How Bison Unlocked QuickBooks for This CFO

In the hyper-competitive Las Vegas restaurant scene, business owners need to take advantage of every opportunity. ‘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.

In the hyper-competitive Las Vegas restaurant scene, business owners need to take advantage of every opportunity. ‘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.

Three years ago, Justin Doucette knew he needed to find a better way to consolidate QuickBooks data. The daily task of consolidation had become a massive use of his time, and he needed a better solution.

As the CFO of a restaurant management group that had 15 restaurants at the time (they have since expanded to 27), he was tasked with tracking and analyzing the financial activity to help increase efficiency and support crucial decision-making. However, he and his staff were struggling to pull the required data from the 15 different QuickBook accounts, each and every day. By the time they had populated their Excel sheets and written queries to get the reports they needed, there was little time left to analyze or strategize. The nature and format of data they needed kept changing and the volume kept increasing.

“We would log in and out all day long of fifteen different accounting programs. Rough. It was just a waste of time.”

SHOULD WE INVEST IN AN ERP? MAYBE NOT

Convinced that there was a better way to consolidate QuickBooks data and create actionable reports, Justin did what any CFO would do. He considered moving to an ERP. But after listening to several presentations, he realized what many CFOs wouldn’t: An ERP could very well come with its own set of troubles. He concluded that an ERP solution would further complicate things.

To start with, he didn’t think his business was large enough to require some of the blue-chip ERP systems being offered. Behind the pretty dashboards, he could see the enterprise-wide changes that they would need to make. The staff would need training and he couldn’t see how an ERP system would make things easier or how cost effective it would be. Their requirements would be satisfied with something far simpler.

WHAT JUSTIN DOUCETTE REALLY NEEDED

Justin Doucette knew there was a better way to consolidate QuickBooks data – Bison Analytics provided the solution

Justin Doucette (left) knew there was a better way to consolidate QuickBooks data – Bison Analytics provided the solution

Justin was very concerned about having to move to a new system, but he needed more from QuickBooks. He needed to consolidate QuickBooks data on a daily basis, and create scalable, actionable reports that could be generated on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. The data was inside QuickBooks, but the internal dashboards and report writing did not provide him with the necessary answers. Could there be a solution that could crawl the QuickBooks database, pull data from the relevant fields and churn out in minutes the reports that were taking them hours to put together? 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 QuickBooks 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. We get the consolidations and reporting we absolutely need.”

Justin and his staff were already saving tons of time and effort, but they needed to do more than that. They needed on-demand data arranged into reports that were easy to analyze and present.

BISON TO THE RESCUE

Their budgeting task was at hand and he knew they had some grueling days ahead. The more he thought about how to get the reports the executive team needed for budgeting, the more he realized it was only data. If he could find someone who could manipulate QuickBooks data, he could make life easier and more productive for himself and his team. Could Bison help them grab the data and put it in a format that could help them in budgeting? There was hardly any time and he didn’t know how he would handle the additional workload.

“I called Kurt and said,’This is a long shot but we’re just sitting down to budget this week, and I’m hoping you can do this.'”

Four hours later, Justin had the report that probably would have taken them days to prepare.

They now use that report on a monthly basis and have, in minutes, the data that used to take them hours to pull. Justin could use the time to analyze the report and provide better strategic guidance to his executive team and the organization as a whole. The budgeting module had opened a new door, and Justin began to think about all the different things they could do with the data.

SAVING VALUABLE TIME THROUGH SCALABLE AUTOMATION 

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. He discovered that by customizing the Bison System he could extract and consolidate QuickBooks data, and slice and dice it any way he wanted. The Bison Pro Services team delivered the reporting he needed in hours and the reports it yielded could be used over and over. They easily have seen a high return on investment for the cost of a custom report.

“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 27 separate company files and running reports, I go to Bison, I run one report, and get the data I need in minutes, not hours. Personally, that saves me at least 10 hours every month.”

SCALING 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.

“MRG is the southwest franchisee for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, with 27 current locations and more on the way”

“MRG is the southwest franchisee for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, with 27 current locations and more on the way. The Bison System allows them to consolidate each of those company files for powerful reporting.”

“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 27 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.”

A CULTURE OF ANALYTICS AND BI

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.

The thought of pulling new data or generating any type of report is no longer intimidating. As long as it’s data and it’s inside QuickBooks, Bison Analytics will get the job done. This has made it easy for Justin to ask questions that he was previously unprepared to answer. He can have any report he can dream up, and has plenty of time for analysis. Making optimal use of data has resulted in business efficiencies that cannot be directly measured and linked to Bison, but Justin knows Bison is a big factor behind their smooth and efficient business growth, and behind the sanity that now prevails.

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