Consero helped PE-backed software firm get clean, accurate, audit-ready financials, and streamlined processes

Five Elms Capital’s portfolio company Flywheel was faced with the common dilemma of having accounting practices that didn’t keep up with the company’s growth but took a chance on Consero as an outsourced financial solution. This is what happened next.

Read Full Case Study

Consero in Action: Flywheel

There was little doubt that Flywheel was a valuable business. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company was a leader in its space of managed WP hosting, having grown to $18 million in revenue and roughly 145 employees. But when Steve Isom arrived at Flywheel as the Company’s first VP of Finance, he found Flywheel’s accounting processes hadn’t evolved since its founding.

“Their accounting department was one person,” says Isom. “And everything was on QuickBooks® . . . for a business with almost 150 people.”

This one person also did payroll and benefits manually, which yielded an enormous amount of variance. To make matters worse, this person had resigned before Isom had started the job, so he was left with a single temp employee who was tapped to keep vendors and employees paid.

Move Fast . . . And Fix Things

“I was overwhelmed from day one, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for me,” says Isom. “This was the first time I’d be owning all the finance & accounting and I didn’t want to spend the first year just on getting the accounting function in order.”

He had started by looking for local talent, ideally a local controller with some experience at a tech enterprise, but Omaha didn’t have a deep pool of candidates. Even if he found the ideal person, it would take 6-12 months to onboard, train, research & architect new systems, implement, optimize, etc.

“The quality of the underlying financials ensures a smooth due diligence process. With Consero, I could focus on the transaction and not worry about getting financials in order. Their professional finance team and processes inspire confidence for everyone involved in due diligence.” Steve Isom – VP of Finance

The Proof is in the Process

“I did my due diligence, and after speaking with several current clients of Consero, I was sold,” says Isom. “Consero’s clients seem genuinely happy and not merely giving some standard issue referral.” But that was still no guarantee that Consero would work as well for Flywheel.

Luckily, he was relieved to find the onboarding process was smooth and well-run.

“I appreciated how informed and determined they were about best practices, when a lot of outsourced service providers simply offer to take over a client’s poorly designed, or non-existent process,” says Isom.

But the speed of the implementation process impressed Isom the most. “Their implementation is a 30- to 60- day process and we finished it in 21,” says Isom. Before, he worked day and night to get his work done. He joined in August, and by October, Consero’s team was in place, running the accounting and finance team. “By then, I was only devoting 30 minutes or so a day on accounting, and that freed me up for the strategic work I was hired to do.” Consero continued to impress him by asking questions once, documenting answers and holding themselves to consistently high standards.


The first big test was when Consero managed a 2018 audit, despite only having handled the books since October.

“They passed with flying colors, so we knew just how detailed and accurate their work was from day one” says Isom.

By April 2019, the Company was raising additional capital, and the diligence process proved just how much the financial operations had improved.

“Consero handled all the investors’ inquiries as part of the normal course of business, without additional hours and fees, and always responded to questions within 24 hours,” says Isom.

Soon after, WP Engine, the market leading managed WP hosting company, made an unsolicited bid for Flywheel. After the two companies agreed on strategic alignment and a possible price, they dug into the books.

WP Engine tapped one of the big four accounting firms to sign off on the tax, finance and legal elements, and all that diligence work went right to Consero. “This wasn’t just about workload,” says Isom. “We were able to tell a story that we had known our systems and processes weren’t sufficient and we did something about it.”

Keeping Trusted Partners

Consero still serves Flywheel, even as the company is now part of WP Engine, which has its own substantial financial staff and resources.

“They understood that Consero was part of our team, my team, and that we were working well together,” says Isom. “And in this case, I don’t have to handle the HR or career development issues of in-house staff.”

Five Elms Capital was certainly impressed with the results, as they tapped Consero for three of their other portfolio companies since the success at Flywheel. Five Elms adds value to their portfolio companies by providing the resources and expertise to fulfill their potential. They have identified Consero as one of those critical resources, given the importance of clean, accurate, audit-ready financials, and a streamlined process. Consero frees the businesses up to do what they do best.


Setting up a successful rollup platform for $300M PE-backed software firm

How Consero helped large acquisition-driven business establish a rollup platform and accelerate acquisition returns.

A large provider of systems and applications management software backed by a private equity firm had some significant problems managing the major changes to its business that regularly occurred due to incorporating rollup acquisitions into its business model. With an emphasis on adding smaller operations, a number of issues tied to standardization, visibility and prompt completion of accounting activities arose. The Houston-based business turned to Consero for help streamlining accounting practices and realizing better results – including increasing its valuation – following a series of rollups that pushed its accounting infrastructure to the breaking point.

Understanding the many accounting problems facing the business

The business had recently completed the acquisitions in the legal and functional sense, increasing its value to $300 million, but had not fully integrated accounting processes between all the new entities under its umbrella. It had four more companies in the acquisition pipeline, which only made the problem more severe considering the 6-12 month optimization timeframe. All of the individual organizations had their own systems and workflows that were incompatible with the core company and each other. Generating consistent reporting was difficult, if not impossible.

