AEI Group is an industry leader in the music industry. The company provides infrastructure for emerging artists to build a following and deliver their talent to audiences around the world via a multitude of music platforms. AEI operates as a group of 14 companies with multiple currencies and multiple users.
When Johnny Evans joined the company as Group CFO in 2016, he recognised that their existing accounting system, Sage Line 50, wasn’t nearly flexible enough for this model of business. Johnny set out to find a replacement cloud-based system that could affordably handle AEI’s multi-company, multi-currency, multi-user environment. Sage 50cloud was prohibitively costly, while Xero lacked the features to cope with AEI’s business structure. Aqilla, geared towards mid-sized businesses, offered the ideal balance of features and flexibility at a fraction of the cost of other accounting products.
“When I joined AEI nearly four years ago I quickly set about changing the system. Migrating to Sage 50cloud was looking very expensive. We’re a medium-sized company and it didn’t seem efficient to spend so much money on a finance package. Sage Line 50 and Xero were too small. Aqilla fell into this mid-market which was perfect for us and it ticked all the boxes of multi-company, multi-currency, and multi-user,”
The move from Sage Line 50 to Aqilla was a “quick transition” for Johnny, thanks to hands-on support from Aqilla and useful integrations to make the migration easier. With Aqilla’s Excel add-in, external data from Sage Line 50 can be imported directly to Aqilla.
Johnny says, “I’ve installed many systems over the years and this was one of the easiest to set up, verify the data, and we were off and running. The advice we got up front was excellent and Aqilla’s Excel-add-in made it very straightforward. It’s a very powerful tool.”
Aqilla comes bundled with SharperLight’s reporting and integration framework allowing flexible and automated reporting for Johnny and his team. Management accounting reports are easily updated for each company monthly with the click of a button.
Johnny explains, “When it comes to reporting, it’s fully automated. Each month our management accountant reruns the reports and I have a P&L and balance sheet in two minutes. It’s really smooth. The debtor and creditor reports are brilliant for looking at balances year end. There’s also a decent raft of reports already there so reporting was all relatively easy.”
When Johnny initially set out to find a new system in 2016, he was certain the system should be Cloud-based. Today, with working practices changing as a result of Covid-19, it’s absolute necessary. Aqilla, designed for the Cloud, ensured that Johnny and his team were well equipped to adapt to changing circumstances.
Johnny adds, “Our working practices have changed drastically during the pandemic and the Cloud is the only option for now. I’m so glad we made that decision. It’s a must for us that the data be accessible by all and at any point. I’m also happy with the security provided by Aqilla; I don’t think we’ve ever had any major downtime since we started using it.”
Johnny is thrilled with the support he received during the implementation process and throughout his user experience since Aqilla first went live, particularly when compared to larger software companies.
“With Aqilla, I feel like I have a voice and that people are listening. If we have an issue, we contact support and talk to people we already have a relationship with. They’re willing to listen to issues and work with the customer to solve them. Most other software companies won’t pay attention unless it’s a big enough issue, even if you’re paying lots of money for their service. Aqilla goes that extra mile – willing to listen, and wanting to improve.”
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