Lavoie Secures Kelley Michalski as Partner and Vice President of Operations

Lavoie Secures Kelley Michalski as Partner and Vice President of Operations

Lavoie secured Kelley Michalski as Partner and Vice President of Operations. Lavoie is excited to welcome Kelley Michalski to our team as our new Partner and Vice President of Operations in Charlotte, NC. In this role, Michalski will be responsible for managing client operations, maintaining internal control structures, and providing strategic support to our clients and organizations. As Lavoie continues to grow exponentially year over year, Michalski’s leadership will be an invaluable asset in reaching our goals.

“I am truly looking forward to being a part of an established market leader in the finance field,” said Michalski. “I’m excited to become a contributor to the growth of Lavoie.” 

Michalski brings with her over 20 years of experience leading strategic financial planning and implementation. Her wide breadth of practice includes everything from overseeing financial performance and organizational governance to managing risk and compliance. She has excelled in creating sustainable, data-driven financial strategies by developing a foundation of analytics to fuel tactical and long-term business decisions. Michalski’s leadership and expertise will be valuable additions to the Lavoie team.

“We are delighted to have Kelley become a Partner with the company. Through Kelley’s involvement with our team over the years, she has shown herself to be an exceptional leader in the industry,” said Sharai Lavoie, Lavoie’s CEO/Managing Member.

Prior to joining Lavoie, Michalski was the Chief Financial Officer for a subsidiary of a Fortune 15 organization and the owner of a small business located in Charlotte. A graduate of Iowa State University, Michalski brings with her an entrepreneurial mindset to support organizations of all sizes.

More information about Kelley Michalski is available at Lavoie’s Executive Team page

About Lavoie: Founded in 2009, Lavoie has served as a reliable Charlotte CPA firm that specializes in strategic financial and operational planning for businesses of all sizes. By delivering state-of-the-art strategic support, Lavoie’s clients can focus on growing their business and soar to the next level of greatness. In addition to providing customized solutions for clients, Lavoie prioritizes social justice issues and is extremely involved in the local Charlotte community.

LAVOIE + BESPOKE SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT CASE STUDY

LAVOIE + BESPOKE SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT CASE STUDY

See why this award-winning Charlotte Sports & Entertainment Marketing Agency uses Lavoie CPA as their financial strategy partner

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Company: Bespoke Sports & Entertainment

Founded: 2014

Specialty: Sports and entertainment consulting and experiential marketing agency

Location: Charlotte, NC

With over 50 years of combined experience in Sports & Entertainment Marketing, Bespoke’s founders, have seen their fair share of agencies come and go. They have worked with some of the largest names and most complex brands in the sports and entertainment industry. So, when they started their venture, they knew they needed more than just an accountant to supervise their financial stability. They needed a financial strategist that could confidently run major investor meetings and take control of the company’s future; and a firm that could manage expenses while also augmenting human resource needs.

Download the case study to learn how Lavoie helped the company grow year over year and work with award-winning brands.

“It’s simple, Lavoie helped us create the infrastructure we needed. From setting up accounts payable and HR policies to recommending affordable technology, Sharai Lavoie and her team were there to give us the day to day insights we needed to keep cash flowing, flexibility to focus on sales, and proactive recommendations that enabled us to scale at the right pace.”

Mike Boykin

CEO & Cofounder

5 Myths around Outsourcing Finance Functions

5 Myths around Outsourcing Finance Functions

Outsourced Accounting or Accounting as a Service (AaaS) provider can be the catalyst to take your organization to the next level.  For some SMBs, accounting is not looked at as a strategic function of the organization, but it should be.  It also shouldn’t take focus away from growing your core business.  Lots of SMBs don’t consider Outsourcing.  Here are 5 main reasons why.

1) They think it is too expensive

By using Accounting as a Service, you have access to shared service center.  Providers have put a lot of investment, thought, and execution into their model and have staffed accordingly.  With an AaaS provider you now have access to a full accounting department that often is less expensive than one full-time FTE.  This doesn’t even figure in technology costs that come with the service.

2) It is the same as bookkeeping services

Bookkeepers are responsible for recording daily financial transactions.  Controllers are responsible for financial reporting, internal audit and internal controls. CFO are responsible for financial planning, financial data analysis and strategic planning.  By relying only upon a bookkeeper you are stuck looking in the past and cannot see into the future to effectively make critical decisions for your business.  AaaS providers ensure daily transactions are done correctly but also greatly reduce risks and provide necessary forward-thinking strategy to help growth your business.

3) We can just do the same in-house

For most SMBs it is hard to justify the expense of having a bookkeeper, controller, VP of finance and CFO.  All positions have importance.  You don’t want to pay a senior level person to do daily transactions and you definitely don’t want to ask an entry level person to manage financial risks.

