When the founders of ScaleNorth Advisors launched their business process outsourcing venture, choosing a technology foundation was the easy part.
“Building our practice around NetSuite was a very easy decision,” said Joe Rovirosa, CPA and managing director of the company. So easy, in fact, that the company didn’t consider any other technology partners.
With hands-on experience using multiple ERP systems both as an auditor and an internal finance executive/controller, Rovirosa said NetSuite was the clear winner.
Today, all of ScaleNorth’s clients are on NetSuite, with most of them needing outsourced accounting and finance services, while other options range from basic accounts payable functionality up to full-fledged CFO services. “We have certain clients where we participate in board meetings,” said Rovirosa, “and others where we assist them with restructuring, debt stacking and obtaining different credit vehicles.”
The Outsourced NetSuite Expert
ScaleNorth is also a NetSuite Solution Provider, helping to implement NetSuite for clients and serves as a “NetSuite expert” for many, helping them get the most out of their ERP investment and scale up as they grow. “NetSuite is much more of a journey than a destination,” Rovirosa explained. “While we’re working as our clients’ accounting and finance arm, we're also partnering with our NetSuite team and continuing to build automation and enhancements for our clients on the ERP platform.”
ScaleNorth boasts an experienced staff — 46% are certified CPAs, both on the BPO side and on the NetSuite implementation side— and their average NetSuite experience spans 5.4 years. Thanks to that expertise, ScaleNorth recently began developing ScaleApps, applications that will automate transactional processes and reduce manual entry. Once in place, these apps will help clients leverage automation, and robotic process automation (RPA) and optical character recognition (OCR) tools.
A Great Fit for 99.9% of Companies
When pitching new prospects, ScaleNorth knows that it is incredibly unlikely the company in question will ever outgrow NetSuite. This makes the ERP’s BPO model a viable option for companies of all sizes—from the startup company to the growing enterprise to the established, midmarket entity.
“Outsourcing isn't just for small companies anymore,” said Rovirosa, who is seeing more demand from the midmarket and enterprise level, down to companies with $20 million or so in annual revenues. “The fact that NetSuite hits all of these groups is a huge selling point, because who wants to do more than one ERP implementation?”
ScaleNorth also knows that getting a finance team up to speed with the new platform is half the battle. Because all of ScaleNorth’s team members are NetSuite experts, that battle is often won before implementation starts. “Should our BPO client decide to take any of its accounting functions in-house, all of that heavy lifting is already done,” said Rovirosa, noting that those clients could use the same system and transition to a Solutions Provider relationship, “not to mention the fact that our clients enjoy two new software releases per year.”
As a NetSuite BPO and solutions partner, ScaleNorth enjoys a high level of support. “We've had more support from NetSuite than what we've even needed from a marketing, sales and demo standpoint,” Rovirosa said, “all of which helped to provide the foundation that we needed both to get off of the ground and to maintain our successful practice.”
For example, ScaleNorth has leaned on NetSuite for help with pricing and contractual terms. “Early on, we needed help understanding the best pricing approach for our clients,” said Rovirosa. “NetSuite helped us get up to speed on exactly how the packages were bundled and priced.”
To other companies considering a BPO partnership with NetSuite, Rovirosa said it pays to put the time and effort into getting to know the ERP platform inside and out. “You either have to know the platform or invest a lot of time in training so that you can understand the true power of NetSuite,” said Rovirosa. “There’s a lot of opportunity to streamline efficient organizations for growth. But the only way to do that is by showing true appreciation for what the platform can do.”
Tactical and Transactional Support
Based in Monrovia, Calif., and founded in 2015, VivoAquatics automates its customers’ water management operations, including pools, spas and water features, while providing a software platform to assist with daily workflow, record keeping and preventative maintenance. Through these services, VivoAquatics helps avoid water waste and promote better usage, helping clients measure, monitor and reduce their water use throughout the property. “Our mission is to become the standard in both sustainability and safety as it relates to water management,” said Willan Johnson, CEO. “Any hotel, multi-family apartment building, fitness club, or municipality has a lot to take care of, including the safety and sustainability of water.”
With 60 employees and customers nationwide, VivoAquatics has been growing steadily over the last few years. Using QuickBooks Enterprise as its accounting platform and Salesforce.com for customer relationship management (CRM), the company relied on a combination of systems that didn’t offer much in terms of analytics, data or insights—all of which VivoAquatics would need to be able to maintain growth and make good business decisions.
When the company obtained a Series A round of funding from Level Equity, it realized it needed a more robust enterprise solution. Johnson called on ScaleNorth Advisors for help. In reviewing the options, he learned that a BPO arrangement would give VivoAquatics the unified financial system that it needed plus a team that could also provide both tactical and transactional support.
“ScaleNorth had a strong background in systems and an understanding of how systems and people must work together to ultimately be successful,” said Johnson, who realized that instead of bringing in new, internal resources to run VivoAquatics’ modernized accounting approach, ScaleNorth could manage that and more using a BPO arrangement.
By outsourcing its accounting and financial processes, VivoAquatics would also be able to tap into more robust approaches to common functions like monthly close, tax management, A/R and A/P, and collections. “We looked closely at the cost benefit of bringing someone onboard and building an internal team versus leveraging a company like ScaleNorth,” Johnson said, “and decided to take the BPO path.”
For Johnson, the biggest benefit of using NetSuite Cloud ERP lies in the financial dashboards and reporting that he didn’t have with QuickBooks Enterprise or any of VivoAquatics’ other software applications. “We now have great insights into profitability by department, territory, and product line,” said Johnson. “NetSuite also gives us in-depth insights into recurring revenue versus transactional revenue, and profit margin.”
Reflecting on VivoAquatics’ decision to build a BPO relationship with ScaleNorth, Johnson said the move has helped his company save money, time and headcount. It’s also provided access to outside financial expertise and allowed the company to focus on what it does best: building products, technology and software that helps its customers operate more profitably, safely and sustainably.
“ScaleNorth has done a tremendous job of thinking through how it matches their team members up with our own team members,” said Johnson. “We not only have a dedicated account manager, but there are also point people at ScaleNorth that we can call on at any time to help solve specific challenges.”
Learn more about becoming a NetSuite BPO partner.
Read the full VivoAquatics BPO case study.