Replacing manually updated spreadsheets with Power BI driven reports

Microsoft first introduced Excel spreadsheets in 1985, almost 37 years ago. This was the year that Nintendo released the NES for the first time, ‘The Colour Purple’ premiered and Michael Jordan is named the NBA ‘Rookie of the Year’, it was also the year that Cristiano Ronaldo was born.

Still, despite their age, spreadsheets have remained a familiar finance function for many businesses, especially for financial services firms. But spreadsheets are not designed to handle today’s data volume and complexity, and they still require a lot of manual processing.

This is a problem that Tim Crowther, Nexus’ Senior Data & Analytics Consultant is fully aware of, and he has been working with financial services firmsto move away from spreadsheets, automate reporting and give back time to the business. We caught up with Tim, to hear about a current project he is working on.

What you up to Tim?

Tim: I’m currently working on building a set of working capital reports (people define working capital in different ways, but in the time-based business, I like to define it as all the way from time on the clock, through to invoicing, cash in the bank, and all the bits in-between).

What line of business is the client in?

Tim: Financial Services, they are a trust and foundations firm

What is the problem that the firm is facing?

Tim: Originally, they were really struggling with their debtor reporting, ageing, and provisioning. The business was relying on finance on a monthly-only basis to go into the system, download the debtors at month-end, run an ageing calculation, calculate their provisioning for bookkeeping adjustments and then on day 7 or 8 of the month release the finalised calculation to the business, it was overly complex.

“The problem was that it was a very manual process, information was difficult to retrieve and distribute, and by the time it was issued by finance, it was already out of date.”

The business leaders were then using this information to go to chase teams on their outstanding debtors. The problem was that it was a very manual process, information was difficult to retrieve and distribute, and by the time it was issued by finance, it was already out of date. There were no updated numbers throughout the month, meaning that they were totally blind to what had been cleared and what was going to be provisioned until the next month-end process unless they went into the system and ran individual reports against a client.

What has been your involvement in the project Tim?

Tim: Part of our engagement was considering the reporting and how to implement a better reporting suite, starting with their debtors’ positions. We proposed the solution, have built it from the ground up and have rolled it out across the business.

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What is the solution Nexus is providing?

Tim: We proposed how to build it using their current technology stack and already owned licences in a centralised model so that future reports can all be built off the same data set, but for different audiences and purposes. Exclusion of a Power BI report with the appropriate layers of security so that the relevant individuals in the business can see it. The reporting is updated daily.

Now that everyone has access to NavOne they can understand their debtor position across all their clients, with all of the reporting and data is refreshed daily. No more spreadsheets, no outdated positions, no having to go into Nav and run multiple reports to gain a holistic view, and a few pretty visualisations to boot! We are going to be expanding the reporting into the utilisation of staff members, AUM, and risk, all through the new centralised model.