When Geoff Tamman joined Shipium as its VP of finance and operations, he was acutely aware of the pitfalls that loomed if the startup labored ahead with its QuickBooks accounting system while pursuing ambitious growth.
A likely scenario: Extensive manual data work, limited visibility into key operating metrics, and a “Frankenstein” finance tech stack of bolt-on applications that would pile on high technical debt.
Tamman wanted to chart a more scalable financial management trajectory at Shipium, founded in 2019 as a provider of a SaaS-based enterprise shipping platform used by retailers, brands, 3PLs, and marketplaces.
“When I joined Shipium I was saying, ‘Hey, with the growth plans we have, I don’t think QuickBooks is the right solution,’” says Tamman, with two decades of experience in accounting, audit, and product management at companies including Amazon and Deloitte. “I wanted to get ahead of the bow wave that was coming.”
‘An Eye-Opening Experience’ with Sage Intacct
Tamman was quickly convinced that Sage Intacct would be the ideal solution based on research and consultations with Enterprise Allies, a Sage Intacct Accountants Program (SIAP) partner providing implementation and outsourced accounting services.
“Enterprise Allies gave us an eye-opening experience of how Sage Intacct with its dashboards provides a clear view of the business,” Tamman says. “It became clear to me that Sage Intacct was a very good solution.”
Results have borne out that first impression at Seattle-based Shipium, named to the 2023 Retail Tech 100 list of the world’s most promising private retail tech companies by CB Insights, a market research and analysis firm.
Automation Speeds the Close and Cash Flow
With Sage Intacct, Shipium’s monthly close time has plummeted from weeks to just hours, supported by Montana-based Enterprise Allies along with other standard accounting tasks. Visibility and efficiency have soared.
“Life is a lot easier since we moved to Sage Intacct,” Tamman told me. “We have a holistic view across the business, and invoices automatically process because I set up the order schedules so customers have invoices the first of each month—I don’t have to touch it.”
“Things like that can get taken for granted, but can really suck time away from finance professionals,” adds Tamman, a founding member of The F Suite, a peer community for CFOs of high growth technology companies and leading venture capital funds. “Now it’s nearly hands off the wheel.”
Automated invoicing is accelerating cash flow because Tamman no longer has to spend time on tedious manual data chores.
“It’s not waiting on me to make time to ensure our invoices have run, which could cost us four or five days on cash flow timing,” Tamman says. “It leads to very predictable reporting.”
Along with speedier cash flow, Shipium is seeing greater accuracy in its cash forecasting. The company is looking at a mere 1.2% variance from its operating plan over a full year—a remarkable achievement that underscores Shipium’s rigorous approach to financial management.
Metrics Visibility ‘Worth Its Weight in Gold’
Reporting based on Sage Intacct dimensions, along with customized dashboards for executives, are giving Shipium the Holy Grail of real-time operating metrics that enable data-driven decision making.
“Every day, the executive team knows how we’re doing against our key operating metrics,” Tamman says. “That’s worth its weight in gold.”
A single system of record and key metrics such as net dollar retention, customer acquisition costs, and annual recurring revenue are delivering newfound confidence as Shipium grows.
“Strong finance hygiene based on strong financial systems allows me and other leaders to have a high level of confidence in our accuracy and reporting,” Tamman says. “That leads to confidence in the company, confidence in the runway, confidence in our ability to drive cash.”
Clear Insights Support Informed Decisions
As a result, Shipium is able to make informed decisions in critical areas such as hiring.
“Because of the visibility we have with Sage Intacct, it’s easy to run risk and opportunity scenarios,” Tamman says. “We can clearly see the impacts that different decisions would have. We don’t have to debate on the dollars—it’s all very clear and very easy.”
And the company has new insights and flexibility to tailor relationships and contracts with both partners and customers.
“Sage Intacct allows us to get a lot clearer view on pricing scenarios or risk areas,” Tamman says. “We’re willing to lean into certain discounts or features that may not typically have been offered because of that visibility.”
The Opportunity Costs of Entry-Level Systems
Dimension-based reporting also helps Shipium assess the ROI of sales and marketing investments such as travel and conferences.
“Too often T&E (travel and expense) reporting becomes punitive, like ‘don’t go over budget,'” Tamman says. “Sage Intacct lets us more keenly slice into our sales and marketing operations to determine where we’re finding the best value and where we want to focus our sales and marketing dollars.”
Shipium’s many successes with Sage Intacct have validated Tamman’s perspective that a young growth-oriented company shouldn’t hesitate to upgrade from an entry-level system and spreadsheets to a more robust and scalable platform.
“It’s an opportunity cost,” Tamman shares. “Yes you’re going to pay a little bit for the software, but how much are your hourly units worth? How much is your business losing because you’re spending all this time closing the books and reconciling and reporting?”
“Here at Shipium, my reports are ready every single morning because the data loads automatically into dashboards,” Tamman adds. “I don’t have to log into four different systems to size up our financial health. It’s very liberating.”
To see how Sage Intacct can equip you to transform your software / SaaS business, visit us at https://www.sage.com/en-us/industry/subscription-saas/.