How Client-centric Tech Revolutionizes The Finance Function

The Challenge: Build What Your Customer Needs

Consero Global partnered with Thinkbridge to create an elegant tech offering for their Finance as a Service solution, built around what their clients actually need from their finance function.

There is no shortage of software and systems that promise to crunch numbers faster and more accurately than Excel, with sales pitches that tout all the buzziest of buzz words like “machine learning,” “Al,” and “automation .” While there’s little doubt that they are as powerful and sophisticated as they promise, how does all that power and sophistication help the customer do what they bought the system to do?

It’s a question that Bill Klein, the CoFounder and President of Consero Global, put at the center of his initiative to continually improve the technology used in the company’s “Finance as a Service” (FaaS) model of delivering an outsourced and fully managed finance function . Early on, Consero had the vision of being a solution that could allow customers to leverage best practices and efficiency and have a scalable, efficient finance and accounting platform.

The power of standardizing the Faas software stack

“In the beginning, we would often plug into systems that a customer already had in place, and try to make the most of those,” says Klein. “And I think what we quickly learned along the way was we were never going to be great at what we do if we had to leverage all those different applications, essentially starting from scratch every time we onboarded a new client.”

Consero might solve a problem for client A, but that’s irrelevant to client B, who has a completely different stack of applications . “We knew if we wanted to be the best, we had to have a standardized stack of applications to develop real, battle-tested best practices,” says Klein. “Now our standardized stack is ingrained with our processing so that when we onboard a new client, we’re using a stack that’s proven its ease and functionality, and importantly, every time we implement that stack, we’re able to refine it a little more.”

“We knew if we wanted to be the best, we had to have a standardized stack of applications to develop real, battletested best practices”
– Bill Klein, President Consero

However, it still required that customers use a variety of applications . If they had to approve a vendor bill, approve an expense report, or see their cash position, they had to log into three different systems . “So, we asked, ‘How do we have a front end that would effectively be a unification engagement layer would allow the customer to interact with a single interface?”‘ says Klein. “And that’s when we decided to partner with Thinkbridge .”

Consero follows its own advice

Thinkbridge is a tech services firm dedicated to boosting the enterprise value of growth-stage companies through strategy, custom software, and data science.
Consero appreciated that thinkbridge deviated from many Fintech providers by not trying to simply sell the technology in hand. Instead, they would design it around what Consero’s clients needed. “With their help, we didn’t just get a solution, we got a process for continual upgrades, from ideation to alpha, beta, and the eventual rollout .”

“With their help, we didn’t just get a solution, we got a process for continual upgrades, from ideation to alpha, beta, and the eventual rollout.”

With their new partner, Consero began vetting their ideas for tech upgrades according to a few basic questions, such as “What problem are we trying to solve? If we solve it, what would be the impact for the customer?” This enriched the debate around what upgrade was truly worth the effort. Consero would also solicit customer feedback at various points in the process.

“Sometimes it would be very early, where we’d float a one-pager to a customer, and in other cases, we’d present an MVP [minimally viable product] for them to review,” says Klein. “And this dialogue is vital to making sure we’re investing in the right kind of improvements.”

Active and thorough dialogue with the customer

One of the issues Consero wrestled with is when to make a step in a process manual, say keeping it Excel, and when to build that step into the software. “It seems counterintuitive, as you’d want to give a customer flexibility to do something as they please, but then it leads to different behavior in different accounts, and that inconsistency can be a problem,” says Klein. “But when we build that step into the software, so there’s a uniform way of doing that, it becomes more efficient and standardized, which is part of the value we bring.”

Rather than try and build a full in-house tech team devoted to this, Consero followed its own advice by tapping an outside resource in thinkbridge to help, so they could be freed up to do what they do best. And the collaboration between the two has resulted in far greater clarity around priorities.

In one example, Consero learned a customer wanted a particular export function, but one of thinkbridge’s product team members asked why they wanted to export the data at that point. It turned out, the customer wanted to do a particular piece of analysis, and so the product team was able to build a solution that did that analysis for them.
“We wouldn’t get there without an active and rigorous dialogue among Consero, thinkbridge, and our customers,” says Klein.

