Case Study: Software Conversion Saves Company $15K Annually

TitanTV“Fine Point Consulting was very helpful in assessing the needs of our business after we separated from our parent company. They identified opportunities for us to improve efficiency in our accounting systems, a transition that also resulted in cost savings for our business.”

Christopher Kelly, CEO, TitanTV, Inc.

 

It’s not uncommon when a company is acquired, merged, or sold, that it continues to use the same software programs it’s always used. It’s a decision that often helps smooth the transition from one owner to the next and keep staff moving forward with business as usual. Such was the case for broadcast provider TitanTV, Inc. when they separated from parent company Broadcast Interactive Media (BIM) in 2016. BIM was using accounting software Intacct, a powerful program that’s particularly convenient for its integration with Salesforce. But Intacct was a more robust system than the newly independent TitanTV needed—and it came at an annual cost of more than $15,000.

Enter Fine Point Consulting, which quickly determined that converting to QuickBooks accounting software would not only save TitanTV a bundle, but would also provide the right-size software for their business. Fine Point staff also researched and tested a tool for syncing Salesforce with QuickBooks, an important feature of Intacct the company wanted to maintain. Accountants at Fine Point then managed the software conversion from start to finish. TitanTV’s new accounting system not only saves the business big money, but it does exactly what company leaders need in a way that’s more intuitive and transparent than before. And that’s a success worth broadcasting.

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses like TitanTV, Inc. succeed.

Leaders & Influencers: Buckley Brinkman

In our continuing series on Madison Leaders & Influencers, we chat with Buckley Brinkman, Executive Director & CEO of The Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity (WCMP), which collaborates with the UW Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) and the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) to help Wisconsin manufacturers grow their businesses and become more profitable.

 

Tell us how The Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity (WCMP) was formed and what it does today.

Buckley BrinkmanThe WCMP was formed in 1996, operating as the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP). At the time, Wisconsin was one of the states with multiple Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers: the WMEP covered the southeast portion of the state and the UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center (MOC) covered the northwest half. In 2015, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, put our contract back up for bid. One of the conditions of the new contract was that there be one MEP center for the state.

The WCMP became the holder of the new NIST MEP cooperative agreement for Wisconsin, and we now facilitate collaboration between the MOC and the WMEP. It’s our job to align their services, programs, and activities to create and attract more opportunities for the state’s manufacturers. The WCMP handles all the contracting with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Commerce. We administer grant funding, coordinate advocacy and education efforts, and connect resources throughout the state.

One thing that’s a little unique to us is that we focus our efforts across five manufacturing industry clusters in Wisconsin: water; power generation and control; food and beverage; biotechnology; and aerospace. In cooperation with the state, we did a study to identify these strategic clusters, which were defined based on what was here and where Wisconsin has a competitive advantage. We support these clusters, help small and medium manufacturers grow and become more competitive, and expand Wisconsin’s influence in national manufacturing.

What’s one misconception people often have about manufacturing in Wisconsin?

One of the most widely held misconceptions is that most manufacturers are large. In fact, 99% of manufacturers in Wisconsin are small- to mid-size—and 80% employ 20 people or less. Fewer than 200 manufacturers in Wisconsin are what we consider large, defined as companies with 500 or more employees. The WCMP spends a good deal of time interfacing with those smaller manufacturers to help them locate and develop the resources they need to grow.

How do you describe the overall health of manufacturing in Wisconsin, and how is it changing?

It’s in a really strong position. There are a number of people in key roles around the state who understand how important manufacturing is to our economy. It’s very easy—especially in Madison—to talk about being an innovation center. But innovation is not limited to Madison—the numbers have never supported that. Manufacturing funds two-thirds of R&D in the country. Most scientists and engineers work in manufacturing.

Manufacturing today is not the same as the manufacturing environment of 20 years ago.  A strong back and a good alarm clock no longer ensure success in manufacturing.  The requirements for manufacturing in today’s environment are greater than just showing up and being able to read, write, and add. Most of those types of manufacturing jobs have been exported, and U.S. manufacturers can’t compete with these countries in products with higher labor content with lower skills.

Manufacturing in the U.S. today requires more training than a high school diploma. It doesn’t necessarily require a four-year degree, and manufacturing can be an exciting option for people entering the workforce as it allows you to keep your options open. Starting off in manufacturing is a great way to start a career: it requires minimal training but can take your career in many directions. Skills like marketing, sales, and technology can be developed within manufacturing but also translate to careers outside of manufacturing. The strong technical college system in Wisconsin—and now four-year programs—are starting to think about ways they can engage with manufacturing and help students get the skills they need in other ways than just a traditional classroom setting.

What do you see as the greatest challenge for Wisconsin manufacturers going forward?

One ongoing challenge is that it appears a large percentage of manufacturers are asleep at the switch in terms of observing the changes that are coming their way. The big change is the body gap that’s coming. We simply aren’t going to have enough people to fill all the positions necessary to continue to grow the industry. And if manufacturers try to use skills gap solutions to solve the body gap problem, they’ll be putting their companies in jeopardy. More manufacturers need to start informing themselves of key trends and how these trends will affect their businesses—because they will.

It’s a great time to be a manufacturer in Wisconsin, and to be a business in Wisconsin. People are thinking about new ways to do things. Working in the public sector, I see a lot more cooperation between organizations in the state, which makes me very hopeful.

 

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting to learn more about how our outsourced accounting and CFO services can help your business succeed.

 

Software Scoop: fundpnb

In this series, we review and share accounting, HR, and other software that we think would be of interest to our clients and colleagues. Check it out! You might just learn about a great new tool for your business.

fundpnbThis month we’re spreading the word about fundpnb, a new app-based product allowing business owners to get short-term cash flow based on their invoices, similar to factoring, but much easier, with less weight on a business owner’s personal finances. We were fortunate to get a demo of the product from fundpnb’s founder & CEO, Satish Palvai, who told us more about the product and the ways it can help businesses succeed.

