Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Process process process

Process mapping workshops started this week. The plan is to start mapping the current as is process first to provide a base process for improvement.

You might expect this part of the project to provide few results, a tedious distraction before getting down to the new and exciting changes… but consider by mapping existing processes you could reduce invoice collection by 50% or create a new application to manage client training. “How?” you may ask. Put simply quick wins.

By mapping your existing processes, the issues and simple fixes can fall thick and fast whilst still keeping in scope of your existing processes and applications.

“It is a complete nightmare when we don’t have a PO from the client, I can take twice as long to collect payment” said Max, the credit controller, while mapping her processes. “Why don’t we just issue a copy quote and request the procurer to sign and return, thus providing agreement for invoice?” was one of the suggestions. “Brilliant!” was the answer.

It didn’t end there. The quick wins kept coming;

  1. We were able to condense email automation, targeting only relevant email actions to the finance team as opposed to all and sundry which they would sort through and delete over half of them.
  2. We created a number of email templates that were being manually sent via outlook and manually added to Salesforce.
  3. And potentially the most impressive, while mapping the public training processes a dreaded MS Excel spreadsheet that managed the data was produced. “Why don’t we manage this in Salesforce?” I asked. “Can we?”, was the response. That was all I needed, 30 minutes later we have the new processes mapped and a new client training application to capture the data… now that is a quick win!

Watch out for the next blog where we access a trail of FinancialForce Accounting and start to provoke new ideas in the project team.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Financial.force demo to Nimbus

Today the project team including all Finance Department, COO and CFO had a demo of FinancialForce Accounting. The buzz and excitement was apparent in everyone - yes our Finance team do get excited!!

The system was a clear winner with the team. Momentum is now unstoppable as the FinancialForce Accounting benefits continue to exceed our expectations. By integrating our sales order system with we are not only speeding transaction times but providing one system to the business.

Here are some highlights from the demo;

  • Multiple company accounts with cross company reporting.
  • Multiple currencies within each company.
  • Revenue scheduling against line items on and invoice (providing automatic calculations for deferred revenue)
  • Invoice scheduling providing the ability to plan invoices for services from one opportunity and post to the ledger at the end of each period
  • Ability to post payments in bulk
  • Create PDF invoices and email directly to the company and log activity for history tracking (great for credit chasing)

Another revelation was product schedules. Currently we run these for maintenance, hosted or rental software products. Historically we have done this to provide some forecasting on deferred revenue (not for sales forecasting). However this can be managed in FinancialForce.. Opportunities will only need to mirror the total amount due and no schedules required. This is a quick win for not only the Finance Department but also the Account Managers as software product will simply be a line item against the close date and no need to build additional scheduling of revenue.

We are also very excited about the prospect of calculating commissions in FinancialForce. This won’t happen right away but we believe commissions can be calculated in real time no end of month calculations in MS Excel. Not only will this save time in the Finance Department but I hope will inspire the Account Managers to keep entering opportunities and take a keen interest in ensuring invoices are raised and systems up to date as commissions tot up throughout the quarter.

Stay tuned as we start mapping the as is processes

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Nimbus implements FinancialForce Accounting

Adrian King, COO announced that Nimbus will be implementing FinancialForce Accounting in 2010, a native Salesforce Accounting application developed using platform is the sister company of accounting software specialist Coda.Coda is not new to the financial systems arena with a strong portfolio of applications and clients including IKEA, Next, HSBC and Avis.

FinancialForce Accounting takes a leap past traditional accounting systems by delivering it online (in the Cloud). Some of you may be surprised that we are happy to have our accounts managed on third party infrastructure and accessible via the internet. But I say “Why not, I have been using online banking for the last 5 years. Nimbus BACs payments are made online”.

Nimbus has used Salesforce for 6 years, and have become accustomed to cloud computing, taking advantage of We have built our systems to manage every operational area of the business. Perhaps this gives us an advantage when considering new technologies. This blog will take you through our journey of implementing The trials and tribulations, lessons and best practice.

Below is a snap shot of the email that was sent to Nimbus stakeholders by Adrian King COO just before Christmas;

Earlier this year we changed the expenses system to use Salesforce and introduced Job Numbers. This was the start of a series of changes designed to give the whole business much more visibility of where money is spent and being able to report the financial performance at all levels of the business more systematically.

The next major step change is to improve the company accounting system. Currently Nimbus uses Sage, which is no longer capable of managing the complexities of our business without a number of ancillary supporting spreadsheets. A project has been signed off to implement and migrate to FinancialForce Accounting; a full accounting system that surpasses our accounting system requirements into the future, as you might have guessed FinancialForce Accounting runs native to Salesforce.

The project will run in two phases. Initially we will get the core accounting system up and running. This will be followed by a subsequent phase where we integrate more closely with the opportunity management capabilities. The project is being managed by Lucy Mills Business Excellence Manager, and Seumas CFO will be the internal client. The time line for the initial phase is shown above. You will all be glad to know that we are taking our own medicine and the project is going to be driven by our processes documented in Nimbus Control.

Adrian King COO 21st December 2009