Pamela Bakker

Controller & Director of Human Resources, Laird Management

Supernova Award Category: 

Tech Optimization and Modernization

The Organization: 

A family-owned company with about 650 employees, Laird Management is one of the largest Burger King franchisees in Arizona, with 32 restaurants. It’s also branching out as a franchisee of Anytime Fitness, a global chain with more than 4,000 franchised gym locations. Founded in 1994, Laird Management takes pride in supporting the communities it serves with student scholarships, and with fundraisers for causes that include muscular dystrophy, military veterans and their families, and high school sports. Based in Phoenix, Laird’s management team has more than 100 years of combined experience. The company was founded by Mitchell C. Laird, a practicing attorney for over 40 years, and purchased several years ago by the founder’s son, U.S. Army combat veteran Michael Laird.

The Problem: 

By the time Laird Management had grown to 28 franchised locations in 2015, managing financials became the equivalent of a frenzied and never-ending lunchtime rush for the finance team.


Using 19 on-premise instances of QuickBooks covering multiple entities, Laird Management accountants spent hours each week on tasks like consolidating our “due to” and “due from” transactions across locations. The monthly close took up to 20 days, without full confidence that financial data was accurate.


Plus, it took up to 10 hours just to produce two basic monthly balance sheets and profit and loss reports for the management team and investors.


“It was very cumbersome to do accounting in the old days,” said Pam Bakker, Laird’s controller and also HR director. “We needed a single chart of accounts, and I wanted to be able to do our reporting in minutes.”


The tipping point came in 2015, with an in-family sale of the business and a restructuring that implemented an umbrella management company. That brought additional complexities, pushed QuickBooks beyond its data and transaction limits, and prompted Laird Management to launch a search for a more capable solution

The Solution: 

Laird Management’s criteria for a new financial management platform included ease of use, fast and flexible reporting, scalability for continued growth, regular updates to features and functionality, and a cloud-based architecture.


After evaluating solutions that included Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics GP, Laird Management selected Sage Intacct for ticking all the boxes on its wish list. The company made note that Sage Intacct is the only accounting platform endorsed by the AICPA, the American Association of Certified Public Accountants.


Implementing Sage Intacct in 2015, Laird Management has achieved transformational improvements across the business:

The Results: 
  • Faster, more flexible reporting. Monthly restaurant-specific and company-wide reports are generated at the press of a button, compared to many hours of tedious work in QuickBooks and Excel.
  • More informed decisions. Executive and finance leadership have more timely, accurate information to make data-driven decisions on strategic direction and growth.
  • Cost-saving analysis. Reduction in manual work has freed time for the finance team to analyze contracts for services such as trash removal and telecommunications to identify cost savings for the business.
  • Scalability for growth. Laird has greater scalability as it grew from 28 restaurants in 2015 to 32 today, and as it opens a new business line as an Anytime Fitness franchisee.
  • Faster time to productivity. Intuitive ease of use with Sage Intacct speeds productivity if a new person joins the finance team, and has helped Bakker quickly create in-depth reports.
  • Easy integration. Laird Management has gained efficiencies by integrating Sage Intacct with a new AvidXchange application for accounts payable automation, and plans to connect Sage Intacct with point-of-sale and payroll systems as well. As Bakker explains it: “Sage Intacct has helped streamline our business by allowing us to create twice as many reports in less than half the time we needed in the past. We couldn’t easily do a year-over-year comparison with QuickBooks. Now that’s a press of the button in Sage Intacct.”

Laird Management has achieved remarkable acceleration in key financial management processes with its move to automated accounting.

  • 5x faster monthly reporting. Time spent to produce monthly reports has been reduced from 10 hours to two.
  • More reports. In those two hours of monthly reporting, the finance team is generating five reports – compared to just two balance sheet and profit and loss reports in the past.
  • 2x faster monthly close. Laird Management has reduced its monthly close time from 20 days to nine or 10.
  • Leaner finance team. The company has trimmed its finance team from four to 3.5 FTEs, even as the company adds about one new restaurant each year.
  • Faster restaurant setup. The finance team can now set up a new eatery in minutes in Sage Intacct, compared to hours or days in the past.
The Technology: 

Laird Management runs the Sage Intacct cloud financial management platform.

Disruptive Factor: 

Work-life balance for the Laird Management finance team has been positively disrupted with the upgrade to automated accounting.

In the past, an endless grind of manual work meant long hours and high stress for the finance team. That cut into family time and vacations for Bakker and her team, and impacted morale.


“Time savings through Sage Intacct have definitely helped as far as family time,” said Bakker, who joined Laird Management in 2005. “I’ve become more involved with my two children, a football player and a volleyball player. So now I’m able to go to practices and see their games on a weekly basis.”


To learn more about the impact of this project, please refer to the resources below:


Shining Moment: 

Bakker can now better focus on her dual role as Laird’s director of HR. In this role, Bakker has recently moved Laird Management to a new labor scheduling solution by which employees can opt in to receiving their schedules via their mobile devices. Workers can also request swapping of shifts, pick up additional shifts, and ask for time off. Enhanced communications with the workforce is expected to help reduce turnover, a common problem across the quick-serve restaurant industry.

About Your Organization

Laird Management is a family owned business. We are one of the largest Burger King franchisees in Arizona, operating more than 30 restaurants all over the state. We believe in helping Arizona’s residents and economy by offering new opportunities for success.