4) We cannot have any finance staff in-house

Often AaaS providers work with internal staff to fill voids.  Yes, providers can function as the entire finance department but often work with existing staff to help maximize their production.

5) We have more control and stability by utilizing in-house staff

Employees turnover and training are always on the minds of companies.  If you don’t have a defined professional develop plan for each employee, you are at risk of losing your top talent to other opportunities.  By using an AaaS provider you eliminate the risk of employee turnover.  You also will not miss a beat when people people are out sick, on vacation, or on leave.

What do I get with an AaaS?

  • Enterprise software platform (workflow, automation, dashboards etc)
  • Vendors paid on-time
  • Customers billed on-time and accurately
  • Employee expenses captured and reimbursed
  • Cash transactions reconciled
  • Timely payables collection
  • Accounts analyzed and reconciled on an ongoing basis
  • Financial and management reports delivered on-time and accurately
  • Scalability and rapid deployment, when needed
  • Regulatory compliance delivered
  • Audit ready
  • A finance and accounting function that is STRATEGIC
8 Signs You Might Need the Cloud

8 Signs You Might Need the Cloud

If you haven’t already, it is time to consider switching over to the cloud. Gartner recently released a report on cloud computing where they predicted that by 2020, a corporate “no-cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no-internet” policy is today. In order to stay competitive you need to stay ahead of the technology curve.

Not convinced you need to make the switch? Take a look at the following signs that indicate you might need the cloud.

1. You want to upgrade your software

Businesses with on-premise software need to maintain it with upgrades, troubleshooting and updates. This becomes rather expensive and time-consuming since you need to train employees, test systems and also implement the upgrades. Switching over to the cloud can reduce your costs, save you time and improve your efficiency. Cloud software is upgraded by the provider and without additional costs for you.

2. You want fast deployment

On-premise ERP systems are notorious for long implementation times. For larger systems and corporations it can take months to fully deploy the system. A cloud ERP system is quite the opposite. Since the ERP system is delivered via the Internet, deployment is almost instant.

3. You want to integrate your systems

Do you work with multiple software systems and wish they could all be integrated? Your wish can come true! Cloud software systems are inherently open and allows users to connect to other systems to allow for collaboration. For example, Sage Intacct, an ERP cloud-based software, allows integration with other providers such as Adaptive Insights, Bill.com and Avalara.

4. You want to increase employee collaboration

If you have multiple employees working with the same data, you might be in trouble. Having multiple versions of data can not only be time-consuming to fix, but you can also end up with a major financial loss. Off-premise software systems allows employees to access the data they are working with simultaneously and in real-time. Thus, you eliminate the possibility of having multiple versions spreadsheets.

5. You want to scale

This might be one of the first things you hear about the cloud. On-premise software can get really expensive if you’re growing at a fast pace, making it difficult to scale your business. On the other hand, with the cloud, you can request more functions, space or users and get them instantly.

6. You don’t want to spend your budget on IT, but rather your core products

It doesn’t make sense to manage your own on-premise servers and develop your own portals if IT is not your core competency. Nonprofit organization, for example, will benefit from investing their budget on their mission and cause rather than an IT department. Cloud software allows businesses without IT knowledge to operate without owning their own IT equipment. Rather, all you need is access to Internet and a device.

7. You have a mobile workforce or multiple offices

As Internet access increases worldwide and remote work continues to be a trend in the workplace, having remote access is becoming more important. Cloud software makes this a reality as you can access your data anytime, anywhere and from any device with Internet connection.


 

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4 Top Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Consider SaaS

4 Top Reasons Why Nonprofits Should Consider SaaS

What is SaaS?

As discussed last week in our Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a method where businesses purchase software via a Web-based service. The main difference with this method, from purchasing software the traditional way, is that you rent services and you don’t have to worry about set-up costs or maintenance. Basically, you pay-for-use or via a subscription fee and only use the services you need.

Are Nonprofits Using the Cloud?

Nonprofits strive to invest in their core missions, while at the same time reducing operational cost. For many of these organizations it is difficult to maximize efficiency without breaking the budget. Cloud services are a cost-effective alternative for nonprofits, as they allow organizations to gain access to software without the additional costs of maintaining it on your own. SaaS deployment among organizations is on the rise. According to Cisco Global Cloud Index, it is estimated to grow by 59% in 2018.

Why Nonprofits Should Consider SaaS

SaaS offers advantages for nonprofits of all sizes. While we could make this a lengthy post and touch on all of them we have simply listed the top 4 benefits below and the reason why they solve problems for nonprofits.

1. Upfront investment is minimal

There is no initial cost for setting up or other upfront fees. You would just pay as you go and you can cancel at any point. This is a big benefit to smaller nonprofits especially, who may not have the upfront cash to invest in an IT solution even though it is critical for business. Also, investing in SaaS allows your nonprofit to expense the cost as an operational expenditure rather than capital (which most CFOs prefer).

