You’ve heard the expression before. This bit of folksy wisdom is a warning to anyone ready to abandon something good for the lure of the shiny new thing.
Emerging organizations who are poised for growth often wrestle with this in their financial planning.

After talking with hundreds of CFO’s, I know most of them feel QuickBooks is a fantastic accounting software. Many of them have been using it since the very beginning. However, as their organization’s growth accelerates, they need more sophisticated business intelligence and nimble tools for planning and budgeting.

Has Your Business Outgrown QuickBooks? Here’s What You Can Do About It.

I have also spoken with financial process consultants, and what they’ve told me is very interesting. The organizations they work with who are less enamored of QuickBooks blame the software for their process and controls problems.

Many of their bad habits were developed early, when they were smaller, and basically never got corrected. Frequently, they want to switch software to overcome these problems. They never consider that they might encounter the same problems in the new ERP system, because it wasn’t the ERP system to begin with.

Companies can grow a lot bigger on QuickBooks if they correct the process problem.

For the longest time, executives in both camps faced a conundrum: Do we stay with QuickBooks at the expense of sophisticated business intelligence, or migrate to a far costlier ERP? If this sounds familiar, I’m here to tell you, you are not alone.

What if you didn’t have to choose?


If you are one of those CFO’s reluctant to move on from QuickBooks, would you prefer to “Dance with the one who brung you”?

If so, what would that look like?

Justin Doucette is the Chief Financial Officer of MRG, a Las Vegas-based restaurant group with 24 locations. His organization has been using the Bison System since 2014.

Justin was very concerned about having to move to a new system, but he needed more from QuickBooks. He needed sophisticated reports that could be quickly and easily created on a monthly basis. The data was inside of QuickBooks, but the internal dashboards and report writing did not provide him with the necessary answers.

After some extensive research, he got what he was looking for.

“I use two tools on top of QuickBooks –  a simple, inexpensive tool by Big Red to import data into QuickBooks, and the Bison System to sync and consolidate my data, and to create the reports I need,” he boasts. “I looked at some of the higher-end ERP solutions, and they cannot compete with what I get from this trio. And we get the consolidations and reporting we absolutely need.”

Let’s take a look at the impact this has had on Justin’s organization.

Scalable automation saves valuable time


I’ve got so much time on my hands, I think I’ll find some busy work to go do.*

(*Said by no CFO or controller, ever.)

That’s because for nearly all organizations, large or small, time is one resource there is simply never enough of. Some of the most common issues CFOs tell us about are the challenges of managing their data in spreadsheets and the complexities of consolidating their data. Others tell us about the hassles of ‘slicing and dicing’ their data.

They experience a lot of difficulty in manipulating their data and then in offering reliable reports: one set of reports for management and a different set of reports to their teams, and the numerous hurdles they encounter to perform this important function routinely. All of which is difficult and extremely time-intensive.

The Bison System allows companies to automate their financial processes to reduce errors, save time, and focus on strategic analysis.

“For us, the initial ‘aha’ was when we saw the time savings,” said Justin. “We used to log in and out of fifteen or twenty different accounting software files, all day long.

The Bison System simplified all of that. “Now, rather than logging into 24 separate company files and running reports, I go to Bison, I run one report, and get the data I need in minutes, not hours. That saves me at least 10 hours every month.”

“As we grow, that lets us spend more time on working on our new restaurants that are coming on line. It’s those kinds of moves that we build into our systems.”

Bison Analytics helps companies scale up on QuickBooks.

As an emerging organization grows, smart business leaders look for operational efficiencies. For Justin, scaling is “doing more with what you have.”

That is the difference between growth and scale.  

“We’re growing six to seven restaurants a year and we’re absorbing our growth internally very well,” he explains. “We want to limit the number of new hires when we open new restaurants. We want our systems to continually get more efficient, so that the same people can do more next year than they’re doing this year.”

“Bison Systems’ approach to Quickbooks as a database, rather than as a software, has unlocked Quickbooks in a way that I never expected,” he explains. “The more I remind myself that it’s just data, the more I can just say,’Well, let Bison manipulate it and we will move upward from there.’”

This approach has allowed Justin to expand the possibilities of Quickbooks Reporting, Budgeting and Consolidation.

“I now use my Bison portal to generate comparative financial statements (we have 26 separate business entities) in Excel, to create combining trial balances for use in tax preparation, to create revenue forecasts (by day based on prior years) for every single one of our business entities, and to track all of our repairs and maintenance expense items for all of our entities.”

For Justin, it has truly allowed his organization to scale up on QuickBooks. “If not for the Bison System, I would surely have outgrown Quickbooks several years ago.”

Develop a culture of analytics


The change in mindset has pervaded the entire organization. The delivery of key information makes individuals more productive. The result is that a strong culture of analytics has taken hold.

That starts with the executive team, who now have their eyes wide open to the deep insights data manipulation provides.

“They were looking for a way to build models for budgeting,” Justin starts in on his favorite anecdote about Bison. “After trying unsuccessfully, it occurred to me to call and see if Bison could grab that data and put it in a format that would make it helpful for me for budgeting.”

Justin had his doubts, but he really wanted that report. “I said, ‘This is a long shot, but we’re just sitting down to budget this week, and I’m hoping you can do this.’ To my surprise, they turned around the report in four hours. That alone saved me probably a day of wrangling.”

That report is now used on a monthly basis, and reinforced in their minds that the data is out there. “We use it going forward too, so that report has more than paid for itself in time saved and insights.

If you can capture it and measure it, you can gain great insights from it. “We started saying,”Okay well, now we’ve got this information, let’s think about all the different things we can do with it.”

What is the best solution for your growing company?

Justin found out that he can scale up on QuickBooks. He is able to get the data he needs, with reports that let him focus on improving the business.

Today, there are tools and solutions out there that can solve this problem. So the key question is this:

How do you choose the right solution?

The method for how to make this decision is addressed in a helpful new eBook from Bison Analytics, “QuickBooks Analytics and Consolidation on the Edge.”

Download it and give it a read. You might just decide to “Dance with the one that brung you.”

Think you’ve reached the edge of QuickBooks’ capabilities? Our complimentary eBook will help you.

QuickBooks Analytics & Consolidation On The Edge