Accounting relied on an outdated Great Plains system that couldn’t effectively manage various vital tasks.

  • Revenue recognition was fractured to the point of needing to use offline Excel sheets to complete this foundational activity, and deferred revenue wasn’t captured correctly.
  • The company had freelance accountants dispersed in an inconsistent, unsustainable manner.
  • It lacked A/P and expense automation capabilities.

With so many issues that needed to be addressed on a constant basis, the accounting team didn’t have the bandwidth to make substantial improvements. Without bringing on a dedicated acquisition integration team – an especially costly proposition and one that’s difficult to utilize efficiently in the long term – the business had little hope of deploying an efficient and effective rollup play.

With the company’s business strategy built in significant part on rollups bringing a greater number of smaller businesses into the fold over time, and a desire to expand to provide related services alongside their software, the need to make significant, positive change was clear.

Going forward, a Finance-as-a-Service model could provide finance & accounting support that is:

  • Flexible
  • Consistent
  • Scalable

An effective solution that adapts along with the company

An organization focused on rolling up smaller companies will have regular peaks and valleys when it comes to integrating new acquisitions and adjusting and improving accounting processes accordingly. Consero’s provision of Finance as a Service allows for seamless adaptation along with scaling staff and support as needed. The company can operate between acquisitions normally, then capably adjust during periods where a new acquisition needs to be brought up to speed and integrated into the larger operation. Currently, Consero has 17 accounting professionals on staff, split between senior leaders and frontline staff.

Another valuable element that Consero brought involved implementing a new technology stack to align all of the constituent businesses. With Consero’s combined experienced and knowledgeable implementation team, the company saw some major improvements. It can now ensure vital accounting needs like reporting are completed in a consistent, highly visible fashion across all of its constituent entities. That includes all of its rollups, including a recent $100 million acquisition, as well as the $300 million holding company.

The substantial benefits that come with Finance as a Service

With a methodology including: centralize, standardize and automate, the Consero team established a 30-day implementation playbook for adding acquisitions into the new tech stack. This is a transformational change that greatly reduces stress on in-house staff and leaves them free to address the many other M&A concerns that need their attention. With a well-oiled machine in place, future additions will be a simple, standardized process. Consero has staff trained in the necessary processes to quickly and accurately complete this process. With so much of the effort centralized, standardized and automated, costs, reporting and scalability all improve. Phase 1 of the project alone involved savings of 63%.

Similarly, the CFO of the private equity firm backing the business and the company’s own senior accounting staff no longer need to dedicate significant attention to the technical needs of the rollup process. Instead, they can focus on strategy, investment considerations and future rollup targets, which is a key driver of value.

Instead of the internal accounting team trying to manually complete revenue recognition and compile incompatible reporting from across the many constituent companies, the business now enjoys standardized reporting with automated dashboards and real-time visibility via Consero’s financial console, appropriately named SIMPL. This is true now and will remain so into the future, as additional rollups are quickly and reliably added to the tech stack.


  • Unreliable finance staff.
  • Outdated finance & accounting system.
  • Fractured revenue recognition.
  • Difficulty closing the books.
  • Due diligence was a burden.
  • Time to optimize was 6-12 months.


  • Trained finance team is able to scale as needs change.
  • Modern cloud-based software stacked for all financial needs.
  • Standardized and automated processes.
  • Ability to adhere to standard two-week close.
  • New acquisitions have a timely and effective process in place.
  • Optimized in 3 months.

With Consero taking the lead on staffing related to integrating rollups and managing core considerations like automated reporting, A/P and expenses, the company enjoys another major benefit: Significantly reduced recruitment, training and management costs. With a well-designed and reliable model, as opposed a fluctuating model, it is much easier to anticipate and budget for accounting needs. The Consero internal team for this client is up to 17 people. If the client chose to staff in-house rather than leverage Consero, it would have cost a significant amount in salaries and benefits for a full complement of employees. Consero offer the same level of expertise and ability at a fraction of the cost (30-40% less than in-house).

How else has Consero helped?

  • The books are closed on time, reporting is accurate and consistent and consolidation is an automatic process.
  • Due diligence is no longer a burden, it’s easily worked through.
  • Along with addressing specific issues tied to incorporating rollups into the parent company and managing staffing concerns, the business now has a more accurate, timely and effective accounting function in place.

The value of Finance as a Service to this large company and many others like it is clear. With a dependable partner providing top-notch, customized finance & accounting support that scales with business needs, executives can be confident their organization is in the best position to realize a number of benefits:

  • Improving finance & accounting processes
  • Reducing associated costs
  • Enhancing operational insight
  • Providing enhanced infrastructure
  • Shortening the monthly close complexities and timeframe

All of this is possible with the right outsourced partner. To learn more, get in touch with Consero today.

Corporate franchise gets greater scalability and lower costs from outsourcing vs. in-house solution

Sunstone Yoga was faced with rapidly growing requirements for F&A services, both at the corporate level and for a diverse group of franchisee owners. While evaluating various service providers, Sunstone Yoga executives soon realized they wanted a service solution based on a team of F&A professionals dedicated to their specific business. Sunstone Yoga viewed this dedicated resource model as a strong predictor for higher service levels and greater satisfaction among its franchise owners.

