Solarcentury

Solarcentury
Q uick facts
Company overview
Prophix in-depth profile
Industry
Cleantech, renewables, engineering, and
manufacturing
Operating since 1998
Annual revenue: >£200 million
Number of employees: 180
Head office: London, England
G/L: Microsoft Dynamics NAV
ROI
• Accurate, consolidated global financial
reporting, with a clear audit trail
• Multidimensional business modeling to track
Solarcentury’s costs and evaluate scenarios
related to customers, projects, capital
expenditures, personnel, revenue, and more
• Profitability analysis of their primary
channels, including solar farms and rooftop
solar installations, across geographic
locations. This enables Solarcentury’s
executives to decide where—and where
not—to focus their business
• Their first successful completion of a 5-year
strategic plan
www.solarcentury.com
Solarcentury faced the same problems that all
companies do when they rely on spreadsheets for
their financial processes—broken links and formulas,
inaccuracy, version control, and wasted time.
Having learned about the benefits of using Corporate
Performance Management (CPM) software, however,
they sought to do more than automate their reporting
and their annual budgeting; they recognised that by
building out the detailed analysis of their company’s
information, they could make better business decisions
and effectively revamp their long term strategic
planning. A 1-day onsite proof of concept with the reps
from Prophix UK demonstrated how easily Solarcentury
could connect to their ERP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV,
and import the data that would form the building blocks
of their advanced software solution.
Company background
Solarcentury works with investors to develop, build, and run solar farms. They work with businesses to finance
and install solar rooftops, and with retailers, utilities, and social housing providers to run solar programmes for
homes. Solarcentury also manufactures the award winning range of C21e tiles and slates.
Prophix in-depth profile
Integrated financial planning:
financial, operational, and
strategic
Solarcentury uses multidimensional business
modeling to track and analyse the company’s
performance. These models (or ‘cubes’) allow
Prophix users to evaluate financial and nonfinancial information together, and the cubes
interface with each other. Rather than simply
determine what has happened in the past,
Solarcentury can use the number-crunching
power of their cubes to predict their future
performance—and then distribute information to
C-level stakeholders in order to make important
decisions. Among others, Solarcentury’s finance
team has created the following cubes to date:
Finance cube – Forms the core of the system,
consolidating information from Solarcentury’s
UK, Dutch, Panamanian, Kenyan, and South
African operations. Receives data automatically
imported from their ERP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
Uses the Financial Controller tool to post journal
entries for investments in subsidiaries and to
process intercompany transactions. Solarcentury
also uses the finance cube for planning P&L data
because it aggregates data from the revenue
planning, personnel, and CapEx cubes, where
planning occurs at a more detailed level.
Customer cube – Offers a breakdown of product
types, highlighting margins and profitability by
customer. Reports actuals at a more detailed
level than the finance cube.
Projects cube – Microsoft Dynamics NAV holds
Solarcentury’s global project data, including
project size, customer data, time frames,
and personnel involved. Prophix taps into this
information and outputs gross margins (broken
down by project manager, for instance) and
balance sheet information, linking the project
data between NAV and Prophix. Solarcentury
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uses this cube to produce a variety of detailed
project reports. These reports enable them to
accurately measure the value of their projects
and to determine the feasibility of proposed
initiatives.
CapEx cube – Enables the company to track
and plan their investments in hardware and
software, office furniture, and their research and
development spend.
HR planning cube – Uses the Detailed Planning
Manager (DPM) module, which specialises
in computing financial and non-numerical
information together. Updates monthly. Drives
cost allocations by business unit. Straightforward
calculations allow them to determine revenue by
headcount. Provides Solarcentury’s HR managers
with the data to make and to justify their
decisions, including appropriate headcounts by
area, what to pay, and how to structure benefits
packages.
Prophix in-depth profile
Additionally, the software updates across the
board automatically when an employee leaves,
or changes departments or roles—something that
spreadsheets simply cannot do. Since personnel
represent one of the company’s largest expenses,
Solarcentury’s use of this cube will remain central
to their plans for growth in the coming years.
