Client Success Story: Financial Software Overhaul

To tackle inefficiencies and manage increasing workloads, this energy resource company was faced with the choice of either hiring additional personnel or digital transformation.

Multifaceted Energy Resource Company Embarks on Financial Software Overhaul

AAFCPAs provides the technical blueprint to unite a portfolio of vertically integrated entities. A rapidly expanding energy resource company comprised of multiple diverse yet interconnected entities faced numerous obstacles when it came to maintaining its general ledger, billing clients, and managing projects. Collectively, the company is responsible for building commercial and industrial solar grids, leasing and servicing the grids, acquiring energy consumers on behalf of the solar grid owners, and billing consumers on behalf of the solar grid owners.

Obstacles & Opportunities

Each entity specialized in a specific service line within the overall business model, though service lines overlapped with and complemented each other. Each had its own dataset, workflows, and software. Lacking a common system with full workflow, it was difficult to capture the full lifecycle of the product and, with each entity operating on its own software, there were tremendous manual and duplicate efforts.

To tackle inefficiencies and manage increasing workloads, the company was faced with the choice of either hiring additional personnel or digital transformation. Considering the long view, they opted to unite functionalities within a single ERP solution. An ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning system, combines multiple facets of an organization into a single integrated system. In a saturated market of ERP providers, they engaged two of the most well-known solutions on their own using online information requests; unknown to them, this was a time-consuming and ineffective method of system selection.

Sales agents, while well-intentioned, will demonstrate only the bright and shiny features of their software to address a potential customer’s current business processes and wow them with graphics and bells and whistles. Direct contact to a vendor will rarely lead to a full walkthrough of the system for things like AP approvals and bank reconciliations, the boring but necessary and sometimes most beneficial pieces of the software. Furthermore, advancing into a modern ERP system demands a full examination of current processes, necessary changes or improvements, and an eye towards future optimization to take full advantage of the investment in this technology. Adding to these complexities was the constant stream of sales calls, multiple discovery calls that never seemed to get to the answers, and continual pressures to commit to a contract immediately without further details.

They needed an easier, more impartial strategy for assessing internal processes and potential software capabilities, learning what vendors could offer based on an already complex business structure, and determining how this could be implemented to use established workflows and features to best boost their operations.


Once AAFCPAs’ Business Process & IT Consulting Practice was engaged, we conducted a business process assessment to fully understand every aspect of their organization’s financial operations. Following this, we developed a system(s) requirements document tailored to our client’s actual needs versus features a salesperson might promote. We look beyond merely closing the books each month and explore areas such as business development, project costing and management, software integrations, reporting, and much more. We also assess each user’s experience and needs, not just the finance team, as, throughout the month, project managers will need to collect and input data, too. We also conducted in-depth research of the industry our client operated in to better understand the trends and standards set by well-established and like-minded organizations. We were able to identify areas where internal controls could be improved, identified processes that were inefficient or redundant, charted out the various software systems with their advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately created a workflow concept to provide each vendor an outline of what the client really needed to see.

For instance, one entity representing one part of the process was manually entering copious amounts of data into their system using an Excel spreadsheet each month. Another entity lacked the ability to conduct job costing because they didn’t have this data available for analysis in a usable format, so they were unable to perform analysis at the level they required to manage their rapid growth. We became our client’s advocate, working to ensure they found exactly what they needed while acting as a buffer to halt high-pressure sales tactics. We also worked to ensure our client had clear expectations and a realistic timeline that would promote optimal business continuity and productivity.

In addition to the two existing vendors our client had already identified, they wanted to evaluate four additional options. With decades of combined experience and vendor relationships, aided by extensive research and due diligence, we were able to provide a detailed comparison of potential options. During this process, we managed expectations and provided clarity to our client around what each software system could realistically deliver. Ultimately, we narrowed down four candidates that perfectly aligned with their new requirements list and roadmap while keeping our client abreast of capabilities and limitations of each.

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We then worked with our client to outline what they wanted to see in a product demo and facilitated demos at a time most convenient for them. After the initial demos, we reconvened to determine what challenges or features needed to be further explored and what questions remained unanswered. We provided this feedback to the vendors and facilitated additional demos to ensure we addressed all our client’s needs to come to a clear conclusion. Throughout the engagement, all documentation and deliverables were fully collaborated upon to ensure we were representing our client in the best way possible and all parties had a transparent view of the end goal.

The client selected a vendor that specialized in renewable energy solutions, a perfect match. Our client appreciated the added value in knowing this vendor worked in and already knew their market niche. Since AAFCPAs has a specialized focus on business process systems and internal controls, we knew what we could advocate for and negotiate, what type of added value we could request, e.g., deferred payments, and how to garner the best terms for our client including price breaks. We were able to secure lower payment and pricing terms even with their original shortlist of vendors.

The Payoff

ERP systems are a significant investment of time and money. Because they’re used widely in the organization, it’s critical that systems are thoroughly examined to ensure users are happy and the organization realizes its strongest ROI. We dedicate ourselves to fully understanding each organization and its industry to best match their needs with the correct solution.

By working with AAFCPAs, our client saved extensive time and hassle during vendor research and selection. They also gained expert counsel on opportunities to improve efficiency, productivity, and capability within their own unique operational environment. Because AAFCPAs works with a broad range of industries, we were able to help our client explore large software models and individual applications focused on their industry. In this case, our client discovered a niche solution designed specifically for firms in the renewable energy space.

In the end, they gained the knowledge and insight necessary to choose one system that delivers exactly what they need—a unified workflow enterprise wide. They also gain end-to-end insight, considerable efficiencies around billing procedures, and seamless management of intercompany transactions—all while minimizing duplication and risk. With a trusted advocate by their side, they avoided sales pressures and acquired the most favorable pricing and terms—ultimately eliminating the need for additional personnel.

ERP Diagram Example

Companies change in size, complexity, and scope over time, but their processes often lag behind these advancements, including updates in their software systems. At AAFCPAs, we focus on improving business processes with an emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness, and robust internal control, all while leveraging your existing information system capabilities.

Our Business & IT Consulting practice excels in delivering incremental, value-added changes. We track results, measure success, and ensure alignment with your business goals and process performance objectives.

Robyn Leet
Robyn Leet

Robyn Leet

Partner, Business Process Assessments & Attestations

Partner with AAFCPAs today and let our proven expertise drive your company’s growth and efficiency. Contact us now to get started!