Based on these factors and others, Sunstone Yoga selected Consero as its outsourced F&A service provider.

Consero provides Sunstone Yoga with greater flexibility in financial and administrative management

The business situation

Recently, Sunstone Yoga was faced with rapidly growing requirements for financial and administrative (F&A) services, both at the corporate level and for a diverse group of franchisee owners. The company understood the benefits of outsourcing F&A services, so it began a search for an experienced service provider solution that met the following criteria:

  • Frees owners to focus on more strategic business activities
  • Delivers greater scaleability and lower costs than an in-house solution
  • Provides efficiencies and consistency across all corporate and studio entities

While evaluating various service providers, Sunstone Yoga executives soon realized that they also wanted a service solution based on a team of F&A professionals dedicated to their specific business. Sunstone Yoga viewed this dedicated resource model as a strong predictor for higher service levels and greater satisfaction among its franchisee owners.

Based on these factors and others, Sunstone Yoga selected Consero Global Solutions as its outsourced F&A service provider.

About Sunstone Yoga

Sunstone Yoga is a privately-held retail yoga company that has both corporate- and franchisee-owned studios. Executing against its plan of establishing yoga studios across the United States and creating a national brand, Sunstone Yoga has grown rapidly over the last few years, with 16 studios currently in operation. Along with providing yoga classes and teacher certification, Sunstone Yoga sells a wide array of merchandise including clothing, books, food, beverages and other items.

A full team dedicated to the success of Sunstone Yoga Consero provides Sunstone Yoga with a full team of seasoned experts in F&A, to handle all of the activities required by their finance function at both the corporate and franchise level.

Along with the dedicated service team, a Consero Engagement Manager is responsible for managing the Consero team, providing first-tier account support, conducting periodic account reviews, and driving client success. Every member of the dedicated Consero staff reports directly to the Engagement Manager, helping to ensure that issues are addressed promptly and that all goals are met according to plan.

Working closely with Sunstone Yoga executives, the dedicated Consero team has created consistent, scalable processes to support functional F&A areas for all corporate and franchisee locations. These functional areas include:

  • Revenue accounting
  • Accounts payable and receivable processing
  • Travel & expense processing
  • Bank and credit card reconciliations
  • Payroll administration and payroll accounting
  • Sales tax calculation and filing
  • Weekly, monthly, and consolidated financial reporting
  • Budget, forecast, and variance reporting
  • Audit support

In addition to supporting these key functional areas, Consero also utilizes its best practice expertise to drive further process and productivity improvements. Because Consero works with both corporate and franchisees, efficiencies gained in one part of the business are quickly leveraged across the entire enterprise.

Results: significant cost savings and benefits across the board

With Consero, Sunstone Yoga was able to outsource all of its corporate and franchisee accounting as well as to establish a comprehensive set of financial analytics and dashboards—ultimately saving the company over $500,000 in F&A costs each year.

For both Sunstone Yoga and its growing family of franchisees, benefits include:

  • An improved franchisee model: Providing Sunstone Yoga with a unique, standardized service offering to attract new studio franchisees and support growth
  • Greater strategic focus: Allowing studio franchisees to focus on building their business instead of spending up to 25% of their time on non-revenue generating F&A tasks
  • Enhanced scaleability: Supporting rapid scaling of Sunstone Yoga through a standardized set of F&A practices
  • Better business decision making: Giving corporate management consistent data and analysis across all studios to support informed decision making

With Consero, Sunstone Yoga now enjoys a strategic F&A solution, helping to support and grow their enterprise both now and in the years ahead.


  • F&A support required for a growing number of franchisees
  • Owners needing to focus on growth rather than financial administration
  • Growing operational and process demands
  • Limited visibility into finances at the corporate level Consero Solution
  • Customized processes and financial controls
  • Scaleable financial technology platform
  • Client-defined periodic reporting at corporate and franchise level
  • Dedicated, fully managed F&A service team
  • On demand, variable cost solution


  • A unique and attractive service offering for franchisees
  • Up to $500,000 in reductions for F&A
  • The ability for owners to focus more on strategic business decisions
  • Salability supported by a standardized set of finance and accounting practices
  • Best practices provided by Consero finance professionals
  • Greater efficiencies and consistencies across all corporate and franchise entities

“Consero was able to provide us with a corporate F&A solution superior to other vendors while offering an equally effective solution to our franchise studio owners. Our franchisees can now focus on growing their businesses and not worry about necessary, but non-strategic back office functions.”
– Brandon Hartsell (CEO, Sunstone Yoga)

For more information

For more information about Consero Global Solutions, contact us at US (800) 913-8702 or by email at


Consero was founded in early 2006 with the goal of providing superior finance and administration (F&A) solutions to small and growing companies at a reduced cost. Since then, Consero has grown to be recognized as the #1 provider in the industry by independent publications like the Black Book of Outsourcing. Consero’s unique Empower Financial Platform helps growing companies to address complex finance requirements, scale finance operations quickly and cost-effectively, and deliver best practices to support strategic decision making by C-level executives.