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Growing Rapidly, Zip Achieved Necessary Adaptability with Calumo

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  • Over 30 global instances of Xero and several non-Xero GL source systems (from new acquisitions) connected and consolidated through Calumo.
  • All reporting and consolidations available in both local currency and AUD with the ability to fix Balance Sheet rates and even individual transactions.
  • Efficient four-day month-end close.
  • Real-time reporting enables smooth operations across time zones.
  • Time allocated to analysing data and innovation generates greater business value.
  • Zip ready for growth, as Calumo streamlines acquisition data management.
    Integration and analysis of non-financial data is the next step for Zip.

Zip, a leading global buy now, pay later (BNPL) company, provides fair and seamless solutions that simplify how people pay. Founded in Sydney, Australia in 2013, Zip now has a presence in 13 international markets. Their mission is to be the first payment choice, everywhere and every day, giving consumers, merchants and businesses around the world access to transparent, flexible and interest-free credit. Disrupting the broken credit card model, Zip puts the financial well-being of its customers and merchants at the centre of its business model. More than 55,000 retailers around the world offer Zip as a payment choice to their 8 million and growing active customers globally.

Zip Needed Greater Efficiency from its Data

In 2018, Christina Temme, director of Group Financial Control at Zip came into her role as a maternity leave cover, having worked previously with the CFO. “It’s delightfully manic. We don’t run, we sprint at Zip,” Temme said. With Temme on board and the BPNL industry rapidly growing, Zip was on the hunt for acquisitions.

“Our first international move was to open a small office in New Zealand. We weren’t bothered with multi-currency consolidation and were just converting AU and NZ Dollars in a 1:1 ratio. But as we grew it was clear this approach was not sustainable, and we bought Calumo on board to look at it in more detail.”

Zip’s data needs changed as it grew at lightning speed, and it needed more than Xero accounting software to align its data streams. “What we needed it to do, and how we needed it to operate, changed as we move forward. Little things, like having the metadata there and being able to define it. At one point it was valid, but then it may not be anymore. But it doesn’t mean that you can remove it.”

After Testing the Pilot, Zip was Confident Calumo was the Right Solution 

In 2018, Zip was shopping for the right reporting tool for its needs. The solution needed to:

  • Connect many Xero instances and potentially other financial systems globally.
  • Enable multicurrency consolidation.
  • Make responding to ad hoc reporting requests quick and easy.

Since the implementation of Calumo in 2018, Zip has grown like wildfire. It now has 30 Xero instances connected through Calumo. As Zip continues to grow, the month-end close process for Group Financial Control is constantly evolving. Using Calumo to enable quick and easy multicurrency consolidation and ad-hoc reporting has been essential to Zip’s success.

“I am a very heavy user, but I’m a big adopter as well. Through Calumo I have a great understanding of how it all hangs together in the back-end from an overarching financial perspective,” said Temme.

Calumo Consultants Set Zip Up for Early Success

Temme has been involved in a lot of the subsequent build, mapping it out and working with insightsoftware and one of their specialist Calumo Partners to understand how the solution works in the back-end and how it can be adapted to changing business conditions, challenges and opportunities.

“We’re doing a lot of work now to try and make it really easy for the rest of the team to use, adopt, and understand. This allows them to both pull data from the prepared reports and build new analysis in Excel if they need to,” said Temme.

Staff at Zip feel empowered to use Calumo to source the data they need. She explained, “We’ve done a fair amount of training over the last six months as the team has rapidly expanded. It’s all about teaching everyone to fish so they can become super users themselves.”

As a global entity working across multiple time zones, the numbers are always changing. It’s essential that all Zip staff have real-time access to the data they need, including the CFO. Full transparency through Calumo makes everyone’s jobs a lot easier and innovations and time saving allows for new ideas to breed. Real-time access to data is the secret formula for the success of a rapidly growing company like Zip.

Adaptability Empowers Growth for Zip

Implementing Calumo Meant Faster Monthly Closes

“Without Calumo, our closes would be pushed out phenomenally and would definitely require an increase in headcount. At the moment, I’m the only person in Group Financial Control,” said Temme.

Through rapid growth and acquisitions, automation has been essential to Zip’s success. The flexibility to quickly adapt to change as the requirements for month-end close expand has made Temme’s impossible mission possible.

“A big chunk of our success is down to the fact that we’ve got Calumo set up to pull everything. We’ve got our reports set up in the dynamics, and I’ve got the support of Calumo consultants. So, without that, we would be trying to consolidate 30 sets of accounts every month. It would be impossible.”

Different Lenses Means Better Informed Decision-Making

In the last nine months of growth, Zip’s board has completely changed. Calumo has the flexibility to enable the different lines of data investigation requested by each new board member.

“A new board will have a different lens and hotspots than the old board. Therefore, what they want, what they need, and how we need to show and represent the business, changes. Now, I’m changing our management pack every month, two months at least.”

With Calumo, leadership at Zip can easily create their own reporting packs confident that the underlying numbers are correct. Without fear of manual error or inconsistencies in the data, the finance team can focus on providing deeper business insights to help efficiently guide decision-makers on the board.

Features like Publications and Skylights automate the production and distribution of reports, ensuring that senior stakeholders have constant oversight of the latest relevant data.

Seamless Acquisitions for a Growing Business

In 2020, Zip acquired QuadPay and were able to get the data integrated into their system within 30 days with Calumo.

“I’m pretty proud to say that we got our United States operation up in 30 days. Our first month-end close with the US office as part of the group we were able to report them from Calumo within our group,” Temme said.

Zip Continues to Expand its use of Calumo

Looking to the future, Calumo will continue to be crucial for the success of the ever-expanding BNPL company, as it expands its data function to include non-financial information.

“We’ve started to enter and analyse non-financial data in Calumo. The next step will be to take it directly from Tableau and pop it into Calumo so we don’t have to manually enter those things,” said Temme.

Temme explains that Zip uses Calumo well under 50% of its capability. “If we were to take the handbrakes off and had unlimited time and resources, I know we could make it absolutely dance.”

“When you're going through month end, you tell Calumo support the types of things that you're trying to pull manually, and they look at whether we can make it really easy to bring it into a report pre prepared. That efficiency certainly helps the team.”

Christina Temme Director of Group Financial Control

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