‘The future of Finance involves automation’: Shagun Malhotra of SkyStem

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FinTech CEO of the Year, USA 2021

1. So much has changed over the past two years in the Financial Control and Automation Solution Provider sector. Leading the way since 2009, take us through some of the emerging trends the company has encountered in this space and how your company has responded to it?

This is a study done by Gartner in January of this year, which illustrates where CFOs plan to make investments in 2021 and beyond, and where they plan to reduce cost to get the savings to fund those investments.  IT and technology investments stand at the top of the list in terms of increasing investments. The pandemic has made everyone realize that: 1) we need to be able to work no matter where our team members happen to be, and 2) the better our IT infrastructure, the more agile we are in terms of responding to unpredictable external events. In terms of where cost reductions will come from to fund those initiatives, Finance in one of those areas targeted for cuts. What this emerging trend tells us is that, more than ever, Finance and accounting professional needs to increase their efficiency in day-to-day operations, and that the future of finance involves automation. That is exactly what we do for our customers. Our month-end close solution flourishes in environments such as this, where accountants need to do more with less. We had various customers adopt out solution during the pandemic, without which they don’t know how they would’ve completed their month-end close work. It’s exciting to know that our solution makes our customer’s work life easier and helps them do better work not matter the circumstances.

2. What are the solutions/products provided by your company and the unique offerings in the different fields that sets the company apart and helps it stand out from its peers?

Our product, ART, is a month-end close automation platform that is affordable, quality-focused, and can be set up in three to four weeks. ART doesn’t just provide an efficient way to perform the month-end close but is also the most focused on the quality aspect of the work with unique features that set us apart. Our customers tell us that we are often the most customer-focused vendor among all software companies they work with, and the level of attention we pay to our customers is another distinguish factor that distinguishes us in this industry.

3. Tell us about the Team. How has the team contributed, assisted, and improved in the company’s journey in automating end-of -the-month products so far?

We would not have achieved what we have without the hard work of our passionate team. We are fortunate to still have employees with us since the founding of SkyStem.  Women at the company have excelled in their roles and have learned first-hand what it takes to run a company which has contributed to their growth. Continuous learning is also something that is prioritized greatly, by encouraging everyone to take classes that will enable their career success and fuel their passion. SkyStem wasn’t built alone, and it is not easy to build a successful company from the ground up. We have strived to focus on our strengths and hired qualified people to do the rest. You can accomplish more sometimes with a passionate, smaller team than you can with a huge squad of people.

4. You have won numerous accolades in your past and being the visionary behind the products, can you walk us through your customer-centric process and how it has become such an immense success?

As a reflection of my background in the hospitality industry, SkyStem emphasizes a customer centric philosophy. We emphasize the human touch, so that customers get cutting-edge technology paired with fanatical customer service. While automation brings increased productivity, ART also focuses on helping the accounting team deliver high quality reconciliations through system checks, quality markers and other features that are unique to the solution. At SkyStem, we know change is constant and we’re always looking to build and refine our product to mirror our customer obligations. SkyStem releases various upgrades to ART during the course of the year, continuously injecting intelligence into our tool, to enable our customers to do more with less. That vision has been a constant focal point for SkyStem since the founding of our company. SkyStem is building more modules that will expand offerings and enable our customers and prospects to infuse automation in various other processes.

During this pandemic everyone, in every industry, has needed to make some changes to accommodate the uncertain times. Despite these challenges, SkyStem has been able to excel and stay focused on its common goal of delivering a high-quality solution for all customers. As companies have searched for a way to retain their employees and keep all of their departments in order, ART has provided a system that can be accessed from anywhere to our customers from day one. In addition, we’ve also been able to keep all of our corporate offices open and have retained our entire staff while staying on target.

We have been fortunate to win various awards over the years and have been featured in multiple industry magazines. Recently, Shagun Malhotra was featured as one FinTech CEO of the year USA 2021 by World Business Outlook and our solution, ART has won the 2021 Best Accounting, Budgeting, and Expense Management Software Brands by SoftwareWorld. With Shagun’s experience, innovation and creativity, she continues to be a leader during these unusual times which has been beneficial to our customers and SkyStem’s entire staff.  

5. To bring out the story better, share one or two case studies with us where your organization has helped its clients overcome their business challenges with your specialized solutions?

Click here for AM Retail Group’s case study-https://worldbusinessoutlook.com/case-study-am-retail-group/ .

Click here for Aquarion Water Company’s case study-https://worldbusinessoutlook.com/case-study-aquarion-water-company.

6. Could you provide us with any details of the firm’s plans pertaining to newer services that could play a role in the company’s offerings in the automation and fintech sectors in the near future?

Accounting is filled with so many micro processes and tasks. There has always been limited focus on the small things that make the accounting world tick. We would like to continue to build and refine our product to mirror what our customers need. As we continue to acquire customers, we’re always amazed at, and grateful for, how many great ideas are delivered to us by them.

Outside of that, we also continually tweak and adjust our offerings to ensure that we remain at the cutting-edge of the industry. We active look for ways to inject more intelligence into ART, which will allow the accountant to do much more with less. Finally, additional modules are always being designed and delivered to expand our offerings and enabling our users to infuse automation in various other processes.

7. Would you like to highlight any other interesting insight into the story that we might have overlooked, and you believe can add value into the company’s achievements in the interview?

Having metrics to measure customer satisfaction, response times and product builds have allowed us to be true to our mission of keeping the customer at the center of everything. The SkyStem team keeps in touch with their customers and this global recognition is a reflection of our effort. We’re proud of our solution and the staff that supports it. Winning this award only gives us more of a reason to work harder, as our job is never done. The best feeling is when we hear how our software has contributed to our customers’ work life in a positive way. As such, we are always working on making the customers experience better via great customer support and constantly innovating to provide features that can benefit our customers.

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