Technology & Innovation

These SaaS companies outgrew QuickBooks. You should too.

Here's how five SaaS companies have matched their financial solutions to their growth.

people in office

When SaaS companies start out, they often look at low-cost, lightweight business solutions to get the job done. Short of cash and customers, they’re investing dollars into development to create disruption in an existing market or to create a minimally viable product to fill a void. And often they use QuickBooks as a bookkeeping tool to track invoices, receipts and payments.

All SaaS companies want to grow, add new customers, lock-in current customers and secure recurring revenue streams. This need means they soon outgrow QuickBooks – while it’s easy-to-use bookkeeping software, it won’t give them the insights and functionality to propel growth. Let’s look at the stories of six SaaS firms seeking to improve contract management, integration with other business software and quote-to-cash.

Contract management improves without QuickBooks

Code42 delivers a SaaS solution to rapidly detect and protect against insider threats to data security and intellectual property. As a rising company with healthy increases in revenue, Code42 quickly outgrew QuickBooks automation, reporting and lack of straightforward integration with complementary solutions. The Code42 accounting team resorted to painstaking manual work in spreadsheets for multiple-entity consolidation and revenue recognition that QuickBooks couldn’t handle. Accountants hand-keyed sales orders into QuickBooks and tracked fixed assets and prepaid expenses in Excel. Closing the books could take up to 15 days and limited reporting capabilities didn’t deliver the visibility and insights that the company needed. “We couldn’t produce in-depth financial reports for management, outside investors and bankers,” says Code42 Controller Grant Christianson. “It was just a slow and tedious process to incorporate all that manual work.”

Sage Intacct really struck a chord with us…it was the right tool,” Christianson says, and it helped Code42 as it experienced a four-fold increase in revenue. It’s saving the equivalent of roughly two full-time accountants worth more than $100,000 by automating manual work across multiple processes. For example, multiple-entity consolidations, which took up to three hours in Excel, are now complete in 15 minutes. Today, the accounting team can handle higher sales volume without slowing down the monthly close.

“One of the best features of Sage Intacct is its ease of use. It’s simple to use and very intuitive when you need to find things.”— Grant Christianson, controller, Code42

Code42 loaded 12,000 historical contracts with 40,000 lines into the contracts module utilizing the full retrospective method for ASC 606 compliance. “With our complex revenue accounting, Sage Intacct Contracts has provided stable and accurate financial statement reporting,” Christianson says. “We have a streamlined process for revenue recognition with Sage Intacct, and can create revenue schedules by customer revenue, geographic location and other dimensions, which wasn’t possible before. Eliminating all the manual work around rev rec has provided more time for the team to focus on analytics.”

Using Sage Intacct for fixed assets and prepaid expenses, the Code42 accounts payables team is saving up to 12 hours each month closing the books. As well, the company has gained speed and productivity by integrating Sage Intacct with best-of-breed solutions, including Avalara for sales tax and FloQast for financial close management. Manual work for the accounts receivable team has dropped with native connectivity between Sage Intacct and Code42’s Salesforce instance. The efficiency gains contribute to a seven-day monthly close — less than half the 15 days needed in the past.

Founded in 2011, CloudCheckr supplies a comprehensive platform that helps organizations manage security, utilization and cost across public clouds such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. CloudCheckr technology delivers visibility and governance for more than 500 customers, from small startups to Fortune 500 enterprises, managed-service providers and government agencies.

Rapid growth in revenue and the workforce left the finance team scrambling to keep up with a combination of QuickBooks and Excel. Multiple-entity consolidations across CloudCheckr’s U.S. base and a U.K. subsidiary consumed at least a half-day each month. Up to a full day of manual work went into managing deferred revenue, while CloudCheckr lacked the financial visibility it needed. Especially problematic was trying to manage complex usage-based pricing across various models in Excel and manually inputting that data into QuickBooks for monthly, quarterly and annual billing that varied by customer.

