“BrightAnalytics is clearly made by people with a clear, practical vision of what makes a good financial reporting program. ” Nothing but praise from J. Cortès CEO Frederik Vandermarliere. The West-Flemish family business makes and sells cigars all over the world. Thanks to BrightAnalytics, all figures are centralised and reported in one place.
The story of J. Cortès starts in Moen in the attic above the cigar shop of Maurits Vandermarliere. Ten years later he opened a small factory in Heestert and now, 83 years later, the company has its own factories in Kortemark, Sri Lanka, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.
Frederik is the third generation of Vandermarliere to run the company. He was born, as it were, between the tobacco leaves and has an enormous passion for the product. Under his leadership, J. Cortès acquired a number of companies in 2016. Now, they have six branches.
A year before the first acquisitions, J. Cortès got to know BrightAnalytics. “We had been questioning our reporting methods for some time. Originally we wanted to develop our own program”, says Ines Decoutere, financial manager at J. Cortès. “When we were introduced to BrightAnalytics, we realized that we could never make something like that ourselves. However, it was no longer necessary. Our expectations were met immediately.”
During the takeovers it soon became clear that there was a need for unity within the company. “Each branch had a different accounting program and reporting method,” says Decoutere. “It’s hard to form a general and streamlined picture that way.”
Each branch could keep those accounting programs. BrightAnalytics reads all the data automatically and everyone only consults what he or she needs. Analyzing is easy, comparing is easy. No superfluous windows or information, and in an orderly fashion.
“The figures are now displayed in a uniform way, which makes the work easier,” says Ines Decoutere. “This is because, with each figure, you can go back to the level of the booking, this is used a lot with us to retrieve the detail.”
The consolidation of the figures is no longer done in an Excel file. “You almost had to be an IT guy to do that,” says Decoutere. J. Cortès works with four subconsolidations and one umbrella. “Now we bring together figures from every level in a few clicks.”
J. Cortès also uses BrightAnalytics for budgeting, up to three years down the line. The preparation is done in a uniform way everywhere. That saves a lot of work.
J. Cortès chooses to give managers and accountants access to all the figures. Sales managers in the different regions only see the P&L for their area. That way, they track their costs and their EBITDA, and have visibility into their gross margin.
That cost tracking has already yielded benefits. “We work more efficiently and immediately see where we can make savings,” says Decoutere. “A few years ago we noticed a big increase in our water costs. Turned out there was a leak in the building. Thanks to BrightAnalytics, no more money was flowing away.”
“The program offers exactly what you need,” Ines believes. You always report in the same way, internally and externally. This way you create a familiar overview, which also creates trust.
“It is a user-friendly program,” agrees CEO Frederik Vandermarliere. “Even without accounting training, you can quickly find your way there. You can do a lot in a simple way, and at a reasonable price.”
BrightAnalytics helps J. Cortès to keep the financial overview in a clear way. For the cigar manufacturer, it is mainly a matter of maintaining their market share in the coming years. The tobacco market is not an easy sector in which to continue making profits. It is a product that, while being very labor and capital intensive, exudes luxury and quality. And for that, there are always fans to be found.