FastClose, an Accounting Intelligence startup based in the UK, is pleased to announce that Luceco – a multinational manufacturer and distributor of lighting and electrical products – has become customer number one for the specialist reporting company. Offering a reporting product that draws data from a company’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, FastClose is the go-to system for month and end of year Operational Reporting, Reconciliation, Consolidation and Audit (ORCA) tasks.
Richard Gardner, CTO of Luceco, needed a new reporting tool and learned about FastClose during a presentation to the UK Epicor user group. Subsequently, he invited FastClose to put their software through its paces, explaining, in particular, how “Luceco is a rapidly growing company, and we were looking for a tool that would help the accounts department ease the pressure at month end.”
“We have hundreds of spreadsheets and all of them have been hand-crafted and potentially prone to errors.”
“We did consider a BI tool but the complexity of BI and the ease of use were considerations as the accounts team don’t have the time to implement and learn complex tools.”
Highlighting how FastClose installs rapidly, Gardner explained that: “FastClose comes configured against our Epicor database and there are a number of preconfigured templates that get you up and running straight away. The product installs in around an hour and in its simplest form you only need to use three buttons to get benefit from it.”
“You simply open a new report, choose a template, then you have a number of selections that you can choose from rather like a BI tool when you select dimensions from a cube.”
FastClose’s accountant-led software offers a number of additional benefits:
- Unlimited dimensions to select from; FastClose runs directly from an Epicor database and does not suffer from data redundancy like BI.
- Other segments in the GL, or other modules, can be brought in, then sorted and selected upon.
- Column data can be added or removed to create a consolidated P&L or cost centre report.
- The ‘drill around’ feature derives from consolidation so quick drill down to detailed balances, then the journals, and then to the other transactions that are stored in the subledgers, can be carried out.
On this drill around feature, Gardner added: “There are advanced options that enable users to build their own drills so over time we will build the drills we need to go across modules.” Furthermore, “An added benefit is the Excel plugin as we know we never completely remove the need for Excel. When you save a report in FastClose, it is then available to Excel users. All the filters are still there, and it’s real time so you can just keep hitting the run button for up-to-date numbers. If you want pretty reports, you can link to other worksheets in Excel which will automatically update from the FastClose worksheet.”
Regarding the tie-up between FastClose and Luceco, FastClose CEO Nick Gomersall was quick to point out: “We were really lucky to have found Luceco as a test partner as we have got some great help on the database and suggestions for the product. Currently, we have built GL, AP, AR, Projects, SOP and Purchasing modules but plan to add more over time.”
Within Luceco, the Finance Controller – Jana Overall – offered further praise for FastClose.
“We had a number of issues reconciling intercompany accounts and drop shipments but with FastClose we were able to do this easily. We need some additional tables for the shipments and FastClose just brought this into the product so that we can now select and sort on the additional data. It has saved us no end of time, and we are working on getting the full P&L and Balance Sheets plus the consolidation across companies live.”
Overall added: “We are also using AP and AR where the Excel plugin is of great help; we can just send out spreadsheets to the controllers with all the key information they need, linked directly to the live database. They just hit the refresh button to get an up-to-date picture of what is going on.”
Reflecting on the tie-up between FastClose and Luceco, Richard Gardner concluded, “The product is going to get better over time as they have a road map that will add significantly to the product as well as adding new modules. We have found FastClose to be very responsive to our needs and look forward to rolling out FastClose throughout Europe and China in all departments.”