Collegesource creates $1.5 million in operational cash flow with Sage Intacct

CollegeSource, which delivers tech solutions for higher education, is realizing impressive gains in efficiency and visibility by modernizing its finance tech stack. It’s a big turnaround from the days when CollegeSource managed financials on two separate on-premises QuickBooks instances – each from a merger of two companies, CollegeSource and redLantern.

Sage Intacct provides a unified cloud platform for financial management across CollegeSource headquarters in San Diego and an office in Cincinnati, home of the former redLantern.

“I think the biggest success for us is being able to work as one unified company,” says Nikki Hiciu, director of finance and administration. “It’s not us and them anymore, it’s CollegeSource. Everyone has access to the same data on one set of books in the cloud.”

CollegeSource, which provides solutions for degree audit, academic planning, and credit transfers used by 2,000 colleges and universities, has achieved remarkable results with Sage Intacct, integrated with a Salesforce CRM application:

  • Reduced monthly close time 73%, from 14 to four days
  • Scaled to a 100% increase in invoices without adding headcount
  • By integrating with, gained the ability to auto-renew more than 2,000 customer contracts
  • Cut days sales outstanding (DSO) by 30 days
  • Accelerated $1.5 million in cash flow to reinvest in business growth

‘A Better Fit’ than Oracle NetSuite

CollegeSource made its move to Sage Intacct after trying FinancialForce, with mixed results. It evaluated Oracle NetSuite before determining that Sage Intacct offered a better solution.

“Sage Intacct just seemed like a better fit for us than NetSuite, especially with the Contracts module and revenue recognition capabilities,” Hiciu says. “Sage Intacct worked with Salesforce, and provided an easier way to do what we were trying to do.”

Implementation by Armanino LLP, a top Sage Intacct partner, got CollegeSource on the fast track to success.

“The Armanino team did an excellent job explaining everything we needed to export and import, and setting everything up the way we wanted to see it,” Hiciu says.

The move to Sage Intacct was ideally timed, as Covid-19 shutdowns started shortly after CollegeSource went live on March 1, 2020.

“It was such a blessing to be online in the cloud instead of having to VPN into QuickBooks,” Hiciu says. “It would have been possible, but it was very slow.”

Saving Time and Improving Forecasting

With Sage Intacct, CollegeSource is saving time with contracts that auto-renew without requiring manual data updates.

“Contracts renewing themselves is really helpful because we were recording all the increases manually,” Hiciu says. “We had to go into Salesforce and change the price on each of them, and we have thousands. Sage Intacct handles it much better.”

Now, the company can easily generate financial reports by locations, products, and other dimensions, and it has new visibility into its budget versus actuals to support forecasting.

“Being able to see the renewals and the income in the pipeline, we never had that before,” Hiciu says. “We’re able to anticipate next year’s business and beyond based on those insights.”

Better Customer Experiences and Work/Life Balance

The move to cloud-based financial management is the latest in a long history of innovation and modernization at CollegeSource. Its roots date to 1971, when the company’s founder and president, Harry G. Cooper, founded the National Microfilm Library to create a microfiche collection of U.S. college catalogs.

Moving from microfiche to CD-ROM to relational database and cloud technology over the years, CollegeSource has continuously reinvented its methods to remain a critical resource for institutions of higher education worldwide.

By modernizing from what were two on-premises accounting systems to a unified Sage Intacct platform, CollegeSource is also improving customer experiences and work/life balance for its small accounting team.

“Our two offices have one process. California can invoice for Ohio, and vice versa,” Hiciu says. “A customer with an inquiry can call either office and get an answer, so it’s improving customer experiences. And we can take vacations now.”

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