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First Wind is a supplier of wind energy. Every quarter, the energy utility produces 30 US GAAP standalone financial statements and reports for each of the 16 wind energy projects. To gain more control over the many spreadsheets, the energy provider chose Vena Solutions.
Vena Solutions – First Wind
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Vena Solutions at First Wind
Wim Heuvelman, consultant at Sonum International, in conversation with Caroline Rubin, controller at First Wind. What are her experiences with this new solution?
What were the main reasons for First Wind to implement a Performance Management solution?
We wanted to gain more control and confidence in First Wind’s financial statements. Also, we wanted to reduce the stress our accountants experienced from manually reviewing spreadsheets for human errors. The accounting team was always trying to play catch up and had little time to sit and actually review the information. Instead of doing 20% work and 80% review and analysis, it was always 80% work, 20% review; there just wasn’t enough time available.
Vena Solutions is a new player in the market. The new solution combines a Microsoft Excel platform with enterprise-grade features like a centralized database, workflow-engine, audit, security and process management. Existing Excel sheets can be (re)used. Why did you choose this solution?
We wanted to lighten the workload. I knew these issues existed in the accounting department and I was wondering how to organize all the spreadsheets and how to get it to work. We wanted to adopt a solution that was easy to learn, would improve the working conditions of a strained team and, most importantly, leverage the financial and training investments already made in Excel. We also wanted a solution that was easy to use, so the accounting team could independently manage it instead of constantly turning to our small IT department for support. After a conversation with Vena Solutions it was obvious that they could provide the structure we needed.”
First Wind uses more than 100 spreadsheets for her financial statements. With this solution you stay very close to your familiar Excel environment. How do you experience this?
Obviously, we thought we were going to have to make a few process changes but one of the key reasons we bought Vena was because it tightly integrates with Excel; it is intuitive, and at the same time not a complicated system. Before we missed sufficient version control, edit tracking and auditing features. And because the spreadsheets were all dependent on one another, an error in one spreadsheet could affect the outcomes elsewhere in the operation. Naturally, this meant employees had to manually review spreadsheets one by one and fix any data discrepancies they discovered.
Vena Solutions provides a centralized, secure repository of financial data, which auto-populates controlled spreadsheets with real-time figures and commentary. What are the results for First Wind?
We see significant cost and time savings – the accounting team no longer has to check and recheck data accuracy and integrity. Next, we have observed reduced risks; accountants and external auditors can thoroughly test the spreadsheets and compare them on a cell-by-cell basis. Finally, we have noticed a huge boost in confidence – both within finance as well as across the company thanks to the trust in numbers and instantly available reports.
What is the impact on your finance department?
After implementing Vena, financial reporting became an efficient, centralized and locked-down procedure at First Wind. Now, the accounting team can effortlessly create reports that everyone can confide in. Having Vena Solutions allowed us to free our time to improve our processes while taking away a lot of the fire drills that we constantly lived with. Things are so much better now!
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More Vena Solutions projects
Below a selection of some interesting projects we did that helped our clients to bring their processes to the next level
Optimizing project management at Boskalis Nederland
When the Dutch infrastructure division of Boskalis starts structuring its project forecasts, it also wants to continue taking advantage of the flexibility of the existing forecasts in Excel. In addition to SAP BPC, which is used for reporting to the group, the division is thus also setting up its own platform in Vena.
Budget forecasting model
At NLB Banka, Vena was implemented as the Planning and Forecasting solution, on-site, from the design phase until the UAT and training.
Budget forecasting model
Setting up data integrations and workflow for the model developed in the Vena Cloud Solution
Vena Solutions news
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