Like any business, RCL Foods was thrilled when the business started growing at a healthy and steady pace, except that its original consolidation process was becoming increasingly cumbersome, time consuming and frustratingly prone to errors.

“Spreadsheets just weren’t cutting it any more,” explained Lucinda Deane, management accountant, Group Services. “The use of spreadsheets was becoming more onerous as the group grew in size, and with it came the risk of errors and even data corruption.”

Fortunately Synergy had a solution at hand – IBM Cognos Controller.

“We wanted a consolidation tool that would eliminate the need for manual spreadsheets. IBM Cognos Controller came highly recommended from Remgro, of which we are a subsidiary, and was finance owned,” said Deane.

Remgro extended its existing IBM Cognos Controller solution to RCL Foods, paving the way for the reduction of manual spreadsheets that resulted in greater overall control of the consolidation process.

RCL Foods chose to piggy-back off the existing infrastructure offered by Remgro instead of implementing its own, independent, consolidation system.

“This ensured that there was a very quick implementation and that it was a very cost effective approach. The existing Remgro chart of accounts was extended slightly to accommodate RCL disclosure requirements,” explained Synergy’s Tanya Raath.

“Historical data was loaded into the entities making up the RCL Foods consolidation, and users were given comprehensive training to consolidate and pass journals using the system.”

While the system was customised and set up for Remgro and adopted by RCL Foods, RCL Foods has seen improved process efficiencies and report capabilities, and list these among the most important benefits derived from the program implementation. “In fact, we have noted a cost saving of R120 000 a year since we’ve automated our consolidation process,” said Deane.

“The time saving for me, personally, centers around the preparation of forecasts and balancing of the consol manually versus using Cognos Controller. The total saving for monthly reporting is 20 hours, and for forecasting and budgeting, it clocked up an impressive 64 hours.”

“The Cognos solution has shown RCL Foods how much a consolidation solution can assist in time saving and reduced manual intervention. We now have much better control over the numbers and the overall consolidation process,” said Deane.