Increasing Financial Velocity and Accuracy with FloQast, Oracle NetSuite, and Sikich
Mar 16, 2022 | By John Siegel
Improving long-established processes is never a trivial undertaking. Or is it?
But for accounting teams meeting expectations, what's the point of revamping something that isn't fundamentally broken?
Over the past few years, it's become abundantly clear that altering how accounting teams operate is no longer a "nice to have." Operating more efficiently leads to quicker and more accurate results while relieving stress from staff accustomed to long hours with minimal resources.
From economic uncertainty and distributed, remote teams, to a great wave of resignations, there are plenty of things to make the accounting team's job harder. This environment is also exactly the kind of situation where the right tools and workflows can have a massive impact on the speed and accuracy of your work and make your life easier.
Recently, FloQast recorded a webinar with Chris Manchester of accounting and advisory firm Sikich and Tara Maduri, FloQast user and Accounting and Finance Director at Foghorn Therapeutics. Here's a look at what we learned, and don't forget to check out the full on-demand webinar.
The Answer Isn't a "One Size Fits All."
If you're currently operating with standalone accounting software like QuickBooks or Xero, the right ERP system could be the key that unlocks your accuracy and financial velocity. It will become the bedrock of accounting operations moving forward. An excellent ERP like Oracle Netsuite connects everything, so teams can significantly reduce the manual steps previously necessary to close out each month.
"The record and consolidate columns are entirely covered by NetSuite, and that gives us a great level of comfort. We partnered with Sikich to help us determine what modules were appropriate for us, set up controls around the different subledgers, etc. Our other subsystems feed into NetSuite. We use Concur for expense reporting, Coupa is our P2P system, ADP for payroll, and, of course, FloQast, "said Tara.
Establishing a foundation for the team in NetSuite, accounting organizations can significantly boost efficiency and take steps toward eliminating redundancies within its operations, regardless of the team's physical location. But what about managing the close each month? What about providing transparency for accounting leaders? For many companies, the process is so time-consuming that the thought of the month-end close still conjures a sense of dread when it really doesn't need to.
"I joined Foghorn Therapeutics when there were less than 30 total employees. It was the first time I had actually been at a private company — I had always worked for publicly-traded organizations, so I came from a public background, with the compliance and the strict closes. When I got to Foghorn, the expectations were pretty loose. We were using QuickBooks, and it was apparent early on that there was a huge blank slate to work with, but again: I was the first accounting team hire, and we've grown a great deal since our IPO. Over time, our close was just kind of happening when it needed to happen."
With an IPO on the horizon and a great deal of work left to be done, the team identified Oracle NetSuite as its ideal ERP, and with limited resources internally at that time, Foghorn opted to leverage Sikich for implementation support, thanks largely to Sikich's wealth of experience in the life sciences space.
Following its successful NetSuite implementation, Foghorn and Sikich identified the month-end close process as its next area of improvement.
"I'm shuddering thinking about how we managed the close in the past," admitted Tara. "We had so many different Excel spreadsheets that we would go through, which was horribly inefficient. So many V lookups. I don't think I can reiterate how much time we spent on those Excel files, just making sure that we didn't have anything come out of balance or have late journal entries applied that we weren't expecting. Now, having used FloQast for quite some time, whenever a balance is unreconciled, FloQast flags it for you, so you don't have to sit there and worry about, 'Oh, did something come through that I wasn't aware of? Do I have to double-check this?' The peace of mind we have around the close is so helpful."
Ultimately, the goal of any accounting department is to have accurate numbers as quickly as possible so that the business can make better, more timely decisions. For Foghorn Therapeutics, NetSuite and FloQast, with the support of its implementation partners at Sikich, has helped them reach that goal.
"We have these other systems integrated into NetSuite from a reporting standpoint. From a close perspective, that's all FloQast. Before that, that was all Excel. In terms of managing that process, everything was manual in terms of timeline, due dates, and review notes. Now all of that is managed in FloQast, which has been tremendous for us to reduce this record to report timeframe."
The Struggle Was Real
"In this pandemic/post-pandemic scenario that we're in, we see a lot of decentralized workforces, people working from home. This precise situation lends itself to needing a system available to anyone, anywhere, at any time," said Chris.
Accounting teams that are thriving during this challenging time are those that can adapt and adjust to the new normal. Whether or not returning to an entirely onsite workforce will ever be the new, new normal, these pandemic "survival skills" will continue to serve teams in any setting.
So, what does it take for a team to make it through the chaos and become faster and more accurate in the process? The right tools and systems are a great place to start.
"The beauty of NetSuite is in how seamlessly it interacts with integrations available in the NetSuite ecosystem," said Chris. "You have excellent P2P tools like Coupa and accounting workflow automation tools like FloQast that are consistently working together. The goal is for Tara and the Foghorn accounting team not having to spend time reconciling system A to system B. Organizing a tech stack like this, with NetSuite at its foundation, it becoming very common, and I think that trend is going to continue in the future because the results are so plain to see."
If you want more insights from Chris and Tara on improving speed and accuracy for accounting and finance teams, check out the full, on-demand webinar.