Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) is the liaison between meeting planners, tour operators and more than 800 member organizations. The tourism bureau positions Atlanta as the leading destination for conventions and tourism through aggressive sales and marketing programs. ACVB’s efforts support Atlanta’s $12 billion hospitality industry, sustaining 230,000 jobs for metro Atlantans and generating 42 million visitors each year.
Challenge: Can a small business take advantage of IT solutions normally reserved for large enterprises?
The path to adopting new technology is markedly different between a small business and a corporation. While large organizations employ teams of IT specialists, at a small business, the research and implementation are often done by just a few people within departments.
“I felt as though I was implementing software all the time,” says Braam Du Plooy, Controller at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), a private nonprofit organization with 85 employees. “In addition to my actual financial duties, I had to make time in my schedule for finding the right technologies, assessing the risk involved, implementing them and synchronizing with existing systems. It got overwhelming at times.”
A Concur client for over 10 years, the Atlanta CVB was an early adopter of Concur Expense and had recently migrated their accounting system to Intacct.
All other company and product names are the property of their respective manufacturers. Specifications and other details listed are accurate as of printing, but may change without notice. CS LUMENSION NA 2015/09 while simultaneously implementing other reporting and business performance software. The disruption was reason enough for the small accounting team to take a manual approach when it came time to incorporate expense reimbursements into Intacct. “It was a painstaking process. We first had to download the Concur Expense extract file, then convert it to a format Intacct would recognize. All the data had to be sorted and columns arranged correctly,” Du Plooy says. “It took eight hours each month, maybe up to ten. In a small company, time is literally money, and that eight to ten hours amounts to a lot.”
Solution: Flexible data mapping allows rapid deployment of ExpenseConnect
What Du Plooy didn’t realize at the time was the ease and minimal time involved in deploying the Concur + ExpenseConnect solution. “I had implemented one software solution after another, so I was at the point where I couldn’t prioritize yet another one,” he says. “For half a year I entered expense data manually only because I thought deploying another software would take too much time.” ExpenseConnect’s flexible data mapping, however, made set up easy. During the initial phone session with Wipfli, Du Plooy was able to send a test file and immediately map GL codes between Concur and Intacct.
“It took merely half an hour on the phone, and I didn’t have to involve IT,” he says. Having previously manipulated data fields to accommodate their manual process, Du Plooy wasn’t surprised when the test revealed errors in their system. “I recognized right away the fields we had to reconfigure, requested Concur’s help, and they had it done in less than a week.”
“It took eight hours each month, maybe up to ten. In a small company, time is literally money, and that eight to ten hours amounts to a lot.” Du Plooy, Controller at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
Results: Cleaner data. Accurate allocations. Optimized resources.
Today, the Concur + ExpenseConnect solution provides the Atlanta CVB with seamless, automated accounting integration. Data is extracted securely in real-time. Expenses are allocated correctly. Reports are easily generated. The significant time savings has enabled the CVB’s accounting team to focus on other tasks. “Whereas my accounting manager used to spend hours manually entering data into the system, now she is more focused on quality control,” Du Plooy says. “Not only is our integrated accounting system accurate and consistent, but it has identified areas of improvement in our processes and allows us to use our resources differently. The whole dynamics of my team is changing.”