Key Results and Benefits

  • 80% Reduction in executives time spent in the finance function
  • 20-40% Reduction in the cost of the finance function
  • Efficiently closing the books within 7-10 days

So streamlined, so SIMPL

Old-fashioned customer service today will be the best way to beat the competition tomorrow.

And Consero achieved its goal of a unified interface platform, with SIMPL, a single dashboard that works closer to a consumer app like MINT, with all the rigor, flexibility, and sophistication of its best-of-breed application stack.

“This new interface serves two of our key priorities, which is one, making the frontend as transparent and user-friendly as possible, and on the back-end, automating everything we can, and that’s exactly what SIMPL does.” Klein understands that nowadays, no company has the luxury of denying the role technology plays in their performance, and knows the best technology adapts to client needs, not the other way around.

“We are the company we are today because we know that we are only as successful as our clients, and everything we can do to materially improve their experience and their operations, through technology, processes. Old-fashioned customer service today will be the best way to beat the competition tomorrow.”

Want to learn more about these successful tech strategies?
Reserve your spot now for our Csuite webinar The C-Suite Guide to Accelerated Digitization-Tech Investors Webinar Series on Oct 27, 2021, 12:00 PM in Central Time (US and Canada).

Algo leverages Consero’s Strategic CFO Services to get the finance function in order before they could pursue acquisitions

Client leverages Consero’s Strategic CFO Services to get the finance function in order before they could pursue acquisitions.

Background:

PE-backed enterprise software company was looking at acquisition opportunities. The exec team knew a well managed financial function would contribute to availability of growth capital on attractive terms. They wanted a modern alternative to the traditional in-house solution. Their immediate focus was to complete an audit and get F&A to a place where it could confidently integrate acquisitions. Shortly after onboarding with Consero, client experienced a CFO departure.

The Challenges:

  • CEO needed a senior finance leader to support potential capital raise, evaluate acquisition targets and perform ad hoc research projects
  • Needed an effective finance function to better integrate acquisition candidates
  • High priority concern was cash management and vendor spend
  • Not closing the books in a timely manner
  • Needed budget and forecast to help guide the business and actionable KPI’s to operate the business effectively
  • Needed accurate and timely financial data to be effectively communicated to the board
  • Acquisitions would add complexity to the business

Consero’s Finance as a Service Solution

  • Quickly stepped in with our seasoned and strategic CFO to manage cash conversion cycle, oversee financial planning, and analyze the financial strengths/weaknesses to propose corrective actions.
  • Consero CFO became valued partner to client’s CEO and focused on steering the business by defining and evaluating key metrics while delivering timely month-end close along with audit-ready reporting.
  • Led process of negotiation & terms of a spin off.
  • Represented client at board meetings and presented financial information with review of the organization’s financial performance, goals and strategic direction of the business.

Client’s Results

  • Strategic CFO Guidance: On-demand CFO navigated the business while recognizing risks and opportunities to drive improved profitability and achieve growth objectives.
  • Increased CEO Capacity: Consero CFO offered critical evaluation of reporting and interfaced with management team to drive results. CEO could focus more time on strategically impactful projects.
  • Improved Decision Making: Increased discipline in the finance function helped to manage cash and vendor spend, get accurate and timely financial information along with critical KPI’s used to make recommendations and drive intelligent business decisions. Board Representation: Consero effectively communicated the financial results to the board with knowledge and insight.

Consero helps Managed Services Organization deliver “investment grade” financials

RMS Healthcare is the Managed Services Organization (MSO) that manages the Med First network of clinics. RMS knew its potential as a leading MSO but understood its finance function needed an upgrade to raise the capital for its next wave of acquisitions. This is how Consero, with their Finance as a Service (FaaS) model helped them do just that.

Growth Brings New Challenges

When a private equity sponsor first invested in Med First back in 2016, the value proposition was clear and compelling. As a Managed Services Organization (MSO), Med First provides the administrative functions, including eligibility, billing, verification, HR and legal for a network of primary care and urgent care clinics in rural North and South Carolina, communities traditionally underserved with sparse healthcare options. They allow providers to focus on patients, leading to better health outcomes. MSOs are natural platforms for roll-up acquisitions since there is no shortage of these facilities that could benefit from an administrative upgrade.

