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Sage Intacct helps multi-entity Pedalheads scale smoothly

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“Reducing the admin gives the finance team more opportunities to add value and carry out duties that are more aligned with the strategy of the business.”

Pedalheads is an organization that provides confidence, development, and independence programs for children in the areas of cycling, swimming, and sport. In other words, the company is an incredible resource for parents that want to give their children a great start in learning how to do these activities. In 2020, the company made the switch to Sage Intacct in order to reduce manual entry of accounting processes, manage multi-entity reporting in different countries and to extract more actionable data. During a recent webcast, Geoff Grover, Director of Operations at Pedalheads, shares the organization’s implementation journey with Sage Advice.

Evolving from entrepreneurial roots

Pedalheads’ journey started as many startup ideas do – focusing almost exclusively on product developments. While developing the best experience for customers, it’s understandable that operational processes often get put on the back burner, however, the risk is that during a period of rapid growth they are never optimized or improved, and work gets backlogged.

“We deal with 50,000 kids a year; that’s 50, 000 transactions, credits, refunds, orders, changes etc.  It’s a big strain on our customer care and accounting and finance group. These are the broad challenges we face. Our rapid growth is a great thing for the company but it also presents a significant challenge in keeping up sustainability. We have been expanding at 20% a year for 5-6 years. This doesn’t allow us much time to jump off the hamster wheel and take on projects,” explained Geoff.

Working with an implementation partner

Rapidly growing across Canada, while developing a cross border presence in the US, Pedalheads experienced the exciting opportunities and challenges that are to be expected when running a multi-entity organization. One of these is dealing with different tax regimes and different reporting regulations across multiple territories. Pedalheads’ software search would reveal that this was one area that cloud-based financial management software could take care of, but the leadership needed some guidance to ensure some of the other challenges the business was facing could be solved with Sage Intacct.

Geoff recently oversaw the businesses transition to Sage Intacct from Sage 50 and worked with The Answer Company to ensure the software solution would be able to integrate seamlessly with Pedalheads’ back end.

“We believed our needs were unique and we wanted to know how we could get Sage Intacct to best fit with our business. We worked with The Answer Company in Vancouver in the spring of 2020. They were very easy to talk to and we did a lot of whiteboarding with them. They really took the time to get to know the business and I’m confident they could probably sell a Pedalheads camp at this point,” said Geoff. Pedalheads has now removed 90% of its manual entry work since the implementation.

Conquering peaks and valleys with efficiency

Due to the seasonal nature of the Pedalheads’ business, one of the ongoing challenges is the large volume of seasonal staff that the business takes on to meet demand in the busy periods of the year. The business had no choice but to take on more accounting clerks just to help process the manual data entry that was required to process payroll and customers transactions. Even with the added staff to support these operations, there was no opportunity to extract real-time data in a current season, leaving room for error and missed opportunities for optimizing business performance.

“We hire 2000 instructors every year for the summer. We have a giant labour expense suddenly. Now…[our] revenue can get in faster and our main expense, labour, is being inputted in real-time. We can now see if there are any anomalies or anything out of place across all the locations. With Intacct we can also do that dashboarding piece that was missing, taking advantage of that real-time feedback and see any red flags,” said Geoff.

Making use of better data

It’s one thing to gather data, it’s another to make effective use of it. One of the key strategic decisions Pedalheads made in this regard was to bring on a financial controller.

“We know with Sage Intacct we’re going to have better data and we wanted someone who can take that and really use it from a financial perspective,” said Geoff.

During the manual entry days, everything was delayed 3-4 months, and the business couldn’t make decisions as fast as it needed to. Also, because of the company’s entrepreneurial beginnings, Pedalheads was used to making a lot of decisions based on gut feelings, but as it grows the business must work harder to beat the competition for ‘share of wallet’ for educational programs and timely financial insight, or to put another way, ‘better data’ can help achieve this.

“Reducing the admin gives the finance team more opportunities to add value and carry out duties that are more aligned with the strategy of the business,” said Geoff.

Implementation timeline

Sage Intacct first came on the company’s radar in December 2019, with discussions starting with the answer company in spring 2020. COVID-19 would interrupt the journey momentarily and the Pedalheads busy season would arrive soon after, meaning things were picked back up in the fall of 2020. This timing worked well for the business as it lets the organization put its strongest foot forward for busy season in 2021. For now, test runs of processes and dashboard building is underway to help discover new efficiencies and opportunities for the new year.

Following his journey to find a solution that picked up where Sage 50 left off, Geoff had some parting advice for other businesses that are considering upgrading to Sage Intacct.

“If I had to give one piece of advice to another business rethinking their finance set up, it would be not to waste time trying to develop better spreadsheets and just make the move. We spent a fair amount of time trying to redo excels and pivot tables, but we should have just gone on and make the change. We didn’t have to change much on our back end. So, spend the time more effectively,” explained Geoff.

Discover Sage Intacct

Our cloud financial management platform delivers deep accounting capabilities across multiple industries designed with a single aim—to accelerate your success.

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The quotes in this article were extracted from a Sage webcast ‘The Approach to Moving Toward Financial Management Modernization—The Future is Now’. Watch the full recording here.

If you are a growing business thinking about graduating from Sage 50 to a cloud-based financial management system, we’ve put some resources together for you here.

 

 

 

Discover Sage Intacct

Our cloud financial management platform delivers deep accounting capabilities across multiple industries designed with a single aim—to accelerate your success.

Learn more about Sage Intacct

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