When the Danish craft brewery To Øl first invested in a financial reporting tool, it ultimately did not meet the requirements. The software was quickly set aside, and the company returned to… the familiar Excel spreadsheets. But it wasn’t really workable, with five companies and numerous intercompany transactions. Since October 2022, they have been using BrightAnalytics. It has made a world of difference, as it turns out.
Even before James Parsons, Head of Finance, joined To Øl, the company was already searching for software for financial reporting. “Since our company has a total of five subsidiaries, we needed a tool that allowed us to eliminate intercompany transactions,” James begins. “There are a lot of sales going back and forth between our production site in Svinninge and our brewery bar in Copenhagen. Additionally, we budget in more detail than ever before. That’s why we also looked for a solution that enabled budget-to-actual comparisons on a monthly basis at the cost center level.”
Previously, this work was done through Excel spreadsheets, which not only took a lot of time but also increased the chance of errors. “For example, when you created a new account, you had to remember to manually add it to the Excel template,” explains James. “There was no notification to remind you, so it was sometimes forgotten, and it took time to figure out why certain things didn’t add up.”
On the advice of external consultants, To Øl initially ended up with a different reporting software than BrightAnalytics, but it did not meet their needs, according to James. “We were far from impressed with the user-friendliness of that system, and the features were lacking. This meant that we hardly used the tool and quickly returned to manual Excel sheets that needed monthly updates and manual elimination of intercompany transactions, sheet by sheet, for five companies. It was an incredibly time-consuming task.”
James’ first task at the company was to find a better solution. “Our CFO was already familiar with BrightAnalytics: he had come across it a few years earlier. And he asked me to compare it with a few other providers. I did some research and made some calls, but it quickly became apparent that there was always a reason why the other tools didn’t quite fit our needs. With one, we couldn’t eliminate intercompany transactions sufficiently, and with another, there was no integration possible with SAP. The latter was crucial for us because we wanted to have insight into revenue development at any given moment. Moreover, these tools were often more expensive, while BrightAnalytics offers additional functionality at a competitive price.”
For To Øl, the fact that they could budget and create a budget-to-actual review in BrightAnalytics was a nice extra. “We used the SAP budget module for this, but it wasn’t user-friendly for us,” says James. “We wanted to budget on a monthly basis and at the cost center level. BrightAnalytics could do this, and that was an asset for us. All in all, it was a very easy decision.”
The contract with BrightAnalytics was signed in October 2022, and a month later, everything was already up and running. Meanwhile, To Øl uses the platform for financial analysis and reporting, budgeting, intercompany eliminations, and cost center reviews filtered by cost center. They appreciate that in financial reporting, they can set various ratios. Additionally, they have dashboards that provide insight into inventory, sales, outstanding invoices, and the cash conversion cycle. But overall, they are enthusiastic about the whole system: “It is a very user-friendly and useful tool, with an interface that is much more visually appealing than the 80s look of SAP,” continues James. “Thanks to the Health Check alerts every morning, we know when a mapping update is needed. This gives us peace of mind: we can always rely on the numbers.”
The ten to fifteen cost center owners at To Øl, each responsible for their budget, have direct access to the system, allowing them to monitor and compare the numbers with their budgets on a monthly basis. “This includes individuals from marketing, sales, and even our brewers. They are not accustomed to dealing with financial and consolidation systems, yet they can navigate through the software easily and quickly adapt to it. With just one click, they can also view transaction details, making it very convenient for conducting reviews. They typically use the tool towards the end of each month and quarter, while our finance colleagues work with it on a daily basis.”
Finally, James mentions the excellent collaboration and service: “Our account manager is our first point of contact and always responds promptly. More technical questions are forwarded to a technical expert, who also provides quick responses. There has never been a question or issue that wasn’t promptly and skillfully resolved,” concludes James.
The Danish craft brewery To Øl has a mission to make various types of quality beverages affordable and accessible to the general public. This means that they not only brew their own beer in what they call To Øl City, a production facility in Svinninge, Denmark, but also provide a home for producers of kombucha, cider, and tempeh, among others. With over 100 employees spread across five subsidiaries, a reliable financial reporting tool is essential. After some detours, To Øl has found the perfect fit with BrightAnalytics.