• Results HoganTaylor LLP gained after implementing Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning.

    Challenges: Budgeting in Excel was not efficient

    HoganTaylor LLP upgraded to Sage Intacct in early 2018 providing the efficiency and scale that the finance team needed after a merger with JPMS Cox added 75 employees. That acquisition helped HoganTaylor make Accounting Today’s Top 100 Firms list for the first time, in 2019, and expanded its workforce to 350 professionals today. The finance team also gained the flexibility to support a new technology-focused subsidiary that offers managed IT and cybersecurity services, outsourced solutions, and hardware and software solutions.

    Budgeting in Excel, however, remained a pain point. To create an annual budget each fall, finance team budgeteers wrestled with spreadsheets filled out by more than 15 departmental, office, and service line budget owners. It would take a week to roll up those Excel files into a master budget with roughly 40 tabs, each with about 40 rows and 12 columns, one for each month. Multiple iterations introduced version control issues and the risk of error, all while the finance team strived to ensure accurate linkages and subtotals throughout the master budget. From budget owner submissions to final sign-off, the process went on for more than a month.

    “We knew we had outgrown our budgeting process — it just wasn’t efficient,” recalled Controller Mandy Brown, who joined HoganTaylor in 2018 from JPMS Cox. “We needed a solution that was more efficient and sophisticated than Excel.” Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning emerged as the solution of choice after evaluations of several budgeting packages. “The ability to set up budgets to exactly match our financials in Sage Intacct, and synching back and forth, was a big plus,” Brown said. “Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning was also more affordable than some of the others we looked at.”

    "Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning has definitely improved our whole budgeting process. It saved us so much time in 2020 and gave everyone real-time visibility as the budget was created. We’re excited about the system’s capabilities and know that we can use it to do so much more." Mandy Brown, Controller, HoganTaylor LLP.

    Solutions: Eliminating a Full Week of Manual Back-End Budget Work

    HoganTaylor has met its budgeting efficiency goals with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning. Finance team budget preparation is now 50% more efficient, Brown estimated, while a week’s worth of back-end manual work has been eliminated. Across both the finance team and budget owners, time saved is in the range of 100 hours. “There’s no more tabbing back and forth between different Excel files,” Brown said.

    “As soon as a budget owner enters their numbers in Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning, we can see it in real time with no combining files. And when you go to the top of the budget tree, your totals are right there. Plus, getting the budget into Sage Intacct is super simple. All you do is click a button, and that’s really helpful.”

    HoganTaylor opted to have budget owners enter data into Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning when the solution was first used for budget creation, in fall 2020, rather than continue using Excel. Brown’s team was gratified to see that budget owners embraced the new system with barely a hiccup. “It actually went better than I expected,” Brown said. “We didn’t get any real pushback on it, or even that many questions — everyone was for the most part able to use the system without any issues.” Role-based permissions, transparency for all stakeholders, and ease of use proved valuable to both the finance team and budget owners.

    Visibility and process controls give the six-person finance team new assurance that budgeting is done correctly and accurately, without the headaches of tracking status by emails and spreadsheets. “Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning has helped facilitate the flow of information and give us more visibility into what budget owners are doing, and there’s no more chance of using a wrong budget version,” Brown said. When it came time to present draft budgets to the CEO, COO, and other executives, the finance team easily created a budget dashboard through Sage Intacct. That proved faster and easier than sharing a spreadsheet, with drill-down into detail to address any questions.

    Results: Forecasting Builds on Successes in Budgeting and Accounting

    With one yearly budget built, HoganTaylor’s next step is to utilize capabilities for forecasting and scenario modeling, and more frequent and timely budget vs. actuals reporting. Previously, HoganTaylor had some budget vs. actuals tracking available through dashboards, but it was used on an ad hoc basis and not regularly updated. Going forward, the finance team expects to make detailed budget vs. actuals available by synching Sage Intacct’s dual budgeting and accounting components. With that, the firm will be able to reforecast financials throughout the year as conditions change, with insights to guide cost reduction, new hiring, resource allocations, and more.

    “Forecasting and budget vs. actuals reporting through Sage Intacct will help everyone know where we are at a given point in time, and if we could spend more in one area or cut in another,” Brown said. “We’re excited about the system’s capabilities and know that we can use it to do so much more.” Improvements on the budgeting side extend the value that HoganTaylor is realizing with Sage Intacct, with accounting being 90% more efficient since the firm upgraded. For example, the central finance team has taken on accounting for four subsidiaries, which was previously done by subsidiary-level personnel in QuickBooks, without adding headcount.

    That eliminates roughly $200,000 a year in administrative overhead while subsidiary staff can focus on more valuable client-facing initiatives. Despite the increased workload, the finance team has cut monthly close time from five to seven business days down to just two or three. “Consolidation across multiple entities would have been a nightmare in our previous environment,” said Wes Gilliam, chief accounting officer. “As the firm has grown with acquisitions and new entities, Sage Intacct has enabled the finance team to handle exponential growth in volume and deliver more timely reporting while maintaining our headcount to a minimum. Our dashboard users can drill down into details and get context and perspective, whereas before they’d get a report once a month.”

    Company Overview: HoganTaylor LLP is one of the largest business advisory and public accounting firms in the Oklahoma and Arkansas region, providing tax, assurance, risk, business advisory, accounting, technology, and industry-focused services.

    Results with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning:

    • Increased budget creation efficiency by 50%
    • Eliminated 100 hours of manual work by budget stakeholders
    • Realized rapid user adoption among 15+ budget owners
    • Poised to improve flexibility with forecasting, budget vs. actuals reporting