Safety Management Group is one of the fastest growing companies in Indiana and has been named by Inc. Magazine as one of the Top 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the country multiple times over. Now imagine you are the new CFO at the 200-plus employee firm with a large and growing national field services team and have been told that obtaining accurate time and expense data is pretty much impossible. Rebecca Ogle, CFO at Safety Management Group, says her predecessor warned her she’d need to figure out “the witching hour” and how, as a CPA obsessed with accuracy, she could cope with the discrepancies.
“He said if I ran reports too late in the day, this would be the difference. And if I ran it later, the difference would be bigger. I literally had to try to pick the time of day hoping most people had gone to bed to run the unbilled expense reports hoping for a difference I could live with. Trying to get a report that was dead on was a moving target.”
Tracy Kilburn, PHR, handles payroll for the firm, which offers safety consulting services and training nationwide to healthcare facilities and construction and manufacturing firms, had an equally difficult time. Hired to work part-time, she regularly clocked some 40 to 50 hours just to enter payroll. She spent countless hours keying in individual time sheets and then uploading the data to a payroll provider.
“Our processes were manually intensive, error prone and not sustainable in a growing business,” acknowledged Randy Gieseking, Safety Management Group President.
Consolidate seven legacy systems
For more than 10 years, Safety Management Group, also known as SMG, ran on seven legacy systems. They used Sage for the general ledger and payables, which Ogle said functioned more like a glorified check book. They used BQE Software for time and accounts receivable and Concur for expenses. They used F9 Software for financial reporting, an Access database for conversion files, and multiple spreadsheets. “We were also a former user of Salesforce.com, but we had stopped using it because of problems with integration and maintenance,” Ogle says.
While executives were able to get some financial reports, they were painfully aware that doing so meant Ogle manually had to extract data from several applications and then create spreadsheets and reports to get them what they needed. “When I sat with Rebecca and saw the five or six spreadsheets she had to create trying to make the machine run, I considered whether we were getting accurate information with so much manual manipulation,” Gieseking says.
When Ogle joined the team, SMG was five years into a 10-year growth plan that included doubling the national workforce to 400 and continuing to grow revenues by double digits. To achieve those goals, Gieseking and the executive team recognized they needed a better technology platform.
Needed: Cloud-based ERP with mobile app
High on the priority list was obtaining a cloud-based solution that gave the 200 or more field service workers and managers better access to project data while also making time and expense entry much easier, Ogle says.