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Ted Baker Selects Financial Driver for More Efficient Planning and Reporting

Ted Baker selects Financial Driver for More Efficient Planning and Reporting

Feb 7th 2012:  Financial Driver supports one of the fastest growing brands in the UK ‘No ordinary designer label,’ Ted Baker is one of the fastest growing lifestyle brands in the UK with a reputation for attention to detail. From humble beginnings as a menswear brand in Glasgow in 1987, today, Ted Baker has a wide portfolio of stores in the UK and USA and its portfolio has expanded rapidly to include Menswear, Womenswear, Global Endurance, Accessories, Fragrance, Skinwear, Footwear, Eyewear and Watches. Such exponential growth represents a huge challenge for the Ted Baker Finance Team and during 2011 it became clear that the tried and tested ways of producing budgets were no longer enough to take the company forward. A company-wide dependence on spread-sheets to build budgets and to produce consolidated results lay at the root of the problem. Charles Anderson, Ted Baker, Head of Finance, provides the background: “It was becoming increasingly evident that because budgeting and forecasting are top priorities for the business, more flexible planning software was needed to support the level of forecasting required for the next phase of the company’s development. We needed to involve more people in the budgeting and reporting processes and sending Excel spreadsheets to increasing numbers of team members was fraught with problems - people either wouldn’t complete them on time, or would make their own adjustments to the structure or the formulae in the sheets making the data unreliable.” “Consequently my team would spend too much of their valuable, and expensive, time error-checking the sheets and re-inputting or re-pasting figures, when they should be using the figures to produce meaningful and useful reports for the business.” Charles instigated a search for a system that would eradicate the problems associated with distributing, collecting and consolidating individual spreadsheets. His search led him to Financial Driver (www.financialdriver.com); a system developed by UK accountants to simplify the collection of financial data and eradicate the bottle-necks caused by spreadsheets. Financial Driver is a well rounded modern planning and reporting application that automates the collection of budgets and forecasts without the manual effort. It performs multi-currency consolidations to International Accounting Standards; an important consideration for any company operating on a global scale. Following a stringent evaluation process the decision was made to install Financial Driver in 2011. “Implementation was quick” says Anderson. “We had all our historical and current data imported and we were up-and-running inside two working weeks, which meant our operational downtime was virtually nothing.” One of the key advantages of Financial Driver is that it is a hosted solution with no upfront costs. There is no need for investment in the IT infrastructure and there are no internal support costs.   Greater stakeholder involvement The intuitive interface, designed to emulate the look and feel of a spreadsheet, has given the Ted Baker team the confidence it needs to embrace the system and budget holders now input their own figures routinely. Because the formulae cannot be tampered with and the overall process is more efficient, the budgeting cycle has reduced substantially by 6 weeks, from 16 to 10. This reduction in the cycle allows the finance team more time to analyse the data generated and the use of drivers to simplify the budgeting process have realised some remarkable gains, for example, the payroll budget is now completed automatically as headcount levels and salaries are entered directly by the retail team.   Optimisation of financial processes Charles considers that Financial Driver is providing a higher level of information value to the business’ stakeholders by delivering timeliness, accuracy and performance insight. It is now possible to see where the business is heading by using the plans, budgets, forecasts and leading indicators generated by the new system. “We’re able to more quickly model changes to our product lines, stores, territories, staffing or supplier-base and so help the business make more timely, accurate decisions. Finance is now at the heart of all the strategic decisions that define the overall direction of the business”.   The next stage With stores in 15 countries and more likely, one of the key advantages of Financial Driver is that it is scalable and can easily manage the currency conversions needed when conducting business on a world-wide platform. Charles is clear that installing Financial Driver has proved highly advantageous. “Its’ implementation has made my team much more efficient and it is allowing us to adapt to changing market conditions more quickly and easily. The next step is to look at using web based reporting to remove the deluge of paper at the month end and to use consolidation to prepare group budgets quickly. We are then looking forward to using the system to hold forecast data.” He concluded by saying: “It is evident that the system was designed by accountants who really understand the challenges businesses are currently facing. Companies should look to align their financial system investment plans around processes that address future financial information requirements.”