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How Quantum solved a corporate client’s financial reporting pain

 

Cover Accountants[Download pdf]
Markets are faster than corporate systems
A client, a medium-size company with offices across Switzerland but a worldwide reach, reports performance on a quarterly basis. Revenue and costs in eight currencies are logged into the client’s corporate financial system (ERP), and aggregated and reviewed to produce the Profit and Loss statement and the Balance Sheet for the reporting period. Transactions must also be split and allocated to the company’s product and service lines for monitoring, budgeting, and forecasting. As the company operates in a very dynamic market, this is a fast-changing process that requires great flexibility. However, the pace of implementing changes in the corporate ERP system is much slower than the client’s business environment – with sub-optimal reporting and analysis as a consequence.

  • The process for creating the figures required up to a week of manual work by two full-time financial experts every quarter – and manual data input from several divisions, which was often incorrect or late, and required further manual processing. The accrual calculation was particularly complex and ridden with uncertainties.
  • Mistakes due to manual processing – and detected too late – routinely required laborious incremental corrections over the course of several successive reporting cycles.
  • Investors were increasingly vocal in asking for more details – which the client could not provide due to inherent limitations of the ERP data. For example, it was not possible to allocate revenue to different product lines and services besides the standard internal divisional breakdown.

Financial Report ChartsThe client asks Quantum for support
Quantum designed and implemented a solution that incorporates both the existing financial system data and the client’s business processes and organisation. It is a light, modern add-on to the corporate ERP that provides not only automated reporting, but also flexibility, full transparency and many possibilities for quick execution of ad-hoc analysis on a self-service basis.

  • All the different hierarchies of divisions, cost centres, product lines and services have been centrally implemented in a completely transparent, easy-to-maintain manner which allows full and timely reconciliation.
  • A user-friendly visual interface allows flexible data handling (fully configurable drill-down, roll-up, grouping, filtering, pivoting, setting a reference date, …), calculations and exploration.
  • All the necessary tables and graphs are automatically populated and updated, daily. All tables, graphs, and underlying data can be exported into all major formats, as pdf, image files and spreadsheets.

Quantum’s solution consists of the creation and configuration of data structures and the installation of a software of choice for self-service creation of reports and quick visual data exploration.
Sample Expenses Chart
With modern data science, companies catch up with global markets
With a limited cost, the client now has a powerful solution that provides quick, correct and flexible reporting, along with many more analytical capabilities than before.

  • Dozens of manual Excel sheets have been replaced by five automated dashboards, with the same original content. Daily reports allow timely monitoring of performance against budget and forecast. The monthly and quarterly figures with all graphs are now ready in one day, freeing up time and resources for analysis and deep-dives. All the standard slides of the month- and quarter-close presentations are produced automatically, in the corporate layout and colours.
  • Accruals are automatically calculated in seconds against a reference close date chosen by the user (which can be set at any time, in the past or in the future). All details are listed for analysis and review. Gaps in the relevant business processes have been uncovered and addressed.
  • Manual spreadsheet mistakes no longer occur, as the process has been entirely streamlined and automated. Reconciliation is automatic and fully transparent, allowing for immediate detection of mistakes in ERP bookings or gaps in the business process. Data access authorisations are automatically inherited from the corporate ERP system, thereby preserving data confidentiality. Selected reports are automatically distributed by email to a restricted list.
  • Revenue and costs can now be split along all dimensions, allowing for better understanding and more accurate forecasting, as demanded by the investors. When changes occur, for example a new product is added or the accounts structure must be modified, the reports can be adapted on the spot.

About Quantum
Quantum is a data science and analytics company, located at Technopark in Zurich. We help clients to identify their most valuable customers, products, or services; determine potential risks; discover hidden potential in their markets; pinpoint and eliminate bottlenecks and inefficiencies; and provide other insights to steer their business. We do this by combining business experience and knowledge with the application, implementation and teaching of scientific methods of data analysis, data management, reporting and modern visualisation to turn data into information.

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Learn more about how modern data science can help you and your business or contact us at info@qbis.ch.