In this podcast episode, you will hear from Drew Kangieser, the Director of Professional Services at AcctTwo Shared Services. Unlike many other people we interview on this podcast, Drew has an educational background in information systems, which he learned during his time at the University of Texas.
Drew started his professional career after college working with an oil and gas company on large scale technology projects. It was then that Drew knew he wanted to work in software, which was the starting place for his current role at AcctTwo.
Several years after his first job out of college, Drew transitioned to a new position at AcctTwo, where he began implementing tax technology for small and large businesses. It was then that he began learning more about accounting, which Drew sees as the bones of how a business operates.
Drew’s experiences over the past six years overseeing the delivery of professional tax services and helping businesses implement Sage Intacct accounting software brings something unique to his company. That’s because he understands the technical aspects and integrations of cloud technologies, while his other team members know the day-to-day processes of traditional accounting.
Now, in his current role, Drew helps organizations implement AcctTwo's professional services. He also consults corporate leaders on how to make the most of their cloud-based accounting systems. Much of the podcast episode discusses Drew’s suggestions for onboarding new cloud-based services in an organization.
In this podcast episode, you'll learn how to:
- Transition to a cloud-based accounting system
- Benefit from information found in Intacct’s interactive custom report writer
- Replace time-consuming spreadsheets with automated reports for employees and investors
- Utilize third-party integrations to free up time for more important tasks
- Predict future trends of organizations moving certain tasks onto the cloud
Watch the Podcast Interview
Listen to the Podcast Interview
Drew Kangieser’s advice on Sage Intacct is also featured in Sage Intacct Best Practices for Outsourced Accounting, Advisory Services, and VARs [Download the Free eBook]. Highlights include:
- “A differentiator for me was having more experience with the technical aspects and integrations.” His technical background complements his accounting team members, thereby bringing a diverse team approach to the AcctTwo implementation team.
- “It is time to clean house, Marie Kondo,” Drew Kangieser shared. “We don’t need Excel or Google Sheets. We can just build reports into the system and have them sent out automatically—even if you’re on vacation.”
- Drew Kangieser believes that firms will continue to flock to cloud-based technology solutions. “The feedback I’ve gotten from our customers is ‘Oh, I’m so happy I did this.’ We’re finding that on-premises systems just don’t work together. I think remote working is just going to accelerate it even further.”
- Drew Kangieser stresses that people are not yet used to cloud-based accounting apps and don’t realize they can see different information at once: “Having multiple windows open allows them to look at different information in the system, which is especially useful for reporting.”
- “We can look at a variety of systems that can really give us the best overall solution for our clients’ businesses. With API capabilities and cloud services, we can integrate it so seamlessly that it is really easy for people to use,” says Drew Kangieser.
- Drew Kangieser helps clients slay the Excel dragon by using formulas: “For example, you can develop formulas in the system that show you at-risk customers versus healthy customers based on financial data, such as the time it takes to pay invoices. You can see whether you’re doing more or less work with them over time. You can write formulas and build them directly into the system.”
- “You have to disconnect from what people are used to doing versus what they could be doing,” says Drew Kangieser. “Just because you have a process today doesn’t mean it will be the same process going forward. It is a great opportunity to ask, ‘What we can do better? How can we improve this?’”
- Drew Kangieser, Director of Professional Services at AcctTwo Shared Services. Drew is an experienced leader with exposure to a multitude of software products and industries. He is an effective leader who can coordinate both projects and people and excels in numerous roles, thanks to his strong analytical and communicative skills, coupled with his leadership skills, and his ability to learn quickly. Find out more about Drew at AcctTwo.com and on LinkedIn.
A lightly-edited transcript follows below:
Drew Kangieser (00:00):
Podcast Announcer (00:SS):
Welcome to the AI in Accounting Podcast. Now here's your host, Joshua Feinberg of Vic.ai.
