Expert Interview Series: Lew Visscher, CFO

Lew Visscher is the CFO for Catalyst Repository Systems in Denver, Colorado. He is also the founder of Lew’s List, a job board for over 11,000 finance and accounting professionals. With Lew’s List, he works with all kinds of organizations: small, large, public, private, nonprofit, across the entire gamut of companies.

Can you tell us about how you started Lew’s List?

Lew’s List is a job board with about 11,000 finance and accounting professionals in the front range of Colorado that I send 100 to 150 jobs a month to, ranging from bookkeeper to CFO and all the jobs in the middle. I started Lew’s List in 2003, totally by mistake. It was an attempt to start a networking group back in 2003 and getting people on a list that I would invite to a networking event, and a friend of mine asked me to send a controller opportunity out to that networking group. Fast forward almost 15 years, the list is now, like I said, 11,000 people and I send five, six jobs a day. I continue to add five to six people a day to the job board.

What benefit do you bring to your customers? Why do they trust you?

Catalyst customers really rely on our products and services to help them get through litigation to help them, again, find the documents that are relevant to their case. They also rely on Catalyst to help save them money. Document populations are going through the roof and so they can't afford to review all the documents and look at all the documents they have for litigation, so we have technology that helps them get to the right documents very quickly. As it relates to Lew’s List, I think it’s because I offer them a service. I give them candidates really quickly through Lew’s List, almost overnight. And if they're successful through Lew's List, their fee to find these find candidates, or find people, or find hires, is 10% or less of what they would normally pay a recruiter.

How do you know Shawn Windle and ERP Advisors Group?

I first became aware of ERP Advisors Group when I met Shawn Windle (Founder and Managing Principal) about 10 or 12 years ago. I believe Shawn had heard about my job board for financial professionals, called Lew's List. He invited me to come to breakfast with him and we just struck up a relationship and we've remained friends ever since.

Can you talk about the project that you did with ERP Advisors Group?

When our company embarked on evaluating a new accounting system in 2015, I reached out to Shawn and he gave me some advice. Ultimately, we chose NetSuite and thanks to assistance from ERP Advisors Group we were able to get a great deal for the software.

We chose to do most of the project ourselves with the help of an implementation partner who was also a referral from Shawn, and we couldn't have done it without them. We got through the project in about six weeks from start to finish, which was a little bit unheard of. We were outside the box in the way we implemented the new system. We decided not to go parallel with our existing system and we also let our people ignore their day jobs and really focus on the implementation. Those two things were really instrumental in allowing us to go live very rapidly, and Shawn advised us along the way.

Why do you like working with ERP Advisors Group?

ERP Advisors Group really understands the market that they’re in and the clients that they have. They’re very honest, high integrity people and frankly I really don't know of any other firm in Colorado that does what they do. They provide a valuable resource to our finance and accounting community as it relates to evaluating software, evaluating platforms, and understanding whether a company needs to have a change in their software or their systems.

What is it like working with ERP Advisors Group?

You know, they’re awesome. They’re very thoughtful. They follow up. They’re very quick to respond. And so people even comment back to me and they say, “Thanks so much for the referral to Shawn and his crew, they’ve been very, very helpful.” They’re very knowledgeable about enterprise software, and they’re also very knowledgeable about all the products that are out there, and all the other services companies that can help them implement if they need that or they can do that themselves.

Can you tell us one thing that everyone should know about working with EAG?

One unique thing about ERP Advisors Group, that I found very interesting, is that they have no direct affiliation with any of the vendors. They get no kickbacks from any of the vendors — unlike other consultants. They really focus on trying to provide companies with the right solution, not the one that lines their pockets.

What advice would you give someone currently shopping for a new ERP system?

I always ask them to call Shawn. I mean, Lew’s List members reach out frequently and to me personally, asking about systems and whether they should change systems. And I always refer them to Shawn and the ERP Advisors Group. I honestly don't even know who else to refer them to at this point. Shawn’s always been very very helpful.

People call me occasionally asking about changing their system and I’ll tell them Shawn’s line: “if you don’t need to switch, don't.” But if they do feel like they need to switch, I send them to ERP Advisors Group. The consultants at EAG are the best ones to help, they’re very practical and they understand business. They are very good about telling companies what they can and can’t, should and (most importantly) should not do. They’re very honest, and their integrity is really high in that regard.

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