CFO, Halloran Consulting Group
Tech Optimization and Modernization
Founded in 1998, Halloran Consulting Group has emerged as a top life science regulatory, quality, and clinical consulting firm. Since 2014, the Boston-based firm has seen revenue growth of nearly 200 percent, winning a spot on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for five consecutive years. The company is focused on helping companies of all sizes. For small companies they provide the talent and expertise to get their products through the vulnerable early stages. For big companies, they offer practical, actionable advice to fix their biggest issues.
With massive growth, Halloran ran into multiple problems with its previous business software environment of QuickBooks, Salesforce CRM, and NetSuite OpenAir. With those systems, Halloran was struggling with silos of information -- financial data in QuickBooks, client details in Salesforce, and project information in OpenAir -- but no unified view across the full business. That meant limited insights, and a great deal of manual work for the small finance team to close the books and generate basic reports.
Tania Zieja, Halloran’s CFO, described it like this: “We could either see budget vs. actual project data in OpenAir, or company-wide financial margin information in QuickBooks, but we couldn’t look at everything together. It was very piecemeal. It was also very hard to lock down a report and trust the integrity of the data.”
To aggravate matters, integration between these systems failed regularly or was nonexistent. With all that growth, Halloran had also outgrown QuickBooks, and the finance team was dealing with a massive data file that was prone to failure and data corruption.
Sizing up its options for financial management, including Oracle NetSuite and Microsoft Dynamics GP, Halloran selected Sage Intacct for its powerful integration with Salesforce, its project accounting module, robust dimensional reporting, and role-based permissions. Leaving Salesforce in place, Halloran replaced QuickBooks with Sage Intacct in 2017. The company also got rid of OpenAir, as they gained project accounting functionality with the move to Sage Intacct.
When looking at the various solutions available on the market, Zieja commented: “We felt that Sage Intacct was head and shoulders better as far as ease of use, user access controls, revenue recognition, and the reporting factor.”
Halloran is now thriving with project-based accounting and real-time information in an integrated landscape. With Sage Intacct and Salesforce integration, Zieja’s team generates reports showing budget vs. actuals, project profitability, billable utilization, billing status, and much more. Sage Intacct also captures daily time entries made by consultants into Nexonia, a pre-integrated solution secured through the Sage Intacct Marketplace, for timely insights and streamlined billing.
From Zieja: “The visibility we have through Sage Intacct is great. It has helped us improve profitability and make faster, better decisions because, at literally the click of a button, we can see what’s going on in the whole business. We can also compare it against past performance and look at our pipeline forecast.”
Halloran has also streamlined invoicing with Sage Intacct. Their invoicing time has been cut from a week to as little as two days, even as the number of monthly invoices has doubled to more than 120. Rather than spending 90% of her time in spreadsheets, Zieja now relies on Sage Intacct dashboards to monitor and analyze the business. And despite Halloran’s rapid growth, its finance team size has increased only nominally, from 3.5 full-time staffers to just four.
Halloran has achieved remarkable gains in key metrics since adopting Sage Intacct as its system of record. For instance, project margins jumped 12% in the first year of use. Revenue and net margin also hit new highs as the company experience rapid growth. Billable utilization leapt from just over 50% to nearly 70%, while days sales outstanding plunged from 120 days to just 68 -- opening $1 million in new monthly cash flow. Write-offs dropped from 3% of revenue to virtually zero. Furthermore, the time needed for the monthly close has dropped from 20 days to just 10, while accounts payable processes that took several days are now complete in hours, due in part to the tight Sage Intacct-Nexonia integration.
Halloran replaced QuickBooks and NetSuite OpenAir with Sage Intacct. It also leverages the Sage Intacct pre-built integrations with other business systems, including Salesforce CRM and Nexonia.
The biggest disruption (in a positive way) for Halloran has been how the overall time savings have empowered finance team members to invest their skills to help drive growth as a more strategic partner to the business. The finance team now has time to operate at varying altitudes – flipping easily between granular project data that project managers require and service level data that the executive team is interested in – rather than wasting time manually crunching scenarios or editing endless spreadsheets. “Before, we spent most of our time stuck in the day-to-day weeds of closing the month. We’d only get a day or two to breathe after the close, but couldn’t analyze the data or get new projects done — there simply was no time,” Zieja said.
One shining moment was a switch to new pricing. Halloran is well on its way to achieving $4 million in new profit by adopting blended-rate consultant pricing, after analysis in Sage Intacct showed the benefits of a blended-rate model. Energized in its newly orchestrated environment, Halloran has its sights set on doubling its business in the next several years.
About Halloran Consulting Group
Halloran Consulting Group is a life science regulatory, quality, and clinical consulting firm that provides domain expertise tailored to each client relationship. Halloran empowers its clients with the knowledge and strategies needed to achieve their next development milestone and optimize their organizational operations.