Tell us why you decided to start fundpnb.

In my previous ventures as a small business owner using a variety of products and services, I found the cycle of receiving payment from my customers and then paying my own bills left me with uneven cash flow. I decided to talk to business owners from a variety of industries to determine if this was a common problem for other small and start-up businesses and found that, typically, the answer was yes. One problem businesses cited was that it often took too long for their customers to pay them. Net 30 terms regularly turned into net 45 or 50 days. At the same time, these start-ups and small businesses were reluctant to ask clients to pay sooner for fear of pressuring customers and/or changing the dynamic of the business relationship.

Because of these late payments from customers, cash needed for day-to-day operations and growth wasn’t always on hand. Many had already tapped into credit limits with banks, and getting additional funds from banks was either not an option or too timely a process, taking anywhere from 8-16 weeks of meetings, paperwork, and an owner’s time before they received this much-needed money. Some business owners would tap into their own personal finances to support their businesses, which is also not an ideal situation. I thought there should be a better way to solve this problem.

I decided to start fundpnb to offer start-ups and small businesses access to cost-effective funds to fill cash flow gaps. Financing is a long and tedious process, with many hours of paperwork and detailed personal information required. We launched fundpnb to reinvent invoice financing and to provide a better experience for micro and small business owners.

So how does fundpnb work?

Users just sign up through our app and connect their business accounting software (e.g., QuickBooks) to take an advance on outstanding invoices. Our technology evaluates key data points about the business and advises on if the business can be funded. If so, we automatically initiate a credit to your linked bank account. The fee is a fixed fee of 2% of the advanced amount every 30 days, with automatic repayments every 30 days for up to 90 days.

If, for example, a business was to request an advance on invoices totaling $3,000, and they paid it off in equal amounts every 30 days, the schedule and fees would look like this:

Advance amount: $3000.00

Principal + Fees Total Payment On
$1000.00 + $60.00 $1060.00 31st day
$1000.00 + $60.00 $1060.00 61st day
$1000.00 + $60.00 $1060.00 91st day

 

Businesses can choose to repay the amount borrowed whenever they want, and fees would then be adjusted to reflect the 2% fee according to the number of days the borrowed amount was outstanding. There are no loan origination fees, no underwriting fees, no prepayment penalty, and no hidden fees.

When companies sign up, we only look at business information; we don’t ask for personal information. The process—including fund deposits and notifications—is entirely electronic. There are no manual interventions at any point.

 What has response been like so far, and what kinds of clients do you work with?

Response has been wonderful. We’ve purposely worked with customers from a variety of industries, including high-tech IT, hospitality, and professional services. It’s given us a good understanding of how these businesses operate and ensured that our software is compatible.

We currently support a variety of businesses with varying levels of revenue, but our sweet spot are those businesses with a few million dollars in revenue. We can work with businesses that have less revenue or those that go up to tens of millions in revenue, but that few million-dollar range tends to be most common for us.

 

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.

Case Study: Using Communications Software to Troubleshoot Company Benefits Program

Propeller Health

“Fine Point is a fantastic partner for small- to mid-sized businesses as they integrate exceptionally well with our operations. Fine Point allows us to execute as if we had a much larger team to help to handle the unexpected as it occurs, which is critical for our business.”

David Hubanks, VP of Operations, Propeller Health

It’s never easy to switch from one employee benefits provider to another. This was particularly true for Propeller Health when, mid-transition, the company’s HR manager responsible for communicating the new benefits program was offered a position elsewhere and left the company. That’s when Propeller Health called on Fine Point Consulting, who was already acting as its outsourced accounting department, to step in and help troubleshoot questions and concerns from employees about the new provider. Using Slack, a team communication software program already in place at Propeller, Fine Point was able to communicate directly with employees about the new benefits system, address concerns, and respond to questions as they came up. Today, payroll and benefits are running in a way that gives the company peace of mind, and employees know that Fine Point is there to respond right away should questions or concerns arise.

Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses like Propeller Health succeed.

Software Scoop: ProRata

In this blog series, we review accounting, HR, and other software we use in our own office and/or on behalf of our clients. Check it out! You might just learn about a great new tool for your own business.

 

ProRata

Two things I always talk about when I chat with potential clients for Fine Point are 1) we are awesome at developing processes and workflow to best serve our customers and 2) we use cutting-edge software to help us deliver amazing accounting and CFO services.

One new-to-us software that we’ve just recently started using is ProRata, which provides automated deferred revenue recognition. It also integrates with Xero and QuickBooks, which is critical for streamlining with our current business and financial reporting processes.

In a nutshell, ProRata calculates and schedules revenue for SaaS and other subscription services, and reports on deferred revenue tracking. Revenue can be assigned by customer and revenue type, as well as parameters such as revenue start and end dates. It then enters those revenue numbers into QuickBooks, saving us hours of time.

Our assistant controller, Chelsea Stanton, has been using ProRata for one of our clients as a test run for the software and is already a fan. “Before I started using ProRata for this Fine Point client, I was using an Excel spreadsheet to track revenue. It was about 20 tabs long, and I had to update it manually based on monthly billing. I usually reserved about a day and half every month to enter revenue for all of my clients into Excel and QuickBooks, but I think using ProRata is going to save me many of these hours.”

ProRata also has a number of reporting features that we look forward to digging into, with easy-to-use graphs and charts that show things like monthly balances over time and how revenues are projected in the future. With its easily navigable, straightforward interface, ProRata is yet another cool tool we anticipate we’ll be using to deliver top-rate service to our clients for years to come.

 

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses succeed.