Adding ERP integrations in time for their product launch
Justin Hunter and Kara Holinski co-founded Confido in 2021 as a next-generation financial automation and intelligence platform. Confido helps fast-growing CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands operate and scale more efficiently with automated financial operations. The product has been a game changer for these CPG brands: "they go from massive amounts of data entry to none," notes Justin. In the sub-enterprise segment of CPG companies with $10M-$250M of annual revenue, Confido is "replacing spreadsheets and elbow grease. You'd have to hire someone to manage all of those legacy tools."
The importance of integrations to their product were no surprise to Justin and Kara. The two co-founders were busy building Confido and had already spent time "building integrations with retailers and distributors." They knew they also needed to build integrations with accounting and ERP systems, but "we didn't have time to build every accounting integration 1:1," recalls Justin.
Confido decided to use a Unified API to tackle the breadth and complexity of integrations they needed to support. Unified APIs provide a single set of endpoints and normalized data, in this case accounting data, that makes it dramatically faster and easier to build and maintain integrations.
At first "we looked at Rutter," mentions Kara, noting that their data model coverage wasn't sufficient for Confido's needs and that they "aren't as well documented and require too much development work. Then we used Codat for a few months," continues Kara, but "the support was not that helpful and they would get back to us in a week. The support from Codat is not in the same ballpark as Merge's support."
Implementing deep bidirectional syncs with ERP systems
Confido integrates with accounting and ERP systems such as Netsuite, QuickBooks, and Xero to automate cash management, deduction classification, and invoice matching. CPG companies have accounts with their retail channel customers for spoilage, promotions and other charges. Given these charges can be significant and lumpy, with big resulting impacts on cash flow, it's important for CPG companies to stay on top of their books. In addition to better financial visibility, Confido saves CPG companies a lot of manual effort that full-time, specially-trained accountants would need to manage the reconciliation process with CPG vendors.
Confido uses Merge's Unified Accounting API to sync bi-directionally with ERP systems. Confido keeps these accounts up-to-date using the ERP integrations, both reading balances from the accounts and writing deductions back to the general ledger in the ERP system. This sync involves a wide range of ERP objects including accounts, credit notes, contacts, journal entries, and payments.
In addition to syncing standard ERP data objects and fields, Confido uses a Merge feature called Authenticated Passthrough to access data from their customers' customized ERP implementations. According to Kara, "Merge won us over with Passthrough and its flexibility with specific customer setups. It has been so critical to get the level of specificity that we want." Over time Merge adds more of these fields as part of Common Models and "the dream state is that every single operation is Merge-supported."
Confido also uses multi-entity support within the Unified Accounting API. Kara mentions that "some of our customers have multiple ERP integrations. With Merge that hasn't been hard to set up. And the multi-subsidiary support for NetSuite has been especially helpful."
Onboarding an enterprise’s financial data in days
Integrations have paid off handsomely for Confido. "We're an integrations company through and through," notes Justin. Every one of their customers that uses SaaS ERPs (some still use Quickbooks Desktop) has an accounting integration set up via Merge.
Although ERP integrations are a big selling point, most of Confido's customers have "had such disappointing interactions with ERPs before. A lot of people in this industry have software trauma," observes Kara. "At first people do not think the integrations will work. They think getting the integration set up will take a quarter. We just onboarded a $250M-revenue brand in two days."
In addition to fast integration setup and data syncs, Merge helps Confido handle large CPG customers and huge volumes of data. "We ensure that they can support a huge volume of data, up to 500,000 invoices outstanding" using Merge, remarks Justin. According to Kara, "Merge is a huge accelerant. I no longer have a negative physical response to the hard problem of integrating with ERPs. Merge continues to ship new features and the support has been amazing."