Commonwealth Projects is a development company that is currently developing a Liquified Natural Gas export terminal on the U.S. Gulf Coast in Cameron, Louisiana. The company expects to begin shipping LNG in the first quarter of 2024, to meet the growing global demand which is being referred to as “the next wave of LNG.” The market is evolving with the introduction of greater competition as a result of lower overall capital costs due to technological advances and efficiencies in construction methods, something Commonwealth Projects feels its leading the pack on.
I recently sat down with Nick Eusepi, Controller at Commonwealth Projects, to talk about why they decided to transition off of QuickBooks, the Sage Intacct implementation process with Kerr Consulting, and how Commonwealth Projects has been able to integrate other systems for significantly streamlined financial processes.
Andrew Sevillia: Nick, can you tell me about the accounting application that you were using prior to Sage Intacct?
Nick Eusepi: Prior to Sage Intacct we were on QuickBooks Online. As a development company, money's tight. QuickBooks Online was our solution until the time came when we needed to get something more robust.
Andrew: Nick, can you tell me about some of the limitations? What were some of the challenges you were having with QuickBooks Online?
Nick: Some of the challenges we were having related mostly to the fact that we have two entities, and QuickBooks can't really handle more than one company reporting without going into a very manual process. QuickBooks couldn’t handle consolidations, fixed assets, or complex reporting requirements. There were just a lot of limitations.
Andrew: Can you talk to me about that consolidation process? What was the manual effort that was required to consolidate those two entities?
Nick: In QuickBooks Online, there really is no consolidation process. It's two totally separate companies that you have to run reports on and then manually merge together and do eliminations. There's just no intercompany functionality with QuickBooks Online and it required me to maintain extensive Excel spreadsheets.
My Excel workbooks were mostly financial books and reports but there were probably 15 or 20 different tabs when you look at month end close, financial reporting, and merging two companies together. As you know, with anything that is that manual, there are going to be errors and that was part of our reasoning behind starting to look at other software applications.
Andrew: Can you please tell me about the reporting process? What type of reports are you generating?
Nick: QuickBooks Online has a lot of canned reports and you can customize reports, but you can't get to the granularity that you need to do full-scale GAAP-based financials when disclosures get a little more tricky than just a basic business.
When it came to month end close and keeping our business model, it wasn't necessarily a terribly tricky process, but it was very inefficient. It would take me about a week to massage the data and get it into financial reporting by the time I had everything compiled and ready to go.
We realized that QuickBooks Online was not going to be sufficient for us to continue moving forward with our business for longer than a few months down the road. We made the decision sooner rather than later to move to a more robust system.
Andrew: Okay, tell me when you realized it was time for a change, and any other systems you evaluated.
Nick: The vendors that we evaluated were Sage Intacct, Oracle NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics, and Acumatica. Both Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics weren’t as customizable as we had hoped. From a pricing perspective, they were significantly more costly as well.
Andrew: Was there something that stood out when you did the demo of Sage Intacct that made you realized it was the right solution?
Nick: We did the demo of Sage Intacct, and one of the things that I really liked was the user friendliness. We really liked the dimensional reporting capabilities; Sage Intacct offered more in depth financial statement reporting. A lot of the canned reports that come out of Sage Intacct were sufficient for what we needed. The ability to customize things for however you can think them up was really a big feature we liked as well.
Andrew: That’s fantastic to hear. Can you also tell me about your relationship with Kerr Consulting and Sage Intacct?
Nick: Sage Intacct is very user friendly, but it’s great to have a partner that knows how to use that software, who is familiar with it, and who can help you customize it on the front end.
It was a seamless process; the implementation has gone really well and now we're looking at some of the customization that'll help us take our business to the next level.
Andrew: Perfect. That's extremely helpful and insightful. Can you chat a bit about how your processes have changed since you’ve been live on Sage Intacct?
Nick: Our accounting team at the moment is two folks, and since going live with Sage Intacct, we've completely streamlined our AP process. That's really the key component of our business. We've also integrated Bill.com and Expensify into Sage Intacct. Those two applications alone have allowed us to save significant amount of time; now even the payment piece of that is brought in house. What used to be three separate data entry points is now one single step for everything.
Additionally, a lot of the canned reports or custom reports people come and ask me for, I can design once and have it run automatically and sent to them.
Andrew: That’s great to hear! Is there anything you want to add in closing?
Nick: Yes, with an accounting platform like Sage Intacct, I'm hoping to free up more of my time so that I can get out of the office earlier and not have to put in too much overtime. I've got a young family at home so I'm looking forward spending more time with them. I think Sage Intacct will allow me to do that.
For more information on how Sage Intacct has impacted Commonwealth Projects, be sure to check out their video here.