage Intacct. Their results include:
Kehres described the finance organisation’s major transformation over the last couple years. She noted that the team has grown more strategic and focused on value-added work, increasing their impact on the business by 5X since moving from Intuit QuickBooks to Sage Intacct.
As the business looked towards the future in 2019, its leaders knew they’d need a more scalable financial foundation. Kehres shared, “We wanted a system that would be flexible enough to support the kind of future growth we were anticipating for the next five or more years.” After connecting with BKD in early 2020, she felt confident that Sage Intacct was the right system, and that BKD was the right partner to help implement it – but first she had to sell the idea to her team.
“There is nothing more frustrating than trying to work with tools that just aren’t fit for the job, but we knew that implementing a new ERP would be a big undertaking,” Kehres remembered. “The whole time we were preparing to make the move, I kept telling my team, ‘I promise when we get through this, it will be the greatest thing we have ever done for this company and our team.’ And at the time they agreed to trust me on that. It just took one quarter after go live for every single person to be completely bought in and say ‘we should have done this two years ago.’”
The BKD team guided Network Partners through their business needs and helped them establish a robust general ledger and consistent chart of accounts, using Sage Intacct’s flexible dimensions to tag transactions by location (entity and state), employee, project, and department. “Because of COVID, we ended up launching Sage Intacct remotely. Even though we were all working from home during the rollout, BKD was with us every step of the way,” said Kehres. “It was a big change for our business, but the transition could not have gone better – it went off without a hitch.”
After moving all financial management and time tracking onto Sage Intacct, the team’s efficiency improved by 70% and they were well-prepared to support new entities and invoice structures as the business exploded. They now have a one-stop shop for client lists, accounts payables, and accounts receivables across all entities. “Everything in Sage Intacct is very easy to use even though we now have six entities,” shared Kehres.
The team further extended the benefits of Sage Intacct by integrating it with Tally for seamless expense tracking and with Microsoft Power BI for visual reporting across the business. They also enjoy a more consistent monthly close despite huge increases in transaction volumes and complexity. “We now have a more accurate and efficient close and hit our deadline 100% of the time. Even better, we truly trust the financials that come out of the system, because it is our single source of truth,” said Kehres.
One of the most significant improvements of making the switch to Sage Intacct was faster, more accurate project accounting and weekly invoicing. Network Partners’ previous manual process meant that billable hours got missed, or invoices had to be corrected before payment could be collected. Kehres explained, “40% of our 150 weekly invoices contain custom service fees that we used to adjust manually. This human intervention meant that sometimes our invoices didn’t match what clients expected, and we’d have to go back and make changes.” She continued, “Now that we get employee hours straight from Sage Intacct and have automated all of the other invoice nuances, everything is more accurate, so we do zero corrections. That makes our clients happy and our collections process more efficient.”
Across the board, these various productivity benefits have made a big impact on the business. Even though Network Partners acquired another company earlier this year, and its revenues almost tripled from $16 to $44 million over the last two years, the finance team has only added two people since deploying Sage Intacct. Kehres estimates they would have needed many more resources if they didn’t have a strong ERP system behind them. She noted, “The automation we have in the system saves days of invoicing time each month, freeing our analyst to dive into other ways to help the business and grow her knowledge base to advance in her career.”
Of course, another benefit of streamlined workflows is more reliable visibility into business health. “Having Sage Intacct allows us to do our forecasting, planning, and decision-making much more quickly and with more confidence,” said Kehres. “Our executive team really appreciates that we’ve been able to provide more value and information to them so we can all act as better stewards of the finances.”
For example, Network Partners now enjoys a clear view into project profitability and much more analysis than was possible in the previous time and attendance system. Leaders monitor key metrics and trends surrounding billable rates, productivity, and client support hours with the next level of managers so they are empowered to make better decisions.
The company’s budgeting process has also greatly improved. “We’re now replicating the structure of our general ledger as we build our budget, and can easily load it into Sage Intacct, which makes it simple to do comparisons and analysis around it,” noted Kehres. “It’s so much easier to iterate and re-forecast throughout the year now that we can always see where we are year-to-date versus what we projected.”
When working with external stakeholders, like Network Partners’ auditors and bank, the finance team can report financials with more depth and breadth and provide more clear explanations on the ‘why’ behind any variances. In fact, many external parties have told Kehres that the company’s financial acumen far surpasses what’s typical for a business of their age and size. “Sage Intacct is the engine that keeps us going,” Kehres concluded. “It has been able to grow with us every step of the way, even with all kinds of changes that we never considered when we initially purchased the system. We are absolutely thrilled with how it has supported us during this rapid period of growth.”
Learn more about how Network Partners achieved these impressive results in our new Sage Intacct customer story.
The Akuna Solutions Team