The FinancialForce 360 Customer Excellence Awards were back with a vengeance this year with seven companies and one individual recognized for making outstanding achievements with FinancialForce applications. In the first of eight blog posts highlighting the winners’ stories, we will look at how these businesses’ continual drive for improved efficiencies and processes has enabled them to think outside the box, using FinancialForce applications in new and innovative ways to achieve real business results.
Category: FinancialForce Financial Management Excellence: Recognizes customers who have demonstrated innovation, greater efficiencies and improved effectiveness in business processes, customer service, financial reporting, revenue management and other financial management best practices while leveraging the power of FinancialForce Financial Management and the Salesforce Platform.
Winner: Jacobus Consulting
Profile: Jacobus Consulting is dedicated to advancing the mission of healthcare by supporting providers with strategic advisory and information technology services across the revenue cycle and patient continuum of care. Their insightful, adaptable professionals engage through systems expertise, process proficiency and workforce transformation to ensure excellence in patient care, optimized operations and improved financial performance.
How did they meet the criteria of the category being entered?
The strategy behind Jacobus’ vision is to leverage a fully integrated set of applications, including Marketing Automation, CRM, and a full set of ERP apps, to become more agile and responsive to their clients in rapidly changing healthcare provider market conditions, and becoming more customer-centric in the process. Through FinancialForce applications, Jacobus is striving to perform high quality work for their clients and to be proactive and responsive to their needs by exceeding their expectations while being fully accountable and transparent.
Prior to Dreamforce in 2013, Jacobus had previously implemented Salesforce CRM functionality and were looking to make a decision on which ERP platform to implement. They chose FinancialForce for its use of a single product platform with a fully integrated single database configuration that provides real time information and insight to all parts of their business without having to interface various software platforms together. FinancialForce Accounting allowed Jacobus to do that in a way that could be rapidly implemented and scaled. With the decision to move to FinancialForce Accounting, Jacobus has fully committed to the vision of a single source system to administer all parts of the business. As part of a re-organization of the company in 2015, Jacobus is also implementing FinancialForce PSA, SCM and HCM as part of its ERP vision.
What impact have FinancialForce applications had on the business?
Through FinancialForce Accounting (alongside FinancialForce PSA), Jacobus’ Business and Operations departments have experienced a significant reduction in time spent on invoicing. The previous manual invoicing process took 4 days per week using multiple Excel documents per consultant. Through PSA and FinancialForce Accounting, they collect time cards via PSA on Monday morning for the previous week and have the ability to invoice clients on the same day, if necessary.
- This automated process reduced a 4-day per week process down to 8 or 10 hours per week.
- The invoicing automation has resulted in a 30% reduction in A/R days and increased cash flow.
- Jacobus estimates that they have freed up 20+ hours of employee time per week just within this process.
PSA and FinancialForce Accounting have automated the entire process by providing a single source of truth, allowing Jacobus to move seamlessly from PSA to FinancialForce Accounting and feed data automatically into invoices for their customers, as well as payables for vendors. With PSA and FinancialForce Accounting, consultants are able to input their time and expenses into PSA, which helps to create this single source of truth. Prior to the implementation, consultants would utilize Excel time cards and expense reports. Now they are able to review, approve and push to FinancialForce Accounting to invoice the customer on time. The time card and expenses flow into FinancialForce Accounting creating timely and accurate managerial accounting reports. What used to take several days of re-entering time cards and expenses into multiple vital managerial reports is now done with a push of a button in FinancialForce Accounting, giving Jacobus on-demand reports with 100% data integrity.
Jacobus has also developed a very detailed cost accounting system in FinancialForce Accounting utilizing both dimensions and projects. An integral part of the cost accounting system is their payroll journal entries which are at a project level. Project level consultant time cards are downloaded into Excel and the Excel add-on uploads and posts each payroll journal entry. The time it takes to create and process the payroll journal entry has been reduced from 2 days to 4-5 hours per payroll. The detailed design of their cost accounting system also allows them to have detailed customer and project level Income Statements (via a project field set-up), while also having Corporate level Divisional level income statements (via dimensions).
