Vivid CPM Provides A-COM Security with Robust Reporting Never Before Available
Founded in 1973, A-COM Protection Services, Inc. is one of the largest family-owned security and home and business automation companies in Georgia. The company operates six locations throughout the state and monitors thousands of accounts, offering a broad and innovative set of products and services to benefit its customers’ increasingly mobile lifestyles with solutions tailored to meet their unique needs and challenges.
As the company has grown throughout the years, financial reporting has posed an increasingly difficult challenge for A-COM, mainly because reports and performance numbers were difficult to produce and lacked a high level of reliability. Additionally, it was impossible to break out income statements or view performance based on the company’s three profit centers: traditional alarm sales, residential sales and monitoring. As a result, reports generated under the prior models were largely unusable, said Tom Irving, who at the time served as A-COM’s chief financial officer.
“They had tried to do it previously by cutting and carving out numbers on a piece of paper, which was very difficult and unreliable,” Irving said. “Vivid CPM gave them the ability at the push of a button to create a report that they had never had available before.”
To beef up the reporting available in SedonaOffice, A-COM’s accounting and business management software, the company turned to Vivid CPM from Astute Financial. Offering a comprehensive financial reporting, analysis and budgeting tool, Vivid CPM combines all the functionality of Excel with the processing power of Microsoft SQL Server. The easy-to-deploy solution provides users with better insight and decision-making, enables easier sharing and collaboration, and delivers peace of mind that reports are accurate and secure.
For A-COM, the most attractive features were ease of implementation and the ability to build customized reporting templates, as well as the solution’s central database that enables easy management with little or no reliance on IT.
“Astute handled most of the implementation. Wayne Beck, A-Com’s CEO and founder, and I provided input on design and layout, what kind of things we wanted to see and what kind of formatting we wanted, and they were behind the scenes creating everything relatively quickly,” Irving said. “They’re very good at building templates for each individual company. Throughout the process, they provided me with preliminary reports to proof and make sure it was in the exact format the owner wanted.”
Following deployment, getting up and running with the software was also extremely easy.
“It was a snap, and I was able to work with Astute to learn how to go into the CPM financial statements and change some formatting myself as we went along,” Irving said.
Prior to deploying CPM, A-COM’s financial budgeting was limited because that function wasn’t available in SedonaOffice. Vivid CPM has enabled budgeting to a level that wasn’t expected.
“In the past, having ownership manually drop numbers into an Excel spreadsheet was the only way to record budget vs. actual,” Irving said. “The ability to report on the company’s actual results vs. budgets was the biggest change CPM made for A-COM.”
Another primary benefit of Vivid CPM was the custom profit center reporting. Working with Astute, A-COM was able to develop a system that allowed the company to do what had previously been impossible, namely to break out financials into traditional, residential and monitoring categories – with extreme reliability.
“Jim Lee and Astute Financial put together a report for A-com that helps our management staff review our profit and RMR growth for our different profit centers that help us manage the business more effectively,” Beck said.
“We were able to show managers and ownership for the first time how the residential side of the business was doing, not only overall for a year but also on a quarter-to-quarter or month-to-month basis,” Irving said. “CPM gave them reporting that they’d never had before, and it was accurate and reliable.”
This has been especially helpful in the area of incentive bonuses for managers of each of those areas based on performance. This had historically been figured out by the owner using a pad of paper and manually pulling numbers out of an income statement to rough out how each profit center had performed. Without question, this led to managers being overpaid and underpaid because of the unreliability of this system. That is no longer the case with Vivid CPM.
“For the first time, the ownership had the ability to hand managers a report and say, ‘Here’s how you did,’ knowing that the numbers were reliable and accurate,” Irving said.
As part of this process, Vivid CPM allowed A-COM to make managers more involved in the overall operations.
“It gave us the ability to train the managers and teach them how to evaluate performance of the company, which had not been used in the past by the ownership,” Irving said. “Financials had been previously closely held, and now they’re starting to share them with the managers to the point where they’re able to be responsible for and can take ownership of their own areas of the company.”
Using information that had been captured within SedonaOffice in the past, A-COM was also able to go back farther for a more historical perspective, which was eye-opening for the company’s owner.
“It was incredibly enlightening for the owner. He was excited that we had current results but was particularly impressed by how easy it was to drill back to the same period within a prior year in the same report,” Irving said.