When the H2O Group was founded in 2019, the shareholders immediately expressed the ambition to profile the 13 companies belonging to the holding company as one strong group from now on, including on a financial level. Whatever accounting package the subsidiaries work with – Centric, Exact or Navision – they all connect with BrightAnalytics for financial reporting. And that has made work a lot easier.
“All companies of the H2O Group are active in hydraulic engineering, construction and shipping”, starts Kris Vandenhoute, financial director and co-shareholder. “Each company has its own accounting tool: for the construction activities we use Centric, for shipping we use Exact, and for all other companies Navision. Before the holding company was set up, the financial performance of each subsidiary was viewed separately in Excel. There was no real sense of belonging to a group. We wanted to change that from day one.”
After attending a demo at BrightAnalytics, H2O Group was hooked. “The fact that BrightAnalytics could make the connection with all of our accounting tools was decisive for us. This enabled us to report across the companies. And I have to say: the three connectors work perfectly, with a small exception here and there. This is usually not due to BrightAnalytics but to our ERP package. At such times, BrightAnalytics informs us before we’ve even realized that the connector is malfunctioning, after which the problem is resolved very quickly.”
The interpretation of figures across companies is a lot easier for H2O Group, because they are all mapped in the same way. “Not everyone books the same way,” explains controller Kristel Beck. “But thanks to the mapping we did beforehand, the differences are filtered correctly in BrightAnalytics’ reporting. As a result, we all speak the same language today, across the companies, when it comes to figures.”
H2O Group even went one step further: they also wanted the tool to make it easy to consolidate, Kris explains. “The fact that the consolidated figures now come directly from the package saves us a lot of time. Moreover, it reduces the risk of errors to a minimum. We can now draw up our budgets at both company and consolidated level. Thanks to BrightAnalytics, we can also monitor the group’s liquidity.”
In time, they even want to use BrightAnalytics for operational reporting. “Several of our companies have analytical reports that measure operational performance, for example to monitor construction sites. Today, these reports are still generated by a different software, but in the future we want to integrate them into BrightAnalytics. We will do this as soon as we have a good grasp of financial reporting,” says Kris.
In the meantime, thanks to the platform, H2O Group is already looking for synergies in the field of acquisitions for its various subsidiaries. “BrightAnalytics has configured an extra module, tailored to our needs. This enables the central purchaser we’ve recently recruited to filter information across the companies, even down to the supplier level, categories of raw materials and materials. This provides him with golden information. We can compare prices, negotiate better, and better follow up on purchases. The system is very flexible in that respect. The cost of the package is also justifiable, as we can fine-tune it to the things we consider important.”
Finally, H2O Group also feels reassured by BrightAnalytics with regard to the company’s further growth ambitions. “When we make acquisitions, we know: whatever package is used in the company we’re acquiring, however it operates, BrightAnalytics will allow us to integrate it very quickly and easily into our group reporting.”
“The mapping took a lot of time, but is proving its worth,” Kristel says. “We made sure that this was done uniformly for all of our companies so that all cost accounts could be compared across companies on an equal basis. This was a one-off and time-consuming exercise, but it certainly bears fruit. So, make sure you allow enough time for this.”