SaaS Brief

SaaS Provider?  Using QuickBooks?  There's a Better Alternative

Exec working on laptop

Are you a QuickBooks user? Do you provide your solution as software or software-as-a-service? Lots of companies like yours use QuickBooks and there comes a point when their leaders realize that QuickBooks just isn’t up to the task of helping them better manage their finances for growth. That’s when they look to a QuickBooks replacement to:

  • Lower DSO to increase cash-flow up to 20%
  • Use Automation to cut the close by up to 80% and get strategic with their time
  • Produce financial reporting and SaaS metrics for the executive team up to 80% faster
Let’s look at the experience of five of these companies. First, a bit about each:

Avenu Insights & Analytics provides a broad range of revenue enhancement and administration solutions that help state and local governments boost revenue and optimize operations. Over 3,000 state and local governments have partnered with Avenu to drive positive results for their communities through software administration and compliance auditing solutions. Their comprehensive software solutions digitally transform government by modernizing processes, providing online access to records and reducing costs.

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. Its technology delivers visibility and governance for more than 500 customers, from small startups to Fortune 500 enterprises, managed-service providers and government agencies. Named by CIO Review as one of the top-20 cloud-solution companies in 2020, CloudCheckr says that it helps customers “turn complexity and chaos into clarity.”

GoGuardian is an award-winning cloud-based software suite providing educators with unprecedented control over their school districts’ 1:1 technology programs. With GoGuardian, school leaders can keep the internet as open as possible but as safe as needed, empowering students to discover, learn and grow while helping them stay focused and learn digital citizenship.

LogiSense provides licensed and software-as-a-service usage rating, mediation and subscription billing solutions for the Internet of Things, telecommunications, unified communications and enterprise-service providers. Its carrier-grade solutions are built on its proprietary, real-time usage rating and subscription billing platform. LogiSense designed the solution from the ground-up to be service-, medium- and provider-agnostic, enabling it to grow with customers as they evolve their business operations and end user offerings.

Wistia is a leading brand of professional video software for small- and medium-sized businesses. Founded in 2006 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, more than half a million businesses across 50 countries depend on Wistia’s products to power more creative and authentic communications, including HubSpot, MailChimp, Sephora, Starbucks and Tiffany & Co.

These companies have a lot in common. Besides providing their customers software or software-as-a-service solutions, these companies all used QuickBooks. As these companies grew, their leaders realized that they needed a better solution. Let’s look at some of their common needs and what they achieved moving to Sage Intacct.

Increase Cash Flow by Cutting Days Sales Outstanding

Days sales outstanding (DSO) is the average number of days it takes a company to get paid. Fewer DSO mean faster time to revenue.

CloudCheckr faced complexity and a lack of clarity in accounting and finance, leading to a high DSO. Rapid growth in revenue and the workforce left the finance team scrambling to keep up with a combination of QuickBooks and Excel. Up to a full day of manual work went into managing deferred revenue, while CloudCheckr lacked the financial visibility it needed. It was hard to manage complex usage-based pricing across various models in Excel and required manually inputting data into QuickBooks for monthly, quarterly and annual billing that varied by customer.

By moving off QuickBooks to a QuickBooks alternative, CloudCheckr can now track account-receivable collections daily. This reduces DSO and gives better visibility into cash flow. By integrating the financial management platform with Salesforce to directly synchronize contracts information, time-to-invoice is improved by 50%. This better aligns Finance with Sales Operations and minimizes reconciliations across disparate data sets, improving DSO and accelerating cash flow. In addition, CloudCheckr makes invoices available to account managers in Salesforce. This eliminates the need for sales personnel to contact Finance to address customer billing inquiries, and it improves responsiveness and the customer experience.

Similarly, once off QuickBooks the Avenu team cut in half its volume of aged receivables accounts and dramatically improved DSO. Once averaging 50-some days, DSO dropped to the high 30s and low 40s. That accelerated $2,000,000 in cash flow that helped Avenu pay down debt from its original acquisition ahead of schedule.