FinancialForce Accounting has extremely tight controls in its financial application, which is a true benefit to Jacobus, and has brought to light weaknesses in internal controls. Before FinancialForce Accounting, QuickBooks allowed the change to process with little to no audit trail. By identifying and correcting root causes in such items as employee expense reimbursements:
- Costs have been reduced by 2% to 3%.
- Revenue has increased by an estimated 1-2% due to elimination of consultant billable time and expense report manual data input errors
- Increased customer satisfaction with more accurate invoicing.
By adding a 3rd dimension for more strategic and detailed financial and managerial accounting reports, Jacobus was able to create a complete P&L for any division, customers or projects so that ROI can be calculated at any level. This customization of and collaboration between PSA and FinancialForce Accounting has enabled seamless information flow and powerful reporting capabilities.
How has internal collaboration between departments been improved?
FinancialForce PSA and FinancialForce Accounting have enabled leadership teams to easily access and share information at Jacobus. Previously, they had data spread across all sorts of applications, Excel spreadsheets and multiple files, making it difficult to use and maintain with any level of data accuracy. Decision-making was also a challenge because they could not get a fully comprehensive overview of the company. FinancialForce PSA and FinancialForce Accounting made it possible for Jacobus to break down internal silos and use the same dashboard across the entire business, including Sales and Marketing. Teams can now share data quickly and easily, while executive leadership can make more informed business decisions.
FinancialForce PSA and FinancialForce Accounting also helps keep employees up-to-date on new company policy changes and increases transparency around back-office processes. With FinancialForce PSA and FinancialForce Accounting, Jacobus has witnessed a much higher degree of automation to their back office and have also been able to provide a consistent, reliable interface for consultants to submit reports, making their experience with Jacobus seamless.
How has the customer experience been improved?
With FinancialForce Accounting, Jacobus has become more timely, accurate and consistent with their invoicing. customization of invoices has helped create a standardized template so that client questions and needs can be addressed quickly. With real-time data available, internal departments have access to timely and accurate reports to manage their divisions and budgets more closely and with the agility to make more educated decisions on how to operate their respective divisions. The finance department is able to pay vendors more accurately and in a timely fashion. Through real-time managerial reporting, Jacobus can review budgetary discrepancies faster as opposed to waiting for month-end when financial reports are published.
What business breakthroughs have been achieved by using the Force.com platform?
They are not only able to produce financial statements at divisional and sub-divisional levels, but also produce them at the customer and project level. Having this level of granularity has allowed Jacobus to have an accurate view of true costs and expenses, in addition to having direct overhead expenses at divisional and project levels at their fingertips and ultimately determining true ROI to improve business efficiencies for the long-run.
“Before FinancialForce Accounting, we did not have instant access to information. We were swimming in data via Excel spreadsheets. It was fragmented, labor intensive and hard to share. Since implementing FinancialForce Accounting, that has been changing and it has excited our entire leadership team. From a business perspective, we have instant access to information and can more quickly and accurately make critical business decisions. We can tie information for all departments and entities from our Sales and Marketing division to our Corporate Culture division and everything in between – including the wants and needs of our customers. This has transformed us and has allowed our teams to concentrate on working with the information instead of gathering it.” Alan Hall, SVP Information Technology
Jacobus has seen many business breakthroughs since FinancialForce Accounting but instant access to information is catapulting them to the next level.
Finally, there is one huge additional strategic benefit. Jacobus was built on the belief that if they take care of their customers and employees, the rest will fall into place. The implementation of PSA and FinancialForce Accounting has tremendously helped with making employees’ lives easier and giving them a higher degree of job satisfaction. Jacobus envision that this will become all the more powerful to their business as they get further down the line with their HCM implementation.
What does the future look like for Jacobus?
Using Salesforce and FinancialForce applications has allowed Jacobus to see which customers are truly profitable while also reducing overhead costs. Their aim is to continually refine true customer costs and opportunities from the point a customer lead is generated to the completion of a customer project. With FinancialForce Accounting, using both dimensions and projects, they can now ask, “What is our project ROI?” allowing them to price business competitively and determine what is truly good business and bad business. As they strategically plan for the future, they have information at their fingertips like never before.
“The sky is the limit” says Alan Hall, SVP Information Technology at Jacobus.