The Electrical and Communications Association of Western Australia Inc (ECA WA Inc) is a not-for-profit charity building a diversified electrical industry through education and training based on their values of Safety, Integrity, Innovation, Accountability, Excellence and Collaboration.
ECA WA provides a variety of educational services tailored to the unique needs of anyone working in the electrotechnology industry. It employs specialists in technical services, legal services, and work health and safety. Their members have access to professional advice, training, and up-to-date industry-relevant information on a range of important technical and business issues.
ECA WA faced considerable challenges in managing disparate data sources for monthly and annual financial planning and analysis across multiple business units. Dealing with time-consuming processes and encountering data inconsistencies left the finance team with insufficient time for critical analysis and strategic planning.
To address these issues, Forest Grove implemented its Connected Services solution, coupled with the advanced FP&A tool, Prophix, to integrate and aggregate data from various sources into a centralised platform, facilitating automated budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and consolidation.
As a result, ECA WA’s finance team has reduced its reporting and analysis time by 75%. The once laborious annual budgeting process is now streamlined, bringing the time required for completion from 4-6 weeks down to 1-2 weeks. ECA WA now stands better equipped with accurate and timely financial planning & analysis processes that inform their strategic planning and decision-making.
ECA WA’s Corporate Finance Manager, Heloise Steyn, remembers the cumbersome reporting process from multiple spreadsheets across various business units, including the Electrotechnology educational association, group training organisation, and registered training organisations. The lack of a streamlined and automated process resulted in the finance team taking 7 to 10 days to generate a P/L report and an additional week to complete board reports, extending their monthly reporting process to the middle of the month.
The team also encountered difficulties tracing the source of their data as multiple spreadsheets were interconnected. There was also a significant risk of errors due to incorrect data entry or broken formulas in one of the spreadsheets.
- Using multiple spreadsheets resulted in a time-consuming reporting procedure that was prone to errors.
- A convoluted and opaque approach to data collection for reporting.
- The finance team was burdened with manual tasks that diverted their attention from analysis and strategic planning.
Based on a thorough review of ECA WA’s business problem and key requirements, Forest Grove recommended a combination of Connected Services and Prophix FP&A tool. In collaboration with Heloise and Senior Management Accountant Jenny Brazao, Forest Grove devised a two-phased project to streamline data collection from multiple sources and create a single source of truth for automated reporting, consolidation, forecasting, and budgeting.
To achieve this goal, Forest Grove employed its Connected Services solution, integrating Prophix with various data sources, like spreadsheets, accounting, payroll and steward management software, and ERP. This integration allowed Prophix to collect all data accurately from across the organisation onto one centralised, secure, and collaborative platform.
Once all data was available on the platform, Prophix enabled the ECA WA team to perform monthly reporting and consolidation quickly and accurately without the need for manual processing. This automation of monthly reporting proved to be a significant improvement for ECA WA.
More recently, with the successful completion of phase 2, ECA WA is equipped with faster, more accurate and improved budgeting capabilities.
The credentials of Forest Grove, combined with Connected Services and Prophix, gave us the reassurance that we were in the right hands, says Heloise Steyn, Corporate Finance Manager ECA WA.
Time saved: Before Prophix, the finance team at ECA WA took 15-17 business days to generate their P/L and board reports. Using Prophix, this time is reduced by half. According to Heloise, “Our finance team now has one whole week every month to focus on ad-hoc analysis and strategic planning”.
One key functionality that stands out to Heloise is Prophix’s ad-hoc analysis feature, which allows her to analyse data quickly and accurately.
More recently, with the successful completion of phase 2, the CEO and GMs have been able to bring down their annual budgeting time from 4 to 6 weeks to 1 to 2 weeks. The team anticipates further reduction as they continue streamlining their budgeting process in the new financial year.
Heloise explains, “Recently, I did ad hoc analysis on insurance renewals, and what would normally take me 1 to 1.5 hours took 15 mins. These are some additional benefits we’ve had since Prophix was implemented.”
Accuracy & visibility: Integrating previously siloed systems into a centralised solution has provided transaction-level visibility, enabling the team to efficiently and confidently identify and reconcile any discrepancies in their data. As a result, the team has regained trust in the integrity of their information.
Heloise is particularly excited about the possibilities this presents for advanced trend analysis, allowing the team to identify key business drivers and make informed strategic decisions. With this visibility and data quality, they can unlock insights to drive meaningful outcomes for our organisation.
Heloise also confirmed that their budget methodology has improved, enabling them to better identify their true cost drivers and understand their business units.
Our finance team now has one whole week every month to focus on ad-hoc analysis and strategic planning, confirms Heloise.
- 50% reduction in monthly reporting time
- Over 75% reduction in analysis time
- The CEO and GMs save ~50% time on annual budgeting
- Overall, the finance team gains 1 week each month from FP&A automation
- Faster ad-hoc analysis, reporting, and consolidation from quick access to accurate data
- Increased confidence in data from transaction-level visibility and reduced human errors
- Improved collaboration from real-time data sharing across teams, ability to leave comments for other team members, and work on one version of the data
- More time to focus on value-driven decision making, previously consumed by manual reporting
The Forest Grove Difference
Forest Grove is commited to continuous collaboration, working closely with both Heloise and Jenny to gain a deep understanding of their unique challenges. Heloise fondly recalls her initial in-person interaction with Forest Grove, noting that the BDM team was particularly helpful in offering the best solution to ECA WA’s business problem while remaining patient their team deliberated. As the project progressed, Heloise was consistently impressed with Forest Grove’s ability to work independently while maintaining open lines of communication, resulting in a highly successful collaboration that exceeded her expectations.
Forest Grove has a knack for pairing clients with the right consultants. Kim and Harsha hit the ground running from day one as they brought an exceptional grasp of our business because of their diverse skill set and experience. The support desk has been equally incredible with the promptness with which our queries are answered, says Heloise.