BTerrell Group Blog

ERP Evolution: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future

Posted by Brian Terrell on Thu, Jul 24, 2014

Recently, I had a conversation with a colleague about ERP technology’s coming of age. In the 1960s, the mainframe computer spawned inventory control packages to get the ball rolling, followed by material requirements planning (MRP) packages in the 1970s. It wasn’t until the 1980s that software packages began to emphasize process optimization, specifically with manufacturing processes. Most business systems, at that time, focused on one particular business process; and as a result, companies purchased different systems for each business process and ultimately had to rekey data from one system to another to get information to the right people at the right time. This led to numerous human errors, slow processes, inconsistent information, and ineffective reporting. With the advent of ERP systems in the late 1980s/early1990s, companies could purchase a single system that encompassed most, if not all business processes in one package, thus minimizing data integrity issues. Over time, ERP vendors began developing add-ons such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management); these systems were referred to as Extended ERP. In the last few decades, ERP systems have secured themselves as an organization’s information foundation; and with the emergence of the cloud, ERP technology is on the move again.

ERP's Coming of Age

Some companies have been reluctant to move vital company data to the cloud, but their reservations are gradually being eliminated as the advantages of the cloud become more apparent. With the surge of interest in mobile ERP capabilities, the uncertain economic forecast, and many companies implementing BYOD (bring your own device), companies are searching for software that will adapt with them, without locking them in to long-term contracts.

Intacct, a cloud-based ERP solution, makes it easy to adapt to changes as your business and technology evolve. Specifically, you benefit from:

  • Continuous innovation (software is upgraded behind the scenes…no more bulky annual upgrades)
  • State of the art technology (next-gen technology without having to acquire or manage it)
  • Fewer technical resources needed in your business (no large internal teams needed to manage on-premise software and servers)
  • Seamless integration
  • Easy customization thanks to its multi-tenant architecture
  • Regained focus (your teams are freed up to focus on your core competencies)

I believe this phase of ERP evolution is the best and most exciting one yet. For me, as a CEO, it is refreshing to know I can focus on what I do best and know that the backbone of my business is strong, flexible to my needs, forward-looking, and will stand the test of time.

Tags: erp evolution, mobile ERP, erp technology, erp systems, erp coming of age, Intacct, cloud erp

What Keeps Professional Services Firm CFOs Up at Night?

Posted by Keith Karnes on Fri, Nov 08, 2013

We try to understand our prospects, customers and their issues as best we can. Being a professional services firm ourselves, we intimately understand the financial challenges associated with sharing our expertise -- via consulting engagements -- to our valued customers.

In this article, I want to analyze the specific pain points of financial management within professional services organization, discussing:

  • What are the primary concerns of CFOs from professional services companies?
  • What are some of the repercussions of these issues?
  • Why BTerrell Group chose to utilize Intacct to help relieve  these pain points for our own internal financials, and why Intacct is such a great fit for our customers who are professional services firms

Pain Point #1: Complex billing terms and schedules

For consulting and services organizations, every customer truly is different. Complexities include things such as:

  • the scope of the project
  • the negotiated terms of the engagement
  • project milestones and schedules
  • performance-based or time-based payment schedules

These different complexities often lead to manual, off-line project tracking and reporting, with much of the details manipulated in Excel spreadsheets. This creates inefficiencies in reporting, reduced staff productivity, and ultimately lower profitability. Think about how much time is wasted in your firm. If only 10% of a full-time employee's time is wasted in this area (at a salary of $120K/year, for instance), that's $12,000 a year down the drain due to inefficiency...yikes!

Need: Consistent view of project specifics with appropriate visibility to key stakeholders in the service delivery lifecycle


Pain Point #2: Capture of all billable and non-billable time and expenses

Ad-hoc time and expense capture is a huge issue for professional services firms. Reporting consistency is critical to give visibility to the financial and operations areas which may be improved for the productivity and profitability of the firm.

Revenue leakage and lower project profitability are huge concerns, due to the inability to capture all billable time and expenses. In addition, project and cost over-runs can result in more non-billable work time (think about the price per hour per consultant), along with non-recoverable costs that can be incurred by not capturing all this information in a timely manner.

Need: real-time, streamlined time and expense management for project control and profitability


Pain Point #3: Proactive cash flow management, along with proper recognition and deferral of project-based revenue

Without proper processes and communications across and through the organization, it's really difficult to manage cash flow proactively in professional services firms. Unless Finance knows that project milestones are slipping, for instance, it's almost impossible to plan for receivables and cash flow. In addition, delays in reporting can have a substantial impact on revenue forecasting, budgeting and overall financial - and operational - decision-making.

Need: Automated project billing and revenue management system


Pain Point #4: Financial visibility into project status and key metrics

People are busy working on their priorities. We get it. But, because Sales is busy selling, and Project Management is busy managing their projects, many times Finance doesn't have real-time information on projects or customers to be able to provide the reporting and financial management necessary to run the business. Billing cycles can be sluggish, as invoices are often contingent upon the communication of the completion of a project or milestone.

Need: Automated system to track performance of project milestones and costs to ensure accurate and efficient billing, revenue recognition and collections


In essence, finance pros in professional services firms need a 360-degree view of the business for reporting and decision-making purposes. The only way to do this effectively is by implementing a system combining time and expense management, project tracking and financials. This system needs to be easily customizable for your business, easily accessible by all employees, have the right permissions-based access per employee, be robust enough to scale with your business, yet be flexible enough to provide all reporting when, where and how you need it.

For our business, we chose Intacct to do just that for us, and we're so glad we did. Here are just some of the key areas of benefit, drivers, and examples of benefits provided:

Intacct Benefits for Professional Services Organizations

Think about this for your business. Could you benefit from any - or all - of the following?

