After Contimac from Asse professionalised its accounting a while ago, the company knew it was time for the next step: a state-of-the-art reporting tool. That ambition was reinforced when it acquired its Dutch competitor GMT International. From now on, BrightAnalytics streamlines all financial (and soon also operational) reporting for this specialist in professional machines, tools and warehouse equipment for manufacturing, construction and automotive.
“When we acquired GMT International, not only was another country added to our business, but also another type of accounting with different general ledger accounts,” begins Director Ward Rooseleer. “After the acquisition, we wanted to be able to sit down with the entire management team at least monthly to go over performance and bottlenecks via the correct numbers. The shareholders had to be able to access the figures at all times for both countries.”
Until then, Contimac – which also had several companies before the acquisition – had been dealing with Excel. “Our external accountant provided us with the figures once a quarter in a clear sheet. But we didn’t have access to the data at any time and any location. After the initial move to monthly closing of the accounts, the interest in being able to constantly monitor figures increased. Once your bookkeeping is done in a professional, effective, consistent and adequate way on a daily basis, it becomes very opportune to follow up on evolutions closely.“
One of the consultants who guided Contimac through the acquisition process alerted them to the existence of BrightAnalytics. “We compared with about two other vendors of similar solutions, but quickly chose BrightAnalytics in the end. On the one hand because they are a growing Belgian company, on the other hand because they were recommended to us by a person we had confidence in. Moreover, we immediately noticed the ease of use during the demo, as well as the fact that in BrightAnalytics you can parameterise everything yourself the way you want to see it in the reporting. That made it interesting for us, as did the fact that we could count on very good support without constant additional charges. We knew in advance what to expect.”
Today, Contimac sees all the numbers they find relevant to their business in the form they prefer. “After we delivered the data points from Exact Financials, everything was smoothly loaded into BrightAnalytics,” Ward continues. “Then we could parameterise and look at what format we wanted to see our P&L and EBITDA in, and what costs we wanted to be reported where. We can set up the general ledger accounts for Belgium and the Netherlands so that we see and can interpret the figures in the same way, even though they come from different accounting packages. One single source of truth, in other words. In addition, we can click through to the smallest details and even look up information on a particular item down to the invoice level.”
A next step for Contimac is to now link the financial data to operational data. “We are currently looking at more operational options to e.g. map stock rotations or other KPIs that we feel are important. Since we are a distribution company, we have a fair amount of inventory. So for us, this is an important parameter that we want to be able to quickly translate into sales. In the BrightAnalytics tool, we can combine income statement data with balance sheet data such as inventory turnover or margins by product. Being able to evaluate this in real time on a product-by-product basis is a great asset. The automatic combination of P&L and balance sheet data further saves us computing power and time, allowing us to focus on interpretation rather than making calculations.”
Ward Rooseleer, who is not an IT person but does have some financial knowledge, incidentally creates dashboards himself in BrightAnalytics. “If you invest in a platform, you better make good use of it,” he says of it. “With the help of our customer success coach at BrightAnalytics, I have created a first set of interesting dashboards. After a few hours, I was able to get on with it myself. If you have basic financial knowledge, it is a very easy and intuitive tool. And if we ever have a question, there is always a quick solution,” Ward concludes. In short: a satisfied customer.
Through distribution points in the Benelux and France, Contimac from Asse – founded in 1988 – sells professional machines, tools and warehouse equipment for manufacturing, construction and automotive. After a new acquisition of a Dutch company, the need for real-time insight into the numbers was greater than ever, and the company decided to work with BrightAnalytics for its financial reporting. And in the meantime, work is already underway to provide more insight into operational KPIs!