But after an initial acquisition spree that grew the company from 9 clinics to 19 under its umbrella today, Med First found itself with having to hire a new CFO. The new CFO, Wes Edwards, had joined Med First after the successful sale of the specialty pharmacy company, Avella. While at Avella, Edwards had a traditional in-house accounting and finance staff.

“Med First had naturally focused on the clinical side of things, because you can’t have a world class organization without solving the problems of patients,” says Edwards. “And with over 150,000 patient interactions a year, there was plenty to do on that front, and plenty to be proud of.”

But Edwards also knew that as CFO, he had to upgrade the finance function. Edwards soon learned that current team couldn’t handle the complex, multi-entity nature of the business. They had moved from QuickBooks to Great Plains, but without optimization. The internal process and infrastructure couldn’t scale, which hindered the sponsor’s ability to manage their portfolio company with the care and agility they usually do. And given the situation, the former CFO devoted substantial time to matters of accounts payable/ accounts receivable, staffing and technology.

Finding a Solution That Scales

By the time they tapped Edwards as CFO, Med First was already considering Consero as an outsourced option for their finance function. But Edwards had come from managing an internal team, and had some success, along with some misses, in that model. “Nobody gets staffing perfect, but I had a good experience with my in-house team,” said Edwards. “Still, Consero looked attractive for solving the staffing burden, but that was only part of the decision to hire them.” Edwards understood that the healthcare sector put unique pressures on the finance team. “There are numerous accounting issues, like being paid by third parties in complicated ways, being underpaid and overpaid, sometimes with missing information, making basic revenue recognition a real challenge to the current team,” said Edwards. And Consero had plenty of experience with this kind of revenue recognition, but that was only one element of the requirement for Consero to modernize the Company’s finance function.
“Med First had a finance function that was operational, but lacked the rigor required to excel at the kinds of audits that would allow the Company to borrow from a bank, or raise further capital,” said Edwards. “And given the desire to build through acquisitions, better financials were one of the keys to our next stage of growth.”
Edwards knew they were in no position to get there with a small staff that needed significant training. “I was blessed with a sparsely filled cupboard, because it made the choice to outsource all the easier,” admits Edwards. The alternative was to spend the next two to three years building and training a team from scratch, and the pace of private equity investments demanded a faster solution.

Getting an Accurate Heartbeat of the Numbers

The partnership with Consero was solidified shortly after Edwards joined with the blessing of the Company’s CEO, Paul Feneck and its Board of Directors. Consero’s skilled team moved quickly to clean up the core finance function, and revamp the monthly close process, shortening the time to complete it. They moved Med First to Consero’s Simpl® software stack that simplified the consolidation process for all those multiple entities. Consero also produced timely and accurate reports for all stakeholders.

“Globally, reporting became a lot less stressful,” said Edwards. When he started, Med First was ostensibly on accrual accounting, but there was still a lot of cash basis situations, and with Consero’s processes and discipline, they’ve been able to accrue all expenses and avoid any timing issues.

This is a business that really focuses on net revenue per patient visit, so when you’re on a cash basis, that number goes up and down all the time, because of bank holidays, or months with five Fridays or five Mondays, all of which creates fluctuations,” says Edwards. “But now the fluctuations that show up are real and indicate business realities instead of accounting anomalies.”

Edwards notes that financial statements aren’t the most important part of running the business, but they play a key role in understanding the business accurately. “Financial statements are reporting the news, and in this sense, I love reporting the news. With Consero I can start making the news as well, which is something that Med First appreciates.”

Time to Focus on Value-Added Activities

At the company’s current size, Med First hasn’t chosen to invest in a Chief Operating Officer (COO), so that’s a role that gets split between Mr. Feneck and Edwards. “With Consero handling the basics, I’ve got the time to play that ad hoc COO role, and get into things like value-based reimbursement,” said Edwards. “For example, I’m hopping on a conference call with providers tonight to talk about the importance of preventive care, our quality incentive programs and our new compensation models, instead of wrestling to close the monthly books on time.” With Consero on board, Edwards has been able to spend his time on strategic imperatives and now the Company is poised to resume its acquisition strategy, with a number of negotiations already in process. “When I joined, we had several clinics not yet generating positive EBITDA and now we’ve achieved strong consolidated EBITDA and very good clinic margins, which we aim to continue to improve, but there’s no question this was a huge move in the right direction,” said Edwards. “Even more importantly, we’ve earned investors’ confidence that we can continue this progress. That has allowed us to get back to exploring acquisitions.”