Drew Kangieser (00:00):
Yeah, one good example would be like, if you want to be able to develop formulas in the system that show you kind of at-risk customers versus healthy customers based on financial data, such as the time it takes them to pay invoices, and, whether you're doing more or less work with them over some time- you're able to write formulas and build that directly into the system.
Voiceover Announcer (00:27):
Welcome to the AI in Accounting Podcast. Now here's your host, Joshua Feinberg of Vic.ai.
Joshua Feinberg (00:40):
Joshua Feinberg from the AI in Accounting podcast, and I'm being joined today by Drew Kangieser from AcctTwo Shared Services. Drew is the Director of Professional Services based in the Houston area. Thanks, Drew, for joining me today.
Drew Kangieser (00:56):
Happy to be here.
Joshua Feinberg (00:58):
I usually like to start these interviews to understand how you got to where you are. Did you always want to be an accountant? Did you think someday that you'd be helping clients with software and ERP systems? What was the journey that got you to where you are in AcctTwo? What do you do on a day-to-day basis? How does that fit in with the firm as a whole and the clients you work with? Can you give us a little bit of background before we roll up our sleeves and get right into Intacct?
Sage Intacct From a Career Technologist’s Perspective
Drew Kangieser (01:27):
Yeah, absolutely. So I'm not an accountant, but you know, it's cool or anything else, except for just, you know, being in the position I've been in it. My background is more technical, so I have, Information Systems Degree at the University of Texas. I always knew I wanted to work in software, just didn't know, kind of what, so I'd worked for an oil and gas company on a lot of immense scale technology projects for a couple of years - not accounting focused until I kind of moved over to AcctTwo, where I started kind of just as a day-to-day implementer type, implementing in tax for several years where I learned a lot about accounting. Certainly, a lot more than, you know. I covered my undergrad, but a lot about accounting – a lot about, you know, how businesses run.
Drew Kangieser (02:29):
And I liked it because you get to work with so many different companies in that role and get an understanding of the accounting, which is kind of the bones of how they operate. And so I did that for several years, leading and managing, I got started with smaller projects and worked my way up to some of our larger ones. And in my current role, I'm responsible for overseeing the service delivery of the professional services across all of our clients and AcctTwo, whether that's implementing it act for the first time or providing ongoing, implementations or ongoing consulting services for them for really anything that comes up along with helping in the sales cycle, with clients to understand what they need.
Speaker 4 (03:23):
Joshua Feinberg (03:23):
That's great. So, it sounds like you're an excellent compliment to being paired up with someone that came from a more traditional accounting or finance background.
Drew Kangieser (03:32):
Yeah, it's interesting. We end up hiring a lot of people here that have more of an accounting background. So I'm a little bit of the outlier. But we have a nice mix on the team, which is just helpful; I think it's excellent, a lot of good ideas from people.
Joshua Feinberg (03:48):
I was speaking with someone earlier today who is growing an advisory firm and his prediction going out the next three years is that there's going to be a lot more firms that are looking to have a lot more diversity of disciplines and backgrounds in traditional accounting and even in outsourced accounting as accounting becomes much more tech-driven AI automation integrations show that it's not enough to just come from like an audit or a write up or tax background.
Drew Kangieser (04:15):
Yeah, absolutely. That's why I think we find it’s nice to have a mix. You know, one of the things that was a differentiator for me was, you know, having more experience with the technical aspects and integrations and that, but then we also do see a lot of value from people that understand the day-to-day processes and pain points in traditional accounting.
Joshua Feinberg (04:38):
So shifting gears a little bit from just your career or your role in AcctTwo over more tactical on Sage Intacct, what do you tell somebody who's just joined your team, or even when you go out to meet with a client, and they're brand new to Intacct? What's your favorite tip, or what advice would you give them to get started on the right foot?
