Efficient, scaleable reporting is crucial
Hil Foon Wong, the CFO of Incendin, works hard to achieve the company’s growth strategy. It is therefore important that the financial department not only ensures excellent operational reporting as well as in-depth analysis, but also cost-effective development of the financial processes with far-reaching computerisation.
"Incendin is a group that was generated by the company Ecochem International, based in Olen, Belgium. Some twenty years ago, this company was already a pioneer in its field with environmentally-friendly and fire-retarding additives for wooden panels, coatings, and insulation material. Three years ago, Gimv came on board as a financial partner. That is when Ecochem launched its strategy for growth. The aim is to take over a series of complementary companies and technologies and to incorporate them into the group. We have since achieved several take-overs in Belgium and abroad. Incedin has now grown into a major European supplier. The group has a turnover of 65 million euros and is strongly anchored in Europe, but is continuing its international expansion."
Role of the CFO
"If you as a medium-sized company launch a project and constantly keep taking over small to medium-sized companies, efficient and scalable reporting becomes even more crucial than before. It is vital that you quickly get a grip of the new acquisitions, identify synergies, and guide the cross-border integration project without excessively heavy investment in people or systems. Our organisation uses BrightAnalytics for analysis and reporting purposes. These systems enable us to quickly get a detailed view of the same dashboards and KPI's. It all has to happen very fast as the financial reporting becomes an integral part of our own environment virtually from day one, with a background history of the previous years."
Role of Controller
"We now have only one controller for our entire group of eight companies. That is partly due to the fact that the original owners often managed financial data in their own way. They are used to handling all the decision-making themselves. That is why the role of the controller is now largely restricted to issuing data and supporting the users. As soon as the company has been switched over to our ERP system, the manager is then also given access to the monthly financial reporting in BrightAnalytics. All managers take decisions independently based on their own reports. Thanks to the user-friendliness of these systems and the wealth of data available to the managers, they quickly drop their own manual reporting. They switch over to the group reporting quite naturally and of their own accord. This ensures that we quickly achieve transparency, and it also means that the financial-administrative organisation of these new acquisitions can quickly be phased out.
"BrightAnalytics has largely taken over the role of controller. As a result, our controller is more of an all-round analyst who performs research that generates value."
No separate reporting for the Board of Directors
"Our reporting is generated automatically based on data from the data warehouse also used for our operational reports. We provide the members of the board of directors with BrightAnalytics reporting, and this is fed with data from the data warehouse on a daily basis. We have set this up in such a way that the members of the board can keep a close eye on the company’s financial performance, without getting lost in the details required by the operational staff. The members of the board of directors do have the possibility to drill down if they need to investigate how things are exactly at invoicing level. In my opinion, this transparency is absolutely crucial for the stakeholders. It also instils great confidence in these parties because they have the same access to the figures as their own staff. The advantage of BrightAnalytics is that it is a very user-friendly and scalable reporting platform in the cloud, which means that anyone can view the data from any device."
Source: FD magazine - 10/2018