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How Consero helped BigCommerce grow from start-up to one of the year’s hottest IPOs

For the past nine years, BigCommerce relied on Consero’s Finance as a Service [FaaS] model and found that the tech-enabled service provider scaled up well with the company’s massive growth, allowing its CFO to focus on the strategic initiatives that took the enterprise from an early­ stage start-up to a massive public offering.

A Page From The CFO Playbook

Back in 2011, BigCommerce was very much a start-up, still running on its series A funding and essentially relying on QuickBooks to manage its finances. That year, they tapped Robert Alvarez as CFO, and he knew they needed to take a hard look at the systems, processes and people in the finance function in order to drive efficiencies and scale up the operations of the business.

Alvarez had worked with Consero on multiple occasions before and knew their Finance as a Service solution could streamline processes, automate back-office transactions and essentially upgrade the finance function in a turn-key fashion.

“By the time I joined BigCommerce, Consero was already part of my playbook, and I knew I needed them here, so I could focus on strategic priorities and the growth drivers of the business,” says Alvarez.

For the new CFO, Consero offered a managed solution with the right mix of digital systems, well­mapped processes and skilled finance & accounting talent. Within two weeks, the tech-enabled service provider had implemented and transferred the GL to Sage lntacct. Additionally, Consero was already working to streamline and automate as much as of the processes as possible. “We get a lot of leverage around the automated workflows and we’ve been paperless from the beginning, which streamlined many processes over the life of this partnership.”

Skilled Finance Talent & PreIntegrated Software Stack with Digital Processes and Workflows

But Consero’s contribution went beyond upgrading their technology and processing the back-office finance & accounting transactions. “We were able to take a huge part of the human capital burden off his desk,” says Chris Hartenstein, Managing Director with Consero. Alvarez didn’t have to fret about the recruiting, hiring and managing of the finance function, which only became more as the company grew over the next eight years. “My team didn’t need to worry as much about training anyone and getting them up to speed,” says Alvarez. “We just let Consero know what we needed and Consero stepped in to deliver it, which saved us plenty of time and recruiting cycles.”

With Consero managing the back-office and business continuity risks, Alvarez didn’t have to be concerned with losing key team members. “In smaller middle market companies, the loss of any member of the team means so much institutional knowledge walks out the door with them,” says Hartenstein. “But at Consero, we have any number of people to step in should someone leave. This ensures their business continuity is maintained.”

And even now, as BigCommerce operates as a public company, Consero is still an important piece of the company’s finance function. “There aren’t too many service providers that stayed with us from the time I started, and that speaks to the quality and reliability of Consero’s technology, systems and people,” says Alvarez.

In fact, the Consero team worked so closely with BigCommerce, that the company leveraged their expertise to help prep them for their IPO. Over the eight years, Consero’s worked so closely with Robert’s team, it was obvious they should leverage their skills for the IPO prep. “They had so much tribal knowledge, and such a grasp of all the previous transactions and systems,” says Alvarez .“So, the IPO readiness plan had several components prepared by them.” This was only possible by collaborating on a consistent and intimate basis.

There aren,t too many service providers that stayed with us from the time I started, and that speaks to the quality and reliability of Consero,s technology, systems and people. – Robert Alvarez (CFO – BigCommerce)

Company Culture That Fits

“When I suggest Consero to someone, I stress that they need to treat them as part of their in-house team, and not merely an outsourced provider.” Alvarez prides himself on watching Consero team members that serviced his account, mature and advance into leadership roles at Consero. But such a long-term engagement requires that Consero staff truly fit the culture over at Big Commerce.

Consero was in alignment with BigCommerce’s two bucket approach to hiring:

Bucket One: verifying a candidate had the given skill set, experience and competencies

Bucket Two: seeing they have the intangibles, the values and characteristics that would allow them to fit well with the culture and grow with the existing team

“Without fail, when we needed more support, Consero always finds the right solution for us,” says Alvarez.

