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Cultivating a culture of innovation should be a top priority for every enterprise. While this may sound simple, it’s one of the most difficult accomplishments to achieve in practice. Halloran Consulting is no stranger to fostering a culture of innovation within its business. The life science regulatory, quality and clinical consulting firm has seen revenue growth of nearly 200 percent since 2014, winning a spot on Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies for five consecutive years and most recently awarded a digital leadership title by Ventana Research.

However, success doesn’t come without its pain points. The 100-person firm initially faced significant challenges with disjointed information across its multiple systems — financial data in QuickBooks, sales data in Salesforce CRM, and project data in NetSuite OpenAir professional services automation (PSA). That level of fragmentation prevented Halloran Consulting from having a unified view across its project-based business. That meant the organization had limited insights into its operations, could not entirely trust the integrity of its data and was forced to rely heavily on multi-tab Excel spreadsheets to generate basic financial reports.

Success Begins with Delivering Value

Professional services firms face the challenge of delivering value to clients while managing and growing their business profitably. The lack of integration and efficiency drove the Boston-based firm to review its processes and take concrete measures to eliminate the systems that did not contribute to helping the organization succeed. Halloran Consulting chose Sage Intacct for the value its technology brought to the company and its clients - where the firm used to get piecemeal information regarding the financial health of its operations, with Sage Intacct, it was able to access real-time financial data and react quickly to sudden changes that could impact its business growth.

Another catalyst in the company’s transformation has been the elimination of hours of manual work. The firm was able to cut down its monthly financial close from 20 days to 10 while also reducing other financial processes that used to take several days and are now completed in just hours. In doing so, the firm was able to dedicate more time to analyzing its data and implemented a new billing model that increased the company’s profit by $4 million and introduced new efficiencies across its finance function, opening $1 million in new monthly cash flow.

Digital Transformation starts with Finance

The role of the CFO has seen significant changes in the last five years. A recent survey found that three-quarters of financial decision-makers drive digital transformation within their business and 73% of those financial decision-makers believe emerging technologies have a big impact on their ability to forecast and develop strategic financial planning.

One of the biggest value add to using innovative technologies is time. The time that would have otherwise been spent manually crunching scenarios or editing endless spreadsheets can now allow finance teams to invest their skills to help drive growth and become a strategic partner to the business. When technology is used to its full potential, finance teams can be empowered to operate at varying altitudes - either flipping easily between granular project data that cater to project managers or highly critical data that an executive team will be interested in. 

The willingness to deploy new technologies is highly dependent on the types of culture that exist across any organization. An organization that values innovation and understands that access to real-time, actionable and relevant data are key ingredients to driving performance and success will be able to thrive in today’s highly competitive, collaborative, and distributed business world.


 

Tania Zieja, CFO, Halloran Consulting

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