How a Consulting Firm Found an Additional $4M in Profit with Sage Intacct
How did a consulting firm find an additional $4 million in profit with Sage Intacct? That’s the case at Halloran Consulting Group, an 85-person firm based in Boston that provides expertise to life sciences companies in areas such as clinical development, regulatory compliance, and quality assurance.
For years Halloran had operated as a moderately profitable consulting firm, trying to grow their business using QuickBooks and NetSuite’s Open Air. While they have always delivered outstanding service to their customers, behind the curtain they were managing project costs in the dark and trying to understand their business through a fractured lens of disconnected systems.
"We could either see budget vs. actual project data in OpenAir, or company-wide financial margin information in QuickBooks, but we couldn't look at everything together," said Tania Zieja, recently promoted to Halloran’s CFO. "It was very piecemeal. It was also very hard to lock down a report and trust the integrity of the data."
In order to effectively grow their business, they knew they needed a complete overhaul of their business management systems. As Halloran evaluated new solutions, Zieja knew they needed time entry, billing and invoicing, project reporting, and a detailed financial center that would allow for granular reporting on a variety of performance metrics.
Halloran Consulting found what they were looking for with the integrated solution of Salesforce, Sage Intacct, and Nexonia. These best-in-class applications provided them with the detailed time and expense tracking coupled with the most powerful financial management and project reporting system on the market. Halloran invested the time and effort to carefully customize these systems to work as one cohesive solution designed specifically for the needs of their business.
“The visibility we have through Sage Intacct is great,” said Zieja. “It’s helped us improve profitability and make faster, better decisions because at literally the click of a button, we can see what's going on in the business.” In addition to increased visibility, Halloran also achieved:
- Increase of 12% to their project profit
- Billable utilization leapt from just over 50% to 68%
- Project write-offs dropped from 3% to nearly zero
- Invoicing improvements resulting in $1 million in additional monthly cash flow
Time entry has gone from weekly to daily, and with real time project reporting, time entry errors are immediately detected and corrected. Invoices that once required heavy editing every month, are now confidently accurate and ready to go at the end of the month. The finance team is now able to process double the volume of invoices in half the amount of time.
So how does a company find $4 million in additional profit by simply improving their business management infrastructure? It all comes down to financial flexibility.
With their new system in place, Halloran had the insight to dive deep into their business and become a strategic financial department instead of one that was focused on tasks. They discovered that Sage Intacct allowed for them to pursue the use of a blended billing rate, something that QuickBooks and OpenAir could not handle. They used their new insight to review what would have been if they had used this blended rate the previous year. The blended rate showed a difference of $4 million in profit, versus their traditional rates.
The process then became simple. They graded their consultants on a scale and then mapped those grades to a blended rate. Lower employees were graded 1-4 and mapped to rate 1, other employees were 5-8 for rate 2 and so on, up to their executive group that was at rate 4. This new rate raised their average billable rate, while also providing their customers with executive or senior level input at a lower rate. Customers were happier, and profits were higher.
With the help of Sage Intacct reports, but more importantly, the time it freed up for the financial team to evaluate such a change, they have been able to implement the new blended rates and therefore they are well on their way to realizing that $4 million in additional profit.
With the confidence Halloran has achieved in how they run their business, they have changed the behavior of their organization. Instead of being focused on tasks, they can strategically evaluate changes to their business and adjust on the fly as the best path for growth takes shape.
“A customer asked us if we could provide a particular service that we have never done before. We pulled some data, decided to pursue it, put together some resources and got the job done,” said Zieja. “Afterwards, we asked ourselves if we should permanently add this as a new service. With the instant insights we had with Sage Intacct and our ability to manage new services lines, we said ‘Hell Yeah!’.
Believe it or not, the $4 million in additional profit is just part of the benefits Halloran is realizing with Sage Intacct. To learn more about Halloran’s achievements using Sage Intacct, check out their customer case study.
Brian Siefkes is a Senior Industry Marketing Manager at Sage Intacct.