In my last post, I mentioned how I have recently conducted some interviews with thought leaders in the cloud ERP space and there were some great customer stories that came out of this.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mike Dolence of Pride Investment Partners, and we had a great discussion.

Mike not only knows about the real estate development and private equity business, but he is also a hands-on VP of Operations. Mike and I discussed the use of:

  • Entities and consolidation
  • Charts of accounts and dimensions
  • Statistical accounts and dashboards

Ian Howells: Mike, can you tell our audience a bit about Pride Investment Partners and your role there?

Mike Dolence: Pride Investment Partners is a real estate development and private equity investment firm located outside of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Pride Investment Partners has a wide variety of investments in retail, real estate, and alternative investments. These include:

  • Retail - hotels, strip centers, retail stores 
  • Real-estate - residential and commercial, student housing, mixed use real estate
  • Equities

IH: Can you tell us originally what were you using to run the business?

MD: We were using Quickbooks for accounting across multiple entities, and Excel for consolidation and for analytics.

IH: In this multi-entity environment what kind of problems were you having?

MD: In regards, to consolidations, we were having major pains consolidating across entities. It was taking me tens of hours to get the consolidated reports for the board book that we needed. We were doing this monthly. Manual eliminations were also a real pain.

As well as making consolidation difficult, the results of this configuration meant that there were multiple chart of accounts each subtlety different in each entity. This really increased the burden of reporting.

Also we had no dashboards onto the general ledger to give us visibility into the business.

IH: At a high-level what were the key things that you were looking for from an accounting system when you chose Intacct?

MD:  In an ideal world we were looking to:

  • Consolidate across funds/entities
  • Share the chart of accounts across entities
  • Slice and dice the data without IT support
  • Manage cash, accrual and tax books

And we wanted to do this all at scale, in the cloud, and in an auditable way.

IH: So now that you've used the system for some time, what are the big things you're able to do now that you were not able to do before?

MD: The first major thing was, through continuous consolidation, we were able to literally reduce the time to get a consolidated view across funds for management from tens of hours to minutes. Not only could we consolidate data in minutes, we could do it at any point in time when we needed. We have a consistent chart of accounts across entities and when we add a new entity it gets the latest COA automatically – and we are growing fast, adding entities.

IH: I always think of the chart of accounts as an indicator of the health of a system. A lean, consistent, well designed chart of accounts is often a sign of a well-designed system.  So Mike can you explain to the audience how you have used dimensions to dramatically reduce the size of the chart of accounts and harmonize it across entities?

MD: We use a shared chart of accounts across entities and have been able to harmonize the chart of accounts and add family members while reducing the size of the chart of accounts by 50 percent.

This means we get consistent reports across entities and makes slicing and dicing easy, and adding an entity is easy which is key to growing the business.

IH: Can you describe your perfect dashboard? What is the kind of data you're looking at and what are the reports you either value the most or use on a daily basis?

MD: Of course! On my financial dashboard I have:

  • Balance Street - Overall and by Location
  • Income statement
  • Budget versus plan

And I track the key metrics by owner/principal and allocated financials for

  • Equity
  • Cash
  • Investment Performance

IH: If you had one tip for Intacct users, what would that be? And if you had one tip for people looking for an accounting system what would that be?

MD: I would say that old spreadsheet habits die hard, and recommend using Intacct reports to drive your business not spreadsheets.

I would also say to do a thorough evaluation – and choose Intacct!

If you want to learn more, Intacct developed The Data Driven CFO whitepaper which can be found here:

To listen to Ian's full interview with Mike Dolence of Pride Investment Partners, click here: