Con Zeritis, a long-time IT professional, set up Industrie IT four years ago to develop online and digital systems for large companies in the finance, retail, media and energy sectors.
Unlike in companies he had worked at in the past, Zeritis decided to use only cloud-based software (also known as software-as-a-service, or SaaS) rather than buy his own servers.
“We adopted a SaaS-based philosophy from the outset. While it’s our core business to solve our customers’ IT problems, it’s not our core business to muck around with our own” systems, Zeritis says.
“Out of the box it was quite obvious how to access information in Saasu. Ease of use was a major winning factor.”
The company has one server which co-ordinates access to the office printers and network. It also ran the accounting program, MYOB.
Zeritis says he hadn’t been aware of cloud alternatives when he chose MYOB but it didn’t take long until he was looking elsewhere.
“I quickly got frustrated with MYOB, initially around the support but the product itself was cumbersome,” Zeritis says.
Another problem was the difficulty of accessing the MYOB file. Industrie IT has a very mobile workforce, and Zeritis moves between clients’ sites, the company office, his home and the accountant’s office.
“Not being able to access the MYOB files in a distributed manner was a real pain,” Zeritis says.
Another incentive to change software was a string of encounters with poor bookkeepers who Zeritis says weren’t accurate or effective.
“I’m sure there are some really good MYOB bookkeepers out there but that was another trigger to relook at the whole finance component, both the service and the solution,” he says.
He says he was impressed with the ease of use and the simplicity of Saasu’s user interface. Although Zeritis has no training as an accountant he says he found it ease to navigate through the program himself without calling someone to pull out a report for him.
“You need to be trained in MYOB to use it even in its most simplistic form whereas something like Saasu, out of the box it was quite obvious how to access information. Ease of use was a major winning factor,” he says.
Zeritis says he also liked that Saasu was written in Australia which gave him confidence that the program had a good understanding of local legislation covering GST and payroll rules.
Changing to a cloud-based accounting program with automated bank feeds also reduced Industrie IT’s reliance on bookkeepers for daily administration and producing reports.
Next page: How Saasu opened the door to strategic planning
The most important features to a managing director are the reporting and the ability to access financials from anywhere, he says.
“If I happen to wake up in the middle of the night thinking about an aspect of the business that I want to check out I can do so (right then). I don’t have to send the request off to somebody or pop into the office to grab a file.
“Equally I can be on the client’s site and check out a sales invoice,” he adds.
Zeritis found a financial services company, MyCFO, that could log into Saasu online and provide strategic advice based on live reports of the company’s performance.
Industrie IT used MyCFO for guidance and bookkeeping services such as invoicing, collecting timesheets and running the general ledger until the growing company required a full-time employee for daily management.
“Something like Saasu that is quite specific in what it achieves means that implementing and dealing with it and training on it is very simple.”
Zeritis retained a second accounting firm to review legislative concerns and submission of tax returns. While the second company wasn’t familiar with Saasu it quickly became comfortable with the program and can look at records at the same time as Zeritis to answer his queries.
“Saasu is light years ahead in terms of what the alternative providers are providing,” Zeritis says.
Although finance responsibilities were now split between an employee and two external accounting companies, no change was required to the IT setup to allow this.
Zeritis says he would like to see Saasu add the ability to customise reports and add analytical tools.
Industrie IT has integrated parts of Saasu’s general ledger and invoicing with other programs such as OpenAir. However, the payroll feature isn’t yet able to link to other programs, Zeritis says.
Zeritis says he considered NetSuite, a whole-of-business management system that includes general ledger as well as CRM, e-commerce and other tools, but decided to stick with a dedicated accounting program.
“Coming from an IT perspective I find that adopting too broad a technology set slows you down. Having something like Saasu that is quite specific in what it achieves means that implementing and dealing with it and training on it is very simple,” Zeritis says.