Advice for Those That Are New to Sage Intacct
Drew Kangieser (05:00):
Sure. One of the real simple tips that I think is just so helpful that people aren't used to because they're not used to using a cloud-based accounting system is just using multiple browser windows at once is extremely helpful. So being able to say, okay, I'm logged in, and I have this screen up. I'm looking at entering a vendor’s invoice, and guess what, I can go on another screen, and pull up the last one I got from the vendor, and I can go on another screen and investigate something else. You’re able to have multiple windows open at once, all looking at different information in the system. Especially if you're doing things like reporting where I can run a report, and I can throw it into the details and then I can open that in a separate window, I think that's kind of the biggest beginner tip in terms of using Intacct and just being able to have different screens, looking at different data all at once.
Joshua Feinberg (06:02):
So do you think this is just multiple Chrome tabs? Or do you think somebody embraces Houston and builds like mission control with a half a dozen different monitors?
Drew Kangieser (06:14):
I think it's a lot of different Chrome tabs, but having them on different screens can be extremely helpful. And you know, it's funny. I think you see people that are just so used to something that's not web-based that it's like, okay, here's my screen. I work on this. Oh, now I need to go here. So I need to go there, but you can kind of have it all up at once, which is really can be helpful, especially if you're working on a lot of different things.
Joshua Feinberg (06:41):
So does it become institutionalized in what you do for certain kinds of clients, you would say like, “Hey, you want to have these three or four screens open every day? Or these half a dozen screens are open, are good to have around month-end or….”
Drew Kangieser (06:54):
Yeah, absolutely. And especially, you know, if you're using dashboards in the system, it can be nice just to have that real-time access to data, ready to go.
Tips for Sage Intacct Advanced Power Users
Joshua Feinberg (07:10):
So going from the one extreme of beginners, all the way to experts for power users, if you're at a conference, I mean, Sage Partner Summit or Advantage or something like that, and you're talking with other people who've been using Intacct for years like yourself maybe over a beer, you're like saying, “Hey, did you know that?” Or perhaps you're talking with someone who's a product manager from Intacct, and you kind of share more stories on some of the more complicated things you have going on…. What's your favorite tip that you would give to someone that's been using Intacct for years?
Drew Kangieser (07:42):
I think one of the pieces that Intacct has released recently that a lot of people haven’t put enough focus on is the interactive custom report writer. It lets you do a lot of things that you can't natively do and that the standard report writer. And I think that we're, you know, there's a lot of specific use cases, but in general, it just lets you do a lot more interactive reporting where you're not just running a kind of database sort of extracts of what the reports are and doing some formatting with it. You’re able actually to put formulas into there to say, you know, one good example would be like, if you want to actually be able to develop formulas in the system that, these will show you kind of at-risk customers versus, you know, healthy customers based on financial data, such as the time it takes them to pay invoices.
Drew Kangieser (08:39):
And you know, whether you're doing more or less work with them over some time, you're able to write formulas and build that directly into the system and go beyond kind of what the standard reporting has been historically in tech. That product's been on for a couple of years. And I think people know it exists and know that it can do a lot of things, but maybe haven't spent the time to delve into how to make that value add for companies. So I think using that actually to build formulas that help you run your business, that's a huge thing that people should be looking at more.
Joshua Feinberg (09:21):
Have you seen any leading indicators or particular problem spots among clients that indicate that they're not using the reporting tools as aggressively as they should be?
Drew Kangieser (09:32):
Sure. I mean, one of the big things is that they'll tell you about all the different things that they do in Excel, which don't get me wrong. Excel is a great tool. There's a lot of awesome stuff, but, at the same time, there's a lot of things that you can systemize in Intacct. You have it just right for you. That way you're not giving the spreadsheets all the time. So that's one.
Joshua Feinberg (09:58):
So I guess that part of the onboarding new clients is, Hey, anytime you're doing something in Excel or a Google sheet or something, just send a screenshot of it to me, and we'll look and see if we can make that history.
Drew Kangieser (10:11):
Yes. Every month I run this report and pull all this data. Most of the time, there's a solution. We can just build that into the system and not just have it built in there, but we can also do things like schedule it to say, okay, we're going to send this to the people that it matters too weekly. So they don't even have to think to look for it.
