Sr. Accounting Manager
Frontline Education is a SaaS provider that develops software for K-12 educational institutions. Their school administration software features everything from recruiting, hiring, time tracking, absence management, professional development, special education and interventions to give school systems elevated insights into their students and staff.
Amanda Rompola, Sr. Accounting Manager, manages a modestly-sized team of staff accountants and senior accountants to handle AP/AR for Frontline Education. Most of the company’s IT resources are allocated to product development, with a very lean team dedicated to internal systems administration. As a result, Amanda and her team are primarily responsible for managing their own job-specific applications.
Cash applications were manually performed through uploading payee information sent from the bank into Excel spreadsheets, and matching them to NetSuite accounts in another spreadsheet. Completing this process was so onerous that it required committing all of a staff accountant’s time over multiple days. Worse yet, this process was rife with errors. “If the fields did not match one for one, the accountant looked into it and sometimes made assumptions just to get it done because there’s so much volume,” Amanda explained.This process was completely untenable when considering the Frontline’s business model. As a SaaS company serving education institutions, invoices are renewed on an annual basis to coincide with the beginning of the school year. With over 12,000 customers, Frontline’s finance team was dealing with a massive transaction volume in a small amount of time. Manual cash applications through Excel spreadsheets were simply not keeping up with the pace, nor was it feasible to expand the team.“I didn’t want to waste training on a temporary resource to come in to help us for a month,” Amanda pointed out. “They wouldn’t be helpful and it’s just an expense we shouldn’t have. We should have a program to automate this.”
Sr. Accounting Manager
Amanda had worked with Celigo’s products in a previous role. Remembering that her previous experience had been extremely positive, she now called on Celigo to help her automate Frontline’s cash application process. Her confidence immediately paid off: although IT resources were stretched thin and Amanda’s team was nontechnical, Celigo’s implementation consultant ensured a quick and easy setup.
Celigo’s Cash Application Manager to NetSuite retrieves payment information from Frontline’s bank, and immediately matches it to customers in NetSuite. With the majority of the process now being automated, Amanda’s team members don’t have to do anything to process the majority of invoices. Before adopting the Cash Application Manager, Frontline used to dedicate an entire staff accountant’s day to performing cash applications. Now, everything from cash applications to bank reconciliations only takes two hours per day. On top of the time savings, eliminating spreadsheets and the ability to more efficiently review outputs substantially cut down on errors. “Celigo was very important to implement so I don’t have the issue of a staff accountant miskeying an Excel upload,” Amanda said. “I, as a manager, can improve and review stuff much easier.”
Although they are non-technical, Amanda’s team is responsible for maintaining their own integrations. Thanks to the quick turnaround and guided support from Celigo’s customer success team, troubleshooting and maintenance are simple endeavors. Amanda described her experience with error handling thusly: “After putting in some help desk tickets with Celigo, I know what’s going on and how to fix it, which is really easy. I’ve only put in a few tickets and they were responded to very quickly. They were always open to answering my questions, even if they weren’t urgent.”
Since implementing the Cash Application Manager, an estimated two-thirds of the cash applications are auto-applied, with the remainder requiring very minor checks. The automation rate was affected by the fact that Frontline had worked with manual processes for so long that invoicing became complicated. “If we did it properly, I think it would be much higher,” Amanda explained. “At my last company, the auto-applied rate with Celigo was probably like 90%.” With Celigo’s support, Frontline can continually transform and improve their operations.
Integrations have not only expedited billing and reconciliations, but actually increased overall job satisfaction within Amanda’s department. In particular, the staff accountants have been more engaged with their work because they have the opportunity to work with more interesting projects, rather than spending their time with manual data entry.