Clean Data and Due Diligence Ready

With Consero tackling the finance function with the right people and technology in the early days, Alvarez was able to devote his time to the higher-level strategic initiatives at his company. “As a Saas business, we’re very metrics and data-driven, so while Consero helped with a lot of the day-to-day accounting, we were able to focus on building up our data warehouse, metrics reporting, and operational best practices across the company,” says Alvarez.

“At BigCommerce, we take real time to map out strategic goals and initiatives, and the reality is that many of the initiatives are owned by other functional areas, but we get pulled in early to play a part in virtually all of them,” says Alvarez. “By outsourcing pieces of the finance function to Consero early on, we were able to be that partner where every functional area can lean on my team for what they need.”

And over the past nine years, Big Commerce has raised growth equity from tier 1 investors like General Catalyst, Revolution, Softbank, GGV Capital and Goldman Sachs, all prior to its successful IPO and subsequent follow-on offering. The IPO was clearly a major initiative that required additional resources and rigor, yet Consero gave Alvarez a solid head start. “If we didn’t have accurate reporting, we would not be compliant or diligence ready in our private financing rounds or our IPO and secondary offering. We’ve been able to meet all of the diligence requests because of the transparency and accuracy in our finance function,” Alvarez noted.

Consero’s CEO, Scott Tynes explains: “So many of the controls we put in place as part of our onboarding are exactly the type of processes that private companies need to establish before going public, and so, BigCommerce had a great foundation to build upon in order to get public company ready.”

“So many of the controls we put in place as part of our onboarding are exactly the type of processes that private companies need to establish before going public, and so, BigCommerce had a great foundation to build upon in order to get public company ready.” – Scott Tynes (CEO-Consero)

This was already evident to Alvarez in the case of audits. “E& Y has been our auditor since I began, and they appreciated the controls, automation and transparency of the systems Consero helped put in place, which allows them to work faster as well,” says Alvarez.

Going Public

BigCommerce decided in June 2019 that they wanted to go public, eyeing an April 2020 date, but the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19 pushed the offering to August. Even with the delay, its IPO stands as one of the most successful of the year, quadrupling in value by its second day of trading, and maintaining a large share of that leap to this day.

After the IPO, Consero is still servicing BigCommerce, without missing a beat. The only difference being the company expanded their inhouse team to address public company requirements in areas such as compliance, external reporting, investor relations and governance. But Consero still provides the same underlying software and accounting support to the company as they always have. That is why Hartenstein stresses that clients don’t outgrow Consero, as BigCommerce leveraged them when they had revenue of $10 million and now, when they’re bringing in well over ten times that.

One of the mixed blessings of that kind of performance is that it accelerated the company’s deadline to become SOX compliant. “That’s one of my team’s next big projects, with the idea that we’d be ready by Q3 of 2021, so we’ll only need to test it in Q4, with time to spare before our deadline of December 31st,” says Alvarez. Of course, Consero will be aiding in this initiative as well.

Given the trajectory of BigCommerce, Alvarez remains convinced of the value Consero brings. “My advice is to anyone considering hiring them, is first, this is not about outsourcing,” says Alvarez. “It’s about finding a Finance as a Service partner that can bring technology, process automation and a back-end workflow that’s been proven for years. Why build everything from scratch when there’s someone with a checklist, and the experience to build something that can grow with you? That’s why Consero has been part of my playbook and why I’m so proud of everyone on the Consero team who has leaned in so much to help get us to this point.”

 

 

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Tritium Partners taps Consero before hiring a full-time portfolio company CFO

The private equity firm Tritium Partners tapped Consero Global before hiring a full-time portfolio company CFO, so when the ideal candidate came along, he could focus on strategic initiatives immediately.

Read Full Case Study

Private equity investing isn’t for the faint of heart. A lot of firms built their reputation on rescuing enterprises from the brink and leaving those businesses stronger than ever before. Even GPs who target high-growth businesses will focus on those struggling to manage that success. Those fees and carried interest are based on their ability to see untapped potential and execute a plan to realize it.

Tritium Partners saw a lot to like in PELITAS, a rapidly growing, healthcare Saas company that created industry-leading solutions for increasing cash and cultivating patient loyalty at over 200 hospitals and ambulatory locations. It was launched by co-founders that had built a great solution platform, but who eventually realized they needed a partner to build a management team and take the business to the next level. Tritium was a great fit for PELITAS because they focus on high growth businesses where they can collaborate with talented management teams and founders to guide their companies to new heights.

