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Internet Auctioneer Purple Wave Trims Budget Workload by 50% with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning

The CFO of a growing and innovative company has better things to do than spend endless hours piecing together an annual budget in Excel.

That was the case at Purple Wave, an Internet auctioneer that specializes in agricultural and construction equipment. The CFO, Eric Williams, had sole responsibility for creating budgets in a complex Excel process that used co-dependent linkages and formulas that could be prone to breakage.

"It was very time-consuming, and our CFO's time is very valuable,” as Lea Briscoe, Purple Wave’s controller, says in our new customer success story. “It didn't allow Eric to do other things that a CFO could be doing."

Williams agreed: "We wanted to bring in a tool that could let our finance staff be much more involved in budgeting," the CFO said. "That would de-burden me and provide a growth opportunity to the finance staff, because that’s where a lot of the budgeting work should be done.”

Seamless Integration Drives New Efficiency

Purple Wave has solved that challenge with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning, natively connected with core Sage Intacct accounting that since 2017 has been paying off with dramatically improved efficiency and visibility to help fuel business growth.

Now, Williams has more time to devote to overseeing financials at a 20-year-old company that’s been growing at 10% to 15% in recent years, and has expanded its sales team to about 50 reps through the central U.S. In 2019, Purple Wave, the largest no-reserve Internet auction company in the U.S., connected buyers and sellers in 37,000 transactions.

While Williams retains budget oversight, the nuts and bolts work is now in Briscoe’s capable hands. Live on Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning in 2019, Purple Wave has realized some remarkable results:

  • Time needed for budget creation reduced by 50%
  • Budget data import time cut from weeks to hours
  • Richer, more timely budget vs. actuals reporting for better decisions

“We’ve cut our budget creation time in half, if not more, with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning," Briscoe said. “The import from Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning to the GL is much easier — literally the push of a button for the most part. It accurately allocated all our line items and that was a huge time saver as well.”

As Briscoe explained, it could take Purple Wave several weeks of effort to manually enter Excel budget data into QuickBooks, before Sage Intacct replaced that application. With simple bi-directional data exchange between the Sage Intacct modules, Briscoe needed just two hours to create a budget, and only moments to get data from Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning into the Sage Intacct general ledger.

More Insightful Budget vs. Actuals Reporting

The number of budget reviews with department heads is down as well, while the quality of those reviews is up. That’s giving Purple Wave confidence that budgets are built on solid numbers, without the risk of linkage errors in Excel budgeting.

The unified Sage Intacct platform provides Purple Wave with richer and more timely budget vs. actuals reporting to fine-tune spending, monitor employee travel and expenses, and make data-driven decisions on hiring and other growth drivers.

"Sage Intacct is more real-time and provides more visibility into expenses, and that allows managers to be better managers,” Briscoe said. “Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning has allowed the finance team to provide more visibility to our executives, board, and managers so we’re better able to manage expenses and expectations.”

Purple Wave’s use of Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning builds on the company’s success with Sage Intacct accounting. For example, automation has helped reduce the monthly close from 30 days to just eight. And Purple Wave has streamlined external audits by giving auditors read-only access to Sage Intacct.

“My team gets far less questions as auditors have learned to navigate the system," said Briscoe. "They're able to find information themselves and that relieves a lot of extra work for both parties.”

A Better Work-Life Balance

More efficient budgeting and accounting gives Briscoe additional time to invest in higher-value projects. For example, she’s created a vehicle economics report that tracks per-mile costs across 50 company vehicles, generating cost-saving insights.

“I can focus more on projects and implementing new products," said Briscoe, who heads a four-person team. “Sage Intacct has allowed me and my staff to grow professionally because of all the different capabilities it offers, as well as have a better work-life balance.”

The mother of three young children, Briscoe found it frustrating that she was basically tied to her office desk back when Purple Wave company ran its financials on QuickBooks, with heavy use of Excel.

“That meant I was either in the office for hours on end, didn’t get the job done as quickly as I wanted, or came in on weekends,” Briscoe said. Now that the company is on Sage Intacct for accounting and budgeting, “I can do 95% of what I need to do from home.”

To learn more about how Purple Wave has streamlined budgeting and accounting with Sage Intacct, view the full customer success story.

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