Bringing the Back Office to the Forefront
NeoSystems Corp. is a middle market professional services business based in Tysons Corner, Virginia. Founded in 2000 by President & CEO Michael Tinsley, NeoSystems delivers strategic back office services, such as Accounting, Human Capital, and IT, to the government contracting and not-for-profit markets.
Recently, NeoSystems has been featured on the:
- Inc. 5000 list for fastest growing private companies in America - 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013
- Washington Business Journal's Top Accounting Firms
In addition to their success, NeoSystems is an official Amazon Web Services, Citrix, Deltek, IBM, and Microsoft partner. We recently sat down with Michael Tinsley to discuss what's made NeoSystems successful and how other middle market executives can grow their businesses.
Q: Tell us a little bit about NeoSystems. Why did you start the company and how has it evolved over time?
A: Before starting NeoSystems, I had several different finance roles, including Controller, VP of Finance, and CFO for companies that fell into the middle market. I saw first-hand the struggles of setting up a robust finance department. Not only were software and infrastructure costly, but it was also expensive to find and retain staff that knew the tools and the industry vertical.
In the government contracting industry, which is where NeoSystems specializes, companies have to comply with a very complex set of regulations that sit on top of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Companies were reinventing the wheel to build their back-office, doing it individually, spending a lot of money, and having varying degrees of success. Because of that difficulty, it occurred to me that we could do that once from a centralized point, with best-in-class applications, and build a data center, leveraging that across a larger number of companies. This could bring companies a lower cost to having a world-class infrastructure and staff, as well as help them realize that there is a flaw in their existing business model as it pertains to the back office.
Q: What does NeoSystems do better than any other firm in the industry?
A: Within our solution, we focus on all three areas of the back office " accounting, human capital, and IT. We've put together a solution that's best-in-class and addresses each one of the areas. This includes our investments into comprehensive software suites which allow us to provide a complete solution for our clients. We also are great at making sure everything is integrated and that all of the systems talk to one another. This allows our customers to operate much more efficiently.
Q: Over the past several years, NeoSystems has experienced steady growth, having appeared on the Inc. 5000 list four consecutive times. What factors have been instrumental to this success?
A: A number of factors have made us successful but it all really comes back to one thing - delivering value to our clients. We continually deliver on the value proposition that it's more efficient for us to manage a back office than for a business to do it on their own. And, we do it at a lower total cost. When our customers realize that, they talk to their peers, and it helps our business.
Q: How does NeoSystems gather customer insight and how are you using it to shape strategy?
A: We do a number of things but, to put it simply, the most important thing is to listen to them. What's unique about our business model is that we do all of our work at our client site. So, we're mixed in with their operations and interact with them quite frequently. We know that if we listen closely, we'll hear about the challenges that they are incurring. We then go back and talk about how to enhance our solution or broaden something to more effectively address those challenges. We also participate in industry seminars, keep up-to-date on trends, and stay current on changing rules and regulations.
Q: What investments are you making into innovation?
A: We continually invest quite a bit. With regards to the customer, often times we will find a new application that could do a better job of addressing something we're already doing. We start this process by doing a lot of research. After selecting a vendor and acquiring licenses, we'll bring the solution in-house and use it on ourselves as “live research“. This gives us insight into how it will work and its effectiveness of getting the job done. From this, we get invaluable experience on how to implement and run the solution. We also make sure that we keep our data centers state-of-the-art. We're always making sure that we're using the latest and most technologically advanced solutions.
Q: What opportunities does NeoSystems offer its employees to grow their own skillsets and competencies?
A: This is another area that we invest in very heavily. At the end of the day, it comes down to the people that have to interact with our clients. For that reason, we invest in an in-house training program. These courses address everything from the latest changes to rules and regulations to how to use specific software packages. We're always making sure that our skillsets are as strong as they can possibly be. We also encourage our employees to get certifications from third-parties. Since we're transforming our employees from typical internal overhead employees to revenue generators, it's incredibly important that we invest in their training.
Q: What advice do you have for other middle market executives who are looking to grow their business?
A: It's easy for companies to look at their back office as a necessary evil as opposed to an asset for growing their company. If you don't make investments into the back office, you'll constrain the growth of your company. You won't be able to bid on certain contracts either because they are too complex or because your back office can't handle the administrative aspect. You need to know that your back office is scalable without constraint. This is often overlooked because executives are solely focused on delivering to customers. While that's obviously important, it's also important to look internally.
I would also advise them to focus on the HR aspects of their company. This is not something that a lot of middle market businesses really focus on. Early on, it's all about the customer. But you also need to realize that everyone has to work together in order to be successful. A robust HR department can help you there if you can afford to give it some early attention.
Q: What are some of the advantages of working for a middle market business?
A: Middle market businesses are a perfect opportunity for young people. The company likely has some level of success but is not so large that you're a sequestered into a specific area. This gives you the chance to broaden your horizons and work in a lot of different areas. Middle market companies will try to leverage all of the abilities of an employee, rather than focusing them on a single thing. This really gives you an opportunity to enhance your own skillset.
Q: What's the next great frontier for NeoSystems? Where do you see the company in the next five years?
A: We've really given this a lot of thought; it's continually on our minds. Historically, we've focused on the government contracting and not-for-profit verticals. And there's still a lot of growth there. The US government is still the biggest buyer in the world. But we want to broaden our business even more. We would like to expand into the healthcare vertical, specifically medical practice management, replicating what we've been successful in for the government contracting industry. Healthcare is growing and will continue to grow in the future.
To learn more about NeoSystems, visit www.neosystemscorp.com.