Shagun MalhotraFounder & CEO
Shagun MalhotraFounder & CEO, SkyStem
SkyStem strives to bring soul to software by providing intelligent and intuitive solutions that eliminate redundant work and provide our customers the opportunity to focus on more dynamic, strategic and fulfilling work.
Closing the books, reconciling accounts and performing flux analysis are essential activities for every corporation. Failing to close properly and efficiently can put companies at a competitive disadvantage and potentially run into regulatory and compliance issues. Mid-sized organizations, in particular, are challenged with having to manage complex operations, close quickly and report accurate numbers, often with a lean accounting team. ART allows customers to automatically reconcile certain accounts which could substantially reduce the overall number of accounts requiring reconciliation. Generally, approximately 35% of balance sheet reconciliations can be system reconciled through our system, ART. ART also provides easier electronic sign offs, establishes a standardized and centralized process with ART’s standard forms, and better satisfy both internal and external audit requirements.
Shagun Malhotra, the Founder and CEO of SkyStem, built ART – a SaaS solution that automates month-end close -- from managing close checklists and reconciling accounts to performing flux andvariance analysis.Shagun started her career in the travel and hospitality industry, and through her experience in audit and investigative accounting, she ultimately fell in love with the world of audit, controls, and the accounting process. Shagun was asked by a troubled financial services giant to lead the year-long remediation effort due to a failed regulatory audit. This happened due to broken controls around the month end process. After a year of grueling work, long hours and teamwork, the team was able to deliver a clean audit and the bank was able to retain their banking license. This inspired the conception of ART as it was evident that companies of all sizes and resources struggle with month- end activities. Through automation, a lot of these pitfalls and inefficiencies could be avoided, not only making audits easier and cheaper but also a success.
SkyStem delivers a powerful month-end close solution for organizations seeking to streamline their financial processes. The company’s flagship solution, ART, is an enterprise technology that helps CFOs and Controllers shorten the month- end close and the time to issue financials by automating balance sheet reconciliations, managing month-end tasks, performing flux analysis and providing insightful reporting. The web- based solution streamlines and eliminates up to 90% of manual activities while strengthening internal controls and corporate governance. “Our product, ART is the most affordable and the simplest to implement. ART doesn’t just provide an efficient way to perform the month-end close but is also focused on the quality aspect of the work with unique features that our competitors do not offer,” says Shagun. “A significant number of new features and enhancements delivered each year come from collaboration with our customers. In addition, SkyStem is a woman and minority owned business that champions and models diversity inclusion in all departments.”
ART was designed to meet four criteria: robust in features, easy to use, fast to implement and reasonably priced. SkyStem’s core belief is that software should be robust, but never break the bank or cause unnecessary business disruption. As a reflection of its Founder’s background in the hospitality industry, SkyStem emphasizes a customer-centric philosophy. Prompt, responsive and knowledge-based support is paramount at SkyStem. Unlike many solution providers today, SkyStem still offers unlimited phone and email customer support to every single customer, free of charge. While the more modern methods of self-helpportals and online courses are also available, SkyStem welcomes and encourages the one-on- one service experience that is sorely lacking in the business world today. Similarly, SkyStem is distinctive in its product development approach. User feedback plays animportant role in identifying future enhancements, and more than 20 percent of all new features in ART are directly attributed to customer suggestions .
The power of ART can be illustrated through a customer’s journey. Aquarion Water Company, a subsidiary of Eversource, is a public water supply company for Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire residents with approximately 230,000 customers and has been a loyal customer of ART. Prior to implementing ART, Aquarion’s month-end close and reconciliation process was pretty traditional—predominantly manual with the use of paper and Excel spreadsheets. With the business expanding and the accounting team kept fairly lean, the increased burden contributed to the accounting processes becoming more inconsistent and decentralized. SkyStem ART was the first cloud-based application that the accounting team adopted. Implementation was completed in less than four weeks’ and Aquarion went from not having a defined system to a risk-lowering, totally transparent automated month-end reconciliation process with built-in accountability.
Building a Future Together
Building SkyStem’s success wasn’t achieved alone. Its diverse and dedicated employees have played a major role in growing the company. Collectively, the strategic vision, commitment to innovation and progressive approach have been essential to all SkyStem’s accomplishment throughout the years.
Shagun believes that, at its core, automation brings increased efficiency. But just as important is to focus on helping the accounting team produce high quality work during month-end. This is SkyStemART’s unique offering to finance and accounting teams around the world.“Change is constant and we’re always looking to build and refine our product to mirror customer obligations. At SkyStem, we want to continue to inject intelligence into our tool, thus enabling our customers to do more with less and that vision is a constant focal point for us,” adds the pioneering leader. “We are building more modules that will expand our offerings and enable our customers and prospects to infuse automation in various other processes.”