Expert Interview Series: Karl Nicholls, CFO

Karl NMeet Karl Nicholls

Hi my name is Karl Nicholls. I'm a qualified accountant. I have my qualifications through the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in the UK.

I've worked in medical device and biotech companies for over 20 years and large multinational organizations and small revenue startup companies. So right now I'm Vice President of finance and special projects with a startup medical device company here in the Denver area and I also support other small organizations that are looking for experienced finance and accounting professionals to help them build processes and move their organizations forward. My customers trust me and I bring a lot of experience to the table because of my multinational experience and 20 years in the industry. When I hear what their issues are I feel like I can empathize with them and I can share some of the stories that are similar that I've experienced in my professional career and talk them through some of the solutions that we put in place. And I can work with them to build a plan that will help them get to the outcome that they're looking for and build a plan that they understand because it recognizes their needs and I can share similar experiences.

How do you know ERP Advisors Group and Shawn Windle?

So I know ERP Advisors Group because I went to one of Shawn's presentations down at the Crawford Hotel in Denver. I think it was called What To Do When You Outgrow your Accounting System. I heard about it through Lew's list and went to the presentation. Shawn gave a great explanation about how organizations grow and how they struggle with their ERP systems and what potential alternatives there may be. And he obviously had a great deal of experience, going through some of the anecdotes that he had, I could really tell that he knew a lot about ERP systems and how to replace them. I really appreciated his five key tips that he brings to the table during those presentations and I think the most important one is don't replace your ERP system if you don't need to. It's a very expensive, time consuming and disruptive project. So if you're able to optimize the current ERP system that you have, that's a better approach and one that ERP Advisors Group strongly encourages. However, they are also able to tell you if you do need to replace your ERP system. I then approached him afterwards and talked to him about his experiences and shared with him my experience as an end user and how important I felt it was to go through the right process and understanding what you need with the new ERP system and how you would go through the implementation.

Why do you work with ERP Advisors Group?

ERP Advisors Group brings a vast amount of experience in this field. You know, I think there are very few organizations that actually have the internal skill sets and experiences to perform one ERP implementation let alone the many dozens or hundreds of implementations that Shawn and his team have brought to the table. Shawn has been in this industry now for many years and he and his team are very dedicated to making sure that your implementation is successful and his team is very knowledgeable. They've experienced many different types of applications. They've worked with many companies in many different industries and I would say that Shawn and his team have probably seen it all.

What is like working with ERP Advisors?

So Bringing in ERP Advisors onto your project I think is really important because they do bring all of that experience to your very particular implementation. As I mentioned it's very unusual to have that internal experience. Plus ERP Advisors bring a very well-defined process for determining what your needs are, identifying your pain points so that when you come to make a selection. You're able to really identify the final product that fits your needs the best. They're able to speak with the executive leadership team to understand the strategy of the organization and what current issues they're facing. They speak with all of the departments within the organization and all levels within that department to understand what the pain points are with the current system. And by collating all of that together, they're able to determine whether or not you can optimize your current system or if you need to seek out a new ERP system. So that's their needs analysis. Once they perform the needs analysis and completed it they're able to take you through a selection process, using their current knowledge of applications that are out there, they would narrow down the available applications to a shortlist. Then working with you they would build a list of requirements that you need for your company and take those to that short list of software vendors. Then they asked for those vendors to actually demonstrate the product to you based upon your very specific requirements. So you're able to see how that software application addresses your particular needs. You don't listen to the software company present to you a very slick sales presentation that shows all the bells and whistles of the application that might not be applicable to your organization. So they're then able to walk you through the demonstrations, talk to you about what you liked and what you didn't like about the various applications and then narrow it down to the final application of choice or the final two applications of choice. Then they would work with you on discussing the contract and the pricing for that application. And based on their experience they know what a good price on a good contract would be for you. And that's really important. And then afterwards, Shawn's implementation experience can make sure that he can be the bridge between you and your organization and your needs and what the software company is trying to accomplish when they work through the implementation with you. If necessary when you come to issues in the implementation, and my experience says that there will be issues along the way, if you're not getting the right kind of responses from your software implementation partner, ERP Advisors Group are able to escalate those situations to more senior folks within the software company to make sure that the right level of resources are applied to your project.

What's the best part about working with Shawn and his team?

I'm very happy to refer people to ERP Advisors Group. I was fortunate enough to spend many months working with Shawn directly on a number of projects, across the country in several different industries and I really appreciated Shawn's integrity and the integrity of his team and the fact that they truly are dedicated to making sure that your implementation is successful. ERP implementations are very stressful and they're very disruptive so it's really nice to have someone championing your cause with the software company and making sure that your product is a success and that experience is really important.