Greg Nordhoff, CFO gave us the run down on his company, CSM Motorsports (formerly Just Marketing), and the issues it faced prior to selecting NetSuite as its global financial solution. CSM Motorsports specializes in sports marketing and activation. The company is focused specifically on guiding brands through the world of motorsports, including brand activation at sporting events along with providing hospitality and digital communications.
Q: What were you using prior to NetSuite and what was difficult about your experience?
A: We were running QuickBooks in Indianapolis and Peachtree in London. Almost everything was in Excel. We had a huge problem with data inaccuracy and it was hard to deal with multi-currency transactions. It was difficult for us to arrive at the consistent results due to the complexities.
Scrutiny of the motorsports market has become more intense because sponsors are really watching their marketing spend and challenging the return on investment. In turn, they are challenging us on our profitability and efficiency of delivering programs. Procurement is much more involved than seven years ago and is squeezing profit out of the business. Now there is a greater focus on digital and social, less on event hospitality due to the lower cost of outreach.
Q: What inspired Just Marketing (now CSM) to implement NetSuite?
A: In 2010 we selected NetSuite as our global financial solution and the advanced projects module for project planning. We used NetSuite professional services to assist in the implementation. We chose NetSuite because it is flexible and cloud-based, lowering the cost of ownership. We needed a system that provided the ability to consolidate, was global with multi-currency reporting and solid revenue recognition as well as project reporting capabilities.
Q: What are some of the results you have realized?
A: Prior to NetSuite, it took 35 days to close our books. With NetSuite, we quickly shortened that to 15 days and now we are down to a 10-day close. This dramatic reduction has enabled us to start analyzing our results and be more consistent and confident in our reporting. Now we are able to report budget versus actuals and project profitability. We have a solid handle on project costs, revenue recognition and cash flow. We reduced the accounting staff by one while also doubling the volume of business. NetSuite allows us to limit overhead as we grow. We are amazed at the speed at which we can now analyze and react to changes in the business. The purchase order process has been very helpful because we are now able to see what expenses have been received and which expenses should be expected.
Q: What are some lessons you have learned from this whole process that would benefit others?
A: If we were to do this over, we would have assigned a dedicated internal project manager to manage the project. This would have helped streamline the process for us. We would have also taken advantage of NetSuite’s professional services more to make sure we were leveraging existing best practices to govern our implementation.
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