Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

How the Cloud Helps SMBs Think Big

Lynne Sampson
Managing Editor

Sometimes, you just gotta go big. Really big.

That’s the approach behind CREDO Mobile’s thinking. This wireless carrier has less than a hundred employees and about 150 contractors. Yet they manage the smartphone service of more than 100,000 customers—and that’s not all.

True to the “creed” in its name, CREDO supports the political causes of nearly 5 million activists, by directing a percentage of the company’s revenues to progressive causes.

And thinking big extends beyond the company’s mission statement, as my colleague Carrie Massey recently wrote in this Forbes article.

Next year, new accounting standards will change how all companies—big or small—recognize revenue. The problem is, the regulations were drafted with large companies in mind. Big companies have the accounting staff and resources to comply. Smaller companies usually don’t.

What’s a small to medium business to do?

Answer: look to the cloud.

How to Comply with ASC 606 / IFRS 15

The new regulations, collectively known as ASC 606 / IFRS 15, are complicated. (My finance colleagues have written about them a lot recently.) Suffice to say, changing any existing, on-premises finance systems to comply with the new rules would be a long and expensive project.

By implementing Oracle Revenue Management Cloud (part of the Oracle ERP Cloud suite), CREDO will be fully compliant with the new standards more than a year ahead of schedule, according to controller Brian McHugh.

Oracle ERP Cloud will “keep track of a very large number of contracts and manage the changes to those contracts and accounting on the back end, which will almost seamlessly change our revenue reporting,” McHugh said.

Oracle Revenue Management Cloud will automate revenue reporting to conform to the new standards, and it will ensure CREDO’s sales fall into the proper accounting buckets and still tie out to billing.

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Proper allocation helps CREDO overcome a challenge faced by the mobile services industry: differentiating between equipment revenues and service revenues. Mobile providers often bundle together a free phone (equipment) with a multi-year contract (service). Customers only see a single charge on their bill—the monthly service fee. But under ASC606, CREDO must recognize each category of revenue separately.

Oracle Revenue Management Cloud can account for all the necessary rules and calculations—making the allocation simple, automatic, and accurate.

Profit in Support of Worthy Causes

CREDO Mobile has been in business for 31 years, and has given more than $81 million to progressive causes. Customers can nominate a non-profit organization to receive funds from the company. CREDO reviews the nominees and narrows them down to a list of three candidates per month; customers vote on the candidates, and the winner receives the allocated money.

“By purchasing mobile phone products and services from CREDO, customers help fund our donations to progressive nonprofit organizations and have a say in how the funding—more than $2 million given away in 2016—is allocated,” McHugh says.

With Oracle ERP Cloud, CREDO hopes to make its finance operations as efficient as possible, keeping costs down and maximizing margins. McHugh is eager to put the cloud to work, “to help maximize the funding that flows to the company’s progressive causes.”

McHugh also hopes that by automating routine finance tasks, the company can free up employees’ time to focus on more high-value activities.

“If you look at most organizations, employees spend a disproportionate amount of time on transaction processing and reporting—that may consume as much as 95% of people’s time—leaving only 5% for real decision-making,” he said. McHugh is hopeful that automation in the cloud can flip that ratio, “leaving more time to support planning and anticipate the needs of customers.”

With more time for planning and looking ahead, CREDO can identify new business opportunities to keep growing—and donate more of its profits. The unlimited scalability and continuous updates of Oracle Cloud ensure that growth will never be limited by technology. It will “make scaling easier, in any direction you want to do it.”

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