Share this content

Finance system to track 1,000s of events?

Need advice on best finance system to report P&Ls for thousands of small events?

Didn't find your answer?

I work for a start up business with no existing accounting/finance system that owns small music venues and promotes music events/etc. The crucial reporting for our business is the ability to individually track revenues and expenses for the thousands of events a year that will run through our venues (i.e. I need to be able to run profit and loss statements for thousands of small "projects"). I have been looking into cloud based systems such as Xero and Quickbooks, but it appears that although I would be able to track some events using "dimensions" or "tags" or "tracking" there is a cap of either 100 or 300 "projects". Our business is still a startup and can't afford a full blown ERP, so is anyone aware of a workaround or any reasonably priced cloud based finance system that may be able to report the information my business needs? Thanks in advance!

Replies (25)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

cd
By Chris Downing
26th Feb 2021 22:44

Hi, Sage Intacct maybe a candidate to look at: https://www.sage.com/en-gb/sage-business-cloud/intacct/

Thanks (1)
Replying to Chris Downing:
avatar
By jmcgregor34
27th Feb 2021 15:04

Thanks Chris, I'm going to set up a demo with them! I'm just worried about the limited integration abilities with Sage, but hopefully they will prove me wrong!

Thanks (0)
Replying to jmcgregor34:
cd
By Chris Downing
27th Feb 2021 21:33

Don't go worrying about integrations... Sage Intacct has it's own marketplace and sits in the top right-hand corner of the Gartner quadrant.

It was built for the purpose of multi-dimension reporting in the cloud

If you need any further assistance just drop me a line

[email protected]

Thanks (1)
avatar
By JKnight
27th Feb 2021 09:25

Maybe look at Xero’s separate Projects module? It is not limited in the number of options in same way Tracking Categories are.

Thanks (1)
Replying to JKnight:
avatar
By jmcgregor34
27th Feb 2021 13:54

Interesting, I thought there was a limit on the number of projects you could create under Xero Projects, but if there is not that may do the trick. Thank you!

Thanks (0)
Routemaster image
By tom123
27th Feb 2021 12:29

Presumably not more than 300 concurrent projects?
Could you use the 'project' tags in rotation?
And, presumably, need to keep a register somewhere of which project was on which tag

Thanks (0)
Replying to tom123:
avatar
By jmcgregor34
27th Feb 2021 13:49

Thanks Tom, unfortunately we could have up to 1,000 concurrent "projects" (i.e. concerts) at any one time given the number of venues my business operates, so I'm not sure using them in rotation would work. It's unfortunate that Xero doesn't allow a free-form tag option as in past companies we've just used a unique reference (i.e. the date of concert and name of the artist) to track individual profitability. Apparently Xero doesn't allow this given the 300 max trackers?

Thanks (0)
Replying to jmcgregor34:
avatar
By Hugo Fair
27th Feb 2021 14:24

Impressive.
"I work for a start up business with no existing accounting/finance system" and yet "we could have up to 1,000 concurrent projects (i.e. concerts) at any one time given the number of venues my business operates."
I presume concurrent refers to the period during which costs & revenues occur for each concert but that overlap the similar period for other concerts? Nevertheless that's a lot of concerts p.a.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
avatar
By jmcgregor34
27th Feb 2021 14:37

Hi Hugo, yes that's correct. Basically, the business is under redevelopment at the moment. It was traditionally just a single venue with 200-300 shows a year. Following redevelopment, it will be 4-5 venues under one roof with hundreds of (mainly small) concerts under one roof and therefore costs and revenues will overlap trading periods for other concerts. Hence, the overall amounts could be small, but the volume will be high. I'm racking my brain about how to go about tracking individual performance whilst still being nimble enough with a cloud-system like Xero or Quickbooks that, shall we say, plays well with other systems (EPOS, payment gateway, CRM, etc).

Thanks (0)
avatar
By WhichTyler
27th Feb 2021 14:28

What are you using for ticketing? I suspect that the ability to integrate information from that into your accounting system will be a key criterion

Also: owning several venues and thousands of events (plus bars etc) doesn't sound that small to me (probably millions in revenue), so be prepared to invest in a decent system (the owners have invested in the venues so they aren't that hard up...).

One bad VAT inspection could wreck you so make sure your systems are watertight

Thanks (1)
Replying to WhichTyler:
avatar
By WhichTyler
27th Feb 2021 14:38

But congratulations on bringing back live music. Good luck...

Thanks (2)
Replying to WhichTyler:
avatar
By jmcgregor34
27th Feb 2021 14:47

Ticketing: it will be multiple agencies (Ticketmaster/AXS/Dice/etc) so traditionally we end up having to download everything into Excel, reformat into an invoice upload, and import. I'm not aware of any ticketing systems that have a direct API into any accounting system, but if you are aware of one, I'd be most interested!

Yeah, the business is a start-up in the sense that there are no legacy systems so we are starting from scratch. I find the middle ground ERP systems quite clunky and not always great with integrating into multiple other systems like EPOS, CRM, etc, so have been trying to find if Xero or Quickbooks/etc would work as they seem to integrate with all of the major systems quite well. Maybe they won't work for us, and that's fine, but before we committed to anything I wanted to see if anyone had any insight on this topic as it's really the only hurdle I'm facing at the moment.

Thanks (0)
Replying to jmcgregor34:
avatar
By WhichTyler
27th Feb 2021 15:04

MS Business Central/Dynamics Finance is SaaS so not too expensive up front (though needs planning/configuration), very flexible for account/project structure, plays nicely with other MS systems, some 3rd party add-ins

https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-gb/business-central/overview/

Thanks (1)
Replying to WhichTyler:
avatar
By jmcgregor34
27th Feb 2021 15:19

Thanks! This looks really interesting as well as it definitely seems it would solve my reporting concerns and hopefully integrates with the 3rd party apps our business is looking at for other non-finance systems.

