BI Solves Accounting bloopers

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This month-end close is not OK

A $500M company takes two weeks to produce month-end close reports.  It takes two people 100 hours each to make this happen.  They're working in Excel workbooks that are 150MB and growing each month. During the fortnight, they work weekends and late into the evening. They don’t have much time to review and check for errors. They then email links to the Excel workbooks to the managers and executives, and then set about answering questions for the next two weeks 'til it all starts again.

They have pushed not only themselves but Excel to the limit.  The cost? Enormous.

  • Staff turnover is extraordinary.
  • Extra staff are always required to fill gaps.
  • Executives and managers have little visibility with the current set of reports and can't get new ones. It just all takes too long. Indeed, business execs actually hire staff to pull the Excel workbook apart to create new reports that DO work for them!
  • There are manual adjustments in Excel and not in the ERP. When you're 190 hours into your manual reporting process and find there is missing data, it's impossible to add new journals and re-run the report – you have to add it manually, of course.
  • Errors – were monumental and fundamental.  No-one knows the extent of mistakes.

Take that Excel!

So this company makes a change.  A small change - but with huge effects.

The benefits:

  • Month-end close reports are complete in 1 day complete by one person.  All they do is a review, share with the CFO and make Journal entries for the changes required.
  • The monotonous job that the finance employees were doing is gone so two of these people were resigned to value-adding work.
  • Reports are all online and accessed by managers and execs alike on demand.
  • If there is a missing journal or 2, within 5 minutes the reports are updated.
  • New reports are built in seconds, all the time!
  • They still use Excel – but properly now.

What was the change?

It was 100% technology.  No significant process changes. Yes, they still use Excel but not like they did before.  The spreadsheets are now templates, and the workbooks are 1 or 2 MB.  They are reporting more information on smaller pages – because they can.

This company moved Excel from a database or Excel Mart as we call it to a reporting tool.  A report authoring tool for web pages in fact.  Now they have a database do the work of Excel, which removes an impressive amount of human work.  Sure, they can send Excel spreadsheets with data links back to their one version of the truth, that’s fine, but it’s the web pages that have made the difference.  Oh, and it’s 100% driven by finance – the in-house accounting team.

I love helping people and making such a huge transformation! Are you spending more than 8 hours in Excel?

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