GHA Solutions – an Epicor partner and one of the UK’s leading Epicor consultancies – has signed a partnership agreement with FastClose, a software company producing Accounting Intelligence solutions for the Epicor community. The deal will enable GHA to sell and support FastClose’s Accounting Intelligence solution to their Epicor prospects and customers.
Commenting on the deal, Harry Atkinson, Managing Director of GHA, said, “We have been following FastClose for some time now in the Epicor market, and have noted the great reviews from the many firms that use it. As such, we wanted to offer this solution to our client base.
“For those who have not seen FastClose, it is a non-technical product that enables accountants to build the month end reporting pack rapidly, and also reconcile key control accounts.
“FastClose’s development has been remarkable. I can remember them from just a couple of years ago when they only had a basic product for the GL; now, they cover most Epicor modules which enables users to drill from the GL to an invoice and then to purchase or sales orders.
“Importantly, FastClose comes with predefined templates that are starting positions; they can be easily modified and saved to your own directory in FastClose. In turn, users can share reports with other members of the accounts team or business unit managers.
“You don’t need to know anything about tables, or inner or outer joins. This is all done under the covers, with something they call a catalog – which has all the technical requirements covered.
“We really like this approach as we don’t want to spend time building reports for our customers. We want to focus on the key business processes that bring value.”
Nick Gomersall, CEO of FastClose, explained about the tie-up between the two companies. “We met GHA at a recent Epicor user conference and got on really well. Our two companies complemented each other as GHA has great technical expertise that will help us build additional modules, and we have a product that will solve month end reporting issues.
“The modules – template concept is the key, and when we work with our customers, we get a number of requests for new ones. Demand management is the latest, and we are pushing into manufacturing and projects. The key for us is to work with our business partners on the key tables and joins that are needed to build these templates. Once built, they are available to all our customers. We do the heavy lifting; customers don’t need to have any technical expertise and can concentrate on being accountants rather than SQL and database experts!”
Harry Atkinson continued, “Epicor has a number of reporting tools that are all good, but which all do different things. FastClose is aimed at the month end close when accountants want to dig deep into the raw data and can either use FastClose’s GUI, or their Excel plug-in for those that want the data in Excel. The need to look at charts and graphs comes later when the numbers reconcile. It’s no good having pretty graphics if the underlying data is wrong.
Nick Gomersall expanded on this point further. “We have resisted going into graphics, but so many customers are looking to buy one product that does it all. And that ‘one product’ simply does not exist. FastClose solves real business needs which is why we offer a free trial run – so people can see the value. It’s a shame that we might miss out on a sale, short-term, because of the lack of graphics, (although you can use our Excel plug-in for this) but we have found that customers come back later when they still have the same month end close issues.”
Harry Atkinson concluded, “FastClose is an excellent product that complements Epicor ERP even though it’s not on the Epicor price list. What we try to do is find solutions that give our customers options that fit their requirements. Epicor is a great ERP system and a mainstream player in the ERP market, but sometimes our financial customers want another option to view, control and manipulate data quickly and easily. Rather than use Epicor standard tools, they want a solution that can give them Excel and much, much more, and this is where FastClose hits the sweet spot quickly and effectively.
“Take the GL. You can have up to 20 segments that can be split between controlled (e.g., double entry controls) and dynamic (which is an analysis of the controlled segments like customer, product, project, employee and so on). We see very few customers taking advantage of these extra dimensions as you cannot get at them easily with standard tools. FastClose, being a multi-dimensional reporting solution, can.”
Nick Gomersall concluded, “GHA is now our third Epicor Business partner, and many more are now talking to us as they are close to the coalface and see the issues that customers have first-hand. We are looking forward to working with GHA and getting their suggestions for future modules and enhancements to FastClose. Hopefully, one day, Epicor will see the value of our solution, and we can partner with them to enable Epicor to reach many more new customers, as I don’t think they know just how good their software is, especially in the finance and projects area.”