The modern entrepreneur sets the bar higher and higher for its finance department. New technologies to increase efficiency are popping up like mushrooms, to automate an increasing number of the administrative and accounting processes’ aspects.
Digital transformation within finance is an exciting challenge. Because the time-consuming input work is increasingly disappearing, attention is shifting to analysis and interpretation in order to steer the organisation in a more focused way.
Patricia Everaert, Professor of Accounting at the UGent: “20 years ago, it was mainly important to report once a year. Today this is unthinkable, and reporting is done at least on a quarterly basis.
Fast information is important because the world is also evolving very quickly. It is therefore an advantage for companies to report a lot, and to do so from one specific angle. This helps to know whether progress is being made with the particular strategy.
It is useful to report on a global level to be able to identify where exactly the cause of an evolution can be found. Questions we can then ask are: can we distill opportunities or best practices from that to then implement in other identities?” adds Everaert.
House of Talents is an HR service provider which specializes in bottleneck profiles, such as nurses, technicians, engineers and butchers. They are active in recruitment and selection, project staffing, and interim.
Doris Boterberg, CFO House Of Talents: “House Of Talents was founded by our CEO about ten years ago. Today, the company has a turnover of 120 million euros and employs around 1200 people.
“In the past, the reporting was done in Excel. It was a rather complex matter due to the presence of a multitude of companies and different business lines. We also found that this was a very time-consuming process. In short, there was a very concrete need from both management and shareholders to develop reporting of both financial and operational figures in an intuitive way.”
The HR services group was looking for, and found, one common reporting platform, but also needed a partner to give substance to the reporting.
Philippe Van Den Bossche, CFO Services Manager at VGD: “At that moment we sat down with Doris and her team. This was then translated into an action plan in which we first started from a financial perspective. Regarding the financial reporting, we have connected various accounting packages with the BrightAnalytics platform.
The resulting data is visualized in clear, financial P&L, balance sheet, cash flow reports and more. These reports provide both management and shareholders with insight into the company’s financial performance on an ongoing basis.”
In addition, we have created tailor-made operational reports, in which we actually give the general managers of the various business lines the insights and tools they need to manage their part of the business.
The new form of Corporate Finance Management did require an adjustment on the part of the employees and shareholders of House Of Talents. They were used to the old Excels.
Philippe also attaches a lot of importance to the final phase: “Training the people is often one of the last but also one of the most important phases. This falls completely under the change management section. Such a platform is obviously not only used by financial people who have a lot of experience. That is why it is very important to give them a tool that is very intuitive to use, so that people with a limited financial background can also find their way in it and, above all, make the right decision based on the information that is available to them.”
The collaborating companies recognize the benefits of a more efficient way of reporting.
Doris Boterberg: “The biggest benefit of working with this reporting tool is the time savings we get from having routine tasks automated. I think if we had to measure or quantify it, that this has realized about a 60% time savings for our controller.”
Philippe Van Den Bossche: “Reporting is definitely not only useful for very large companies: any company that realizes that a gut feeling is no longer enough to really manage, as well as every company that still reports a lot in the time-consuming Excel format, can benefit from automated reporting.”
Source: VGD, https://blogbe.vgd.eu/nl/optimaal-beheer/cfo-services/case/kanaal-z-house-of-talents-optimaliseert-managementrapportering, October 07, 2019