Along with many businesses post Lockdown in March 2020, a manufacturer client was faced with customers getting in contact and asking for more time to pay by varying their standard agreed payment terms.
With a large number of customers – which includes a distribution network – the Financial Director realised very quickly that he was in danger of losing any visibility over the company’s operating cash position.
In particular he realised that the standard aged debtor and creditor reports produced by the ERP system – and which in more normal times were more than adequate to give him the over view he needed – were no longer cutting it.
Specifically and in common with most ERPs, the company’s system assumes that payment terms are fixed on a per customer basis. There is no functionality to allow payment terms to be varied on a per invoice basis.
With the sales team each undertaking multiple negotiations with customers every day, on a per invoice basis, he was struggling to keep a handle on the big picture. He was trying to manage this via spreadsheet but it just wasn’t cutting it. There was too much detail.
In particular, invoices were being issued with “free text” notes which recorded the changed terms – and the wording used wasn’t uniform!
Our Octelas business reporting software accesses key business data, every day and in real time where needed. It does this automatically, pulling in the data from ERP systems as well as other data sources including spreadsheets holding sales targets; budgets; etc.
Octelas combines all of this data to populate a wide range of management information reports, tailored to the exact needs of the client, including reporting on financials such as aged debtors and creditors.
Our client got in contact to ask if we could cut through the problem so he could get a handle on his operating cash in real time.
In the event, although we needed to think through how to manage payment terms recorded via free text (we enjoy little challenges like this!), within a couple of hours we were able to produce a report which substituted the revised customer payment terms for the standard terms held by the ERP system.
This gives the Finance Director exactly the data he needs in a single, real time report which he can access on his mobile; laptop or PC for himself whenever he needs to.
As a result the management team as a whole are much more confident of the decisions they need to make every day and which are critical to protecting the business during the pandemic.