Joshua Feinberg (10:35):
Yeah. It's a great point, too, because when you have the reports set up, you can automatically send them out to your boss, your team investors, whoever needs to see this. That's one extra step – not only does it save time, but you don't have to worry about forgetting to do it when you're on vacation. You know, all those, especially in the times we're working in now. So regardless of whether somebody is a beginner or whether like an advanced power user, is there just one huge mistake that you see people making across the board that if they just knew they could avoid?
Speaker 5 (11:09):
Biggest Mistake Sage Intacct Users Tend to Make
Drew Kangieser (11:10):
Yeah. I think one of the things that I see is people that expect kind of Intacct to be, to do everything. Intacct does a financial accounting perspective. It does a lot of great things. But I think people that don't look to their third party products and things that they can use to integrate with Intacct are selling themselves short. Now there's a lot of great, you know, other best of breed solutions such as, you know, things around expense reporting, CRM systems, a variety of things that we can integrate with Intacct. You see, you can have all these different systems regularly communicating with each other, sending data in real-time, having different methods that are focused on that. And so I think a lot of people don't take advantage of the open API that Intacct offers, we'll send that data. And even beyond, you know, custom integration thing, that, you know, pre-canned ones out there with a lot of third party products that offer AP automation, expense reporting, all those sorts of things.
Joshua Feinberg (12:26):
So you'd see it as they're expecting Intacct to do way more than it was ever designed to do. And because of that, they're kind of putting blinders on us about the potential of third-party apps that could integrate and provide that function a lot more efficiently.
Drew Kangieser (12:42):
Yeah, I think some of it is just expecting that Intacct’s going to be the best at everything, which, you know, if you try to do everything, you do everything kind of, okay. I'm just not looking to say, you know, we have these systems in play. We can look at, you know, a variety of methods that can give us the best overall solution for our business and, you know, API capabilities with all these cloud services. We can integrate it seamlessly so that it's really easy for people to use.
Joshua Feinberg (13:17):
Yeah. It's interesting too, as once you get outside the realm of people with a little bit of IT background, there's still a lot that probably thinks integration sounds complicated. It seems expensive. They may not realize in a lot of cases, it's a matter of just having both systems open in the same instance of Chrome and like authorizing, right?
Drew Kangieser (13:38):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you get people that it's funny, we've been able to take things that someone spends, you know, five days a month on and say, well, you know, you can develop integration, and that'll just do that or something in the system that automates that, and frees up, people's time to focus on more significant issues. There's so often that if you just sit and look at how much time you stand on something versus the cost to automate it, I think the investment is there.
Joshua Feinberg (14:14):
Yeah. Another interesting thing is getting people to talk through their workflow and whether it's whiteboarding at, or however you document it, getting them to associate like, okay, so look, how off, how much time does this take? Oh, it takes like an hour and a half. And how often do you do it? Like every day. Wow. So you got like hundreds of hours a year that you're doing this and all of a sudden, you know, whatever thousands or, you know, even significantly more than that, if multiple people are doing this function. Yeah. It's interesting in the role you're at with delivering professional services, it's almost like if you don't bring this up, well, will they connect the dots on potential?
Drew Kangieser (14:53):
Yeah. You have to disconnect just what people are used to doing versus what they could be doing. Just because this is the process today doesn't mean it has to be the process going forward. So I think being open-minded to how things can be improved is really cool. Especially as you go through implementing tax year, moving from another system, it's an excellent opportunity to say, what can we do better and how to improve this?
Joshua Feinberg (15:25):
It's like moving into a new home or moving into a new office and, you know, do you bring everything with you? Right.
Drew Kangieser (15:34):
It's time to clean house a little bit. Marie Kondo.
Where Sage Intacct, AcctTwo, and the Industry at Large Are Headed Next
Joshua Feinberg (15:39):
It's spring cleaning for the general ledger. So thinking about where we're headed, accounting, SaaS, ERP, we're all going through changes at a much more rapid pace in the last several weeks than many people envisioned we'd be going through right now. If you think about where a firm like AcctTwo, somebody in your role at AcctTwo, thinking ahead, six, 18, 24 months out, what do you think will be the significant trends? We're going to look back and say that this was a significant tipping point and we jumped five steps forward in a relatively short period.
