JBC: Corporate Performance bringing finance back to business
Fashion retailer JBC has successfully integrated Corporate Performance Management into its Board reporting tool. From a multitude of different Excel templates all the way to an integrated reporting tool encompassing all aspects of business: MI&S manager Johan Reunis explains.
In 2016, JBC asked MI&S for help. Before, reporting was mainly done in Excel, implying many manual interventions. Johan Reunis: ‘We got away from this error-prone way of working by selecting and implementing the Board International tool.’ In april 2017, JBC also wanted to integrate its budgeting and reporting processes in this tool.
Reunis: ‘Key to this project was the insight that budgeting is more than just a finance activity. We closely involved the business in all aspects of the project.’ First, every department manager was interviewed in order to clearly define the real business (cost) drivers for the department, in view of future KPI’s to be defined. Reunis: ‘Next, we set up a standardized budget template that was fit for all departments, and then integrated this template into Board. In a subsequent phase we developed the reporting setup based on this very budget template. This allowed department managers to follow up their actual performance against budget for their specific business drivers. Finally we automated the workflow for the budget creation and approval process.’
Lessons learned? Reunis: ‘Obviously, it is of crucial importance to involve the business throughout the whole project. True, it may take some time to get the involvement of the internal stakeholders, but it is a worthwhile investment in time and effort. ’ Another interesting recommendation is to have a ‘finance-illiterate’ person in the project steering committee. Why is that? Reunis: ‘As a counterbalance! From the moment you realize CPM is much more than just a finance tool, it is important to have the opinion of someone who is not number-oriented to ensure what you develop is relevant for everyone.’
Sam Van Roosbroeck, Group Controller at JBC, is happy with the project he ran with MI&S. ‘The automatization and formalization of the budgeting process gave us speed and time to really dig into analyzing and commenting on the business processes.’