Upgrading from Quickbooks to Sage Intacct | Alaska Seaplanes

Upgrading from Quickbooks to Sage Intacct Saves Airline Company 1,000 Hours In Manual Data Entry

Alaska Seaplanes is a premier commuter airline company that has been serving the Southeastern Alaska region since 1997. In 2011, the company began expanding into the wheel plane market through its acquisition of Air Excursions. In the eight years that followed, Alaska Seaplanes experienced an astounding 275% growth in its plane fleet, while adding 11 new community destinations and an international one in Canada.

Alaska Seaplanes’ commitment to its business lines, and ability to adapt to new changes, has been key to driving growth. “We’re like the town bus. We bring groceries, mail and provide a way for these local southeastern Alaskan communities to live in a way they wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” says Jodi Garza, Chief Administrative Officer of Alaska Seaplanes.


Intuit Quickbooks Enterprise Limitations

Inability to track and analyze granular data points

Performing data analysis and tracking custom KPIs in Quickbooks Enterprise was not only extremely complex, but practically impossible. “Even the data we were putting in on a daily basis… we couldn’t easily pull it out, measure it, or track it. It was very hard to get the data we wanted, when we wanted it,” says Jodi. 

The more business lines that Seaplanes added, the more difficult it became for accounting and finance team members to keep track of data in Quickbooks as well. “One small change could cause a chain reaction that would generate fatal errors in the system,” says Jodi.

“One small change in Quickbooks could cause a chain reaction that would generate fatal errors in the system.”

Jodi Garza, CAO Alaska Seaplanes

Time-consuming maintenance of revenue and cash schedules punishes growth

Seaplanes utilizes a reservation software that populates all revenue and cash that has been collected on a daily basis. Unfortunately, Quickbooks Enterprise did not provide API to allow seamless importing of this data. As a result, accounting and finance team members would resort to manually keying-in GL codes and amounts... 360 days per year.

Major system breakdown resulting in corrupted and inaccurate balance sheet report

The Quickbooks Enterprise ecosystem was extremely limited with respect to its ability to handle larger file sizes and growing data needs. At one point in particular, a simple balance report request led to a fatal error in the system. “We were pulling balance sheets, and Quickbooks wasn’t able to pull a balance sheet without sending us an error saying it was out of balance,” says Jodi.


Sockeye Sage Intacct Consulting: Upgrading from Quickbooks Enterprise

After the system breakdown that Seaplanes experienced, the decision was made to begin evaluating different ERP solutions.

“Our experience with Sockeye was completely different than what we’ve had with any other company. We actually had 2 or 3 meetings with Eric [Ward, President of Sockeye] and Nick before even deciding to go with them… Nick and Eric were excited, into it, and eager to accept the challenge. It was a really easy decision to make when you tally up a Sage and Sockeye combination”, says Jodi.

As a result, Alaska Seaplanes, with the full support and oversight of Sockeye, became an airline technology leader with their upgrade to Sage Intacct.


Sockeye Sage Intacct: Automation and Reconciliation

Alaska Seaplanes went live with Sage Intacct on May 1, 2019. According to Jodi, “It seemed like it was too easy. We made a few tweaks along the way, which Sockeye was right there to help with… but we went live without any issues.”

While Sage Intacct has provided instant flexibility and automation capabilities out-of-the-box, the Sockeye team has taken it to the next level through the development of several custom reporting and importing tools for Seaplanes.

Automated revenue processing and data reconciliation

Gone are the days when the Seaplanes accounting team has to manually key in GL codes and amounts. Now, it’s all automated with a tool that can import the data directly from their reservation software, saving their payroll employee about 10-12 hours a week.

Likewise, tracking mail service route data to improve efficiencies has been a major priority. The Sockeye team worked hand-in-hand with Seaplanes to develop a bespoke mail data tracking tool that automates the entire reconciliation process for all 11 mail routes.

Customizable information tracking and dashboards

“Tracking vital statistical information in Quickbooks Enterprise meant having to marry up data in different excel sheets outside of the software, or in other systems altogether,” says Jodi. Now, with Sage Intacct, the Seaplanes team is able to manage it seamlessly through the consolidated reporting feature. 

With Sage Intacct’s Dashboards feature, Jodi also gets instant insights into the company’s cash management. As soon as she logs in, her Dashboard shows her cash posted, and provides an alert when money needs to be transferred or a deposit made. “Before, with Quickbooks, I had to pull reports and do analysis. Now it takes me zero time.”

Reporting at the granular level drives profitability

One of the premier innovative solutions created by Sockeye and delivered through Sage Intacct, has been granular profitability reporting using allocations. “Something we’ve never been able to do, but always had in our strategic plan, is being able to know our profitability by route. It’s huge for us,” says Jodi.

Jodi notes, “We’re now able to marry up our statistical data, including the pilot that was on the flight, and apply a rate to that flight, the gallons of fuel in the aircraft, the type of aircraft, as well as tracking number of hours an aircraft is flying, Hobbs hours (time the plane is running), number of segments, seats, gallons of fuel, pounds of mail hauled, and more. None of this was possible with Quickbooks.”

Sockeye’s commitment to continuous improvement: the Seaplanes customer success plan

Through its novel “Sockeye-as-a-service” approach to doing business, the objective of continuous and steady improvement creates a more equitable relationship between client and vendor. 

“From our standpoint, we like to look at Seaplanes as an idea of continuous improvement and looking for new information and new ways to help. It’s always looking at how we can help them next, and asking those questions that they’re already thinking about,” says Eric. The mechanism through which this improvement is realized is the client’s success plan, which outlines the short, mid, and long-term goals the client is focused on achieving.

“We meet bi-weekly but we can email and discuss at any time, which we do. They’re super flexible and open to any idea. And the software itself is very customizable, just like Sockeye. Anything and everything you can do under the sun, the options are pretty near endless,” says Jodi.

Want more? 

Read Sockeye's case study to learn more about how upgrading from Quickbooks to Sage Intacct saved Alaska Seaplanes 1,000 hours In manual data entry. View, print, or share the PDF below.

Alaskan Seaplanes Case Study PDF