Thanks (0)
Routemaster image
By tom123
27th Feb 2021 14:34

Getting to sound like quite a big business - so maybe a vanilla system like Xero isn't really for you..

Thanks (0)
Replying to tom123:
avatar
By jmcgregor34
27th Feb 2021 14:55

Hopefully it will eventually be a big business, ha! I know with the add-ons for Xero/Quickbooks you can scale up quite easily and to be honest the business isn't complex, it's just relatively high volume (like any retail/bar/etc) and the ability for the accounting software to easily integrate with other major EPOS, CRM, etc systems easily is a key feature. I've found that without massive investment, getting a full ERP finance system to integrate with 5-10 other systems is nearly impossible. Xero and Quickbooks can in most cases, hence the desire to figure out if I can crack this last reporting issue and Xero/Quickbooks actually does neatly handle everything else for us.

Sage Intacct does look interesting, although it doesn't seem to integrate with nearly as many systems as Xero/Quickbooks does?

Thanks (0)
avatar
By jonathan.kempson
27th Feb 2021 14:50

Given that you're running 1000s of events per year it sounds as if you are well out of the traps as a start up ...

In terms of longer standing Sage products:
* Sage 50 has a projects module that will support 1000s of projects (depending on how many cost and revenue categories you have).
* Sage 200 Standard has transaction analysis codes that would allow you to tag transactions with a project code, and comfortably support 1000s of projects
* Sage 200 Professional may well be more than you want to pay, but it has a couple of project accounting / job costing options and alternatively could use costs centres and/or departments for your projects reporting

I suspect there are additional factors that will determine the suitability or otherwise of any product, such as:
* how you quickly get to active projects during data entry (possibly just well designed project codes?)
* the reporting process (1000s of projects is a lot to work with)
* whether project p&l reporting is only at project level or you also need aggregate views (eg per venue, if you run multiple events at each venue)
* managing the setup and lifecycle of projects

Thanks (1)
Replying to jonathan.kempson:
avatar
By jmcgregor34
27th Feb 2021 15:01

Thanks Jonathan, this is very helpful! I will definitely need to check out Sage 200, as you are right, really the only thing I need a free-form project code and run a P&L off of it. It's by far the easiest way to do it, but given the Xero/Quickbooks don't offer a free-form tag/tracker and limit you on how many tags you can use, I may need to look at the higher versions of Sage (even though I've heard Sage isn't great at integrating with other systems as well as Xero & Quickbooks is, which is the main reason I've been a little hesitant to really search them out). Hopefully Sage's new cloud platform can prove me wrong though!

Thanks (0)
Replying to jmcgregor34:
avatar
By johnt27
01st Mar 2021 12:07

Sage 200c has limited integrations, although it does have a legacy (non-official) marketplace of developers who support connections to various apps. You're much better spending your money on Intacct if a cloud based, connected system is of interest. It's only been under the Sage umbrella for a couple of years and it's significant market presence was the USA, so you may struggle to find decent UK based integrations.

Also, don't bother with the Dynamics 365 recommendation. It does integrate with other MS products buts that the only good thing about it.

Given your need for tracking at volume I'd take a look at iplicit, xledger and AccountsIQ. These are good cloud based products with decent integrations and open APIs so you can connect pretty much anything. However, if your accounting needs are relatively straight forward I think you could make this work with Xero and connected apps.

Thanks (1)
Replying to johnt27:
avatar
By jmcgregor34
01st Mar 2021 12:43

Thanks so much John, these are some terrific points! Very insightful and helpful! I am going to see if the Xero + connected apps can do the trick, and if not then I will look into the other open API products you have suggested along with Sage.

Thanks (0)
Routemaster image
By tom123
01st Mar 2021 12:48

I use Sage 200, in a different sector.
My version is 'on premise' although there may be other versions.

I like it as an accounting system - more than Sage 50 for example.

But - not really sure about volume, we are higher value lower volume here.

Thanks (1)
Pile of Stones
By Beach Accountancy
03rd Mar 2021 09:18

In a previous life, we used Netsuite. From memory it was possible to use one of the fields to store project numbers, and then report on them. Probably way too expensive though...

Thanks (1)
avatar
By Klandrews
03rd Mar 2021 10:17

There are plenty of systems out there to look at - but I would always start with those which are winning awards with AccountingWeb! There are many newcomers in the last few years which are all cloud-based and designed to integrate with anything so it's worth doing some research. It sounds as though investment now in the right system will pay back later, or you could end up in a right old mess, so making sure you have the right software in place might be worth investing a little more than you had originally imagined.

Some names to look at - iplicit, Xledger, AccountsIQ, Dynamics Business Central, Sage Intaact

Good luck!

Thanks (1)
avatar
By markkhollingworth
04th Mar 2021 10:51

If you wanted to have a look at AccountsIQ, we'd gladly show you the solution. Or there is a pre-recorded demo here: https://vimeo.com/481289359/aba2413f31 You can track unlimited projects in AIQ and we have many businesses with large transaction volumes. If you wanted to integrate other systems such as cvent for managing events, we've got an integration that's up and running. I hope this helps, just let me know if you would like further info!

Thanks (1)
avatar
By davidpforster
07th Mar 2021 10:13

Hi,
Take a look at the award winning iplicit, it has the ablity to have P&L's by project. A true cloud solution running on the Azure platform.
Happy to discuss further, [email protected]

Thanks (0)
Share this content