When choosing a financial system back in 2011, Cooper & Co took their lead from other local Harcourts’ franchisees and adopted Xero. And all was well and good for a while. Until it wasn’t.

Renee Jordaan, Cooper & Co’s Finance Manager, explains. “As part of our business strategy, we regularly review our systems and processes — and this included re-evaluating our financial software. Xero had started to fail us due to our data volumes, and we had to find a workaround to buy us some time. But even that didn’t work long term. Once we could no longer produce GST returns through Xero and had to create them manually, the writing really was on the wall. Even Xero advised us that our volumes far exceeded their target market, and that we needed to find another accounting software provider before everything failed.”

So, the search was on.

The problem with reporting

Jordaan’s extensive list of non-negotiable features for a new finance application started with consolidated reporting.

“Consolidated reporting was one of our major blind spots. Due to the complex structure of the business, we spent an inordinate amount of time on manual consolidations each month — with the help of spreadsheets. And a request for an ad hoc management report added on even more hours. We needed to find a more effective and streamlined process.”

Renee Jordaan | Finance Manager, Cooper & Co

Jordaan had already invested a considerable amount of time reviewing and testing third-party reporting applications with the aim of integration to Xero. 

“None of them were effective. They simply wouldn’t solve our challenges. We wanted something that made consolidated reporting quick and easy – and didn’t require us to use spreadsheets.”

Renee Jordaan | Finance Manager, Cooper & Co

The solution shortlist

Jordaan narrowed her shortlist down to MYOB Advanced and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance. Then she discovered that both Harcourts Australia and New Zealand used NetSuite, as did Xero — so she added NetSuite to her shortlist too before beginning her exacting review process.

“Of prime importance, was their response to my non-negotiable requirements. We are in a niche space, so a functional, right-sized cloud solution was critical to us.”

Renee Jordaan | Finance Manager, Cooper & Co

NetSuite (and its slick consolidated reporting) emerged the clear ‘winner’. And when Jordaan asked who they would recommend as an on-the-ground local partner, they recommended Fusion5. After thoroughly checking out Fusion5’s history with NetSuite, and their happy customers, Jordaan agreed.

There’s a lot to like about NetSuite

“With Xero, we had to export 16 reports just to make up our monthly management accounts, and another eight reports to build our consolidated financial accounts. And of course, we had to do eliminations and numerous pivot tables to produce these reports. Using NetSuite, we’ve saved about three working days a month previously spent on generating reports. Now, it just takes the touch of a button.”

Renee Jordaan | Finance Manager, Cooper & Co

Jordaan says that, as expected, NetSuite has solved the business’s consolidated reporting challenges.

Jordaan, who admits to being passionate about reporting and report design, says it’s much easier now with NetSuite. “The data I need is way more accessible. I now have more time to write funkier reports — and quite honestly, that speaks to me.”

“The business is delighted with the productivity improvements and acknowledge the value of their investment in NetSuite. And our finance team love getting time back. So it’s happiness all around,” says Jordaan.

“Fusion5 delivered exactly the solution we wanted. They even came and sat with us in the office on go-live day to make sure all went well. This was much appreciated because no matter what else is happening, if one of our offices requests an invoice for marketing (for advertising space in a publication), we’ve got to deliver it within two hours, or they can miss the deadline. So even while in the middle of going live with NetSuite and trying to get the staff and team all comfortable, we could still produce invoices! Fusion5 held our hands through the entire process so we could keep on working.”

Renee Jordaan | Finance Manager, Cooper & Co

Implementation and go-live

While initially due to go live with NetSuite at the end of April 2020, Cooper & Co pushed out the date to October due to the New Zealand-wide Covid-19 lockdown and to accommodate staff changes.

“It’s been a piece of cake to train them to raise invoices and send statements, and being able to review balances. While no one likes change, our people have adapted very quickly to NetSuite, so we’ve had a fast return on our investment.”

Renee Jordaan | Finance Manager, Cooper & Co

Jordaan used the extra time to review, refine and agree on processes with her team — and produced documents that now form a training manual for new staff. “Setting aside enough time to do the training and testing,” she says, “made the transition to NetSuite even easier.”

User adoption has been a breeze. “NetSuite’s very simple to work with — which suits us as the level of experience in the accounts team varies,” says Jordaan.

Fusion5 and NetSuite: a perfectly consolidated fit

Fusion5 now supports Cooper & Co with fortnightly meetings to review NetSuite’s performance and discuss where productivity and process improvements or gains can be made.

Jordaan says that while they originally planned to replicate their existing processes, the move from Xero was a good time to refresh their approach and adopt NetSuite’s leading business practices. “NetSuite is the right fit for us, especially from a consolidation perspective,” she says. “We’re very pleased with the choice we made.”

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