Lulu’s Chico, California
Founded in 1996 as a mother-daughter dream, Lulu*s started as a single brick and mortar store in Chico, California. Their vision: to meet the needs of customers looking for high quality, fashionably hip—yet affordable—clothes and accessories. Since the company began selling its inventory online in 2006 (eventually closing its physical storefront), it has experienced tremendous growth—about 50% year-over-year for the last two years. Lulu*s now employs approximately 150 people from the local community.
According to Lulu*s Chief Financial Officer Mark Sargent, while that evolution of growth is something most companies only dream of, the challenges of accommodating it administratively and operationally can be a nightmare.
The Problem: Accounting That Couldn’t Keep Up
In July 2014, Lulu*s brought a private equity partner onboard to further grow the business. That immediately required a change in how the company’s financials needed to be reported.
“We needed to recast all of our 2014 accounting records from a cash basis to an accrual basis,” explains Sargent. “When I started working with Lulu*s in August 2014, they had been using Quickbooks. We needed an accounting solution that could deftly handle the enormous task ahead of us. And we needed to have it implemented within a four- to six-week time frame.”
With the pressure on and lots of work ahead, Sargent reached out to Cargas Systems.
Problem Solved: Intacct Cloud Business Accounting Software and Cargas Expertise
At a company he previously worked for, Sargent had worked with Cargas on a large-scale transition similar to what Lulu*s faced.
“With confidence in Cargas Systems’ capabilities, I didn’t hesitate to contact them again for the task ahead of Lulu*s,” says Sargent.
According to Sargent, the Cargas team would have had the solution implemented within four weeks, but other circumstances stretched the project to six weeks—still meeting Lulu*s deadline.
“Having been through a conversion like this before, I appreciated how Cargas recognized what elements of the project I could handle on my own while they put their efforts where they needed to be to push the project forward,” explains Sargent. “I admired that they stayed in step with me and managed the process fluidly.”
Benefits They Can Count On
With the Intacct solution from Cargas, Lulu*s can now not only meet all financial reporting requirements, they’ve also improved the accuracy of their data and eliminated piles of paperwork. According to Sargent, they previously had to deal with disparate systems for managing online payments, maintaining vendor information, and financial reporting. Now it’s all in one central place, which has enabled them to create—and track company performance against—an annual budget.
“I now have daily cash flow reports that allow me to monitor the business’s performance more closely. The solution has given us cash management capabilities we didn’t have before,” shares Sargent.
Having gone through implementations of monster accounting systems in the past, Sargent typically found he had to drag solutions providers along. But Cargas adjusted its activity to match his tempo.
“They demonstrated flexibility, versatility, and teamwork,” describes Sargent. “And they brought a selection of possibilities, candidly sharing pros and cons of different approaches within their solution. With Cargas, you get a tailored approach specific to your company and implementation that accommodates how you operate through the process.”