8 Hours of Work Cut to 2 minutes: Colourtrend chooses FastClose for Brighter Epicor Sales Reporting and Analysis

Colourtrend, Ireland’s leading premium paint company, has chosen Epicor-focussed Accounting Intelligence company FastClose to expand their operational reporting for sales analysis, and beyond. 
 
Sinead McCarthy, Financial Director of Colourtrend, explained, “We first met FastClose at an Epicor user group when they were just starting up. At the time, their product looked really easy to use but only ran over Epicor's General Ledger; we wanted it to run over Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, and Inventory, and we were surprised at how quickly they were able to do this.
 
“We then challenged them to replace two of our most difficult reports, one of which was month- and year-to-date sales, by volume and value, for all of our product groups by individual product. 
 
“Normally, this report would take us a day to build. It is used by all of the sales and management team and is a key report. The challenge with the report is having to consolidate part transfer information, ship to data, and AR information, which the tools we had at the time could not do automatically. 
 
“FastClose stepped up to the plate and we now run this report in 2 minutes!”
 
 
Ms. McCarthy continued, “Also, by using FastClose, we have total flexibility for bringing in additional information like customer, plus other dimensions, and can now start to expand the sales analysis report rather than giving the minimum information that management need.
 
“An added bonus is that you can publish the report out to members of the management team and there are runtime parameters that allow you to change the period and year on the fly. So, now, we won’t be asked all the time for this information as it is self-service. Even more time saved.
 
“The benefit to us is we have now freed up time and can start to use FastClose for other key management reports. We are rolling out FastClose to all of our accounts and sales teams and can see that this tool will give us the management information that we need going forward.” 
 
FastClose offers specialist reporting software that links directly to the Epicor database and gives unprecedented access to data. It is designed to be super easy-to-use, with the product up and running in a few hours leading to a rapid ROI. FastClose is designed to bridge the gap between complex and costly BI tools and uncontrolled spreadsheets. 
 
Nick Gomersall, CEO of FastClose, expanded on the Colourtrend-FastClose tie-up
 
“As a start-up company, we were really lucky that Colourtrend took us on. We wanted to be stretched and get feedback on the key tables and joins that they needed to report over.
 
“What is great is that this type of report is now a basic template for all other FastClose users to use. Everything we do for our customers benefits all the others, and just pushes the product on.
“Our design criteria are that FastClose must be easy to install and use from the get go.
 
“We can install FastClose in under 30 minutes, and as we have standard templates for most of the core Epicor modules, users will be building high level multi-dimensional reports with drill down to the detailed transactions by the end of the day, something that is very rare in software today.” 
 
Ms. McCarthy concluded: 
 
“FastClose has a really user-friendly interface and we can also export information into Excel, but additionally there is a real-time plugin into Excel. This allows users to access saved reports from FastClose and to change period, year, product or any dimension that is in the report directly in Excel, giving real-time information every time you hit the refresh button. 
 
“We are looking forward to working with FastClose to expand the management reporting which we will need as we grow as a company.”
 

FastClose partners with Clear Business Outcome for a brighter Epicor Finance future

 

FastClose and Clear Business Outcome (CBO), an Epicor business partner, have joined forces to deliver better management information and setup for Epicor ERP 9 and 10. CBO will now be offering FastClose to clients looking to implement cutting-edge Accounting Intelligence.

Nick Gomersall, CEO of FastClose, explained the tie up, “We are really excited to be working with CBO as they will be helping Epicor customers to implement Epicor’s Financial system to its full potential; something that will enable customers to take advantage of all the great features of Epicor and FastClose.”

FastClose is a multi-dimensional reporting and enquiry tool that benefits from the 20 segments in the Epicor chart of accounts to achieve better and faster management information which, until now, rarely gets used. Add to this multi-company, currency, and books, and a powerful finance system is created where FastClose can slice across dimensions to offer unparalleled analysis of the business.

Gomersall continued, “Customers, and prospects that we have engaged with, had little idea that Epicor was so powerful. They have been struggling to get the management information they need, to close the month and year end.”

Damien Sullivan, CEO of Clear Business Outcome, offered further insights.

“FastClose is a unique product and fills the critical gap between spreadsheets, Business Intelligence tools, and report writers. Firstly, it is easy to use as it comes configured with predefined templates for General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Sales and Purchase Orders. This means that once it is installed – which only takes around 30 minutes – the customer is using the product the very same day and getting value immediately.

“Until FastClose came around, there was no need to have the GL populated with lots of segments as there was no tool that could take advantage of them! Companies would install the bare minimum and focus on distribution and manufacturing; they’d leave the finance team struggling for information they needed at month end.

 

 

“Epicor’s Chart of Accounts is very powerful and has the capability to auto-populate segments using posting rules; if you wanted the Vendor number as a segment, this can be done every time an AP invoice is posted, automatically. The same is true with Employee, Customer, Project and nearly any dimension you need to analyse.

“With FastClose you can quickly analyse ‘Vendor spend’ across cost centres and employees. It’s the same for product profitability by customer, and so on. Not only does FastClose run over the GL, but also over the major sub-ledgers where the same powerful consolidation and Multi-Dimensional capabilities are used.

“We were really impressed with FastClose not only because it offers analysis and drilldown to very detailed transactions, but because of its speed of implementation and ease of use. It’s a must have product that complements existing reporting tools hugely effectively.”

Nick Gomersall offered a final take.

“CBO and FastClose is a great tie up. CBO has the skillset to implement Epicor to its full capability, and help customers understand dynamic segments, posting rules, and multiple books.

“Working with CBO is a breath of fresh air; they don’t want to control and bill customers for building and maintaining reports, with FastClose the control flows back to the customer. CBO want to empower their customers and make Epicor work better for them and deliver real business benefits that add to the company’s value.

“Looking ahead, Epicor 10.1 now has multiple budgets and forecast ledgers, plus statistical accounts that can be used for allocations of fixed overheads across products and customers. CBO and FastClose can help customers take advantage of these fantastic new features.

“I have no doubt that the partnership between FastClose and CBO will help customers achieve clear business outcomes!”

Clear Business Outcome

Clear Business Outcome Ltd. is an Epicor ERP consultancy company; it has a large and knowledgeable team which has over 300 years of combined Epicor experience. They specialise in delivering value to their customers by aligning the ERP system with robust and consistent business processes designed to achieve the company's goals.

For more information, please visit www.clearbusinessoutcome.com or contact them by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call on 01947841232.

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, www.juliancharles.co.uk

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!” 

 

There are so many different designs for the chart of accounts in ERP systems, so what are the pitfalls and who has the best design. We think it's Epicor and Workday, what do you think?

New Accounting Software Company FastClose Sells Operational Reporting System to Epicor User Luceco Plc

 

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."