  • Maximized revenues and accelerated billing cycles
  • Improved cash management
  • Strengthened project performance and profitability
  • Improved staff productivity

Feel free to contact us for a free 30-minute consultation. BTerrell Group can help you determine if Intacct is the right solution for your business.

Get a FREE ERP Consultation

Tags: ERP, Intacct, cloud, cloud erp, cloud accounting software

A Key Takeaway from Intacct Advantage 2013

Posted by Chris Firra on Thu, Nov 07, 2013

During Intacct Advantage 2013, I experienced many excellent break-out sessions which deepened my appreciation even further for the Intacct platform. One session, in particular, really pushed me to think about how to take the knowledge I gained and put it to immediate use. The title was, "Technology Session: Platform", and was co-presented by, Aaron Harris, Intacct's Chief Technology Officer.describe the image

First, Aaron set the stage by demonstrating how Intacct is easily tailored to track unique business activities without deploying a single bit of program code or additional software.

Next, Aaron discussed trigger events, such as email notifications. Once you enter certain transactions or values, you can add Smart Rules and Smart Events to the standard data entry screens. These two tools do not require engaging Intacct's development teams.

An example of a Smart Rule and Smart Event:

A controller becomes frustrated when an employee inadvertently selects a seldomly used receivable reserve account number instead of the commonly used account number.  To prevent the re-occurence of selecting the incorrect account number, she creates a Smart Rule to warn the user and ask them to ensure they are selecting the correct account.  Then, she creates a Smart Event, which automatically notifies Intacct to send her an email whenever the reserve account is changed.  

Then, while staying outside Intacct's Platform, Aaron demonstrated the ease of adding custom fields, complete with valid selection codes. Intacct supports 30 different field formats, covering almost every possibility. Once created, these custom fields automatically appear where indicated within the entry screens, report design screens and report run-time screens. Then you can easily sort and filter specific information.

In wrapping up, Aaron further demonstrated the form designer, which resides inside the Platform. This application enables non-programmers (like me), to create screen forms to utilize Intacct objects and user defined fields. Furthermore, custom forms extend the transaction flows which are built-in to Intacct through new data entry points of origin and data flows. From here, you can add custom triggers and logic to the form which creates the basis for a native application user to utilize in their daily interactions with Intacct.

The best part; a Computer Science degree is not required to use these powerful tools! I personally look forward to using these tools in my everyday workflows.

I hope you find this blog helpful as you navigate Intacct. If you require a complex system build, our Intacct Platform Developers and Consultants stand by ready to build powerful integrations with your system. When such needs arise, look to BTerrell Group for creative solution designs.

I will see you in Orlando at Intacct Advantage 2014!


Tags: ERP, Intacct, cloud, cloud erp, cloud accounting software

My Intacct Advantage 2013 Experience

Posted by Kevin Yu on Fri, Nov 01, 2013

I was very fortunate to attend Intacct’s Annual User Conference last week in Las Vegas. Since this was my first conference to ever attend, I really had no idea what to expect.

Humongous burgerMy first meal at the conference was a mushroom swiss burger.  I consumed all my week’s calories in this one meal!  Check out this picture! The burger is definitely larger than the picture portrays

Then, at the opening keynote address, an electric string quartet came out playing rock music. What?! 

Now, on a more serious note, I was thrilled to see and hear firsthand how Intacct continually enhances their cloud ERP solution. I am particularly excited for their new dashboard functionality releasing in November.  I also enjoyed interacting with other partners and learning about their best of breed solutions they integrate Intacct with to provide the most value to their customers.  In-between all of the food, music and networking, I also learned many new features and best-practices by attending key break-out sessions, workshops, and panel discussions throughout the week.

Intacct Advantage 2014Overall, I could not ask for a better first conference experience. I left feeling re-energized about Intacct’s customer offerings and I can’t wait for Intacct Advantage 2014!

Tags: ERP, Intacct, cloud, cloud erp, cloud accounting software

Intacct Advantage 2013 Experience and Reflections

Posted by Brian Terrell on Thu, Oct 31, 2013

BTerrell Group, along with our sister company CodePartners, just returned from Advantage 2013, Intacct's annual conference for customers and business partners.  Intacct Pic 2The location in Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas and far enough from the madness of the strip, was the perfect place for networking and information sharing.  We had a blast, learned a lot, and met with many customers, prospects and partners.

I wanted to share with you some of my key takeaways from my five days of breakout sessions, keynote addresses, and peer networking:

  • Intacct continues incorporating best practice technology to ensure client data is secure by including a two-step authentication login process
  • Geoff Moore, a keynote speaker, reminded us that industry standard API driven integration between best of breed applications like Intacct and Salesforce drives next generation business growth
  • Intacct includes budgeting tools and workflows to help managers control an organization's indirect purchasers
  • Amazing enhancements to Intacct dashboards are around the corner!
  • Clients may now add user defined dimensions so finance professionals can begin to influence their company's future, not only report the past
  • Intacct continues to lower costs, improve manageability, and enhance security with a Single Sign On
  • Managed timesheets allow time based companies a view to who has and who has not turned in their timesheet
  • Intacct is incorporating social functionality into the accounting workflow, helping companies communicate more effectively
  • Intacct’s scalability should never be in question as top customers are processing upwards of 250,000 transactions each day
  • The possibilities abound as Intacct re-writes the concept of a financial report writer by defining rows based on dimensions instead of accounts
Intacct Advantage 2013 Panel Discussion
Intacct remains the most exciting cloud ERP technology available today.  BTerrell Group expects 2014 to be our best year ever, and we look forward to another great conference at Advantage 2014 in Orlando on November 9!

Tags: ERP, Intacct, cloud, cloud erp, cloud accounting software