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From Hours to Minutes: How Adra Stole the Show at the Theatre

As a Director of Finance, Natalia is tasked with the Financial Management side of the Theatre. In 2019, she was searching for a way to manage the headache of merchant services reconciliations. Her challenge was to navigate a highly manual and complex system of transactions more effectively and efficiently, and in July of 2019, she turned to Adra for help achieving those goals.

Natalia Armoza is Director of Finance for New Jersey’s prestigious McCarter Theatre Center.  This Princeton-based company was built as a permanent home for the Princeton University Triangle Club, who continue to perform at McCarter, with funds from Thomas N. McCarter, Princeton Class of 1888. The McCarter Theatre opened on February 21, 1930, and from then to the current day, it focuses on creating world-class theater experiences, presenting the finest performing artists for the engagement, education, and entertainment of its community.

Armoza shared how she was able to leverage Adra to shorten her processing time from hours to minutes:

Michelle: Hello Natalia! It’s so nice to meet you. Thank you so much for meeting with me today.

Natalia: Hello Michelle. I’m happy to talk.

Michelle: So when did you purchase Adra?

Natalia: A few months ago, in July 2019

Michelle: And in your search for software solutions, what other companies or solutions did you consider?

Natalia: Excel was what I used for transaction matching in the past. I really didn’t find anything like Adra.

Michelle: Where did you first hear about Adra?

Natalia: I was in a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) chat group online, and I saw and advertisement for Adra.

Michelle: And once you made the decision that Adra would do what you needed, what products did you purchase?

Natalia: Adra Matcher

Michelle: We’ve heard many times that companies are concerned with how long new software will take to implement. How many resources were devoted to making this change, and about how long did it take you to get Adra up and running?

Natalia: Well my department is small; it includes only me and one other person. I was the only resource we had to devote to making the change, and it took about one month to implement Adra, but the implementation was not my sole job over that month.

Michelle: Yes, we’ve heard that many times. There’s always so much to do in a day not enough hours! How was implementation experience for you?

Natalia: It was a great experience. It took me a bit to learn the system, and the trial and error process is how I was able to see what the system would need. What I mean is, I had to rethink the data a few times in order to incorporate it into Adra in the way we needed to see it, so there was some back and forth between me and the Adra Implementation rep. I discovered missing pieces of information that needed to be added through learning the system and talking to him.

Michelle: That makes sense. How long did it take for Adra Support to get back to you when you had questions or issues?

Natalia: Jake always got back to me within a few hours at the most, so problem resolution was quick! The back and forth came from learning how I wanted to see the data and ensuring the right data was in the tool to produce that.

Michelle: What was your Accounting department like before Adra? What were your major problems?

Natalia: We had a challenging bank reconciliation process. It was complex, in spreadsheets, and taking too long. My goal was to reduce time in processing merchant services to bank reconciliation transactions. This was a bottleneck we found in our close, and we needed to speed up the close process. I knew we needed to automate the match process for merchant services and POS credit card transactions. We originally looked into reconciling the 403B contribution, but we discovered there weren’t enough transactions to make it worth that.

Michelle: And to help our customers better understand your situation, what is your transaction volume?

Natalia: I’d say we were looking to automate about 200 merchant services transactions into bank recs.

Michelle: What made you choose Adra as your solution?

Natalia: It had the ability to do what we needed it to. I hadn’t found another software that could do what I needed.

Michelle: What have been your 3 biggest wins?

Natalia: Number one is we were able to process the matching faster. Originally the merchant services processing would take 6 hours or more. Now it takes 5 minutes to upload the data, and the matches are coming through. Another huge benefit that I didn’t anticipate is that I was able to understand more about the structure of how our transactions were being recorded. Adra gave me visibility into how our billing was happening in ways I wasn’t able to see on a spreadsheet.

Michelle: That’s fantastic. Do you have an example of that?

Natalia: Yes. Because of Adra, I have a better understanding how the AMEX transactions are processing. The vendor report data came out in such a way that I wasn’t sure what was happening within the account. The way the vendor reported AMEX transactions was as a negative. It wasn’t clear until I researched with both the vendor and the bank, and even the bank didn’t even understand how the batch combination transactions were working. Because I was looking for that information to bring into Adra that I came a better understanding of how merchant services transactions were hitting.

Michelle: What a great unexpected benefit!

Natalia: But the biggest win is that the Merchant Services portion of our reconciliations are done in minutes instead of hours.

Michelle: That is really great to hear. I’m sure you have much better things you can do with those hours now! So, if you were to speak to other Accountants in the same situation as McCarter, what would you say to them about Adra?

Natalia: If matching merchant services is one of your biggest headaches, Adra is an excellent tool to remove that time burden. It took us a good month until you can get it up and running, but once it was done, that was it. It’s been all time savings. Adra really does what we needed it to do.

Michelle: If you could describe Adra in 3-5 words, what would they be?

Natalia: Intelligent time saver—Adra has the capacity to do far more than an Excel macro. Adra does what I need it to do. Also the setup that is done by the Adra people is way more intelligent than me adding random macros into a spreadsheet. They really helped me look more into my processes. And Adra can do more of the thinking than a spreadsheet can do.

Michelle: That’s a fantastic endorsement!

Natalia: Also, the service is really good. I really appreciate the support I got from Jake. He was always very friendly, and he made the implementation very easy.

Michelle: That is really great to hear! I’ll pass that compliment on to Jake! Well, thank you so much Natalia! I’ve really enjoyed our conversation.

Natalia: Thank you!