Jessica Haskell, VP & Corporate Controller at Applause
Opened an office in Israel: 2014
About: Applause is the worldwide leader in crowdtesting and digital quality. With highly vetted testers available on-demand around the globe, Applause provides brands with a full suite of testing and feedback capabilities. This approach drastically improves testing coverage, eliminates the limitations of offshoring and traditional QA labs, and speeds time-to-market for websites, mobile apps, IoT and in-store experiences. Thousands of leading companies — including Ford, Fox, Google and Dow Jones — rely on Applause as a best practice to deliver high-quality digital experiences that customers love. Based in the U.S., Applause has over 400 employees worldwide.
What made you open a location in Israel?
We originally opened our office in Israel as an R&D center. When expanding our global footprint, we were drawn to the vibrancy of the tech sector in Israel. Over time, our investment has grown significantly. What started as three employees at an R&D center has become a full sales and delivery operation with 28 employees who focus on markets in Israel, Europe and Asia.
What were some of the challenges in opening the Israel site?
Our headquarters is in Massachusetts, so we knew the time difference would make it difficult for us to get things done in quickly. The language barrier, too, would make it difficult for us to communicate directly with local governments and vendors. Finally, we weren’t experts in the local financial rules and requirements, so we needed people on the ground who were and could communicate in real time on our behalf.
What type of help were you looking for?
We needed help on a few levels. On a day-to-day level, we needed bookkeepers to ensure compliance with local Israeli GAAP, as well as someone to process our local payroll and tax requirements. Equally important was the need for someone on the ground to make sure we were in total compliance with all the local regulatory business filings, and that could handle the VAT and banking, as well as the necessary business registrations. Based on the recommendation of PWC, we decided to select Nextage as our local financial services provider.
How has Nextage helped you?
We’ve worked with Nextage since we opened our office in Israel. They represent us professionally at all local financial institutions, including our Israeli bank, the VAT Authority and government offices. They know the local systems inside and out. That means we don’t have to travel from Boston to Israel on a constant basis, saving us both time and money in the process. Most importantly, we feel that Nextage always has our best interests at heart.
What does the partnership look like?
It is a true partnership. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with Assaf Sarid (Director of Finance) and Yoni Nisman (Controller) over the past five years. They are knowledgeable, responsive and always on top of every situation. They’re proactive and flag any concerns that might arise before they become issues, so I don’t have to worry about any unexpected situations or being caught in a reactive position. We view them as an extension of our team at HQ.
What’s your relationship like with your Nextage CFO?
Jeremy Rome is fantastic to work with. He is constantly ensuring we are in compliance. He always stays up to date on any regulatory issues and informs us immediately of any changes. He’s also extremely responsive and is available whenever I have a question – whether it’s during the day, night or weekend.
What are some of the other benefits you’ve realized?
Nextage manages our collection process for our Israeli customers in real time, which helps to reduce DSO while increasing cash flow. They were also flexible in implementing NetSuite, which further automates our global processes. This decreases the time it takes to close and issue financial statements, which is a huge benefit to our finance team in Massachusetts. With Nextage taking care of all the local accounting, I can focus on more strategic items like the automation of manual tasks, and driving revenue and company growth worldwide. I never have to worry about the day-to-day operations in Israel because I have the utmost confidence in Nextage. “I can’t imagine managing the Israeli office without Nextage.”