Meet the Fourlane Partners: Alisha Raesz
Alisha Raesz, a partner at Fourlane, works with customers in the wholesale and manufacturing industries, providing managed services to help companies streamline their operations and meet bottom-line goals.
Q: At Fourlane, you spearhead a team that helps bring client solutions through Acumatica, QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Enterprise. Describe how these make a diﬀerence for your clients, and how your experience plays a key role in the process.
Alisha: I’ve been able to use my experience working in manufacturing, and combine it with the Fourlane proven processes, to set up workﬂows for my clients that get them what they need to make business decisions and take care of the software. A lot of times, clients are not tying the real-life workﬂow to the system, and that causes problems, such as getting reliable reports and current balances.
Having a system in real time, and being able to see where projects and your business is at any point in time, is unbelievably powerful when an owner is trying to take the next step in their business. Having clients move into Acumatica has been very eye-opening and incredible to see ﬁrsthand, because these companies are truly taking their business to the next level. No longer being held back by system limitations is truly improving everything for them. With COVID-19, my Acumatica clients were able to work from home, with little to no change in their business day. My QuickBooks clients were able to make it through this unexpected transition with the support of their Fourlane team. That’s very powerful to see.
Q: At Fourlane, you created the mentor program, which has made a big diﬀerence for the Fourlane team. What is the mentor program all about?
Alisha: The Fourlane Mentor Program is a platform for our employees – regardless of what department they work in – to be mentored in the areas that they feel are important to them. It is an opportunity for them to work on things personally or professionally as they see ﬁt. Fourlane is providing the opportunity for all employees to be paired with other employees who have volunteered their time to be mentors. Mentors and mentees are paired together for a six-month period to build their relationships and develop skills to improve on the areas of focus.
Everything in this program is outside of company time, and gives employees the freedom to work freely together.
Q: Based on your experience at Fourlane, what are the biggest concerns your clients are facing right now?
Alisha: My clients are facing lots of diﬀerent things at the moment. With COVID, some companies are growing so fast that they just can’t keep up with the demand. Because using QuickBooks has its limitations, they are either having to start new ﬁles or condense their ﬁles. I also have clients that are having to reduce their workforce and share responsibilities because of this, and are needing our help for an interim, until they can get caught up or replace people.
With some of my clients, they are having to switch gears to online purchasing and learn all about how to set up and manage automation of entries, from online stores to QuickBooks and Acumatica. We are helping with training and setting up automation of entries by making modiﬁcations to their workﬂows. Some recent clients have had to layoﬀ and then rehire, but end up hiring people that have little to no experience with QuickBooks, so we have a lot of training and cleanup projects going on as well.
Q4 is normally a busy season for most companies, because they are trying to ﬁgure out how to get everything accomplished with the new normal they are dealing with, which can vary from company to company. Cost savings is always a focus, but especially for companies right now, in hopes that busy season is going to bring in sales.
Q: What tips do you have for supply chain disruptions right now?
Alisha: Take preventative measures now to ensure that you are able to come out of the next disruption without a scratch. Get into the right system. Redesign, and possibly even automate, some of your workﬂows. Clean up and maintain accurate data to make better business decisions. These are the things that we help clients with on a daily basis, and I am relieved and proud to say that most of our clients’ businesses are able to function as usual during this pandemic.
In addition, take a look at your inbound and outbound cost. Does it make sense to use your suppliers’ vendors, or does it beneﬁt you to use your own suppliers, eliminating the markup? Most companies get discounts based on transaction volume. Look into cutting back on the number of suppliers, and identify the supplier with the greatest savings impact and switch gears to use them more. Most of the time, we have things in place, and if it works, we choose to not ﬁx it – like the saying goes, if it’s not broke, don’t ﬁx it. But, if it is costing your business more money, can you say that it’s not broke?
Q: What are some of the biggest ﬁnancial concerns regarding worker safety, and what’s your advice for addressing them?
Alisha: When COVID ﬁrst hit, I was talking to clients about purchasing safety gear, and even ﬁnding websites and other resources for them to purchase masks and cleaning supplies. I was trying to help them as much as I could, so that they could stay open and run their business. Listening to owners trying to ensure their workers could still get paid and have jobs is hard to do when you can’t help them.
One of the things I have done is assure them that we are here for them, whenever they need us. In regard to the changes in safety protocol, I have recommended my clients ﬁnd several suppliers to purchase from, and to take full advantage of the promotions and discounts, regardless of the supplier. We never know when another shortage will come, so this area has to be a constant focus now more than ever. Bulk purchasing usually provides the cheapest per unit cost, but overordering means less cash to manage the business with.
Now is the time to take a look at everything ﬁnancially, including identifying cost savings by reviewing annual subscriptions and monthly auto renewals, taking advantage of available credits with suppliers, and cutting back on oﬃce luxuries to ensure all employees have a safe working environment. If this isn’t a focus and employees do get sick, think about the revenue lost as the alternative.
Q: What would you say is the best part about your job?
Alisha: I enjoy working with people and helping them internally and externally. It’s amazing to start with a client issue that is causing them problems and solve it, and then see how excited and grateful they are for that. At Fourlane, we will work together on all fronts to ensure we can always provide a solution.
Q: When you’re not working, what are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?
Alisha: My favorite way to spend time outside of work is with my 8-year-old son. When we aren’t at a game or practice, we spend as much time outside as we can – riding bikes, jogging, playing sports, traveling, and more.