A journey through improved system architecture, and the consolidation of all systems to a single platform.
Novus Media is the #1 print buyer in North America with $300+ million in annual revenue, serving some of the largest brands for print media campaigns. Strategically headquartered in Minneapolis, their main print media hub for customers is in the United States, with OOH coverage in Canada. Prior to their NetSuite journey, Novus was operating with two accounting systems with a host of proprietary and third-party software, connected by a variety of different technologies. Consistency in system design, an overall strong architecture, and a lack of ability to reconcile on a single platform were the biggest challenges to their ability to grow.
Company Name: Novus Media
Company Location: Minneapolis, United States
Industry: Print Media, Digital Media, Services & Software
Number of Employees: 206
Number of Users: Users with Login Access: 84
System/Process Replaced: Proprietary Accounting Systems
Appficiency Products Implemented: Pay When Paid, Appficiency Consolidated Invoicing, Appficiency Expense Management (AEM), Strata – NetSuite Integration, DoMedia – NetSuite Integration
There were three distinct challenges we set out to solve for Novus Media: reconciliation challenges, scalability constraints, and scattered system architecture. In terms of reconciliation, they were unable to evaluate their financials and tie them to actuals since the spend data and the accounting system never communicated to each other. There was a significant delay in AR invoicing and AP processing and overall financial close — sometimes as much as a whole month. That caused a disparity in AP billing versus AR payment, and Novus was hoping to get to a point where no vendor was paid until the customer had paid for media.
They were also dealing with scalability challenges and a need for automation in processes, due to heavy transaction volume (5 million+ transaction lines per quarter needed to be executed and reconciled). They found themselves unable to handle the volume of monthly vendor bills and needed to offshore the operations and as the business grew, the volume grew, and so did the cost of carrying that operation.
Finally, a scattered systems architecture left them with 15 systems, tied together with different technologies, that were not scalable and had consistent errors on a daily basis, causing information ambiguity and discrepancy in the overall data structures.
Appficiency took on these challenges and soon began to see results — starting with a quick financial close. We closed the period in month three, post-implementation, in five business days as opposed to the 25 days it took the prior system the year before. AR invoicing was completed 45% faster than in the previous system, and the disparity between AR and AP was resolved with the implementation of a “pay when paid” concept in enforcement for all vendor bills.
Thanks to Appficiency’s automation’s, business rules now govern the operational flow with a single system of record that serves as the source of truth, and they’re no longer reconciling each line manually. Rather, they are focusing on the discrepancies, and the business automation’s reconcile the rest.
We tackled the scalability concerns with an automated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) of vendor bills, to ensure no human data entry for digital vendor bills. Automated vendor bills are also auto-reconciled based on business rules, and the AP team manages exceptions and discrepancies only. They now have five million transaction lines processed per quarter, with a staff of under 15 people managing the day-to-day interaction of the transaction volume.
- Dan Dykstra – Controller, Novus Media
- Christopher Cowhurst – CTO, Novus Media