Fundamental Labor Strategies
Transportation Services Leader Improves Analysis with Sage Intacct
Sage Intacct’s Dimension Capability Allows Them To Dig Deeper In To Operational Activity
With Sage Intacct you can keep the number of accounts in your general ledger low, and use the software’s dimension capability to dig deeper in to operational activity- be it by departments or product lines or whatever
— Carol Weinstein, Controller
Fundamental Labor Strategies
Founded in 1991, Fundamental Labor Strategies (FLS) has a long and proud history in the transportation industry. Based in New Hope, PA, FLS is a transportation company that provides consultation and services to address and solve fundamental motor carrier and driver issues. They work closely with their clients to reduce costs, increase operational control, manage risk, and a better focus on what matters most to their operations. FLS’s mission is to focus on the long term, and ensure they provide the highest quality drivers and services in the transportation industry.
FLS began to realize that the accounting solution they were using was not keeping pace with their needs. They could perform the basic accounting functions, but found the MAS 90 solution they were using to be inflexible and hindering their ability to quickly analyze data. “The real problem came when we wanted to do any kind of analysis,” says Carol Weinstein, Controller at FLS, “we couldn’t simply extract the information. We ended up having to create a huge chart of accounts, just to try to analyze the results.” This was particularly burdensome for FLS, “We’re a company that relies heavily on statistical data to analyze the operations. We are constantly looking at measures for improvement in sales and operational efficiencies. So the more usable information we can get out of our accounting system, the better,” notes Weinstein.
Generating reports was an issue as well. The reporting in MAS 90 was pretty standard, and had not kept pace with FLS’s needs. They relied heavily on basic canned reports that were very limited. Distribution of reports was also problematic, as it involved manual processes that are not consistent or efficient. FLS found the system to be clunky, and more reminiscent of a DOS program than the modern solution they desired. Something as simple as trying to ensure that expenses and revenue were recorded in the period incurred was difficult and a time consuming task.
“We have to prepare a lot of accruals at the end of every month, it’s just the nature of our business because we pay our drivers weekly,” noted Weinstein. In order to match the revenue and the expenses to the actual month, they had to manually key information monthly – which was both time consuming and led to extra review processes to ensure accuracy.
Knowing that an accounting solution can provide more and better options than they currently had, FLS decided to issue a RFP for a new system. An outside IT consultant was hired to help with the process, and a list of requirements was gathered internally. A consensus began to emerge that in addition to better reporting and analysis, it was important to have a system that was easy and intuitive for non-accounting users to be able to access the appropriate information to manage the operations.
Several different solutions were presented and evaluated as part of the process. All the solutions had positives and were viewed as an improvement, but Sage Intacct quickly emerged as the preferred choice during the demonstrations. The user interface was easy to navigate, which especially impressed the general managers tasked with making the decision on the software FLS would choose.
The accounting staff loved the Sage Intacct dimensions, realizing it would give them the ability to reduce the number of accounts, then tag transactions with Dimensions so they could truly slice and dice their information for analysis. While most of the software solutions they evaluated had Dashboards, FLS found that the Sage Intacct user interfaces were very clean, uncluttered and intuitive – which was the clincher. The decision was made to go with Sage Intacct and Intellitec Solutions as their partner.
An implementation project plan was put together between Intellitec and FLS. Feeling comfortable with the software, FLS chose to take on a fair amount of the work themselves. “It was important to me that I understood Sage Intacct while we were in the early stages.” recalls Carol Weinstein, “For that reason, I did most of the importation and reconciliation against my old general ledger to make sure I understood where everything was.” Intellitec consultants focused on configuring the database, setting up Dimensions, helping to deploy reports, and setting up rights and permissions in the system. Along the way, certain tasks would come up that FLS needed particular assistance with, such as configuring an end of the month review to ensure all system users are posting items to the correct dimensions. Working with Intellitec Solutions proved to be the right decision for FLS. “I think what I was most happy about during implementation is that the consultants really knew the software.” Carol Weinstein recalled, “I was asking them really tough questions and they provided terrific answers.”
After going live with Sage Intacct, FLS quickly realized a number of time savings. One such was payroll accruals. Rather than having to key in data, they were able to upload templates from their payroll system and import them directly into Sage Intacct. This covered a number of items including Departmental information, Customer information, a Class ID, and an Item ID. That saved hours each month, plus it removed the worry that data may have been keyed in incorrectly.
Sage Intacct has also reduced the burden of relying heavily on paper reports. Managers now use Dashboards to get tremendous insight into their operational area. And since it is browser based, the managers can review their reports any time of day or night, even on vacation if necessary. Another area of efficiency is in AP processing – which was especially important as some employees needed to suddenly begin working remotely. Sage Intacct made it easy to attach scanned documents to the AP transactions and journal entries. Then when a manager needed to see more information about the underlying transaction, they could drill down into the AP Bill or Journal Entry to see the attachment. That has helped FLS work towards being paperless.
FLS has been live on Sage Intacct for two years, and already they are eyeing new benefits as release updates come out quarterly. They currently are looking into using the workflow and approval options in the Accounts Payable module while processing their Vendor Bills, as they believe this will align with their goals of having more streamlined internal controls on approvals. They also see tremendous opportunity to automate the amortization of their numerous prepaid expenses by implementing the Prepaid Expense Module that is part of the subscription.
As for what she would recommend to others evaluating Sage Intacct, Weinstein had a variety of thoughts. “For a small company that does not require a lot of analysis, and doesn’t have the in-house support capacity to code things correctly, I think Sage Intacct would be underutilized by someone like that.” Weinstein observed, “On the other hand, for those that need to find out what’s going on in their company, and are not able to make good decisions regarding not only five years from now, but next month as well, this is the software for you. Because of the dimensions you can really, slice and dice your information and find out what’s working for your company, what’s not working for your company. It really gives you tremendous insight, and you’re only limited by how well you design your reports and define your dimensions.”