Avenu Insights has built what CFO Mike Melka calls “a well-oiled machine” that’s delivering the financial efficiency, data-driven insights and scalability to grow that the company needs. It strengthens Avenu’s ASC 606 compliance and helps better manage a complex mix of licensing and maintenance models.

“A contracts module allows us a better picture across
our contracts and all-around scalability, and
ultimately allows us to automate the manual
billing and
revenue recognition processes.
We can rely on it to do most of the leg work without having to hire 10 revenue accountants.”
– Mike Melka, CFO, Avenu Insights

Replacing QuickBooks helped LogiSense reduce DSO by 25%, from about 40 to 30 days. Automated notifications and dunning features prompt more timely payments, accelerating cash flow by roughly 33% with funds to invest in continued growth. Plus, the company sees payment status clearly for manual intervention as needed.

Using Automation for a Faster Close

“We just got to the point where we said, ‘This is not going to scale,’” Wistia’s Controller Kevin Neary says. “We couldn’t keep spending five hours a month getting a payroll entry in or a day a month putting together the board package. Transactional volume was growing, and we had to keep up with new accounting requirements like ASC 606 and 842.” With the small three-person finance team taking up to 15 days to close the books, it was time to upgrade to a more scalable platform than QuickBooks.

In less than four months on Sage Intacct, Wistia cut its monthly close time nearly in half, from 15 to eight days. Sage Intacct’s integration with ADP saves about five hours a month from previous manual work, and similar efficiencies are seen through integrations with FloQast, MineralTree and Expensify.

LogiSense capitalized on capabilities to improve overall accounting efficiency by an estimated 100%. “Sage Intacct has cut my time in half and saves us at least one full-time accountant we’d need if we were still on QuickBooks,” says VP of Finance/Treasurer Sunny Wu. “With the efficiency in Sage Intacct, I can manage and report our financials properly with just an office manager handling accounts payable.”

For example, 16 hours of manual expense management work each month has been eliminated through integration between Sage Intacct and Expensify. Wu is now closing the monthly books in just five business days, down 66% while delivering far more in-depth and incisive reporting than was possible with QuickBooks and Excel. “The quicker close with more accurate reporting and information allows our leaders to make better decisions,” Wu says. “We have faster insights with Sage Intacct that let us act immediately to address issues, without delays and depending on outdated data.”

Replacing Excel-based budgeting, Sage Intacct also contributes to enhanced reporting LogiSense has with Sage Intacct. Wu no longer spends eight hours a month getting actuals data into Excel for budget vs. actuals reporting. Integration makes for faster budget vs. actuals, with drill down into up-to-date transactional detail. “I used to have to grab a financial report, transfer it into Excel, enter the actuals and compare it to budget,” Wu says. “That could take a full day.”

In its first few months graduating from QuickBooks, CloudCheckr cut its monthly close time in half, from 10 days to five. Automation has eliminated painful manual work around multiple-entity consolidation, currency conversions, journal entries and deferred revenue management. CloudCheckr has implemented better processes, such as a monthly balance sheet review compared with inconsistent approaches in the past. “We’ve reduced our time to close and put better controls in place as well,” says Vice President of Finance Sandy Burn.

By replacing QuickBooks, GoGuardian automated its entire order-to-cash process and cut its close.

“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. Instead, we rely on technology to streamline our
accounting processes and make us scalable.”
– Sunny Wu, VP of Finance/Treasurer, LogiSense

Sage Intacct now seamlessly converts closed/won opportunities from their Salesforce instance into contracts, invoices customers, closes accounts receivables and generates revenue-recognition schedules that post to the general ledger automatically. As a result, the company closes its receivables in a single day at the end of each month. Additionally, they now have a process that sends customers reminders, assigns owners to collection cases and centrally records all activity to provide real-time visibility into customer histories, aging balances and more.

Better Reporting

Using dimensional reporting, Avenu improved its gross margins with deep visibility into costs, revenue and profitability across its sizable product portfolio. Those insights enabled informed tactical and strategic decisions on where to trim costs, curtail underperforming products, adjust pricing and speed cash flow. This positions Avenu for sustainable and efficient growth and “provides me the flexibility to analyze data anyway I need and delivers insights that allow us to hone our business,” Melka. “We’re able to measure our business the way we need to.”