Drew Kangieser (16:17):
Yeah. I mean, I feel like with the time we're in right now with COVID out there and everyone moving to working remote, increasingly all the uncertainty about is that going to stay? Is that going to change over time? I think you're going to continue to see people flock to cloud-based technology solutions – Intacct and other similar ones operating in this space. I put it, the feedback I've gotten from a lot of our customers, especially the ones that have gone live, or just kind of started using the system in the last few months is, “Oh, I'm so happy we did this.” Because you know, having such a remote workforce and trying to, you know, have an on-premise system just doesn't work together. And so I think it's something that people were already understanding and moving towards. But I think with the remote working level that we're seeing right now. I think it's just going to accelerate it even further. And you're going to see a lot of people looking at more cloud-based solutions so that people can easily access their data and work remotely.
Joshua Feinberg (17:37):
Is this something that you're seeing a lot of demand for now, even just at AcctTwo, where a lot of companies have been resistant with legacy systems and all of a sudden now they, for lack of a better word, don't have a choice?
Drew Kangieser (17:50):
I think so, so I've been with AcctTwo for six years. And I would say when I started, we were, you know, if you look at kind of the different stages, the newer technology, I think we were kind of at the early adopter stage building where you had certain people that had more of a sort of visionary, “We need to move to the cloud now so that we can do all of these sorts of things.” And then I think it's moved further and further into just being kind of the norm that a lot of companies are looking at that. It's become a lot more mature over those six years. I think we're kind of in that stage now where a lot of people realize we have to do this. And I think the increase in remote work is going to shoot up even further, just being what people do. Looking out over the next year to two years, I think you're going to see a lot more people moving that direction, but probably a lot more companies to move into the cloud to provide offerings to meet that demand.
Joshua Feinberg (19:00):
So not only to run their business but actually what their product or service is by definition needs to be delivered through the class.
Customer-facing what would have been called a, I don't know, 20 years ago, an extranet. Yeah. Now it's just software, right. Apps, service. Very, very interesting perspective on all this is true. If somebody wants to get a hold of you, based on the, talk more about some of the topics you brought up in today's episode or wants to follow you, are there specific social media places that are good, particularly good to find you at or to learn more about you in AcctTwo?
Drew Kangieser (19:43):
Yeah. I think you can go to the AcctTwo website and it has a lot of the people on the team. You will see my face, with maybe a biography, I believe, at least to my LinkedIn, which again, I think LinkedIn is probably the easiest way to contact me. I should be the only Drew Kangieser on there. I'm the only one that I know. So it should make it easy to find me. Yeah, absolutely. If you guys have any questions or just want to talk, feel free to reach out and connect with me.
Joshua Feinberg (20:17):
Excellent. Well, I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today. Drew, it's been really interesting to get your perspective on how you got to where you are in your career, being someone coming from more of an IT background than traditional accounting backgrounds, the tips around understanding the multiple browsers and having the ability to look at information a bunch of different ways, as opposed to being limited to just one view, the idea of using formulas and the reports, all of this has been hugely helpful. And I appreciate you sharing all your knowledge and best practices.
Happy to share.
Thanks again, and I wish you all the best; stay safe.
Voiceover Announcer (20:59):
Thanks for listening to this episode of the AI in Accounting podcast. To subscribe and leave a review, check us out@ blog.vic.ai or wherever you like to consume podcast episodes, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and YouTube.
What's your favorite Sage Intacct tip? And what did you find most valuable from Drew Kangieser's podcast interview? Let us know in the Comments section below.
And if you're serious about taking your Sage Intacct knowledge to the next level, download the free eBook: Sage Intacct Best Practices for Outsourced Accounting, Advisory Services, and VARs.