“We needed a system to track that contractual information and calculate the billings because it was very difficult and cumbersome to try to maintain it in Excel,” says Sandy Burns, CloudCheckr’s vice president of Finance. “Our business was growing rapidly and we needed to be able to handle the volume and growth in our expanding customer base and revenue.” CloudCheckr found its ideal solution with Intacct, generating new finance efficiencies and visibility, and helping it adapt to changes triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve reduced our time to close and put better controls in place as well.” – Sandy Burns, VP Finance, CloudCheckr

In its first few months on Sage Intacct, CloudCheckr cut its monthly close time in half, from 10 days to five. It’s eliminated painful manual work around multiple-entity consolidation, currency conversions, journal entries and deferred revenue management. CloudCheckr has also implemented better processes, such as a monthly balance sheet review as compared with previous inconsistent approaches. The company can now track collections daily, reducing days-sales outstanding and giving better visibility into cash flow.

Application Integration – A QuickBooks Weakness

Komet Sales is a specialized software-as-a-service provider for flower growers, importers, wholesalers and retailers. With a vertically integrated platform that serves the industry’s entire supply chain, the company’s subscriber base has grown quickly. Komet Sales’ CEO Alejandro Pérez recognized the need to replace QuickBooks, which lacked the financial controls, reporting and automation the expanding business needed. He wanted to get the team’s work out of Excel and gain a more accurate, useful understanding of the company’s data.

“As we grow our SaaS offering, one of our strategies is to automate as much of our back office as possible in the cloud,” Pérez says. “Although we considered financial systems from Oracle NetSuite and FinancialForce, Sage Intacct was the clear winner after a thorough evaluation. Its tight integration with Salesforce is a huge differentiator against Oracle NetSuite, as well as Sage Intacct’s robust reporting and dashboards, web services API, marketplace of partner add-ons and advanced modules that we can use to extend the solution as our business grows.”

Now, Komet Sales’ entire quote-to-cash process is streamlined using a seamless integration with Salesforce. As new customers or orders are added in Salesforce, they are instantaneously synchronized with Intacct for recording and reporting. The company has easily automated its information flows between Intacct and several other business systems, including proprietary systems, Jira Software, PayPal and Chargify.

“I’m a strong believer that if a mechanical task can be done by software, it should not be done by a human being who could use that time for value-added activities.” Alejandro Pérez, CEO, Komet Sales

“We have just one person that handles our back office, and she’s saving around 100 hours each month because we’ve automated all of our recurring processes and transactions in Sage Intacct, and it works like a charm,” Pérez says. “She no longer manually applies 200 payments to the correct invoices in our financial system, figures out when a development project in Jira is ready to be invoiced, or tediously separates transaction fees from revenues in our PayPal payments.”

Quote-to-Cash Improvements Over QuickBooks

Nasuni is a leading provider of subscription-based cloud file services that simplify IT operations and reduce costs. Its executives decided to increase their focus on engineering, sales and marketing, as well as expansion into Europe to build on the company’s growth. They needed to replace QuickBooks with a modern financial system that could support ASC 606-compliant revenue recognition, global consolidations and timelier month-end reporting. This would allow the company to secure more venture capital funding.

After looking at Oracle NetSuite and a few others, the Finance team chose Sage Intacct due to its native integration with Salesforce and its ability to effectively manage subscription contracts as the business scaled. Nasuni’s finance team eliminated extremely high-touch workflows, reducing the time to invoice customers by 99%, cutting the monthly close by 40% and increasing efficiency 25%. The company adopted granular trend-and-revenue analysis to help boost its gross margin 10% and support a $25 million funding round.

By integrating Sage Intacct with Salesforce CPQ, the company revamped its revenue operations with automated billing and revenue recognition upon order entry. Now, new orders come in from resellers via an email queue, which instantly adds them to the appropriate Salesforce opportunities. Each opportunity is quickly reviewed and approved by the revenue operations team before being converted into a Salesforce contract object. Next, Salesforce pushes all relevant data to Sage Intacct, where the accounting team does a final review of the order. It then calculates amortization over the contract term and sends out an invoice to the reseller. This systemized process slashed Nasuni’s typical order entry cycle from two days down to 15 minutes.

In addition to overhauling contract management, Nasuni leveraged Sage Intacct’s automation to shorten their monthly close 40%, quickly spin up two new international entities, increase overall finance productivity more than 25% and streamline audits.

“With the seamless connection between Salesforce and Sage Intacct, we finally have a complete view of our customer,” says Elizabeth Ingham, revenue manager at Nasuni. “We can track their usage back to individual subscriptions to see where they stand and where the revenue is hitting. Plus, since we greatly reduced the manual touch required on every order, our information is more accurate.”

