Seeking Financial Visibility to Unleash Growth Potential


Seeking Financial Visibility to Unleash Growth Potential

S&L Companies is the largest franchise group for Culver’s, one of the United States’ favorite burger chains. In the past five years alone, the group expanded from eleven restaurant locations to nearly 30, and added nine new partners to the business. With this rapid pace of growth, the burden on S&L’s central finance team naturally increased. The organization’s previous serverbased accounting system was unable to produce the auditable financial statements required for larger bank loans, which lead management to recognize that it was critical to move to a new financial management solution.

Tammy Getschman, the director of accounting at S&L Companies, asked around and was referred by a local CPA firm to both Sage Intacct and NetSuite. She noted, "We were looking for a cloud-based solution to tie all of our entities together so we could minimize duplicate intercompany journal entries and gain the ability to slice and dice our financials by state, by owneroperator, or by property. After looking at both systems, we were most impressed by Sage Intacct’s ability to easily consolidate our books and provide crucial transparency into profitability across restaurants."


Financial Process Automation Boosts Efficiency 50%

After an easier than expected implementation, Sage Intacct streamlined S&L’s complex financial processes across several dozen operating and realty entities—from tracking individual restaurant expenses, to allocating common health insurance invoices across multiple locations—and helped shorten the monthly close by five days. After realizing these initial efficiency gains, the finance team’s next step was to go paperless by adopting an advanced accounts payable add-on from the Sage Intacct marketplace. With the help of advisory partner Maner Costerisan, S&L further automated invoice approval workflows and greatly eliminated the need to print and mail physical check payments.

"The team at Maner Costerisan does a great job of providing proactive recommendations to make sure we are getting the most out of the system," shared Getschman. "Since we don’t have an IT team, they save us a lot of time by setting up our entities and reports, and guiding us through new ways to optimize and extend Sage Intacct." She added, "We never would have been able to handle this kind of growth without Sage Intacct’s automation, which increased our team efficiency by at least 50%. Even though we still have the same exact staff managing double the workload, neither our lead accountant nor I worry about basic journal entries or daily transactions any more. Instead, we’re freed up to focus on the monthly close and financial reviews."

Getschman also mentioned that S&L uses Sage Intacct’s location dimension quite often during store development. When they’re building restaurants in new territories, it’s not always necessary to set up a legal entity right away, so the group tracks all preliminary start-up work in Sage Intacct. "Once a new store is a go, it’s very easy to spin it off onto its own entity, but if a location doesn’t pan out for whatever reason, we still have all the costs captured in order to write it off as a failed venture," she said.

Of note, S&L completed its very first audit with flying colors earlier this year. The group’s auditors appreciated being able to log into Sage Intacct with view-only access and easily find all necessary reports and attached documentation for both the annual audit and income tax preparation.


Increased Transparency Promotes Accountability…