clients is JCCS’S biggest challenge. “Especially if clients have been with QBD a long time, QBO looks different,” Vukelich said. “By now we’ve developed enough of our training materials to a point where we feel comfortable talking to clients about what’s going to change.”
Firm growth: “The efficiency and automation is huge,” Vukelich said. “We can be touching 10 clients in the time we used to touch five. We’ve seen growth that way. We service more clients and at a higher value than before, when we were so focused on just getting the data in. Now we can review data to make sure it’s correct, but we can also analyze that and give back some recommendations to the client.”
Vukelich went on to add, “The partnership you create with your technology solution is incredibly important, whether you’re a sole proprietor bookkeeper or a larger firm. Our connection with Intuit has been a huge game-changer for us as far as making sure we’re implementing everything right, and the support they give us.”
Specificity of service
Firm: Cliftonlarsonallen LLP Staff: 800 (outsourcing services department) Product: Sage Intacct On record: Principal Abe Mathew
On CAS: Cliftonlarsonallen is a Top 100 Firm of approximately 5,400 professionals, with an entire 1,386-person department responsible for outsourced services. Within that umbrella falls outsourced business operations services, or Bizops, that provides a range of different outsourcing services to clients, broadly including part-time, permanent resources, as well as project and consulting resources. Abe Mathew is a principal with the Sage Intacct practice of the firm, the software CLA uses for a large portion of its outsourced accounting services. According to Mathew, the broad definition of client accounting services has remained relatively consistent over the years, but really gains specificity depending on the type of client the firm is serving.
Selection: CLA’S history with Sage Intacct goes back to Langan Associates PC, a Washington, D.c.-based firm that was acquired by Cliftonlarsonallen in 2006. Langan began using Sage Intacct in 2001, serving primarily nonprofit clients; today, CLA provides outsourced services via Sage Intacct to a broad range of industries, from nonprofits to tech companies.
Intacct, the predecessor to Sage Intacct, was founded in 2000, just one year before Langan adopted the software. The firm sought a cloud-based solution that would allow for better client collaboration at a time when the cloud was relatively new. “When I joined the broader firm in 2006, CLA embraced how technology would have a significant impact in enhancing client relationships,” Mathew, who joined CLA from Langan, said. “There was education across the firm on using technology to improve our processes around outsourced accounting services.”
Mathew noted that the firm has looked at different cloud software since, but Sage Intacct “sets a benchmark in terms of its IT infrastructure as a whole.”
Implementation: “When we started with Sage Intacct in 2001, we gave ourselves a little time to migrate clients,” Mathew said. “The first was a physician’s practice, the brother of one of the firm’s managing partners. We were really getting to know the software.”
By the time Mathew joined the firm, Langan was deep in the process of migrating all outsourced accounting clients in D.C. to Intacct.
“I went through that initial onboarding myself,” he said. “It was a great learning experience for me because I learned the ins and outs of what makes accounting systems so great; at the same time, I quickly saw we were bringing value to clients that they hadn’t seen before.”
Today, CLA has a 35-person in-house implementation team for Sage Intacct.
Highlights: Mathew described Sage Intacct as a software accountants love, but that is also very accessible to non-accountants.
“I really like how Sage Intacct has taken the complexities associated with financial reporting and makes it easy to understand,” Mathew said. “The software goes above and beyond to make reporting simple and easy to understand. It’s easy to map out trends over time and see what impact even non-financial data has on financials overall. We’re able to engage with stakeholders more deeply than just sending them core financials.”
Challenges: “Intacct’s been very solution-minded,” Mathew said. “If we come to them with a problem, they definitely make sure to figure out how we can address it. For example, if it’s making onboarding clients simpler, they say, ‘Can we build these tools to streamline and better automate this for you.’”
Firm growth: “In terms of growth overall, Intacct is one of our faster-growing verticals as a whole,” Mathew said. “When you combine that with the overall outsourcing practice, it’s really enabled our staff to dive deeper in their relationships with clients. We are automating more processes, which enables our team to be that more strategic advisor for our clients.”