Tritium identified an enormous amount of potential for the company, but some facets of the business needed to be upgraded to match its growth, including its finance and accounting function. They wanted to hire a new CFO, but they also knew any initiative could be hobbled if its books weren’t in order first.

“We hired Consero for its outsourced finance-as-a-service solution, because they provided us leverage to immediately upgrade our finance function without hiring a large back-office team,” said Chris Steiner, Principal of Tritium Partners. “Consero’s capabilities allowed us to focus on the rest of our 100-day plan, with the confidence that our basic finance function would be handled properly.”

PELITAS had a great offering, but its finance and accounting capabilities needed more sophistication to support the anticipated growth. Consero brought scalable systems, teams and processes to the business and began producing GAAP-compliant, audit friendly financials. Consero helped PELITAS through its conversion to accrual-accounting, its first audit and the establishment of its credit facility, all before there was a permanent CFO in place.

McClure explains that PELITAS appreciated his more strategic orientation, and with Consero in place, the company didn’t need to hire a CFO based on their ability to build the finance function from scratch. During his first few months with PELITAS, McClure did some minor customization to the process and procedures, but Consero’s platform was flexible so it was only a matter of refining. “I didn’t need to hire, train and manage the staff. I could just focus on learning the business and our key deliverables without having to be distracted with personnel matters.”

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PE firm leverages FaaS to quickly build finance teams, get streamlined reporting and enable CFOs to focus on strategy

The Situation

BV Investment Partners is a middle-market private equity firm that invests in tech-enabled and services companies. When they bring an investment into their portfolio, the biggest pain that they need to address:

  • Under-developed finance teams
  • Lack of timely, accurate and up-to-date reporting
  • CFO’s strategy sidelined for time-consuming daily financial operations

The Traditional Solution:

  • Building a finance team with a recruiter was a prolonged process and there was no guarantee that hires would be a success.
  • Updating the unsophisticated finance & accounting systems was a time-consuming implementation taking 9-10 months without confidently knowing if they would get a fully optimized finance function at the end.

The Consero Solution

Consero Finance as a Service (FaaS) provides:

  • Efficient and scalable finance & accounting software and workflows
  • Experienced and on-demand finance team to address fluctuating needs
  • Accurate, timely audit-ready financial reporting
  • Consistent and reliable back-office services including, transaction processing, closing and reporting, to scale as needed

“The big thing that Consero has helped us with is offloading the back-office administrative workflows for our finance teams. That has allowed them to focus on the more strategic things that help grow the business . We have faster and more impactful insights to add value to our portfolio companies.” – Jason Kustka (Principal BV Investment Partners)

The Client’s Results

New Systems: Updated with best-in-breed systems with proven processes mapped to the business within 30-90 days. This improved the quality, efficiency, and cost structure of financial operations.

Quick & Accurate Reporting: SIMPL’s standardized and accurate financial reporting provides a clear financial picture and sharp decision making.

Scalable Team: Finance professionals quickly scale as the portfolio grows.

Repeatable Results: Consero has seamlessly supported 6 BV portcos

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CFO finds fast and flexible solution with repeatable processes to easily handle acquisitions

The Situation

PE-backed SaaS company generating $48M in revenue with 300 employees quickly outgrew finance and accounting systems after three acquisitions. The goal was to have one streamlined process to quickly onboard and manage all entities.

  • Finance function was stretched after initial acquisitions
  • Internal processes could not scale as the company grew
  • No holistic visibility into all entities
  • CFO was buried with time-consuming daily financial operations

The Consero Solution

Consero Finance as a Service (FaaS) provides:

  • Efficient finance & accounting software and workflows that include one GL for all entities with multidimensional views
  • Experienced and on-demand finance team to address fluctuating needs
  • Accurate, timely audit-ready financial reporting
  • Consistent and reliable back-office services including, transaction processing, closing and reporting, to scale as needed

“The relationship with Consero has allowed me to move quickly with our private equity investors and evaluate potential acquisitions.
If we were to swiftly execute on an opportunity, I’m confident that they would fold it in quickly and seamlessly.” – Mike Dionne (CFO)