By moving cumbersome reconciliations, global consolidations, currency conversions and reporting to Sage Intacct, Nasuni saved significant time. This allowed them to shift their focus away from bookkeeping towards long-term planning and keep new accounting headcount to just three as the rest of the company grew by 130 employees.

On a mission to transform education, GoGuardian provides Chromebook management solutions that keep students safer online and make teaching easier. The company experienced tremendous growth while relying on cumbersome processes that slowed the receipt of revenue, prolonged month-end close, and delayed visibility into its cash position. The sales operations team had to tediously convert opportunities into contracts, then manually invoice those contracts and send payments to a third-party accounting firm, which posted them to the general ledger in QuickBooks and put them into an Excel-based revenue recognition tracker.

“We wanted a robust system that could automatically process contracts as purchase orders are received, bill customers, accept payments, post to the general ledger, do revenue recognition and produce financial reports,” says Elliot Woo, director of accounting at GoGuardian. “We were pleased with the software’s tight Salesforce integration, quick implementation and helpful training offerings.”

GoGuardian deployed Intacct as the core of a best-in-class financial ecosystem and automated its entire order-to-cash process. “With Sage Intacct, we were able to eliminate a giant 5,000-line spreadsheet that kept track of all our contracts and revenue data across varying licensing terms,” Woo says. Instead, we rely on technology to streamline our accounting processes and make us scalable.” Intacct seamlessly converts closed/won opportunities from GoGuardian’s Salesforce instance into contracts, invoices customers, closes accounts receivables and generates revenue recognition schedules automatically posted to the general ledger. This automated order-to-cash process has increased cash flow by 50%.

“By automating our full range of accounting workflows, Sage Intacct helped us scale easily even as our sales doubled.” – Elliot Woo, director of accounting, GoGuardian

Now, the company can close its accounts receivables in a single day at month’s end. Additionally, the platform drives a painless, configurable process that sends customers reminders, assigns owners to collection cases and centrally records all activity to provide real-time visibility into customer histories and aging balances.

RapidRatings is the alternative rating, research and analytics firm that enables organizations to effectively assess the financial health of their customers, suppliers and investments. The company’s financial-rating and report-generation services provide visibility and early warning of financial weakening or improvement. The company’s proprietary methodology exceeds the traditional ratings techniques, default models and risk metrics. This provides consistent, accurate and forward-looking analysis on tens of thousands of public and private companies across industries worldwide.

RapidRatings’ achieved consistent 50% growth for each of the past few years and the finance team wasted a lot of energy on error-prone Excel-based workarounds and keeping Salesforce current. Their QuickBooks software simply wasn’t robust enough to support their quote-to-cash, invoicing, currency conversion, commissions or revenue recognition needs. These cumbersome processes created month-end bottlenecks that became more tedious as the business grew, so the team decided to make the switch to Intacct.

RapidRatings implemented Intacct and streamlined core accounting workflows. It reviewed their cash-to-order process and realized they could further improve subscription-invoice creation by extending their use of Intacct to include its contracts billing-and-revenue management capabilities and connecting the system with other platforms, including Salesforce, Nexonia for expense management and Avalara for tax compliance. Now, the finance team manages its price book directly in Intacct, which pushes items to Salesforce that the sales team can add to orders. Once a deal closes, final contracts are sent from Salesforce to Intacct, where applicable sales tax is instantaneously calculated and pulled in from Avalara, and revenue recognition schedules are automatically created. All finance does is select “generate invoices” and the system completes all related entries in minutes.

“Having our entire quote-to-cash process just work with the click of a button in Sage Intacct has been a gigantic time-saver.” – Elliot Goldman, finance director RapidRatings

“We’re able to close billing and recognize revenue on the first day of every month, as opposed to day five after double-checking that everything’s right,” Woo says. “We’re also sending out invoices three times faster whenever a new deal closes and have reduced days sales outstanding by 20% for customers on standard contracts.”

These six companies crossed thresholds to better insights, greater flexibility and increased profitability, all of which were impossible to achieve with QuickBooks holding them back. Sure, they would have grown, but why struggle with an essential business system when there’s a much better alternative.