Case Study: CCN Consultants Empower Influential Accounting Team
As an industry leader in the budding world of influencer marketing, Influential is no stranger to change and rapid growth.
The company launched in 2013 and soon became the first influencer marketing company to leverage the power of IBM’s Watson AI. Today, Influential features over 3.5 million creators in its network, and in 2022, it eclipsed $500M in annual revenue.
Phase 1: Rapid growth and revenue enhancement
CCN’s first project with Influential came after a period of rapid growth as the company was upgrading and enhancing its finance infrastructure. The accounting department needed new talent to quickly fill several gaps in capacity and experience.
CCN brought in three consultants, and much of their work centered around special projects, including significant changes to NetSuite implementation and converting from a cash basis to a GAAP-compliant accounting model. This involved a significant mindset change that had to occur within the entire business to make the transition successful.
“Revenue for our business is pretty darn complex. It’s got a lot of nuances,” explains Alex. “I’ve worked with a bunch of different companies, and I don’t think I honestly came to appreciate the significance and complexity of revenue recognition until I’ve spent time with this company.”
With help from CCN, the Influential team developed a better understanding and robust systems around revenue management. The consultants worked with revenue and accounts receivable to investigate current and prior years’ data as well as balance sheet accounts related to revenue transactions. After preparing extensive reconciliations, they were able to properly attribute all transactions to specific campaigns/customers and make necessary adjustments.
“Lisa, who is still with us today, has really taken on ownership of that function,” says Alex. “She’s very careful and very diligent in her work. We consider her our key person on revenue, in particular, as it relates to complex revenue management.”
“The project is unique because of the revenue policy being newly created while upgrading systems and developing procedural changes at the same time. Now, the Influential team has properly assigned and documented revenue that is GAAP compliant and support that is typically requested by auditors. This will enable Influential to be confident in their financial reporting and help them to grow their business with the information needed to analyze prior and current campaigns.”Lisa Allen, CCN Consultant
Phase 2: New Systems, costing infrastructure, and payments infrastructure
After the positive results from CCN’s first batch of consultants, the Influential team found themselves at another growth milestone, this time relating to new systems and payments infrastructure.
While the new technology would ultimately prove to be beneficial, there were significant challenges to implementation, and Alex did not want to fall behind on payments to vendors. He called on CCN to provide two more talented individuals who could help them catch up and optimize the new systems.
“I think that Andy found high-quality people who are not just able hands, but good people who are sincere and hard-working and dedicated to their responsibilities with us.”Alex Mandel, CFO, Influential
The complex project required a delicate balance of care and efficiency, but soon, the technology was back up to speed. According to Alex, the consultants “played a pretty important role in remediating that backup, doing it both professionally and timely.”
Together, the CCN consultants:
- Reconciled past transactions and worked with multiple parties to sync records at the transaction level from July 2022 to March 2023.
- Helped the A/P team process invoices and maintain information on three times the normal number of campaigns running.
- Helped communicate effectively and patiently with vendors who were hesitant to participate in new processes and procedures.
- Helped cover for their payroll team until the Director of Payroll was hired.
- Continue to train all new A/P team members, creating consistency in processes and procedures.
Now that the new technology is in place, the Influential team can quickly enter bills and access payment status. They have full visibility and support from experts who understand the systems inside and out.
“It took a strong attention to detail and determination to dig into the data and evaluate what we needed to accomplish the goals. Today, the A/P team is more robust and has well-qualified individuals who are ahead of the game in invoice processing. Influential is a group of fantastic people who have been wonderful to work with.”Michelle Randal, CCN Consultant
The CCN Difference
Alex didn’t have much prior experience with consulting firms, but now, CCN has become an important resource in his toolbox.
What has made the relationship so successful? He explains that it comes down to a few key factors:
- Attentive consultant matching: Alex was impressed with the opportunities to look at resumes and interview consultants before he brought them on board … “Even in the shortest of engagements, you really have to invest in the people that you’re bringing in.”
- Qualified, engaged consultants: “They have performed. They have been capable and reliable and just good people to work with … I think it’s that they’re genuinely trying to ensure that the company is well cared for.”
- Transparency and integrity: “We feel there’s a high level of integrity with the hours the consultants have logged … I appreciate that loyalty.”
Overall, Alex shares that he’s big on trust and maintaining a good relationship with his team and vendors. He’s had nothing but a positive experience with CCN.
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