How NetSuite Helps Life Sciences Finance Teams Offset Labor Gaps

Accelerated demand for life sciences products is a key cause of the hiring market in that industry turning turbulent. And thanks to COVID-19 transforming the way many work, employees have been hopping from one workplace to another in what is often referred to as the Great Resignation. Now that the economy is slowing, however, employees aren’t as eager to accept new opportunities, which has resulted in an even more tumultuous hunt for qualified talent in the life sciences industry.

Randstand Sourceright reported that it takes roughly 105 days for life sciences companies to fill non-executive roles, often resulting in losses of $500 or more per day. In addition to this, MassBioEd’s 2021 Life Sciences Employment Outlook predicted that the life sciences industry will need to hire thousands of new workers by 2024.

New life sciences businesses have unique financial demands and processes. They must work within a minimal budget, manage expenditures for outsourced clinical trials, and juggle stringent compliance regulations. While the need for engineers and scientists fluctuates with development, filling the roles behind the scenes with skilled financial employees is a constant struggle. There is simply too much to do and too few workers to meet expectations.

One answer for many businesses is adopting and making the most of operational and accounting software to streamline workflows, automate manual tasks, simplify auditing, and improve finance functions. With the help of a robust and customizable ERP like NetSuite, life sciences companies can worry less about talent gaps and focus more on the life-saving work that matters most.

Here are areas where the right technology solution can mitigate talent shortages in the accounting and finance department.

Process Automation

Administrative tasks take time and resources your team could otherwise spend on more important strategic projects. For instance, consider all the steps required to request approval for a purchase. A finance team member may begin the process by emailing an approval request to a manager. That manager would then have to download the approval letter, print it out, sign it, scan it back into the computer system, and send it back.

An ERP system like NetSuite can automate these processes, so your team doesn’t have to worry about wasting time on manual administrative work.

Purchase approval is just one example. With NetSuite, life sciences companies can take advantage of automation for various workflows, including data entry, vendor study management (including accounting), purchasing, approvals, etc. Automation reduces the time employees must spend on repetitive administrative tasks, improves uniformity, and reduces the risk of human error.

Auditing and Compliance

Companies in life sciences must operate within particular regulatory requirements. Often, this involves third-party audits. Unfortunately, keeping track of finances in QuickBooks, Excel and other programs, often in parallel, is time-consuming and can result in unexpected accounting errors. If an employee inputs the wrong figure or makes a mistake before an audit, companies may be left scrambling to find the source of the issue and correct it.

NetSuite not only automates common accounting workflows, but it also tracks changes. Everything that happens within NetSuite is auditable, so businesses can quickly identify inconsistencies, keep figures up to date in real-time, and provide auditors with rock-solid reports. Automation and tracking enable companies to maintain high levels of accuracy and integrity, even with fewer employees.

Greater Oversight

ERP systems make it easier to track what is happening across your organization. With real-time insights, you will gain greater visibility at every stage of development, including spending, purchase orders, vendor progress and others.

With NetSuite, your executive team won’t have to wait for reports to be sent to them. Instead, they will have the ability to see everything in a single dashboard. This not only makes it easier for employees in your financial department to stay up to date, but it will improve cross-departmental collaboration and ease the burden on your team.

Applications Across Departments

NetSuite can help your finance employees be more proactive, productive and efficient, even with fewer members on the team. However, the benefits don’t stop there. Robust ERP systems like NetSuite have practical applications in other departments, too, reducing the burden of the talent shortage. This includes:

  • C-Suite: NetSuite provides C-Suite executives with a holistic insight into their organization, improving visibility, and helping them identify opportunities for future funding, make data-driven decisions, and create a more attractive business case for potential investors.
  • IT: Because NetSuite is on the cloud, in-house IT teams won’t have to deal with outdated technology, worry about data integrity, or maintain on-premise infrastructure. Instead, IT teams will have the time to focus on other, more important projects.
  • Research & Development: With NetSuite, your R&D team can stay on task and always have what they need, when they need it with automated data entry and streamlined PO approvals.

What Does Implementation Look Like?

While the benefits of the right technology solution can be great – offsetting the negative impacts of being short-staffed – many companies are reluctant to move forward with a new ERP for fear they don’t have the manpower to do it right.

However, the implementation should take 45 to 60 days. This process can be straightforward or incredibly time-consuming, depending on who you partner with.

For instance, if you partner with NetSuite directly, you must configure your systems internally and set aside substantial time for training. NetSuite offers limited hands-on support, so you will be expected to manage most of your own implementation.

A trusted partner such as Sikich, on the other hand, will train your team, manage configurations, and help you test your systems post-implementation to ensure everything is working correctly. We do most of the heavy lifting.

What’s Needed for the Implementation Project

What’s required of you? You will need an internal project manager who can dedicate four to six hours per week to the project. During the initial redesign, two to five team members will need to be involved for one or two days; this will be your heaviest time investment. But if you still don’t feel like you have the bandwidth to meet the demands of an implementation, Sikich partners with outsourced accounting professionals that specialize in the life sciences industry. They can help you perform day-to-day tasks while you focus on the NetSuite project.

After this, your software partner will perform the initial configuration.

Because only you will know whether the system works as intended for your organization, team members will need to be involved in follow-up testing and training. After your systems are live, your partner should be within arm’s reach to help with any unexpected bumps in the road. Our goal is to minimize disruption and get you up and running as quickly as possible.

Next Steps

Implementing NetSuite can help your finance department flourish, even amid ongoing labor shortages.

Although NetSuite comes with a robust out-of-the-box offering, additional life sciences industry-specific customizations from an experienced partner like Sikich minimize workarounds and the use of third-party solutions.

Rather than see the purchase as a cost, see it as an investment in efficiencies. NetSuite allows you to do more with less and helps businesses minimize the costs of bringing on new full-time workers.

And if you need more support, take advantage of Sikich’s System Administrator for Life Sciences (SAL), a dedicated post-implementation consultant for your business. Their job is to help you maintain and optimize your NetSuite investment for each milestone in your journey, from discovery to delivery. That includes system administration, training, 404A and 404B compliance and reporting, continuous optimization, and more.

While NetSuite’s cloud environment helps reduce the day-to-day administrative support required by your IT team, a dedicated administrator that intimately knows your business and industry will help you keep up with the growing demands of your organization. This removes the burden from your team so that they can focus on what they do best, knowing their technology foundation is sound.

Contact one of our specialists to learn more about NetSuite and how a personalized ERP solution can help life sciences talent and teams be more productive and efficient.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.

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