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Business Advisory and CPA Firm Improves Efficiency 90%, Eliminates $200,000 a Year in Overhead

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Business Advisory and CPA Firm Improves Efficiency 90%, Eliminates $200,000 a Year in Overhead

Growth and diversification have turned HoganTaylor LLP into one of the largest business advisory and public accounting firms in Oklahoma and Arkansas, and won it a spot on the Accounting Today Top 100 Firms list for 2019. From an internal financial management perspective, such expansion would have been difficult a few years ago when HoganTaylor was running an on-premises Sage MAS 90 application. The legacy system required data exports to Excel for reporting, while limited automation meant a high manual workload for the finance team.

An upgrade to cloud-based Sage Intacct solved those challenges and provides a solid foundation as HoganTaylor continues adding clients and building out its portfolio of tax, assurance, risk, business advisory, accounting, technology, and industry-focused services.

“Sage Intacct gives us flexibility to quickly bring on more services and entities and helps enable our growth,” as Wes Gilliam, chief accounting officer.

Streamlining New Acquisitions and Offerings

Since going live in early 2018, Sage Intacct has helped HoganTaylor streamline its acquisition of CPA firm JPMS Cox and its 75 employees, and the acquisition of an IT services firm, RainRock IT Services. That’s the basis for a new subsidiary that offers managed IT services, outsourced solutions, cybersecurity services, and hardware and software solutions.

At the same time, HoganTaylor has been expanding its advisory offerings in addition to core tax and compliance.

“We’ve been shifting toward more advisory services and additional offerings, and it would have been virtually impossible to track performance in our previous environment,” Gilliam said.

Sage Intacct emerged as HoganTaylor’s solution of choice after evaluations of Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Xero, and QuickBooks Online. As it turned out, Sage acquired (then-independent) Intacct shortly after HoganTaylor’s selection, meaning that the firm would remain within the Sage family of products.

“We wanted the ability to put more detail in the general ledger, do financial reporting from the solution, and share information with stakeholders through dashboards,” Gilliam said. “Sage Intacct checked all those boxes.”

The firm’s results with Sage Intacct have been remarkable. With implementation by One Vision Solutions, a 2020 Sage Intacct Partner of the Year, HoganTaylor and its lean six-person accounting and finance team has:

  • Increased overall accounting efficiency 90% 
  • Eliminated $200,000 in administrative overhead 
  • Sped the close by 50% across 4x more entities 
  • Eliminated 40 hours a month of Excel-based statistical reporting
  • Delivered 24 dashboards to finance, executive, and operational leaders
  • Increased reporting volume by 4x 
  • Reduced days sales outstanding by 50% at one subsidiary

Closing the Books in Half the Time — for 4x More Entities

Previously, accounting for subsidiaries was handled by administrative personnel at the subsidiary level in QuickBooks, while the main accounting team managed financials for the over-arching corporate entity.

Now Gilliam’s team has taken over multi-entity accounting for the four subsidiaries, without adding headcount. That eliminates roughly $200,000 a year in administrative overhead, while subsidiary personnel can now focus on more valuable client-facing initiatives instead of bookkeeping in QuickBooks.

Despite the increased workload, Gilliam’s team has dramatically cut monthly close time — from five to seven business days down to just two or three.

“Consolidation across multiple entities would have been a nightmare in our previous environment,” Gilliam said. “As the firm has grown with acquisitions and new entities, Sage Intacct has enabled the finance team to handle exponential growth in volume and deliver more timely reporting while maintaining our headcount to a minimum.”

With Sage Intacct, HoganTaylor has eliminated 40 hours of statistical reporting on metrics such as hours and headcount previously done manually in Excel. The firm is also saving time in accounts payable with integration between Sage Intacct and Bill.com, and it’s streamlined intercompany accounting for about 250 transactions a month.

“Intercompany is much easier with Sage Intacct because often our due to/due from records wouldn’t match, so we’d have to hunt through systems to figure it out,” said Controller Mandy Brown. “We don’t have to worry about that anymore because Sage Intacct handles it automatically.”

A 4x Increase in Reports and a 50% Decrease in DSO

HoganTaylor’s big efficiency gains have opened time to invest in more analytics and other value-added work. For example, the finance team has increased its number of monthly reports more than 4x, from about 10 to 45, all with additional detail that delivers insights not possible with Excel. Plus, Brown has time for a new role in aiding HoganTaylor’s internal tax preparation.

She and Gilliam have also created Sage Intacct dashboards for 24 users, 15 of whom are non-finance executives, department heads, and subsidiary leaders. Dashboards with real-time data have proven highly valuable for insightful decision making compared to limited monthly reports of the past.

“Our dashboard users can now drill down into details and get context and perspective, whereas before they’d get a report once a month,” Gilliam said.

For one subsidiary, dashboards helped leadership easily spot delinquent bill payments and ramp up collection efforts, Brown noted. That’s reduced the subsidiary’s days sales outstanding (DSO) metric by 50%, accelerating cash flow for greater operational flexibility.

Building on Success with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning

Management is also better able to track travel and expense costs and adjust headcount by location as needed. “Management can look at headcount, hours, and revenue by location and determine we might be overstaffed at one office but understaffed at another,” Brown noted.

Going forward, HoganTaylor can set up newly acquired entities far more easily than it could in the old system. Plus, regular updates to the platform via the cloud give the finance team an ever-expanding toolkit.

“Sage Intacct is always making improvements and enhancements, so the solution keeps getting better and our lives keep getting easier,” Brown said. “We’re always finding new ways to benefit from Sage Intacct.”

One way was to replace Excel budgeting with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning in late 2019, improving budget creation efficiency by 50% and saving roughly 100 hours of work for the finance team and more than a dozen department and subsidiary budget owners. In an upcoming blog, Brown and Gilliam share how the native integration between Sage Intacct budgeting and accounting components is proving especially useful.

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