I recently had an opportunity to chat with Jim Bokar, director of finance and controller at Virtual Hold Technology (VHT) and an Intacct MVP, about their use of Intacct and how their CEO utilizes the platform. Virtual Hold Technology delivers solutions at the heart of the customer experience, enabling contact centers to maximize the opportunities that come from customer interaction, regardless of channel.
One of the more interesting things Jim let me know was that not only is he a huge fan of Intacct – so is their CEO, Wes Hayden. Wes loves having access to reports in Intacct and drilling down into detail for decision making purposes, rather than reaching out to finance with frequent ad hoc requests for information.
The cornerstone of this self-service approach is Intacct’s customizable dashboards. They provide him with a central location to access reports and analytics around revenues, balances of cash and receivables, budget comparisons, and ultimately trends and the quarter’s outlook. Using Intacct’s multiple dimensions, VHT has built a reporting scheme that drives important business metrics and KPIs. This allows VHT to keep the dashboard simple, clean, and current.
Here are highlights from the rest of our conversation:
NANCY RIVAS (NR): What business and key operational metrics are on the Intacct Dashboard that your CEO views regularly?
JIM BOKAR (JB): In order to answer that question, we first need to discuss our install. I consider an install a blend of both science and art resulting in a very solid foundation for reporting. Revenue, cash, tracking expenses, and managing the business are all accessible as a result of a proper install.
Next, let’s consider the conversation I had with Wes. We sat down and he helped me understand that his top priority is revenue—good to know, because I’m all about cash. We also identified what is most important to the business, things such as revenue forecasting, cash in the bank, accounts receivable, and expense planning.
In order to produce a daily insight into cash via the dashboard, we had to take another look at what we do, how we do it, and when to do it. Something as simple as account design and the definition of posting summaries can affect the presentation and timing of transactions in a dashboard report card or financial report.
Intacct prompted such a conversation—a very important one that all organizations must have.
NR: How valuable is having anytime, anywhere access to this information for your CEO?
JB: He has the flexibility to check Intacct 24/7, such as on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee. My job is to make sure the data is accurate and available for making timely decisions about managing the business, like what can we spend and where should we invest?
In the old days, accountants were ‘historians’ and the matter of recording numbers had value. Today, we strive to present a holistic view of the business and serve as a business partner. It’s not just about finishing a monthly or quarterly financial report anymore.
NR: Can you share how this has created efficiency in decision making?
JB: Intacct enabled us to budget, create a purchasing workflow, and improve our accounting entries for capitalizing software and managing program expenses. We meet with departments to set up project codes and blanket purchase orders for project lifecycles, which begins with an annual budget-based PO by year that our CEO can review and approve. For example, we say, “Here is your $800K for this year’s spend on a key development project,”—that allows us to peel off specific PO’s for each milestone, all the while having the opportunity to challenge and make changes as we go. At any time, we can view the original $800K PO and drill down to see how it was spent. We are rolling out a similar purchasing process for marketing campaigns—setting a budget PO that can be assigned, or 'converted’ to specific vendors during the workflow.
NR: Any closing thoughts or recommendations you would give to other Intacct users?
JB: Day one, focus on your data and coding. Intacct is a great tool that can produce all the information you’ll need to manage your business. It’s scalable and adaptable which is due to the intelligent definition of dimensions to tag transactions, and structures to report on them. Intacct is like a big bucket of Legos with each tagged transaction represented by a different Lego block: white ones, yellow ones, square ones, and rectangular ones. Reach into the bucket at the any time to grab square yellow Lego blocks, and you will see a particular finished product – a house, building, or bridge built. The same is true with Intacct, you can report anything as long as you put thought into the dimension data schemes and tagging transactions.