Interview with Jérôme Chaplin, Cashsolve user
A robust and reliable method for managing cash flow forecasts
About the company
A mid-sized industrial company
The PIERRE HENRY Group, a family-run mid-cap company that’s been in business for 45 years, has established itself as France’s leading supplier of storage and organisation products. The group’s development has been based on internal and organic growth, and it now has about 330 employees. It has multiple production sites, conducts 25% of its business in the export market, and has a presence in both the B2B and B2C sectors.
We sat down with Jérôme Chaplin, the company’s CFO, who chose the CashSolve solution to manage its cash flow and its cash and debt forecasting.
What drove the Group to switch to a dedicated business tool for cash flow forecasting?
Escaping the hassles of working with Excel
Historically, and under its founder’s guidance, the family business has always monitored its cash flow very closely via daily checks on our bank holdings.
Starting in 2010, our daily and very short-term cash flow management was handled through the deployment of the Kyriba solution, but the forecasts were still being done in Excel. We were producing just a single receipts and disbursements table, with a fairly laborious procedure for supplying and entering information. It wasn’t hard for errors in data entry and/or in the formulas to make their way into the model.
The need for monitoring and forecasting of the investment funds on the capital side led us to expand our Excel model to include a monthly balance sheet forecast, a monthly CFS, etc.
We weren’t entirely satisfied with our Excel model, so we decided to look for a business tool to structure our process and make it more reliable.
Why CashSolve? What alternatives did you look at?
In 2016, we made the decision to deploy a cash flow forecasting solution and get rid of Excel. We decided on CashSolve pretty quickly, because we hadn’t seen any competing solutions that offered the same set of features as CashSolve.
The tool’s ability to model factoring was also a plus.
And since the deployment and operating budgets were also reasonable, the choice was clear.
What are your objectives for your use of the solution?
The audience for cash flow forecasting is the executive management team, our shareholders, and it’s also used in our communications with our external partners: banks, structured finance, partners in merger projects, and potentially CAC.
Within the Finance department, a number of services are now using the solution, including cash flow and controlling. For the budget portion (P&L), we mainly import files from the accounting software and our BI/EPM solution.
We generate two types of cash flow reports:
A “30/60 day” cash flow report with:
– a receipts and disbursements table with a 60-day window
– an update every month
A “3+9 month” cash flow report
Based on the last quarterly accounting situation with a rolling 9- to 12-month projection, and including:
– a receipts and disbursements table, a balance-sheet forecast, a P&L statement, a CFS, and ratios
– an update every quarter
With all that in place, we’re able to establish a cash flow forecast to decide on investments, capex, etc.
What are the key benefits for your Group?
Methodology and reliability
On the one hand, we’re seeing clear functional benefits: the tool has allowed us to structure our methodology and our processes within the company. The figures we produce are more robust and more reliable.
On the other hand, we’re also seeing valuable time savings in terms of information feedback, with the ability to generate new versions very quickly by changing the rules for payment management and the use of factoring, the budget forecasts, and so on.
The time we save frees us from simply producing statements so that we can focus on analysing, forecasting, making decisions, managing our financial investments and all types of management.
The improvements I’ve just described, together with more credible financial communications on cash-related topics, clearly help to generate a good ROI.
Tell us about the roll-out and learning process
Agile, effective training
The project went quickly: about 12 days of configuration, spread out over 2 to 3 months. We worked closely with the CashSolve consultant to prepare the import files, the simulation sets, and so on. Jean-Charles, our consultant, who also provided the internal training session, was a good listener, an effective teacher and an agile trainer, and he helped us to set up a specific cash flow statement, the “30/60 day” statement.
The tool is accessible and easy to use, and effectively guides users through the process. Even so, there are certain prerequisites for learning to use the tool, like familiarity with cash accounting flows and a certain level of curiosity about exploring the tool (factoring module, VAT calculations, etc.). The internal teams need to be ready and committed.
Would you recommend this tool for another mid-cap company like yours?
Absolutely! CashSolve isn’t only for big corporations, it’s for any company that wants to manage its cash, debt, investments and financial communication in as much detail as possible. I would encourage people to use it because it’s accessible to everyone, as long as the users are fully familiar with the basics of accounting and financial flows, as I mentioned. In OpEx terms, the solution pays for itself thanks to the clearer and more predictive view it provides of your company’s cash flow.
To conclude ?
“ The time we save with CashSolve frees us from simply producing statements so that we can focus on analysing, forecasting, making decisions, managing our financial investments and all types of management.” Jérôme Chaplin, CFO
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