A solution created by people who think like a financial

- Frank Jacobs, CFO

Data configured for a financial

Do you ever order anything online? If you do, odds are that HC Group handles delivery behind the scenes. This software-and-logistics-company rolled into one specialises in e-commerce and on behalf of its customers they pick and ship deliveries on a daily basis from the stocks they have at HC Group. Behind the scenes the operations are managed by a well-thought-out IT system and BrightAnalytics takes care of the financial reporting.

 

The limitations of manual reporting

“Although each of our six private limited liability companies use the Exact Online accounting package, it was still quite a chore to establish a consolidated overview of the company as a whole”, CFO Frank Jacobs explains. “Nevertheless I find this very important. I want to have a good overview and stay up-to-date on what goes on in terms of finance. This is necessary to allow proper financial management and have an accurate picture of the monthly revenue, to determine how stock movements affect our working capital, etc. Until a few months ago we used a reporting tool in Excel that was developed in-house but it was only updated once a month. In the course of the month it felt like we were pretty much flying blind. So ultimately I decided to look for a partner who could help us adopt a more efficient approach.”

 

BrightAnalytics knows what drives financials

Frank compiled a list of conditions the prospective solution would have to meet and then contacted three suppliers for an online demo. “BrightAnalytics gave me precisely what I was looking for. I wanted a transparent P&L that looked identical for each of our companies. I wanted to use the balance sheet to manage my working capital and oversee my cash flows. We are a fast-growing company and in those circumstances cash management is always a challenge. The total amount of outstanding invoices keeps growing and we must continue to invest in personnel and warehouses. BrightAnalytics’ approach to financial reporting instantly appealed to me and that’s because I was dealing with people who understand the business. They know what drives financials. They didn’t just throw all the data onto a big pile and distil
random information from it. On the contrary, they configured the data in such a way that financials are presented with relevant information, in a very intuitive way.”

 

BI-tools were not on the agenda

Did HC Group consider devising its own solution, or developing a business intelligence tool, as they themselves are an IT player? “No, that would have been a long and very expensive trajectory, with a significant risk of errors and difficulties”, says Frank. “BrightAnalytics, on the other hand, is a kind of plug-and-play solution that immediately establishes all the right links. The time and resources we would spend on the development of our own solution could never beat that.”

BrightAnalytics' dashboard displays up-to-date data and provides real-time insights which allows me to act much quicker.

- Frank Jacobs, CFO

Real-time financial insights at a glance

The fact that Frank is used to monitoring certain aspects in a very individual way called for a slightly more customised approach than usual. “For instance, I asked to also provide reporting options on customers and suppliers and I gave a few examples of what I meant. BrightAnalytics copied that exactly in the system and it is updated on a daily basis. Incidentally, I feel that’s also a plus: after updating our administration during the day in Exact Online a nocturnal update makes sure all data is also adjusted in BrightAnalytics. Every morning I click my tool and it opens with a dashboard that displays up-to-date data and real-time insights at a glance so I can act much quicker. Moreover, I have the option of carrying out that update myself, for example on days when I’ve made a ton of adjustments, so I can immediately see the impact of what I booked that day. Personally I think that’s a really neat feature. And if I do make a booking on a ledger account that BrightAnalytics doesn’t know yet then the system notifies me so I can take a look.”

 

Operational reporting as a future vision

For the future Frank is considering running the operational reporting through BrightAnalytics as well. “A substantial part of our operational business is run through an e-warehouse we developed ourselves. Naturally there’s a wealth of data available here as well. I’m already thinking about what data to select for BrightAnalytics with a view to additional reporting features. Just think of reports on deliveries, stock movement, returns management, etc. Perhaps we could handle this kind of reporting ourselves but meanwhile I’ve learned that BrightAnalytics is very professional at this type of thing. We could give all our operational staff access, with individual access rights per person. Once those rights are assigned that would give them daily reporting updates. In theory the entire process would be automatic, they wouldn’t have to do a thing.”

But for now the focus is on financial reporting. It’s a very intuitive platform and Frank is gradually discovering its many features. “The platform has a host of different functionalities but if I have a question, all I have to do is call and the issue is often resolved inside 5 minutes. I always get to talk to a knowledgeable person who can help me immediately. In other words, top-tier service!”

The benefits in a nutshell:

  • Excellent and transparent reporting tool
  • Very intuitive because the makers think like a financial
  • Fast consolidation
  • Time savings
HC Group is a so-called e-fulfilment company, or a logistics service provider, specialised in e-commerce. Behind the scenes a well-thought-out IT system makes sure that in handling the parcels it ships, HC Group not only links up with the customer’s order system but also with the software of the carrier. Or how IT can be the beating heart of an organisation that is fundamentally logistical in nature. HC Group now also uses professional software for its financial reporting needs: the software of BrightAnalytics.

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