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Accounting Intelligence Provider FastClose partners with Home Furnishing Retailer Julian Charles to Deliver Real-Time Epicor-Based Management Information

FastClose, a specialist accounting intelligence software company, based in the UK, is pleased to announce its tie-up with Epicor ERP customer Rectella – the bedding, curtains, and home furnishings specialist better known as Julian Charles.

Currently running Epicor ERP 9, Rectella was one of the first customers to take FastClose on trial and, in turn, helped FastClose develop their offering by supplying real-world, functionality-led feedback on their month- and year-end requirements.

Diane Lealand, Financial Accountant, explained, “Finance teams don’t have the time to learn complex tools. Nor do they want consultants to come in and build reports that only they know how to modify. That’s why you see most management accountants living in Excel and building mission-critical spreadsheets to run the business. Everyone knows Excel, and there is no learning curve.

“However, Excel has its limitations in terms of data accuracy and control. Spreadsheets are built by people, and if they leave, their knowledge of macros, structure and logic leaves with them.

“We need an easy-to-use tool that will help us close the month-end and produce business information providing 100% accuracy. FastClose hit the mark.

“The product has come on in leaps and bounds since we first installed it, and we are rolling it out throughout the finance team.

“The key thing is to get Epicor set up right as FastClose takes advantage of our two dynamic segments: Customers and Employees. We can quickly see profitby Customer, and Employee Expenseanalysis, plus we can now build powerful hierarchies across all the business dimensions, something you only get in complex and expensive BI tools.

“We are also exploring using FastClose to leverage Epicor’s multi-book feature for example by holding accounting period data in one book, and weekly trading information in another, as well as using a third book to manage the eliminations for statutory accounts with FastClose simply consolidating these through its calculation engine.”

Julian Charles is one of the UK’s leading home furnishing companies and has grown, in its 70-yearhistory, to boast more than 180 stores and concessions and a class-leading online business,

Andrew Davis, Rectella’s Commercial Finance Director, offered more about Epicor and FastClose.

“Epicor is a very powerful accounting system but seldom gets used to its full potential.  With the arrival of tools like FastClose, businesses can take advantage of the many dynamic segments, multi-company currency, and multi-book features that exist within the Epicor product.

“Previously, you were advised to install the bare minimum in the GL and then try to get at the data through SSRS, BPM’s, and dashboards, which is much harder than if everything resides automatically in the GL. By comparison, something like dynamic segments are really great, as they give you automatic analysis of your GL transactions.

“Add to this all the additional books which can map from source transactions and repost into different calendars and charts of accounts, if needed, and it is clear that Epicor is a very powerful accounting solution.

“We want to take advantage of more dynamic segments as FastClose is a multi-dimensional enquiry and reporting tool. It can roll up all the transactions and balance them in many different dimensions, or a combination of them. This is something that you need if you are trying to build a P&L and requires, for example, a specific combination of account codes, cost centres, and customers in a hierarchy node.

“BI tools can take a fair amount of time to implement effectively, but FastClose comes preconfigured against the Epicor 9 and 10 databases, so you get the benefit as soon as you install it. We are moving from ERP 9 to 10 and FastClose can connect to both databases at the same time and run reports side-by-side that will help us reconcile our data during the upgrade. There are no ETL tools to worry about or tables to join; it’s all been done by FastClose upfront. We are now planning to expand our use of Epicor thanks to FastClose and look forward to the additional features that are on FastClose’s roadmap as well.

Andrew also had some words of wisdom regarding Excel.

“Although we recognise the issues with ‘building spreadsheets for everything’,FastClose knows that Excel will always be needed in some form. The software has export to Excel capability and a full plugin that allows users to change dimensions on the fly to provide real-time information in Excel, giving us the best of both worlds!”