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INTERVIEW: FROM MICROSOFT EXCEL STEP BY STEP TO INTEGRATED CORPORATE PLANNING

Joachim Teichmann, Senior Expert Consultant (Inhouse) / Project Manager, Kisters AG and long-time expert for projects on Corporate Performance Management, Business Intelligence and ERP in an interview with Tim Erben, Head of Marketing, CoPlanner Software und Consulting GmbH.

Mr. Teichmann, in August, after a selection process, you decided in favour of the Business Intelligence solution by CoPlanner. Why such a solution at all and why CoPlanner?

Joachim Teichmann: So far we worked with distributed Excel sheets, which we collected and put together again at the end. This always required a lot of work when merging the results. This was especially the case because of the multiple rounds of reconciliation, as is common in planning. We were therefore looking for a suitable solution that would make our work easier.

It was particularly important for us to have software support in the mapping of intercompany relationships and group consolidation. We also wanted to map the success of individual business units that operate across all companies. For this purpose, we were looking for a tool that was as flexible as possible in designing the data model.

In addition, our time window for the launch was very sporty: the start date in September for the planning was set - but we could only give the starting signal for the implementation at the beginning of August.

The CoPlanner convinced us the most in the selection process.

Of course, I am very pleased that you have chosen CoPlanner. Can you be more specific about the requirements and future plans?

Joachim Teichmann: In the short period of time we have already implemented a sales planning with subsequent group-wide P&L planning and management consolidation. We are particularly pleased with the automated processes that, in the case of intercompany transactions, when one position is entered in a company, the corresponding position in the partner company is simultaneously posted. The translation into the respective currency runs in the background. This means that we always have the current group-wide profit and loss statement available for each planning phase. The profit and loss calculation of the individual business units runs virtually on the side during each aggregation. The next goals are a regular target-performance comparison, recurring forecasts, the inclusion of the balance sheets and the determination of the cash flow.

They wanted to be able to plan operationally with the new software just a few weeks after the project start. Did that work?

Joachim Teichmann: Correct, our big wish was that the budget planning would work in September. The target we set was quite sporty, but we managed it together and the project got off to a very good start. We are still a long way from a holistic integrated financial planning, but the first major milestone has been reached.

After the successful start, what are the first three plus points that the CoPlanner software now offers you?

Joachim Teichmann: Firstly, the clear, simple and very high-performance web front-end for the planners, secondly, the easy setup of automatic calculations for intercompany relations and thirdly, the drill-through option to the detailed data records with comment function. But there are more plus points.

At the beginning of the interview you said that you have a lot of plans, what is the outlook for the future at Kisters?

Joachim Teichmann: Kisters AG is on course for growth. As a result, the demands on controlling are also increasing. We want to be promptly informed about the processes in the company and be able to react quickly. Integrated financial planning will be an essential component. This includes group consolidation and cost and performance accounting at the push of a button. For this purpose, we also need a permanent data reconciliation with our ERP system. With the help of CoPlanner, we also expect to be able to regularly produce a forecast in shorter cycles. There is a lot to do.

Your personal opinion interests me about our software. As a BI expert of many years, who has seen many solutions, what do you think about CoPlanner?

Joachim Teichmann: A major strength of CoPlanner is the business management know-how that has been incorporated over the last decades, the high flexibility and adaptability as well as the speed with which projects can be actively implemented.

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