Top 5 Ways NetSuite Changed How We Run Our Business
When we interviewed George Lawton, CFO of The Answer Company, about how NetSuite has changed how we run our business, he was able to fire off a list of benefits without even blinking an eye. We’ve grown more than 30% in the last two years, expanding from 1 office to 5 across Canada, so we needed a solution that could help us scale and accommodate our growth; NetSuite checked all the boxes. NetSuite is one of the leading cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, providing businesses with a system that that can be scaled to growth, with built in tools and best practices to drive success for every business.
As a professional services organization, The Answer Company’s biggest necessity was accounting and reporting, and we found everything we needed with NetSuite. It’s changed how we run our business in a number of ways, but the following are the top 5 benefits we’ve experienced:
1. Integration of Time Tracking and Accounting
Before The Answer Company had NetSuite, our time tracking and accounting systems were completely separate. While our time keeping system was great, in order to bill hours we were required to create a report of time tracked and plug it back into the billing system. Invoicing was not only time consuming, but the fact that the systems weren’t integrated increased the margin for error, because changes that were made to one system didn’t necessarily flow back to the other.
With NetSuite, our time tracking and accounting is fully integrated. This enables us to be more efficient with our time, and gives us access to complete and reliable data so we can better serve our customers. Time tracking is entered directly into NetSuite, so when accounting invoices customers all they have to do is select the customer and tracked time that is ready to bill, and click ‘invoice’. Since accounting is dealing directly with the time that was tracked by employees, the margin for error is almost completely eliminated. Per George, “it literally cuts the time and personnel we need for invoicing in half”.
2. Manual Expense Reports to Automated Expense Reports
Submitting an expense report used to entail entering all expenses into a spreadsheet, printing off the spreadsheet, attaching all of the invoices/receipts, signing it, getting the supervisor to sign it and sending it to accounting to process. Accounting would then have to manually review and enter the expenses into their system before they could finally pay it. The entire process was just as drawn out and complicated as it sounds.
Similar to time tracking, expenses are entered directly into NetSuite by staff themselves, simplifying and automating the process. When all of the expenses have been entered into NetSuite the user clicks ‘submit’ to send the report directly to their supervisor, who will automatically get an email notifying them that there is an expense report ready to be reviewed. Once the supervisor approves the report, it is automatically sent to accounting to pay. The process is quick &easy and on their dashboards, users have full visibility of where their expense report are in the process at all times.
3. Easy and Automated Reporting
One of the biggest advantages of NetSuite is reporting. The search functions in NetSuite are broad and versatile, and with all of the data in one place it is easy to make highly informative reports with minimal time and effort.
Reports can also be set up to run periodically (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly) and be customized to include whatever information is required, then automatically sent to whoever needs it. For example, George, our CFO, set up financial reports that are automatically created and sent to him daily.
4. Automated Emails and Reminders
As previously mentioned, NetSuite sends automatic emails to keep users notified of information relevant to them or actions they need to take, such as when a supervisor has an expense report that is awaiting their approval. NetSuite gives users the flexibility to set up automated emails and reminders to ensure that they always have the information they need.
With employees spread across Canada, and many working remotely, this feature is ideal for The Answer Company to ensure that everyone is on track. For example, our consultants, like most staff, are expected to complete a certain number of hours a week. If they haven’t submitted time reports for all of their hours by the end of the week, NetSuite automatically sends them a reminder email to submit their time. This keeps the consultants on top of their time tracking without requiring a supervisor to manually go through time submissions to let consultants know when their time tracking is behind.
Each user has the ability to customize their own dashboard in NetSuite, so they always have access to a summary of the information relevant to them. They can also create key performance indicators (KPIs) for their dashboard that can be compared based on previous time periods. This is a function we found particularly useful for executive management and the President of The Answer Company, who as expected, are all extremely busy and constantly on the go. Their customized dashboards give them all of the key information they need at a single glace, so they don’t have to waste valuable time searching it.
NetSuite has both simplified and streamlined processes at The Answer Company. As described by George, “NetSuite is everything that you would ever need. It’s got financials, it’s got HR, it’s got CRM, it’s got inventory management…it’s [got] everything.”