Rich multidimensional reporting and dashboards provide new data-driven insights that help CloudCheckr fine-tune its business and adapt to the COVID-19 crisis. The company has on-demand visibility into cash flow, costs and revenue by various customer segments to better navigate through uncertain times. In the past, Burns would add up figures on salaries, consulting costs and other line items from about 10 accounts to size up costs by department or expense category. Sage Intacct reports make that task simple.

“I can slice and dice the information faster and in different ways,” Burns says. “It used to take me hours to create Excel spreadsheets to analyze information. I can drill into the information in Sage Intacct reports much more quickly.” Moving off QuickBooks to a cloud-native financial management platform is also prompting greater collaboration between Finance and business units. Features such as chat boxes help streamline communications as compared to email exchange.

For example, CloudCheckr can readily identify customers at minimal usage thresholds for its services and implement steps to improve annual recurring revenue and retention. Customer success managers reach out to address any questions and encourage customers to take full advantage of the solution. This reduces churn and drive upsells. Another example: The head of CloudCheckr marketing uses dashboards in shifting investments from in-person tradeshows to more digital marketing. “He’s empowered to drill into marketing expenses through a dashboard instead of having to ask finance for the details,” Burns says. “It’s giving him more visibility into digital marketing spend to make sure we’re getting the right return from investments.”

GoGuardian’s finance team delivers more value to the business using a flexible foundation that lets them track and report on financial data. They simply “tag” transactions with the relevant dimensions, such as customer, vendor, employee, location or project. This adds business context to the company’s data and makes it easy to find fast answers to a wide range of business questions. Using prebuilt financial reports, the team provides GoGuardian’s management with accurate metrics to inform key decisions that continue to steer the company’s 100%+ year-over-year growth.

“Our investors are very happy and confident about
our plans because we can be transparent about our
financial results on a monthly basis, which ensures more productive board meetings.
Now, we spend more time
reviewing financials and analyzing data, and we’re able to instantly answer ad-hoc financial questions from anyone.”
–Elliot Woo, director of accounting at GoGuardian


The depth of reporting at Wistia’s disposal is much greater through dimensionality. For example, Wistia has new insights into spend on cloud application vendors, consultants and office expenses, opening opportunities for cost savings. The company tracks key metrics such as customer churn, cost of customer acquisition and headcount by department, to fine-tune business performance. Fast, easy and timely budget-to-actuals reporting helps executives and department managers make more informed business decisions and adapt quickly to changing conditions. For example, accelerated reporting helps Neary’s team identify an opportunity for marketing to invest unanticipated funds.

Wistia’s ability to tightly manage EBITDA is improved and its well-equipped for in-depth reporting as it continues diversifying its portfolio with new product lines. “Wistia is becoming more of a multiproduct company, so the ability to report out profit and loss by product by using Sage Intacct dimensions will be very valuable,” Neary says.

Faster, more efficient accounting and reporting is opening new time for finance team members to focus on more valuable work while expanding their own knowledge and skills. “Sage Intacct has enabled the finance team to become a better partner to the business,” Neary says. “We’re spending less time on routine accounting and more time supporting the business in a strategic role so that they can make informed decisions. Personally, it’s given me the opportunity to dive into new learning and round out my skill set as a finance professional.”

LogiSense credits moving off QuickBooks to its ability to make better business decisions, using 10 different reports as compared with three basic reports from QuickBooks. This “…really helped me customize reports the way our leaders want them, which varies by business unit,” Wu says. “It’s just a single click, I run the report and send it to them. Very easy.” With breakthrough insights, LogiSense has significantly enhanced profitability in specific business units and the entire company. For example, the professional services unit moved from loss to profitability with a shift of 35%. Actionable data helped LogiSense better assess costs and per-customer pricing and adjust accordingly in both professional services and its hosting unit, which also went from a loss to profitability.

Five companies. Three significant areas of improvement that all helped the bottom line. What are you waiting for? Click the banner below to register for one of our Coffee Break Demos to learn more about Sage Intacct.

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