Sasfin is no ordinary financial services provider. Their motto is “beyond a bank” as they strive to go the extra mile in customising their range of specialised products. As a lean organisation, Sasfin always strives to deliver maximum value to its clients. Under the leadership of the new Financial Director, Angela Pillay, they launched an initiative to simplify and streamline the finance office, revealing some room for improvement.
The numbers between business heads looking at line of business, and the Financial Director looking at the General Ledger didn’t always match. This issue resulted in a high volume of overtime hours by the team looking at the data to deliver the correct results and restatements of financials. Sasfin clearly needed a uniform chart of accounts and standardisation throughout the business.
The new Financial Director launched a holistic “Finance Transformation Programme” to streamline the entire organisation. It was overly reliant on manual processes and had insufficient automation. Sasfin storyboarded the transformation across a period of several years and identified the building blocks needed to mature the organisation. The initial steps comprised the simplification of the chart of accounts, followed by upgrades to the GL. The next step was to choose a corporate performance management (CPM) platform to replace an array of legacy applications and Microsoft Excel.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
After creating a scoring model and assessing different solutions, Sasfin unanimously chose OneStream. It had all the functionality – budgeting, planning, forecasting, reporting, and more – within a single platform. It was flexible in that additional capabilities could be added in phases as needed. Finally, the licensing model and cloud-based option made it a scalable, cost-effective solution that met requirements for mitigating business continuity risks.
Beyond technical requirements, Sasfin also needed a solution that could accommodate much more than just financial data. OneStream can incorporate non-financial data such as credit or market risks, giving a more complete picture of the organisation within a wider context.
Finally, along with selecting OneStream as a solution, Sasfin needed an onshore partner with local industry knowledge and strong customer referenceability. In inlumi they found a proven, trustworthy systems integrator who knew the technology, understood the project goals, and was a good cultural fit.
This paradigm shift in the role of the Finance function has been the greatest benefit to Sasfin. Where they previously poured resources into generating reports each month, they are now empowered to apply themselves to the information coming through the reports. This fundamentally changes the nature of Finance and the strategic role it plays in providing valuable analysis and influencing decision-making. “We don’t argue about the numbers anymore,” Souchon said. “Now we’re looking at the financials and adding real analytical value rather than just reporting on them.”
Auditability has significantly improved through the enablement of drill-down and drill-back functionality to the underlying GL systems. What’s more, not only has audit quality increased, but the cost of audit overruns will be limited if not removed entirely.
A SINGLE VERSION OF THE TRUTH
By implementing OneStream, Sasfin has achieved full data integration across the organisation – creating a single view of the truth. This is much more than mere automation. It unifies and streamlines financial processes so that the data is consistent and reliable throughout. By making processes more efficient, Finance teams are released to add higher value to the organisation as a whole.
With OneStream in place, spreadsheets previously used to collate and consolidate additional disclosure have been eliminated from the process. This has improved control, consistency and process visibility overall. Sasfin has also partially automated the elimination of at-acquisition and post-acquisition journals, and further automation of consolidation and elimination journals has been logged as a future enhancement.
ONE PLATFORM, MAXIMUM VALUE
Sasfin will continue adding value to their OneStream deployment as they progress to the next transformation phase. Future development includes budgeting, management and regulatory reporting, and tools for business agility such as driver-based planning. Sasfin also plans to replace the static forecasts currently being created with Excel with rolling forecasts. This will help align Finance and Operations, and equip Sasfin to respond intelligently and quickly to market changes as they arise.
Following a successful first phase, one key takeaway is that a principle-based approach is crucial to success. Sasfin defined their transformation programme conceptually before choosing a solution, and then broke it down into phases. This let them control the scope within each year and set clear targets, and yet with OneStream they have the flexibility to dynamically shift priorities and goals as needed. This is truly the value of OneStream. It simplifies and unifies finance processes within a single platform that is scalable and flexible enough to grow and change with the enterprise and its goals.