The Client’s Results

  • On-Demand Finance Team: Consero’s skilled finance professionals tackle the back-office transactional work and can also scale as the company experiences a spike.
  • New Systems: Updated with best-in-breed systems and proven processes mapped to the business within 30-90 days improves the quality, efficiency, and cost structure of financial operations.
  • Accurate and Real-Time Business Insight: SIMPL’s standardized and accurate financial reporting provides a clear financial picture of all entities and enables sharp decision making.
  • Repeatable Results: An acquisition-ready finance function that can easily onboard and manage new acquisitions onto one General Ledger.
  • Time for Strategy: CFO went from spending 5% of his time on strategy to 95% so he could focus on acquisitions and value-add initiatives.
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Controller moves her role from transactional to strategic and carves a path for professional growth

The Situation

PE-backed SaaS company with $48M in revenue was experiencing rapid growth. Future acquisitions were part of their growth strategy and they knew it was necessary to address the finance function. The goal was to have one streamlined process to quickly onboard and manage all entities.

  • Finance function was stretched after initial acquisitions
  • Internal processes could not scale as the company grew
  • No holistic visibility into all entities
  • Controller was buried with inefficient systems and processes with no time to add value to the CFO

The Consero Solution

Consero Finance as a Service (FaaS) provides:

  • Efficient finance & accounting software and workflows which include one GL for all entities with multidimensional views
  • Experienced and on-demand finance team to address fluctuating needs
  • Accurate, timely audit-ready financial reporting
  • Consistent and reliable back-office services including, transaction processing, closing and reporting, to scale as needed

“I would recommend Consero to other controllers. You are partnering with an extended team. You can let go of those transactional areas and grow yourself more operationally and strategically. It just opens up more opportunity to strengthen yourself personally and professionally ” – Michele Iovino (Senior Controller)

The Client’s Results

  • New Systems: Updated with best-in-breed systems and proven processes mapped to the business within 30-90 days. This improved the quality, efficiency, and cost structure of financial operations.
  • Quick & Accurate Reporting: SIMPL’s standardized and accurate financial reporting provides a clear financial picture of all entities and enables sharp decision making.
  • Scalable Team: Consero’s finance professionals tackle the routine back-office tasks and become part of the team with everyone working together to achieve the business goals.
  • Repeatable Results: An acquisition-ready ready finance function that can easily onboard and manage new acquisitions.
  • Professional Growth: Controller’s time freed up to focus on more strategic work such as budgeting, forecasting and more.
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Consero seamlessly integrates new acquisitions and supports due diligence for a profitable exit

Background

Read Full Case Study

Merging three companies with granular data into a single entity is challenging, especially when there are multiple systems and no single-source-of-truth. Insurity needed better data organization and realigned priorities so they could spend less time on data creation and more time on analysis.
Before Consero, Insurity suffered from:

  • NetSuite not optimized and Order to Cash inefficiencies Turnover in accounting team
  • Time-consuming data distillation with vaguely defined recurring revenue KPIs
  • Lack of analytical views for two distinct functions:
    Corporate (CRO, G&A) and product levels and owners
  • Preparing for sale by PE firm

The Consero Solution

Consero’s Finance as a Service (FaaS) provides experienced finance professionals, customized operational processes and robust software needed to support the daily financial operations and strategic decision making.

The Client’s Results

Rollups Made Easy:

Consero developed a systematic, repeatable process to onboard acquisitions quickly and get a clear understanding of the true financial and operational status of the business.

Realigned KPIs: Consero defined KPIs and delivered accurate hardline data with targeted analysis so critical decisions could be made.

Successful Exit: From initial discovery to final exit of the portfolio company, Consero provided readily available financial information for corporate, product owners, and interested buyers. Consero seamlessly supported the sale process of Insurity to GI Partners.

Increased Enterprise Value: The 37% cost reduction over its previous in-house solution maximized returns upon the exit.

“Consero seamlessly supported the sale process of our portfolio company. Financial information was readily available and Consero quickly addressed the buyer’s due diligence requests. This resulted in a smooth process and helped maximize the value of the business.”

Kevin Masse,
Chief Portfolio Officer

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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.

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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.

Audit-tested

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.