The flexibility, the quick preparation of reports and the option of adding extra modules were all points in favour of Corporate Planner.
Comprehensive information system at the non-profit association
A wide variety of services in all kinds of conditions are covered by the activities of the Evangelic Society in Stuttgart (eva). In order to process current information from all these areas as required, the charitable enterprise makes use of the corporate performance management software Corporate Planner.
Helping people who find themselves in difficulty has been the purpose of the German Evangelic Society (Evangelische Gesellschaft, eva) since 1830. Today, over 1,000 full-time workers take care of people in need in over a hundred of its services, counselling centres, assisted living groups and residential homes. They are supported in this by over 700 men and women on a voluntary basis as well as people on organised voluntary service programmes. Before the introduction of a central reporting system, the preparation of the monthly and annual reports lay in the hands of the individual managers. However, variances between the managers‘ results and those recorded in the financial accounting and cost accounting systems were the order of the day. This meant that the management did not have recourse to consistent data for enterprise management. This was to be remedied by a central reporting system implemented with an appropriate software solution. There would also be web access through which all the managers could view and analyse their data.
“The flexibility, the quick preparation of reports and the option of adding extra modules (for strategic management and for risk management) were all points in favour of introducing Corporate Planner,” reports Michael Int-Veen, in charge of operational management since 2003, and since 2010 associated with the Executive Board of the Evangelic Society as head of the corporate performance management staff committee.
After initial discrepancies in the interpretation of values had been resolved, the first achievement – being able to work with consistent data available to everyone – quickly became apparent. Since then, Mr Int-Veen has been working on advancing the development of corporate performance management within the charitable association.
“Our enterprise is involved in all kinds of different areas ranging from child and youth welfare through help for the homeless and various counselling services to work with the elderly. The challenge lies in depicting all of these areas in an “eva-specific” view. Different invoicing models, different types of occupancy and a large number of different legal requirements all have to be displayed in Corporate Planner,” the management accountant explains the problems. The flexibility of the distinctive Corporate Planning tree structures makes it possible for all the relevant data to be clearly displayed according to area, service and subsidiary.
The structures are filled with data from the financial accounting, cost accounting and client management systems. The ERP system used at eva is VIA-S. The values for the monthly statement generated in the pre-system are simply imported to Corporate Planner. In the structures, all the income statement information is clearly presented for the enterprise as a whole but also for the specific areas and divisions. These structures need only be defined once. They can also be built automatically during a data import from the pre-system and adjusted as necessary.
Reporting for all
On the basis of the available data, Mr Int-Veen can create report templates and allocate them to report groups according to the intended recipients. He then uses these templates in the following month in order to produce a new monthly report.
The effort required from building the structure to producing the finished Controlling Report is considered acceptable by the number cruncher. “The resulting monthly time savings far outweigh the work involved,” is his assessment. Furthermore, his colleagues are no longer entirely dependent on the reports with which he supplies them but, by direct access through CP-Web, are perfectly able to view their own figures in Corporate Planner and to create reports and analyses according to their immediate requirements.
From the actual figures to the plan
Alongside the reporting, the management accountant uses the software for the annual budget. In cooperation with the managers and with historical values, analyses and plan data as the starting point, different planning scenarios are drawn up. In this process, there is direct real-time communication in the system, so all concerned have consistent and uniform data as the basis for discussion. “We have thus finally managed to introduce a comprehensive information system,” concludes Michael Int-Veen.