Barbara Steinberg and her employee were helping elderly clients analyze five years’ worth of bank statements to complete the time-consuming process of obtaining long-term health benefits under Medicaid.
Every transaction had to be typed into a spreadsheet and analyzed to portray each client’s financial picture, a process that took hours, even days — and left room for typing errors.
Steinberg, the president of Medicaid Assistants Inc., knew there had to be a better way.
So she searched the internet, found nothing in the U.S., and discovered a few U.K.-based companies. But because European bank statements are much less diverse and less complex than U.S. bank statements, she knew she needed something more.
She discovered Altia Solutions Inc., a Scotland-based company that developed specialized software tools that help investigators with collecting, storing and analyzing reams of data. The software is used by every police force in the U.K., numerous government authorities, including the Gambling Commission and the HRMC (the U.K.’s tax, payments and customs authority), as well as hundreds of accountants, insolvency (bankruptcy) practitioners, police forces and regulatory authorities worldwide.
Steinberg was so impressed with Altia Solutions’ software that she formed a new company two years ago, Excelerate Technology Inc., and became their exclusive U.S. reseller.
“It’s a no-brainer,” Steinberg says of the software. “I saw that it automated exactly what we were doing manually. It was a perfect fit. One study showed it saved 95 percent of the time on analyses.”
Steinberg, whose company joined the Naples Accelerator last year, began contacting every state’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, making dozens of cold calls. In August 2016, she got her first client, the North Carolina Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, a part of that state’s Attorney General’s Office. Last October, Michigan’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit became a client.
Then she branched out to law enforcement economic crimes units. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office signed a contract in January, followed by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office the next month. The Multnomah County, Ore., Sheriff’s Office signed a three-year contract in June. Another contract is pending with the Henrico County Police Division in Virginia.
“Nobody has anything bad to say about it,” Steinberg said of customers’ experiences. “The first time the Collier County Sheriff’s Office looked at it, they said, ‘This will save us hundreds of hours.’ They did something in two minutes that would have taken them two hours.”
Collier County Sheriff’s Detective Heather Nichols called the program “very user friendly.”
“I managed to accomplish several days’ worth of work in a few hours, so I was very happy. No snags,” Nichols said.
A one-workstation version of the software goes for $4,250 yearly, or $390 monthly, while a multi-user version, which allows one user at a time, goes for $10,250 yearly, or $940 per month. The contracts include unlimited training and support — and Steinberg even hosts a monthly “First Friday Users Group” conference call that provides training, a demo and a question-and-answer session.
Steinberg also has been promoting the pay-as-you go version of the software, which allows CPAs, lawyers, and other audit, forensic and litigation-support professionals to send her bank and credit card statements to convert into spreadsheets at a $90 hourly rate, not the per-page rate many companies charge.
Among those were customers with divorce and bankruptcy cases, a Houston property owner with many properties, and an attorney who was being audited and had debit and credit card statements with 9,500 transactions in one account alone.
Meanwhile, Steinberg has improved her website and increased her social-media promotions, using Twitter, Google AdWords and LinkedIn, which has resulted in several promising leads. Every day, leads trickle in, including one from a multinational accounting firm.
Over the past year, she’s been promoting the software at various tradeshows, including the Florida Crime and Intelligence Analyst Association, the Florida Association of Counties and the Florida Police Chiefs Association. In November, she’ll head to the National Healthcare Antifraud Association conference in Orlando.
Steinberg knows there are many other applications for the software, including disability fraud, Medicare fraud, the U.S. Office of Inspector General, forensic accountants, non-agency mortgage companies and other private lenders, insurance companies, health fraud companies and law firms.
“One day, I sat down and made 16 calls and got three demos out of that,” Steinberg said.
She recently conducted demos for the Delray Beach Police Department and the Clearwater Police Department. Steinberg travels to most departments up to 2½ hours away, but beyond that, she conducts online demos through GoToMeeting.
Steinberg was starting to look into consultants and other ways to grow her company and generate revenue when Altia Solutions called to set up a meeting with her to discuss how they could rapidly grow the U.S. market.
“They want their U.S. business to grow to $1 million by the end of next year,” Steinberg said. “That’s 20 sales a month. Obviously, we’re considering consultants and other ways to grow the company.”