Revenue planning cube – Another cube built
using DPM. Integrates global data sources to
produce revenue forecasts for the company’s
sales team and for projects. Imports jobs
and gross margin information from Microsoft
Dynamics NAV, opportunities from SalesLogix
(their CRM software), and other information from
four separate accounting databases. Shows a
consolidated view of projected revenues and
outlines the sources of those revenues. This allows
Solarcentury to produce accurate revenue
forecasts—all while completely avoiding manual
work.
Additionally, the revenue cube forecasts when
costs are due and when the company needs
to pay their creditors. The cube also tracks their
performance bonds from banks.
The value of sales analysis
Solarcentury uses their revenue planning
cube to outline the profitability of their primary
channels, including solar farms and rooftop solar
installations, across geographical locations.
As such, they can precisely analyse sales and
potential sales in the UK, the Netherlands, Kenya,
Ghana, South Africa, Mexico, Panama, and Chile.
This capability is central to deciding where and
how to focus their business.
When Solarcentury’s employees login to the
software, they can see their margins in the cube
and conduct margin analysis by project type,
country, salesperson, customer, month, or order,
slicing and dicing their information using simple
3
drop-down menus to weigh an infinite number
of scenarios. The drill across function allows them
to delve into their Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP,
investigating invoices to understand when the
company will send them out and when they will
turn into cash.
At the leadership level, Solarcentury conducts
internal management reviews to see which
customers are spending what—deciding why
that is and what it means. Their sales reports also
show where the sales reps stand in relation to their
targets and in relation to each other. In effect, this
ensures that the sales reports—and the decisions
that management makes based on this ongoing
reporting—drive the behaviours of the sales team.
Financial consolidation and
reporting
Today, Solarcentury has fully consolidated global
financial reporting with a clear audit trail. Members of the finance team can easily build their own
reports (or even additional cubes) to meet new
reporting requirements. The value of Prophix’s software was on clear display when the company’s
branch in the Netherlands became a subsidiary.
According to Jenny Burbridge, Business Analysis
& Reporting Manager, “By using alternate hierarchies, the branch and subsidiary financials can
be added together easily for reporting purposes
and all of the data can be shown in GBP. This task
would have been much harder without Prophix,
especially as we changed from a branch to a subsidiary mid-financial year.”
Prophix in-depth profile
Solarcentury uses Prophix’s Report Binder function
to output a complete report package for its board
members. The reports automatically output to Excel
form and distribute to designated recipients. This
package features a weekly revenue report on all
countries and sectors for the entire management
team.
Solarcentury’s users can also see the company’s
updated debtor, creditor, and stock information
changing in real-time. The company automatically
generates a daily cash report with balances and
currencies across countries, outlining free cash and
available cash, cash by bank (with percentages),
which countries they have cash in, and which
currency types they own. The CFO reviews this
information every day. Other team members view
the data to ensure that they keep their payments
up to date.
Future plans
Solarcentury recently began using Prophix for the entirety of their budgeting process, with almost all of the
senior management team either inputting into Prophix templates/schedules directly or via offline templates.
They also plan to further develop an overhead allocation process that will enable them to forecast the net
profit of a country or division. Currently, this data outputs from historical actuals and the budget, but not
from a rolling forecast. Leveraging a rolling forecast will offer them clearer, more accurate updates of their
performance.
Over the coming year, Solarcentury will have more of their business departments use the software, which will
help the monthly forecasting to become a collaborative process.
“It’s very rare that you find something you can’t do with Prophix—
even with our ambitious uses of the software. The ability to
seamlessly link to multiple data sources is wonderful. We are
completely self-sufficient. We looked at packages from other CPM
software providers, but Prophix seemed like the perfect tool for us.
It turned out that this initial assessment was correct.”
Jenny Burbridge
Business Analysis & Reporting Manager
Solarcentury
Prophix UK Ltd
Lutyens Close
Basingstoke
Hampshire RG24 8AG
© 2015 Prophix Software
Phone: + 44 (0)1256 338614
Email: [email protected]
www.prophix.co.uk
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