CEWE creates accurate reports faster with PBC and Profitbase Planner
CEWE is Europe’s leading manufacturer of personal photo products, with 14 high-tech production facilities and 3,900 employees in 26 European countries, including Norway and Sweden. It is a modern and forward-thinking company that aims to stay ahead of the game.
Together with Profitbase partner PBC, CEWE’s Scandinavian division recently implemented Profitbase Planner to streamline its financial budgeting, forecasting, and reporting processes. Nicolay Gulliksen, CEWE Scandinavia’s chief accountant for Norway and Sweden, speaks with Profitbase about his team’s experience of adopting Profitbase Planner as an efficiency-driving tool.
*Note: reference to CEWE in this case study refers to the Scandinavian (Norway and Sweden) division.
With 35 departments, CEWE, like many other companies, used Excel for budgeting and forecasting. Both Norway and Sweden’s offices are handled from Norway, with the joint reports sent to Germany.
It is a well-known fact that Excel models begin to grow in scope and complexity after long-term use. CEWE was challenged with controlling information for two different countries, recognizing that errors could quickly occur if a formula were deleted or modified unintentionally.
“You must always be 100 percent sure that the formula is correct and that you or any other person have not written over the formula,” Nicolay advised.
CEWE’s accounts team was challenged with transparency, clarity, accuracy, and time management issues when working on Excel spreadsheets.
“There are two to three people who work on a particular Excel spreadsheet, and suddenly there could be three to four versions of the same document,” Nicolay said. “It was challenging to have three different Excel sheets, which contained a lot of information, and to get the figures to match afterward. This process became more complicated over time.”
One of the frustration points was when Nicolay’s team discovered a new account and they wanted to update their current model, considering how the report should look in retrospect. Due to Excel’s lack of centralized structure and control mechanisms, this task became frustrating and cumbersome, and too often, a new model needed to be recreated.
While the accounting team was adept at delivering reports using Excel spreadsheets, Excel was not the most efficient solution. Driven to achieve the best results, CEWE needed a cutting-edge planning tool to help the team deliver accurate reports faster.
Profitbase Planner for budgeting and forecasting became CEWE’s new solution. It was a tool that helped CEWE streamline its processes, manage accounts, and reduce potential confusion on reports.
“The advantage of using the planner is that you can create many different reports using the same data,” Nicolay said, referring to the tool’s flexibility. “My colleagues and I can now create a model for the planning process.” With the planner, CEWE can streamline its processes to complete and deliver reports from Norway and Sweden to its parent company.
Profitbase Planner’s Sales module worked well for Nicolay and his team. They also found the Fixed Assets and Depreciation modules were helpful and user-friendly with handy functionalities. “It’s simple to use, and it’s easier than an Excel sheet,” Nicolay said.
CEWE uses historic sales figures to prefill their sales model with data detailed down to product groups and stores per month. When prefilling their sales model, they can fetch data from different periods and stores. This fine-tuning is useful when planning for new stores or existing stores. After prefilling their sales model, users can set sales growth and gross margin in a general way and specify down to specific stores and product groups.
Currency Exchange Rates
The Profitbase solution also takes into account currency exchange rates, which works well for CEWE because it provides reports in Norwegian and Swedish kroner, as well as the Euro. “In Profitbase Planner, you can switch from Norwegian to Swedish kroner and provide an accurate report, taking in the exchange rate,” Nicolay said. “Prior to using Profitbase Planner, we had two separate spreadsheets – one for Norway and one for Sweden. Now, we have an easier solution where it’s easy to plan for changes.”
After PBC set up the planner, CEWE’s budgeting and reporting processes ran smoother.
The accounting team could focus on what mattered: delivering the best results meticulously and speedily instead of spending time updating Excel models.
“Overall, Profitbase Planner is a useful, fast, and flexible solution,” Nicolay said.
“Once the modules are set up for you, it’s easy and great to navigate the system.”
Clearer communication, and improved quality
CEWE’s accounts team in Scandinavia now have the following results:
Clearer communication. The email trail is eliminated while communication has improved.
Improved efficiency with speedier planning processes.
“I would recommend PBC, which provides Profitbase Planner, because of the company’s professionalism and dedication,” Nicolay said. “The staff are service-oriented, ensuring that our solution was set up correctly. They worked well with us to solve any challenges. They know what they are doing, and they know their product well.”