Is it possible for a company with complex and changing reporting requirements to use the same business and accounting package for over 20 years? It is if you are using SapphireOne!
Cheryl Dutton is the financial controller of MonierPrime Roofing, a West Australian-based roofing company that handles everything from the manufacturing of tiles to engaging roofing installers. She has seen huge changes in both the business and its reporting requirements since 1998 when she introduced SapphireOne.
“Before I started in 1998, the company didn’t have an accounting system. Up until then, everything was essentially hand-written, but a new manager believed SapphireOne was the way to go and it was my job to implement it.”
It was a very good decision and ten years later, Cheryl found herself overseeing the company enter into a joint venture with CSR Building Products. “Although CSR had quite different reporting requirements, they could see that SapphireOne suited us very well and that it could also adapt to the way CSR did things. It was quite a compliment to leave us where we were.
“And now after 20 years, I’m still impressing our external auditors with SapphireOne’s reporting and speed of access.
“Coming from a small, hands-on company and integrating with a large public company was quite daunting in the beginning. We discovered that our way of dealing with issues wasn’t always what they wanted, so we had to work out ways of becoming more integrated. And we did.
“For instance, the previous management didn’t rely on the accounting system to do its costings – they were a little old fashioned and didn’t believe in computers! However, the CSR people were very reliant on their information systems – and they wanted our information systems to do the same and this is where SapphireOne was integral to the solution.”
Due to SapphireOne’s flexible design and structure, it is incredibly powerful in generating reports and delivering information in any format required. “We’re still finding new ways of accessing the information – it was only yesterday that my assistant showed me something I didn’t know SapphireOne could do, so even after 20 years, I’m still learning.”
Cheryl says MonierPrime Roofing clients are mainly building companies, but they also farm out installation work to contractors as required. There are also staff supervisors out on the road who check on the progress of jobs and ensure tiles are delivered on time, etcetera.
“Our current aim is to equip our road staff with iPads so they can log in remotely, rather than contacting the office by phone and talking to our office staff. There are certainly ways we can streamline our operations even further.
“From my perspective, perhaps SapphireOne’s best attribute is that you only need to have one basic piece of information and you can backtrack through the system to find out everything you need to know. For instance, a person only has to give you a street address and you can find out everything about the project, from the sales invoice to the building plans and who the contractor is.”
All of MonierPrime Roofing’s record keeping is kept on SapphireOne. “The girls even scan the building plans and attach them to the job, so everything to do with a project can be found in the one place.
“SapphireOne is also incredibly easy to use and I can’t remember a single staff member who hasn’t been able to understand SapphireOne in a very short space of time.
“All the girls in the office can do everyone else’s job and that makes for a much more comfortable working life. For instance, normally there’s a hand over for a new staff member, but if for some reason it’s not possible, there are several other people in the office who can step in.
“We’re only a small office, so we have to shift around and that means all the staff need to understand different aspects of SapphireOne.”
Cheryl also says being able to integrate everything into a project within SapphireOne has been a Game Changer.
“In the old days, finding the plans could take a considerable amount of time. First you had to get the sequence number, then you’d go to the filing cabinet, look through the file and hope that someone hadn’t taken it already.
“Now, it’s all in SapphireOne, so someone helping a client on the phone can find everything they need to know about a job. And it’s not at all cumbersome because everything is right there on the screen.
“As soon as a project is entered into the system, everything we know about the job is there. It means even if you’re not working in the accounts department, you can help a customer sort out their issues. You’re not telling a client that you can’t find something or that you’ll have to get back to them because it will take time to get the files.
“SapphireOne gives our staff the confidence to pick up the phone, knowing that if they go to the paper clip icon on their screen, they can find everything they need to know. This has had a really positive impact on customer service.
“Over the years, we’ve had our share of trying times. I think I’m pretty good at finding solutions, but if I can’t solve something myself, then I’ll call SapphireOne support. And the SapphireOne staff have been absolutely amazing. They always start by calming me down, explaining that they will work through the problem with me – and sure enough, they always have.
“I know what it’s like in customer service, with clients demanding information from you and wanting it now. They want that support immediately, but even with a three hour time difference between Sydney and Perth, SapphireOne has never turned me away.
“MonierPrime has undergone changes in direction over the years. SapphireOne has allowed us to cope with these changes and the accounting team to develop into a very effective source of information for the entire company.
“I have been very fortunate to have been here from day one and I have a chart of accounts in front of me dated 7 December 1998. That’s how old our chart of accounts is and I have told them that it’s coming with me when I leave.”