2. Cost saving

SaaS can be a real money-saver. At first glance, SaaS may look expensive; however, when you take into account the money that is needed to purchase your own software and paying people to manage it, it is quite the opposite. In the long run, SaaS offers a more affordable way to gain access to up-to-date technology without breaking your budget.

3. Scalability

SaaS is extremely flexible as it allows your organization to easily add functionality and applications. This is especially important for nonprofits who are quickly growing, have changing needs and want to have a quick response time.

3. Remote Access

SaaS is delivered via web-based applications, which means that you can access the software from anywhere, any device, and anytime (granted that you have access to the Internet). Remote access is a great benefit for nonprofits who have employees that spend time out in the field but still need access to IT software.

4. No IT headaches

Nonprofits that invest in SaaS can say goodbye to IT troubles such as maintenance, backup, updates and security. Instead, the SaaS provider is in charge of doing all of this and for no extra charge.


Does your nonprofit organization consider making the switch to SaaS? Do you see any hurdles with taking the leap? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

LEARN ABOUT FP&A IN THE CLOUD

A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

A Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing

When people refer to “the cloud” nowadays it’s usually not the mass of condensed water vapor floating in the atmosphere they are talking about, but the cloud as if refers to cloud computing. Gartner reported earlier this year that the worldwide public cloud services market is expected to grow 18% in 2017 and ultimately total $246.8 billion. Additionally, a survey conducted by Clutch showed that nearly 70% of U.S. businesses said they were planning on increasing their spending on cloud computing in 2017. Needless to say, “the cloud” is here to stay.

But What is “the Cloud”?

It may not be news to you that more and more companies are switching over to “the cloud”, but what is it? In order to fully understand its benefits, this post will give you a beginner’s guide to the cloud and what essentially is so good about it.

How Did the Cloud Get Its Name?

Business Insider reported last year that one of the earliest uses of the term was in a diagram from US Patent 5,485,455, “Network having secure fast packet switching and guaranteed quality of service,” that was filed in January 1994. The figure of the diagram depicts the network model as a cloud-shaped figure. While the authors of the patent didn’t mean to illustrate the network as a cloud, that is how it essentially got its name.

Nevertheless, the term didn’t grow in popularity until Amazon Web Services launched Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) in 2006. After that, many other companies followed their way by launching software (Salesforce), storage (DropBox), and combinations of the two (Microsoft Office 365). By now, 2017, the term “the cloud” is virtually everywhere.

What is Cloud Computing?

Merriam Webster defines cloud computing as:

“the practice of storing regularly used computer data on multiple servers that can be accessed through the Internet”

Ultimately, it means that you rely on sharing computing resources rather than having your own local servers or personal devices to manage applications. Thus, companies who engage in cloud services, lease their digital assets and their employees essentially don’t know the location of the resources they are using. You can say these resources are simply “in the cloud” somewhere.

Three Types of Cloud Service Models

Cloud computing services is sold in three main models; Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): This method of delivering software offers businesses access to functions remotely via a Web-based service and at a much lower cost than licensed applications. Most businesses offers SaaS via a monthly fee and clients don’t have to invest in additional hardware or worry about set-up or maintenance.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): With this method, the entire platform is delivered as a service. This means that you would outsource your entire platform instead of having your own employees manage your hardware and software.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This method delivers the entire infrastructure as a service. Your company would essentially outsource the infrastructure but only pay for the resources you end up using.

While the three methods all differ from each other, they also share some similarities:

  1. You rent services instead of purchasing them, which means that IT becomes an operating expense rather than capital
  2. The platform vendors are responsible for all the maintenance, admin, troubleshooting, backup etc.
  3. Platform vendors are easy and flexible in customizing the services to you

Benefits of the Cloud

Related: 5 Top Benefits of Cloud Technology

The reason the cloud has gained so much traction in the past decade is because of all the benefits it provides. Forbes recently listed the following two benefits of the cloud:

  • Reliability: hardware and software redundancy protect you from loss of data
  • Integration: cloud services can integrate with other service systems such as project management, email and marketing, apps and social media

IBM’s dedicated Cloud page on their website lists flexibility, efficiency and strategic value as benefits of the cloud. Cloud computing offers the ability to scale, customization, and remote access via the Internet. Moreover, the cloud removes underlying infrastructure and maintenance costs. IBM also claims that “cloud services give enterprises a competitive advantage by providing the most innovative technology available”.

Related: Cloud Software – The Competitive Advantage

Some of the main benefits that our cloud based software clients mention are the following:

  • 24/7 support
  • Utility based
  • Easy and agile deployment
  • Frees up internal resources
  • Lower capital expenditure
  • Highly automated

We would love to hear what your opinions are on the cloud. Have you or do you plan on investing in cloud technology in 2017? What benefits does the cloud offer your business? Do you see any drawbacks with the cloud?

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