Customer Success: How VFS Fire and Security sparks innovation with Sage 100 Contractor

construction project management

VFS Fire and Security Services is in the life and property saving business. The company designs, builds, installs, and monitors commercial fire and security protection systems. VFS Fire and Security Services brings that same expertise and technology to the oil and gas industry, protecting tank farms and refineries throughout the country.

The company employs more than 160 employees and earns revenues in excess of $30 million annually. The business management and accounting requirements to sustain an operation of this size and complexity are significant, so VFS Fire and Security Services relies on Sage 100 Contractor.

Sounding the alarm

When Chris Herak joined VFS Fire and Security Services as Director of Finance in late 2019, the company had purchased Sage 100 Contractor, but hadn’t yet implemented the solution.

“Everyone was focused on growing the company, so VFS needed a champion of the software to get the project up and running,” he says. “The old system was not very functional and was no longer supported by the publisher. I couldn’t get the financial information I needed, and every task was more difficult than it should have been. It was definitely time for a change.”

VFS Fire and Security Services turned to the Sage partner that originally sold the system for assistance. There he found the support he needed to bring the solution live in a short period of time.

“Our partner was invaluable,” Herak says. “I had previously never worked in the construction industry, so their recommendations regarding the setup and overall best practices were incredibly helpful.”

Sparking a change

In addition to Sage 100 Contractor, the company also utilizes Procore for construction management and ServiceTrade to schedule and track its service tickets.

“When compared to prior year, our gross margins for both contract and service have improved several percentage points across the board.”

Chris Herak, Director of Finance, VFS Fire and Security Services

The company’s partner helped VFS Fire and Security Services configure the integrations between Sage 100 Contractor and Procore and ServiceTrade.

“Sage 100 Contractor serves as our financial backbone, our single source of truth,” explains Herak. “It is the hub of our construction accounting, job costing, and payroll processes. When combined with Procore and ServiceTrade, the three solutions form a complete integrated solution with which we can run all aspects of our business.”

Igniting transformational change

Sage 100 Contractor has changed the way VFS Fire and Security Services’ staff communicates and collaborates. “Our old accounting software was weak in terms of security, so we restricted access across the company,” Herak says. “Sage 100 Contractor has very flexible and robust security settings so we can confidently share the precise data people need to do their jobs without opening up the whole system.”

The Sage 100 Contractor reporting engine and dashboard tools allow VFS Fire and Security Services to put actionable data directly in the hands of its department and project managers. Rather than waiting to the end of the month to have profit and loss information for their projects, for example, managers can now access that information on their own, at any time.

“When compared to prior year, our gross margins for both contract and service have improved several percentage points across the board,” says Herak. “This is definitely in part to improved financial reporting which has allowed our teams to make adjustments to project budgets and seek change orders ahead of incurring overruns on project costs.”

In his role as Director of Finance, Herak appreciates the ease in which he can generate comprehensive financial reports in Sage 100 Contractor and quickly export the data to Excel for further analysis. “The system is designed to provide visibility, and that visibility leads to insight, which in turn leads to better, faster decision making,” he says.

As the company builds its operating and financial plans for 2021 and beyond, it has a greater understanding of the key metrics and triggers that its teams need to focus on to achieve those targets.

“We now have a financial system that can measure against those KPIs in real-time, allowing us to pivot as necessary to stay on track,” notes Herak.

Securing success with Sage 100 Contractor

“We are light years ahead of where we were,” says Herak. “The first part of this year was building and development where we all got comfortable with the software and learned what it can do. Now we’re ready to scale and innovate further.”

In fact, VFS Fire and Security Services just acquired a competitor that grew the organization by 10 percent. Sage 100 Contractor easily scaled to accommodate the expansion, and VFS Fire and Security Services has the confidence there is much more untapped power.

Sage 100 Contractor is our platform for growth,” Herak concludes. “It’s providing us with vastly improved accuracy, control, workflows, and collaboration.”