Heartland Payroll Solutions Describe their Journey With Adra: 5 Years Later
As a society, change makes most of us very uncomfortable. There’s a reason so many of us live by Bert Lance’s 1977 tagline “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, we are living in an ever-changing world where the demands of business ensure that change is never more than a breath away. With this in mind, I sat down with Christine Formicola, a Credit Manager for Heartland Payroll Solutions, a Fortune 1000 company out of Rochester, New York. She is currently responsible for credit risk review and analysis, debit payroll accounts and client follow-up, including issues funding payroll. Christine has been with Heartland before and since they implemented the Adra software 5 years ago. She calls Adra Heartland’s “life-line.” I met with Christine to discuss not only the change her Finance department underwent when implementing Adra, but what it took to make that change happen, and what it continues to take to keep the system working.
Michelle: Good morning Christine! Thanks so much for taking the time out of your day to meet with me and talk about Adra.
Christine: Good morning. I’m happy to talk today.
Michelle: So let’s dive right in. When did you purchase Adra?
Christine: About five years ago, in 2015. The Controller, who is no longer with Heartland, brought it on-board, and it has been a game-changer.
Michelle: What other companies or solutions did you consider in your search?
Christine: I’m not sure what other solutions the Controller looked at before we chose Adra. I know he was looking for automated treasury software with daily reconciliation capabilities. We have several bank accounts, with thousands of transactions that need to be reconciled. The transaction volume was overwhelming, and we had little visibility into what was going on with each of our accounts.
Michelle: And when did you get involved with the project?
Christine: I’ve been here since Day 1.
Michelle: Great! How awesome to have all that time to work within a system. What products did you purchase?
Michelle: How long did it take to implement?
Christine: We took about three months to get familiar with the system, import the data, and we did extensive testing to make sure we were capturing everything. When we started, we had 10,000 clients. Now we track transaction information for 39,000 active clients.
Adra is our saving grace, our life-line. Our Accounting Department would be sunk without it.
Michelle: That’s a huge amount of growth! How does Adra help you deal with that many clients?
Christine: With Adra, it’s painless to track items, or to pull our bi-weekly aging report. Reporting is extremely easy to use. I can quickly get a snapshot that tells me what I need to know about each client including when original transactions started, how many transactions have been processed for each client, and how actively we’ve been working with a client. One of the main benefits of Adra is its ease of use. That’s what makes it such a solid software.
Michelle: Here’s the real money question. Most Finance Departments don’t have the capacity to devote many resources to implementing a change. How many resources did Heartland devote to making the switch to Adra?
Christine: Two people worked on the project at Implementation, and that wasn’t their full-time job. My boss showed us how to use the solution, and in the beginning, we used a trial and testing approach to make sure we had complete track of our many, many transactions. In 2015, all the Adra Support was in the UK, so that made things a little slower. Now, Adra Support is in the U.S., which makes things a lot easier.
Michelle: I’m sure that has been a welcome change! So, if you were to speak to other Accountants in the same situation as Heartland Payroll Solutions, what would you say to them about Adra?
Christine: Get it! Before Adra, everything in our business was manual and based on spreadsheets. We had no visibility to easily see where a client was. Spreadsheets were constantly in different versions, and errors were common because people were getting locked out of the information they needed when they needed it. In our manual days, we dealt with far more errors. Employees would need to debit an account, but if they completed the debit or not was not immediately visible. With Adra, we took away many errors. I can see everything right there on the dashboard screen. It’s so much faster with a lot less room for errors. My Accountants can see what they’ve done, and they can put notes on reconciliations that are ready for whoever needs to look at them. This is great for handing off accounts, as all the notes are ready and accessible. No more locked spreadsheets!
Michelle: What fantastic benefits! And you’ve been using the software for a while. How long would you say it takes for people new to Adra to get comfortable with the system?
Christine: New users we’ve brought on can get up to speed in a week or two. The system is really easy to use. The challenge is more making sure we can see the data in the way we are used to seeing it and learning our processes.
When we started, we had 10,000 clients. Now we track transaction information for 39,000 active clients.
Michelle: Did you know we have many new resources available for upskilling your employees on the Adra Success Center at success.adra.com? Have you had a chance to look at that yet?
Christine: No I haven’t, but I will. I didn’t know that it was available!
Michelle: Great! Let me ask you, what are you excited about for the future of Adra and its partnership with Heartland?
Christine: Right now, Adra is meeting all our needs, so as long as it keeps doing that, we’ll continue to love this product.
Michelle: And my last question today is if you could describe Adra in 3-5 words, what would they be?
Christine: Adra is our saving grace, our life-line. Our Accounting Department would be sunk without it.
Michelle: Wow! You can’t ask for a better endorsement than that! Thank you so much for your time Christine, and I hope you have a chance to check out success.adra.com soon!
Christine: I sure will! It was nice talking to you.