When Eric Luehmann joined Bankrate in 2015 to transform its financial processes, he came with a mindset that the systems had to work for the people, not the other way around.
“We have a lot of veterans in the financial media space with a lot of expertise, but without a proper system in place to achieve their full potential, what good is it?,” said Luehmann, senior director of financial systems for Bankrate’s portfolio of consumer financial sites.
New York, N.Y.-based Bankrate itself is a veteran of the financial media industry, evolving its more than 40-year-old business over the last two decades to meet the demands of the digital age. Bankrate.com, the evolution of its flagship financial rate information newsletter, is now the leading online aggregator of financial rate information for consumers researching mortgages, refinancing options and more. It continues to add new sites – including CreditCards.com and Caring.com – to build out its brand as the definitive destination for financial information across consumers’ financial journeys.
But reaching its potential was hindered by the need to restate several years of earnings in 2015.
Luehmann was part of a team hired to institute robust controls, rationalize four different ERP systems running financial processes across headquarters and three subsidiaries and automate Excel/SAP-based financial consolidation processes. The new finance team had several options on which to base Bankrate’s financial transformation – including Workday Financials. But they chose NetSuite OneWorld for its strong GRC functionality, coupled with its ease of use, agility and scalability.
“We need a system that can be super agile and mold to our company, and that can handle all of the compliance issues and all of the controls we need to institute,” Luehmann said. “NetSuite’s really that sweet spot.”
Quick implementation realigns business at crucial crossroads
At a time when moving the business forward was especially crucial, implementation of an ERP system didn’t slow Bankrate down – as it went live with NetSuite OneWorld in February 2016 on time and on budget in just two months. It will also replace SAP BPC software used at headquarters for consolidation and reporting with NetSuite within the coming year. NetSuite OneWorld runs accounting, fixed asset management, revenue recognition, multi-currency and multi-subsidiary management across its portfolio of sites, including subsidiaries in two countries and business in two currencies (US Dollars and British Pounds).
Eliminating spreadsheet-based revenue recognition has given Bankrate a better understanding of its own financial health. It’s easy to drill-down into invoices and transactions to gain data-driven insight. And with robust financial consolidation functionality, monthly close times have been significantly reduced.
NetSuite lends the business robust financial controls, accuracy and streamlines reporting processes, while at the same time masking complexity so that employees can focus on delivering a high quality financial product.
As it seeks to better inform strategic acquisitions and new product development, gaining a single view of the truth across all operations will be paramount. Bankrate’s operational processes currently run on a mix of best-of-breed and proprietary software, making it difficult to gain an end-to-end view of business.
“Phase 1 is to get the foundation built with NetSuite. In phase 2, we’ll start looking at and rehashing all of our point solutions, and deciding whether to keep them or rationalize on NetSuite,” Luehmann said.
NetSuite OneWorld is the future-proof financial platform that allows Bankrate to grow its business and leverage the knowledge of its most crucial resource – its people.
“If you don’t give the people a system to flourish, you’re not going to get to the next level,” Luehmann says. “With NetSuite, we have a system that complements how people work to bring out the knowledge that we’ve hired people for.”