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On the Samepage… with Alan Hughes

March 24, 2014

Imagine having to manage millions of transactions that involve: money coming in and going out, hundreds of budgets, employee expense reports, payroll, and hiring — all over the world, every month, every year. Now add on different financial regulations, labor laws, languages, and cultural expectations. Is your head spinning yet? Amazingly enough, that’s what Alan Hughes, Chief Financial Officer of Kerio is faced with every single day. And he’s been doing it, masterfully, for 11 years. Headquartered in London, Alan manages a team of financial folks from California to Moscow — speaking two flavors of English, plus German, Czech, and Russian. As part of the executive management team, he protects Kerio’s future by keeping its money flowing to and from wherever it needs to go, ensuring all Kerio’s finances are accurate and that its processes and reporting are compliant, despite the complexities of multiple countries’ regulations.Staying connected with the teamAlan says that he uses two methods to stay in touch with his team: a monthly conference call and Samepage. "The conference call helps our team bond and it’s extremely efficient because we can make decisions more quickly thanks to Samepage," states Alan, "Using Samepage as a central repository for relevant documents and comments means no more version madness, no more chasing people for what they said or did, no more wondering how we did what we did. It’s all in Samepage." Finance is responsible for reconciling monies between different departments and divisions within Kerio. From sales transactions to expenses, everything needs to be “buttoned up” so that all parties agree on the amounts, the dates and what was earned or spent. With Samepage, reconciliations happen faster and more efficiently because of real-time collaboration. "Before Samepage, there was no easy way for me to find out what was happening. Because most day-to-day work was done over email, the chances of me either being in that email thread or reading every email I got was slim to none," smiles Alan. "Using Samepage, if I want to find the October monthly report showing the Engineering Department's actual expenditures against its budget, it takes only a few seconds."Efficient budget management and reconciliationKerio does twice-yearly budgeting with a significant number of budget owners – all of whom contribute to it. Having one central location for the budget information means Alan and his team can invite the budget owners to a specified home page where they find timetables, resources, and files. Says Alan, "It’s an ideal way to get everyone on board, fast. There’s nowhere else to go. It simplifies and streamlines processes. We don’t spend time worrying who’s got what or where it is. It’s all on Samepage." "And with commenting, we’re spared the formality and need for chit-chat that happens in email. A comment is a comment. It’s direct, to the point and blissfully short, so we save lots of time," says Alan. "It also means when someone scans their comment feed, and clicks on a comment, it takes them to the exact part of the discussion on that page and, if there’s a document, image or other resource in the comment, it’s right there! No more searching. That’s a huge benefit because we build enormous pages — Samepage makes us extraordinarily productive. In fact, we rarely use email any more."The auditors love itKerio Finance uses Samepage extensively with outside parties, e.g. auditors. Auditors need to get information from all over the world from the hundreds of documents they need to perform an audit. With Samepage, the auditors have one central resource with all the files and data they need that have been uploaded by each of Kerio’s finance teams. They can download whatever they need into their own private files. And since referring to past year's audit is often an important part of the process, with Samepage they can instantly access the previous year's audit materials in seconds! The auditors aren’t getting dozens of emails from all over the world – and Kerio doesn’t need to store duplicate files all over the world – because they’re all in one place.The team of nine"We’re able to do all this work with only 9 finance people around the world because we’re so efficient," declares Alan. "And that efficiency is due to Samepage. In fact, I can’t imagine how we could manage Kerio’s financial operation without it."