Industry Insights: Paul Johnson – Atlasphere Consulting

Paul Johnson helped launch the ERP and CRM consulting organization Atlasphere at which he is currently President. Experienced in many aspects of accounting, computer software and business software consulting, he is able to identify the requirements organizations have and find solutions to match their business processes. He has become an important figure in helping companies find accounting solutions in Lincoln Nebraska and the surrounding areas.

SCOTT JACKSON: Thanks for taking the time to catch up Paul. I know you’ve been super busy.

PAUL JOHNSON: Thank you for inviting me to talk with you!

SJ: So, what’s happening over at Atlasphere? How is the accounting landscape changing in Nebraska?

PJ: Our team has had a busy start to 2020! The accounting services division has been very busy helping clients navigate the challenges faced with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to assisting them with revising forecasts and budgets, we have also been helping them understand the options available to them with the recent legislation passed to help businesses through this challenging time. Challenging economic times are definitely those in which it is important to establish a solid financial management strategy to execute.

On the software side of the business, joining forces with Alta Vista Tech has been a great combination. The additional breadth and depth of ERP services they have brought to our offerings is proving to be very beneficial for our clients. I am looking forward to further assisting the Microsoft Dynamics GP and Sage Intacct clients I have worked with over the years.

The Move to the Cloud

SJ: With companies you deal with on a day to day basis, what interest are you seeing in the cloud?

PJ: Atlasphere was founded with a focus on providing cloud-based solutions. I have been a cloud accounting evangelist for years. The vast majority of our accounting services clients are all using cloud-based solutions. In the last few years, we have definitely seen an increase in those organizations that want to explore cloud offerings.

We put together an assessment service where we will provide requirements gathering for the client and then give them a list of options we recommend they consider to meet their needs. This is popular with those organizations that simply don’t know where to start with their search, or simply don’t have the time to invest in identifying the options.

SJ: You would say adoption rate is increasing faster than it ever has?

PJ: Absolutely! I expect this will continue given the trajectory of growth we have already seen with cloud solutions and the importance of mobile options to many clients.

Finding the Perfect Fit

SJ: Are there any industries you see that are faster to adopt than others? Any “perfect fit” scenarios?

PJ: Initially when I started Atlasphere in 2014, organizations in the software and technology industries tended to be fast adopters. However, in the last 5 years, I have worked with many clients in many industries interested in implementing cloud solutions.

I don’t really feel there is a “perfect fit,” per se, as few, if any, industries have solid solutions available to them in the cloud. Some industries are better served by specific cloud products, but overall, there really are few, if any, industries that don’t have a good cloud solution available.

SJ:  What is the first step you think companies should take when looking for a new solution?

PJ: It is imperative for an organization to clearly determine its requirements of a new solution. Otherwise, effectively rating the fit is a challenge.

Ideal Solutions

SJ: Last question, what software has really been doing the trick for companies looking at new accounting software?

PJ: For smaller businesses (usually below $3-5M in revenue) products like Xero and QuickBooks Online tend to be viable solutions. Many industry or business-specific applications will integrate with them.

For organizations with revenues in excess of $5M, or that have more complex needs, an ERP solution is a very valid option. Sage Intacct is a very strong product that I encourage owners and/or executive management to look at. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, while a newer cloud product, is proving to be a good solution also for organizations in certain industries.

SJ: Any final thoughts?

PJ: If your current accounting solution is causing you pain, and/or you aren’t getting the vital information out of it to make critical business decisions, then you should consider reviewing your options. The accounting software industry has made a significant move to the cloud over the years, and this will continue. When considering the functionality, flexibility, and affordability provided to organizations through today’s cloud-based accounting solutions, there’s really no reason to not give them a close look. Let us know if we can help your organization navigate your way through the cloud accounting space!

SJ: Again, thanks for taking the time to talk Paul.

PJ: Thank you Scott!