For a company on the leading edge of silicon wafer technology, Pure Wafer had been running a surprisingly manual financial reporting process. And if there’s one thing that bothered CFO Scott Murcray, it was manual processes: “I just hate wasting my time manually updating things. It’s just not a value add for me.”
New to Pure Wafer, Murcray focused on learning as much as he could about the company’s cloud-based ERP, NetSuite, as fast as he could. “Previously, leadership simply relied on the finance and accounting team to make their way through reporting when they could,” Murcray said. “From a NetSuite reporting perspective, there were a lot of canned reports, but they didn’t have a standard monthly reporting package that you’d be able to publish on a regular basis in a timely manner.” Murcray and his team ended up creating many reports—too many—from scratch.
While NetSuite excelled at capturing data, it was less helpful at sending it out in a usable format for finance and the senior management team. For Murcray, it all came down to flexibility.
“NetSuite was pretty good for some standard reports, but still fairly basic for our needs. The flexibility wasn’t always where I wanted it to be with regards to getting the data I wanted when and where I wanted it, and in a format conducive to presentation in management and board reporting packages.” To get the information he needed in a presentation-ready fashion, Murcray had to resort to downloading copious amounts of data and then creating spreadsheets. “It took time: eight to ten days to close the books, including a day to download all the data from NetSuite, another full day to put it in Excel, change columns, update for the current period, and dump it into PowerPoint.”
Pure Wafer needed a faster and more flexible reporting solution. Fortunately, Murcray’s history included reporting work with Spreadsheet Server, an Excel-based ERP reporting solution from insightsoftware. “I knew Spreadsheet Server had the capability to get data out of my ERP system into Excel to create reports,” Murcray said.
It wasn’t difficult to bring Spreadsheet Server on board. Not only did Murcray have previous experience, but his Arizona-based finance director had used a similar tool with his financial systems before. “He’d had this whole set of financials and he lost it all when we converted him to NetSuite,” Murcray recalled. “He was excited to get Spreadsheet Server and no longer need to set everything up manually.”
Pure Wafer is still in early days of its Spreadsheet Server usage, and already in their first month of full implementation have shaved a full day off their reporting process. In fact, more than 80 percent of surveyed insightsoftware users have seen measurable benefits from their solution within 2 – 4 weeks. “That first month, I just hit a button and everything refreshed,” Murcray recounted. “We were done closing the books, I was able to refresh the data, put it in PowerPoint, and get it to the management team.”
It’s not just the big time-savings that excited Murcray; it’s the little details as well. “Silly stuff like NetSuite reports coming out in exact numbers, down to the pennies. If I wanted to divide the numbers into thousands, I’d have to do it all manually. Spreadsheet Server does that all automatically.
“I’m spending less time creating the reports now, and much more time actually analyzing the data with senior management to understand what it means.”
Even the bank reports can now be automated. “Previously, the company had created all these spreadsheets that required manually updating, such as a set of financial statements and a bank covenant calculation,” said Murcray. “Doing that manually took me half a day or so to do, and NetSuite had some reporting limitations that made automating bank covenant calculations difficult. I literally gave up knowing that I was going to have Spreadsheet Server within the next month. Sure enough, I created the report in Spreadsheet Server in less than an hour. Now all I have to do is click a few things to update, and I can send it to the bank right away.” For Murcray, this means a half a day back in his availability that can be spent analyzing and understanding the data instead.