The dynamic November Five is housed in a beautiful building at the Het Zuid-region in Antwerp: a digital accelerator that focuses on the development of digital applications, strategies and transformations. When, after a while, additional ventures resulted from this, November Five decided to opt for BrightAnalytics. “Since then, we have been managing our business proactively rather than reactively,” says CFO Vincent Bruyneel. “This is how we give direction to November Five and to our partnerships.”
It all started on 5 November 2008. With an app company and 4 enthusiastic partners. Eleven years later, November Five has grown into an end-to-end provider of digital solutions. “Over the years, our range has expanded enormously,” Vincent begins. “We now look at everything which can digitally accelerate customers, from product strategy, definition, and development, to building proof of concepts. This has led to the creation of a number of additional ventures, 3 of which remain in our portfolio to this day.” The company’s turnover grew along with it: from an initial 250,000 euros, to a consolidated 8.5 million euros today.
Gradually, the need arose to approach finance and controlling in a more efficient way. Finance Manager Ralph Van Tongelen explains: “Until that point, we only worked in Excel. A good reporting tool would make things easier for us. Based on an assessment with Deloitte, we invited two suppliers for a demo, including BrightAnalytics. The first supplier turned out to focus more on accounting firms, but we were already very impressed by their demo. However, when we saw the possibilities of BrightAnalytics, we were positively surprised. It was so simple and intuitive! We could see real-time data and consolidated figures, make cash forecasts, and monitor our suppliers and customers. A week later we signed the order form, and another week later everything was up-and-running.”
The fact that the tool gives November Five access to the data of all its companies is an important asset. “A complex amount of data from different companies is now consolidated in one tool. Moreover, BrightAnalytics takes into account the peculiarities of all those companies: November Five focuses mainly on services, while the ventures focus more on SaaS licensing,” Ralph says. “And because the tool connects directly to our accounting package via an automatic synchronization, we know that the figures are always accurate. The risk of errors is therefore also reduced to a minimum, thanks to the automatic link with the accounting package. And then there is the acceleration of our reporting process: time that we used to spend making reports, we now use to dive deeper into the figures.”
The improved insight into the financial performance has ensured that November Five works faster, more accurately and more effectively. “Today, we manage our business proactively rather than reactively. We manage more so on the basis of budgets, forecasts and scenarios. Moreover, everyone gets both operational and financial KPIs and targets. In this way, Finance not only gives financial but also strategic direction to November Five and the other ventures“, says Vincent. “The managers of those companies also have direct access to the system, so they too can see where they stand in real time, and consult analyses and reports. This makes them more directly involved in the operational and financial aspects of our organisation. BrightAnalytics makes financial figures transparent to people who are not financially literate, and that is an important added value.”
Finally, Vincent says that the use of the reporting tool also creates more confidence among the company’s banking and investor relations staff. “Ratios such as solvency, cash burn and deviations from leading indicators are now monitored much more quickly. The fact that we are doing this and that a bank or investor gets an insight into this more quickly, gives them the confidence that we as a group are definitely on top of things,” concludes Vincent.