Do you ever order a package online? Then there is a good chance that HC Group takes care of the processing behind the scenes. This software-and-logistics-company-in-one specializes in e-commerce, and, every day, picks and sends deliveries from the stocks they have at HC Group on behalf of its customers. Behind the scenes, a sophisticated IT system keeps everything on track, while BrightAnalytics provides the financial reports.
“Even though our six private limited companies all work with the Exact Online accounting package, until recently it was quite difficult to obtain a consolidated overview of the entire company,” begins Frank Jacobs, CFO of HC Group. “However, I find that very important. I want to have a good overview as well as insight into what happens in the area of finance. By doing this, we can manage the company financially and know what the monthly revenues are, how stock movements affect our working capital, etc. Until a few months ago, we used a self-built report in Excel. However, that was only updated once a month. During the month, we felt pretty blind. That’s why I started looking for a party that could help us tackle this more efficiently.”
Frank listed the requirements for the solution and then asked three suppliers for an online demo. “At BrightAnalytics, I found exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a clear P&L that looked the same for all companies. I wanted to be able to manage my working capital from the balance sheet, and see my cash flows. We are a rapidly growing company, and in such circumstances cash management is always a challenge. The amount of outstanding invoices is constantly increasing; we need to continue investing in people and warehouses. When I saw the way BrightAnalytics looked at financial reporting, I felt immediately drawn to it. That’s because I’m dealing with people who know the business. They know what drives financials. They didn’t just lump all the data together and make something out of it. No, they configured the data to get out of it what you want to see as a financial, in a very intuitive way.”
Hasn’t HC Group considered making their own solution or working with a business intelligence tool, as they are an IT player after all? “No, that would have become a long and expensive process, with a lot of chances for mistakes and difficulties,” says Frank. “whereas BrightAnalytics is a kind of plug-and-play solution that immediately makes all the right connections. The time and resources we would spend on a proprietary solution couldn’t possibly match that.”
Because Frank is used to following up certain matters in his own specific way, there was some customization involved in the collaboration. “For example, I asked to also provide a report on customers and suppliers, and gave some examples of what I wanted it to consist of. BrightAnalytics has built this into the system exactly as it is, and it is updated on a daily basis. I think that’s another advantage: after we update our administration in Exact Online during the day, a nightly update ensures that all the data is also updated in BrightAnalytics. Every morning I click on my tool, and it opens up with a dashboard that provides up-to-date data and real-time insight at a glance, allowing me to move faster. Plus, I have the option to do that update myself, for example if I’ve made a lot of adjustments during the day. That way I immediately know what the consequences are of what I booked that day. I think that’s a very nice feature. And, if I have made an entry in a general ledger account that BrightAnalytics is not yet familiar with, I will receive a notification so that I can take a look at it.”
In the future, Frank is also considering using BrightAnalytics for operational reporting. “We run a lot of our operational business in an e-warehouse that we developed ourselves. This also contains a lot of data, of course. I am already thinking about which data I want to prepare for BrightAnalytics in order to be able to generate reports on it. For example, a report on deliveries, stock movement, returns management, etc. We might be able to produce such reports ourselves, but in my experience, BrightAnalytics is very professional in doing so. We could then give our operational staff access to it, with specific access rights for each person. Once the link has been made, they will have daily updates on the reports. In principle, this way you don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
For now, however, the focus is on financial reporting. It is a very intuitive platform in which Frank gradually discovers different features. “There are a lot of functionalities in it. But if I have a question, all I have to do is call and my issue is often resolved five minutes later. I can always reach someone with the right know-how who can help immediately. Top service!”