20 Mar 2023 5 MIN READ

The foundation of a structured business: why EdTech company Headway implemented the Business Central ERP system

EdTech startup creating microlearning products. They help millions of people around the world develop through concise formats of educational content: summaries, courses, games, infographics. The core product is the Headway app — the world’s number one downloaded app in the book summary niche.

  • Industry: EdTech
  • Country: Ukraine
  • Website: makeheadway.com
  • Company size: SMB

Four years ago Headway was just an idea. Now it’s an EdTech company that creates microlearning products. They help millions of people in the world develop through the concise formats of educational content: summaries, courses, games, infographics.

The main product is the Headway app. It contains 15-minute text and audio summaries of non-fiction bestsellers, as well as daily insights and gamified challenges. The application has been downloaded by more than 15 million users worldwide, and Apple regularly lists it in its tops in 140+ countries.

A separate direction of Headway is Impulse, a brain training app. It develops memory, attention and logical thinking through short games.

In four years the company has grown from 3 to 170+ people in the team and opened offices in Kyiv, Warsaw, Nicosia and London.

About motivation to change

At the start, the company was part of the Genesis co-founding platform and, having reached certain financial indicators, began to operate autonomously. The motto and long-term goal of Headway is growth. Therefore, the company continues to care about the team and be a socially responsible business, creating new world-class educational products and improving business processes.

Headway’s goal today is to be operationally ready, as much as possible, to scale to both 1,000 and 10,000 employees. To create the foundation of a structured business, the company chose a system from Microsoft, which had a clear interface and full basic functionality. After minimal configuration, Headway began operations in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. There was no need to order additional add-ons or write separate unique modules. All operational processes of the company were covered by the standard functionality.

“In the past, I worked as both an accountant and an auditor, so I understand and know all the processes in a very large-scale business from the inside. In simple words, Business Central is a system created in the format of an interactive spreadsheet. In a certain sense, this is Excel, improved and dozens of times “smarter”.

My team and I actively use the seamless integration of Business Central and Office applications, such as Excel, Outlook, and Teams.”

Yaroslav Petriv
Head of Reporting, Headway

About integrations with Business Central, Microsoft 365 and more

The convenience of integration with a large number of services, can be easily illustrated with automatic entry of invoices into the system.

Headway has several projects. Each of them had a separate mailbox. Invoices that get into the mail are recognized automatically: all data is entered into the system. At this stage, the only involvement of an accountant is to check whether automatic recognition has occurred without errors and to click Post the Document. Headway has been operating like this for 9 months. All this time Business Central has worked without interruptions.

About financial consolidation mechanisms

As noted above, Headway has several projects. In addition to the flagship Headway app, the company is working on the Impulse brain training app. For correct accounting, it is necessary to be able to:

  • see reporting by each project,
  • distribute entries by projects,
  • view consolidated income and expenses of the company.

The mechanisms of financial consolidation in Business Central make it possible to make eliminations within the company, as well as any reports.

About the plans for the future

Given the planned growth, the Headway roadmap is worked out for several years ahead. As for plans for 2023, Yaroslav Petriv identifies three main areas for developing interaction with Dynamics 365 Business Central.

  1. Integrations with banks. This year, full synchronization of the Business Central ERP system with a number of banks from Ukraine and Europe will be completed.
  2. Outgoing payments from Business Central. The next logical step after complete integration with banks is the ability to create outgoing payments directly from Business Central. The advantage of this functionality is that the system will offer the priority of payments depending on the term, the weight of the counterparty and within a certain budget for paying for invoices.
  3. Integration with Google Big Query (serverless storage for large-scale interactive analysis of large data sets). Headway uses it to collect information about all operational metrics, in particular financial information about sales and marketing expenses. By synchronizing Big Query with Business Central, the finance department will see the current state of affairs on a daily basis with the ability to build relevant financial reports.

Headway’s goal is to give key management personnel the tool to access accurate financial information at any time without the additional involvement of a financial analyst. That is, there is no need to ask a specialist to make a report. Just refresh the page, and all the information is in front of your eyes at any time.

“If I had to describe in one word what work we have done over the past year, it would be the word “foundation”. Operational processes in a reliable system, ready for Headway’s scaling – this is the goal that we have achieved.

And, of course, we want to thank SMART business for the technology support and their SMART approach to project management. When choosing a contractor, we were guided by the reputation of the company, as well as experience in implementing similar projects for IT companies. After all, most players in the Ukrainian market seek to build a financial function quickly and cheaply, forgetting that this is the foundation of a structured business”.

Yaroslav Petriv
Head of Reporting, Headway

“Headway are building a fast-growing, systemic, international business. That is why they have chosen an ERP system that is trusted by global investors and provides SOX-compliant reporting.

With Microsoft present in almost all markets and Dynamics 365 Business Central available in most countries, the company has no problem scaling and connecting new lines of business to the functioning system.

I am sure that Business Central will become the foundation on which management will rely when making strategic decisions, and I wish the company great international success, which will only strengthen the reputation of Ukrainian business in the world”.

Natalya Onyshchuk,
СЕО SMART business