West coast skin care company leverages cloud to support U.S. expansion

Expanding into new markets is a challenge in and of itself, but when it’s a complex business and your financial management software can’t keep up, it’s time to make some changes.

Vancouver-based Skoah Inc. is a small chain of shops that offer facial products and treatments to its customers in 15 stores, some of which are franchises. Company president Christ Scott said that as the company looked to expand to the United States, those complexities could not be accommodated by its QuickBooks accounting software – it didn’t integrate with its Point-of-Sales (PoS) system.

In the short term, Skoah did have a workaround: it hired an offshore resource to manually re-enter transactions and journal entries from one system to the next, which cost around $12,000 each year and introduced the potential for human error.

But with a long-term goal of opening 250 locations in the next five years, Skoah needed something more automated that could handle three distinct entities of its business: the in-store business that served as both product and service to customers, its e-commerce offerings, and its franchised locations. A critical requirement was implementing a less Excel-intensive way to manage its multi-entity consolidations, as well as the ability to track its real-time business performance at the individual store level in order to comply with the reporting expectations of its financing agent, the Business Development Bank of Canada.

“When we started, we were on QuickBooks and integrated with a PoS we no longer use,” said Scott. What the company needed was financial management software that met its specific PoS needs as well reflected the fact that its shop also had a service element for taking reservations, not just selling product. “That was the huge appeal of Intacct.”

Skoah had turned to technology consulting firm BAASS Business Solutions Inc. to help them find and deploy accounting platform Intacct as the operating backbone of its all-cloud technology stack. Scott said the company did consider client/server options, as well as end-to-end cloud software options, but ultimately Intacct met its specific criteria to bring together all financial data from its various businesses together. “It wasn’t trying to be all things to all people,” he said. “The additional layer was we operate in Canada. Some of the U.S.-based products weren’t able to consider that.”

BAASS’ integration of Intacct was ultimately able to automate several financial workflows so that all daily financial activity is captured in the company’s new PoS system, Fidelity, and reservations system, Zenoti, and automatically pushed to Intacct without the need for any manual processes. “That’s huge win right there,” said Scott.

Intacct also allows Skoah’s finance team to handle its multi-entity, multi-currency monthly closes and consolidations, and manage Skoah’s cash flow and budget more strategically with insights based on region, ownership type, e-commerce vs. brick-and-mortar, or age of location.

Since implementing Intacct, Skoah has expanded into Seattle and Boston, doubled its retail footprint, and embarked on an aggressive franchise expansion that should ultimately triple that footprint in the next two years. This has meant an increased transaction volume, but the company has been able to cut nearly 40 hours a week that was previously spent on entering data, and reduced its spending on outsourced data entry as a result.

Scott said this time and money can then be invested in the customer experience. And as Skoah expects to grow its product business and its retail footprint through franchising, “we feel like we’re well-armed.”

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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