Solex Thermal Science, a global leader in thermal and bulk materials engineering, in conjunction with Financial Intelligence provider FastClose and leading Epicor consultancy PSE has turbo-charged its financial reporting with a hidden gem of Epicor’s financial system: “Dynamic Segments”.
Based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Solex Thermal Science has now made full use of Epicor’s Dynamic Segments through software provider FastClose and Epicor consultancy Platinum Services Europe.
Nick Gomersall, CEO of FastClose, explains the background to the tie-up, ‘Epicor has one of the best financial systems on the market, but the last people to know about it are Epicor’s customers.
‘Epicor is best known for manufacturing. Because of this, CFOs often struggle to get good financial reporting out of the system. Solex is a prime example of this.’
Jill Tsai, a management accountant at Solex, explains the company was having issues in getting accurate and up-to-date financial information. ‘We had to hunt through multiple tables in the subledgers to stitch reports together, which was time-consuming, required technical expertise in understanding tables and was often prone to error. Generating complete and accurate project reports in a timely manner was our number one issue.
Mark Maertens-Poole, Solex’s CFO, notes that, ‘As a data-driven company where the need to have access to accurate and timely data is critical to our decision-making processes, we were looking for a way to quickly and easily access the data that we work hard to get into Epicor. So after struggling with the recommended reporting tools from Epicor, we discovered FastClose through www.epiusers.help. We contacted them, and they were able to help make several strategic improvements that improved our internal system, especially project reporting.’
Extending Epicor with Dynamic Segments
Nick expands on this further: ‘When we looked at the chart of accounts, Solex had an opportunity to build on the three segments it had already implemented. Epicor has a great chart of accounts design, and you can have up to 20 segments which are split into two: Controlled, where the double entry is performed; and Dynamic, which are simple tags that can be automatically applied when posting transactions with no human interaction.
‘Through our collaboration, Solex was able to take full advantage of the Dynamic segments, including better understanding how they worked and how to set them up in Epicor. This was important because, without a project segment– for example – you can’t reconcile the GL to the project’s ledger. Instead, you would have to hunt through thousands of transactions every month to try. With Dynamic project codes in the GL, Solex now has the ability run a P&L by project and find project WIP.
Nick adds FastClose was further able to release the true power of Epicor’s financial system by providing an end-user real-time reporting tool in Epicor that can easily report over these Dynamic segments.
Nick explains how FastClose works. ‘FastClose is a real-time, multi-dimensional reporting tool. It uses Epicor as the data source and does not need to duplicate the data into yet another database. This is hugely valuable at month-end when you post a single journal and you want to see this reflected in the financial reports straightaway. FastClose runs on-premise and in Epicor’s public cloud; there is no need for a reporting server here.
‘In turn, by being multi-dimensional, the more segments that get set up, the better. FastClose has unique technology that gives Epicor the capability of Excel pivot tables – in real-time – directly from a company’s data.’
Collaboration with implementation partner PSE
With Solex, after establishing that the chart of accounts needed modifying, and looking at other reporting requirements, FastClose brought in PSE, an Epicor business partner based in Brussels.
Thierry Cools, a managing partner at PSE with more than 25 years of Epicor expertise worked with Daniel Dierickx on the installation of Dynamic segments when using projects. He explains, ‘There are 22 posting rules that need modifying. If there is project code in any of the subledgers, this ensures that all the data ends up in the GL. We spoke with Solex to analyse what reporting they required and, because PSE knows FastClose and Epicor, we were able to suggest additional dimensions to really enhance the overall reporting.’
Nick concludes. ‘Having worked with all the tier-one ERP and BI systems, Epicor is right up there. In addition, the software needs a real-time tool like FastClose to extract the full power of the platform. PSE are experts in Epicor, and we are delighted to work with them. They have a very balanced team across all the modules in Epicor and certainly know financials and how to modify the posting rules to take advantage of Dynamic Segments.
‘Once all the segments have been set up, FastClose releases all the data that is trapped inside the Epicor ERP system to the accounts team; FastClose is an end-user tool, and you don’t need any technical expertise to use it.’
Jill at Solex says PSE was helpful in setting up all the dimensions that we needed, and FastClose did the rest. We can now get project P&Ls and WIP reports in seconds out of the GL. In addition, we can complete all our financial reporting using FastClose, which has saved us countless hours and improved the efficiency and accuracy of our overall system. As FastClose runs over all the Epicor subledgers, we are now looking to utilize other modules that FastClose has to offer.’
Solex Thermal Science is the global market leader and developer of high-efficiency, indirect heat exchange technology for the heating, cooling and drying of free-flowing granular materials such as solid granules, pellets, beans, seeds and particles. Over the past 30 years, the Canadian-headquartered company has installed more than 800 advanced heat exchangers in more than 50 countries worldwide with applications such as fertilizer, oilseeds and industrial materials such as foundry sand, polymers and minerals.
FastClose Ltd is a specialist reporting company – operating across Europe and North America – that offers a tool which works with Epicor’s public cloud and on-premise ERP system to provide Accounting Intelligence. FastClose delivers unprecedented access to data. Designed to be super easy-to-use, accounts departments will be using the product in a few hours leading to a rapid ROI. FastClose bridges the gap between complex and costly BI tools and uncontrolled spreadsheets. FastClose’ system is also available for SAP users.
To view an online demo visit www.demo.fastclose.uk
Platinum Services Europe has been implementing intelligent solutions and delivering ERP consulting since 1996 throughout Europe. It was one of the first international value-added resellers of Epicor Software, and the company’s expertise includes: International Financial Accounting, Manufacturing & Distribution industries, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Solutions for Professional Service Organizations (PSA).