GLobe Language Image credit Pixabay\GeraltAccounting Seed has revealed how it has helped the leading language services provider Diplomatic Language Services (DLS) transform its finance operation. Founded in 1986, DLS has used Salesforce for several years. The solution is heavily customised and meets many of the organisations business requirements easily.

DLS provides language services to the federal government, military, and the private sector. It supports more than 85 languages delivering services, including translations, interpretation, testing, training and distance learning.

However, one function remained isolated from the rest of the company. The finance team used a mixture of QuickBooks and Excel Spreadsheets to complete the wide variety of tasks required. DLS President Chris Bellas summarised the challenge saying, “Before, we were transferring data back-and-forth between different systems using Excel spreadsheets, which creates a potential for errors. At the same time, we need to be constantly audit-ready.”

As a result, DLS decided that it need to adopt a more modern cloud-based solution. It researched the options, and Accounting Seed stood out. Native to the Salesforce platform, the company would bring the entire financial management onto Salesforce. With a single platform in place, it expected many of the historic integration issues to disappear.

The challenge

DLS is a complex business, it has more than 300 employees offering language and translation services to individuals and both the private and public sectors. It is also a federal contractor working for agencies such as the Department of Defense (DOD), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and also the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA). This means that its solutions need to be Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) compliant. To assist with the DCAA compliance it turned to Cloud Clear One.

Two key areas that DLS leverages within Accounting Seed are its project accounting and timekeeping functionality. Enterprise Times asked Mike Bechara, MD at Cloud Clear One whether DLS was using any project management solution (PPM/PSA) from the AppExchange that Accounting Seed integrates into?

Mike Bechara, MD at Cloud Clear One
Mike Bechara, MD at Cloud Clear One

Bechara replied, “No extensions from the AppX. DLS has custom project components that manage unique aspects for their business. These custom components interface seamlessly with Accounting Seed’s out-of-the-box project accounting.“

With more than 400 students at any time and multiple projects on the go, the company needed to have a handle on its data. That data includes customers, prices, course details, language criteria, and more.

The Salesforce platform enables it to have a single version of its data, which means that adding a Salesforce native accounting solution to its software architecture extends the visibility across even more data points.

For Bellas, this access to data is critical, he added, “Therefore, having everything in one system and being able to see the audit trail of every activity as it’s performed in real-time, and for everybody to have visibility on that data, as well as knowing that all that information is going to be there and to be correct, is a huge relief.”

Getting DCAA compliance

The compliance requirements for DCAA are comprehensive and need expert advice. Bechara commented, “DCAA Compliance is quite important for government contractors such as DLS. At Clear Cloud One we have several staff who were members who were experienced in defense contracting and even responsible for auditing for government compliance in other companies. We were able to leverage all this experience towards making their accounting platform be 100% compliant with all the requirements.”

The project commenced in August 2019. Enterprise Times asked Bechara what the biggest challenge during the implementation was. He answered, “The main challenge was taking a highly functioning Salesforce Org that was already the backbone of the organization and configuring Accounting Seed around that. While it was a challenge, going with a native solution like Accounting Seed certainly made it easier given Salesforce and Accounting Seed share the same underlying technology.”

DLS went live in January 2020. Not only has DLS seen several benefits they continue to improve the solution.

Benefits for DLS

DLS improved their financial management lifecycle, as well as their project processes.  Bellas commented, “We’ve seen major efficiency improvements across all of our accounting processes throughout our monthly accounting cycle which has allowed us to be able to close each month an entire week earlier than before.

“In our invoicing process alone, simply by eliminating all of that Excel transfer between systems, we saw a 75% reduction in the time that it took to record all the invoices and get them sent out to customers.”

DLS is not only DCAA compliant, the visibility of financial data ensures that pricing is also DCAA compliant. DLS Accounting Manager Shruti Shrestha noted: “With Accounting Seed’s financial cubes, we are able to create multiple budget versions based on different assumptions to see how they affect our pricing and bottom line. This has helped us to develop pricing methodologies that are both DCAA compliant and more effective at reducing our financial risk.” 

DLS now has a complete solution that offers an audit trail for every activity which eases the compliance burden. Having the solution in place also enables it to adjust to changing demand and react quickly. With every piece of information available on Salesforce, DLS can now operate its business smoothly.

COVID hits DLS

Shortly after it went live the COVID pandemic hit the world. Globally, companies had to adjust to remote working. For DLS and its accounting processes, this was simple as it already used a cloud-based solution. It allowed the team to focus on improving the customer experience as the back end was already fixed. For example, invoices are raised automatically with no intervention from the back office.

It decided to move its classes online as quickly as possible in March 2020. Accounting Seed facilitated aspects of this as Bellas explained, “We relied on our online timekeeping system based on the Accounting Seed platform and all the features like billing and electronic payments electronically to continue without delaying or jeopardizing customers and staff.”

The difference between the before and after is huge. Bellas noted, With our previous accounting systems, I was always hearing only about accounting problems, now I’m only hearing out about accounting successes and it’s just so much easier for me personally to be able to do any approvals from my phone and see all of the information just within one system.”

Looking forward

While DLS has its solution of choice, are there further opportunities for Clear Cloud One and Accounting Seed? Enterprise Times asked Bechara if Accounting Seed is now DCAA compliant or was this a one-off?

He replied: “The strength of Accounting Seed’s solution is its configurability. Accounting Seed can be configured for Government Contractor compliance (DCAA) and for any specific compliance requirements of an individual contractor. Accounting Seed can be compliant for any GovCon customer.”

Will Accounting Seed target other GovCon firms that use Salesforce?

“Accounting Seed works with nearly any type of business, including Government Contractors. This is a market Accounting Seed serves. In fact, GovCons that are using Salesforce would benefit tremendously from running their business on one platform with Salesforce + Accounting Seed.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This is a successful implementation of Accounting Seed and one that is interesting especially for the DCAA compliance. It is a specialist area. Can Accounting Seed now compete effectively against Deltek and Unanet in this sector?

The advantage is that it is native on Salesforce and offers a complete solution alongside Salesforce CRM solution. Will it also partner with a PPM/PSA solution from the Appexchange looking to crack that same market. It is an interesting prospect, especially as Salesforce increases its market share in this sector.

For DLS, this was a successful project. As Bellas concluded, “Being able to just focus on our core mission and new products makes every day at work just so much more of a joy.”

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