07 October 2019

House of Talents automates its management reporting together with VGD

Today’s entrepreneur have increasingly high expectations of finance departments. New technologies to increase efficiency are springing up everywhere, and ever more aspects of administrative and accounting processes are being automated.

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The digital transformation within finance is a fascinating challenge. Because time-consuming input work is disappearing, attention is shifting to analysis and interpretation in order to steer organisations with greater precision.

The growing importance of financial reporting

Patricia Everaert, Professor of Accounting at Ghent University: ‘Twenty years ago the most important thing was to report once a year. That’s unthinkable today: reporting takes place on at least a quarterly basis.

Rapid information is important because the world is changing very quickly. It’s therefore a strength for companies to report frequently and to do so from a particular angle, in order to know whether progress is being made with a particular strategy.

It makes sense to report at an overall level to be able to identify what exactly is causing a development. We can then ask questions such as: can we distil opportunities or best practices from this and then use them in other roles?’ Patricia Everaert, Professor of Accounting at Ghent University

Automating financial and operational reporting

House of Talents is an HR service provider that specialises in sought-after profiles such as nurses, technicians, engineers and butchers. It is active in recruitment and selection, project staffing and temping.

Doris Boterberg, CFO House Of Talents: ‘House Of Talents was founded by our CEO around ten years ago. Today, the company has a turnover of 120 million euros and we employ some 1,200 employees.

‘In the past, reporting was done in Excel. It was quite a complex matter due to the presence of a multitude of companies and different business lines. We also found that it was a very time-consuming process. In short, there was a very specific need coming from the management and shareholders to develop the reporting of both financial and operational figures in an intuitive way.’

Operational and financial reporting tailored to the user

The HR services group found a single common reporting platform, but also needed a partner to shape the content of the reporting.

Philippe Van Den Bossche, CFO Services Manager at VGD: ‘At that point we sat down with Doris and her team. The outcome was an action plan in which we would initially look at the financial side of things. For financial reporting, we started to connect various accounting packages with the BrightAnalytics platform.

‘The resulting data is presented in clear financial P&L, balance sheet, cash flow and other reports. These give both management and the shareholders a continuous insight into the business’ financial results.

‘In addition, customised operational reports were created in which we actually gave the general managers of the different business lines the insights and tools they need to manage their part of the business.’

The new form of corporate finance management did require an adjustment on the part of the employees and shareholders of House Of Talents, who were still used to the old Excel spreadsheets.

Philippe also attaches great importance to the final phase: ‘Training people is often one of the last but also one of the most important phases. This falls entirely under the heading of change management. Such a platform isn’t just used by financial people with a lot of experience, of course. That’s why it’s very important to give them a tool that’s very intuitive to use, so that people with a less financial background can also find their way with it, and above all start making the right decisions based on the information available to them.’

A time saving of 60% 

The businesses working together in this way recognise the benefits of a more efficient way of reporting.

Doris Boterberg: ‘The biggest advantage of working with this reporting tool is the time saving it brings us through the automation of routine tasks. If we have to measure or quantify it, it’s generated a time saving of around 60% for our controller.’

Philippe Van Den Bossche: ‘It’s definitely not just for very large businesses that the reporting is useful: any business that realises that its gut feeling is no longer enough to manage things properly, and any business that still reports a lot in time-consuming Excel stands to benefit from automated reporting.’

 

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