What do you do when your company’s various administrations are not only in different countries, but also use different accounting packages and currencies? Either reporting then becomes quite a task, or you opt for a tool that connects everything. Dutch SaaS scale-up Blue Billywig – with offices in Hilversum, Stockholm and Singapore – opted for the latter. And for BrightAnalytics.
“Blue Billywig’s three offices each use a different accounting package,” explains Bas de Haan, Director Finance. “In the Netherlands, we use Exact Online, in Sweden Fortnox and in Singapore Xero. Moreover, they all report in their own currency. In our management reporting, we want to see all consolidated figures. We used Visionplanner for this, which works fine and provides sufficient insights when it comes to a purely Dutch administration. As soon as you work internationally with different currencies and accounting packages, however, you need a platform that can integrate all of this. Until recently, we used to build our quarterly reports in Google Sheets, but we soon fell behind. Moreover, we wanted to switch to monthly and – preferably – weekly or even daily reporting. Exactly at that moment, BrightAnalytics contacted us. Surprising how something like that always happens at the right time.”
A meeting was soon arranged for an introduction, after which Blue Billywig’s shareholders were also involved and a demo was given to demonstrate the possibilities of the BrightAnalytics platform. “They approached us first, so we also had a look at what other options we had,” Bas continues. “Some had to be built manually first, like Power BI. But we also considered switching to a single accounting package for all locations. However, that entailed high implementation costs if we wanted to tailor it to our needs. With BrightAnalytics, there were implementation costs as well, but in the meantime we could keep our business running as usual. We really liked that, because our employees are used to working with their specific and well-known packages. Switching to a new system is quite a big step. At BrightAnalytics, the connection with the accounting packages at our three offices was either already made or they were open to making it. Everyone could continue working while a tool was being implemented, without it affecting the ongoing business.”
That also made Bas hopeful for the future. After all, the company plans to keep growing. “We know now that if we want to open an office in another country, we can just buy a local software package there, because it can easily be connected to the BrightAnalytics platform. Even if the API is not there yet, it can be realised. I really like the fact that they think along with us,” he says. “The people at BrightAnalytics have an entrepreneurial spirit: there is always room to discuss things and, if necessary, to develop or redesign things.”
Two weeks later, BrightAnalytics was up and running. “The connections were in place, the budgets were integrated, and everything was ready to go,” Bas says. “In terms of implementation, it took very little time on our part to get started. No real training was needed. We did get some training sessions, but it is so intuitive and insightful that we quickly found out how it works. Our sales contact at BrightAnalytics introduced us to our point of contact within customer success, who quickly took up our cooperation. If there is a more technical issue, she gets the right people on it to solve the issue. It’s nice to have one point of contact, but ultimately you want things to be resolved quickly, and then it doesn’t matter who does it, as long as it happens. Our contact at customer success takes care of that.”
Since then, figures at Blue Billywig can be retrieved daily, and the various currencies are also converted to Euro according to the daily exchange rate. “Now we have insights into the consolidated figures at any time of the day,” Bas continues. “Our shareholders in particular really appreciate that: they just have to log in, insert their selection criteria and they see what they want to see. That makes the cooperation with finance easier as well. Of course, invoices have to be entered here and there, but on a daily basis the figures are up to date. It really doesn’t get more accurate than this. And at the same time, we are saving a major amount of manual work while reducing the risk of error.”
Moreover, Blue Billywig also uses BrightAnalytics for their budgeting. “We used to do this in Google Sheets as well, but because we made manual adjustments, it was error-prone. In this tool, we can enter an annual budget and make a rolling forecast on a quarterly basis. This way, our forecast and our actuals are always available. Moreover, you can play with different scenarios and thus make decisions more easily.”
In addition to financial reporting, Blue Billywig also wants to set up operational reporting through BrightAnalytics in the future. “However, as we are not yet using our ERP system to its full potential, we want to wait a little longer with this. Moreover, we can still grow in the use of BrightAnalytics’ financial reporting by also using the cash flow module, for example. It’s nice that we can discover the platform step by step and don’t have to do everything at once. We can get the basics down first, and easily expand later.”
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