MFG reduced financial consolidation time from 7 days to 2 days [case study]

  • How can you eliminate the risk of inaccurate and inconsistent data in your consolidated financial statements?
  • Is there a way to shorten financial consolidation time?
  • Can you assess the real risks and opportunities facing your business if you don’t have accurate and organized financial data for group companies?

As these questions make clear, financial consolidation fits into many aspects of running a Group of companies. It allows investors to assess opportunities and gives stakeholders, regulators, and auditors a clear picture of the company’s finances.

As the scale of the business increases, consolidation becomes more complex and time-consuming and the risks of errors and omissions in the financial statements increase. Despite this, many companies still rely on outdated tools and processes, but others have realized the opportunities that new technology provides and have managed to reduce the time to prepare consolidated accounts by 80%*.

We will tell you how this “magic” happens in Bulgarian reality in the following lines.

To do this, we will go “back” in time – specifically to mid-2021, when Management Financial Group (MFG) contacted us, in search of financial consolidation software.

The MFG Group and its more than 30 companies

A Bulgarian company with a 17-year history, Management Financial Group consists of over 30 companies specializing in the provision of non-bank financial services in Europe. The group is represented by popular companies and brands such as Easy Credit, White Card, Viva Credit, Fintrade, AKZP, P2P lending platform iuvo, NewPay, and many others.

As the Group has grown, we have reached the point where consolidation needs to be done for official accounts, not just for management purposes. Then things got quite complicated because our reports had to be more and more detailed and faster,” Blagovest Vitanov, who has been part of the Group almost since its inception and is currently Head of Reporting and Budgeting at MFG, tells us.

Blagovest is the main “driver” of the process of implementation of the financial management system by MFG.

In the process of looking for a solution to the challenges listed above, Blagovest, along with the company’s CFO, learned about the financial management system – LucaNet.

LucaNet screenshot

LucaNet screenshot - Balkan Services

The intuitive and flexible CPM software

Corporate Performance Management software facilitates the preparation of consolidated reports at every step of the process. The software solution enables the preparation of consolidated accounts by applicable accounting standards and in parallel with specific management requirements.

We decided that LucaNet suited us best. It was kind of love at first sight,” says Blagovest.

Apart from the fact that the functionality of the business software we offer appeals to the head of the MFG’s reporting department, the meetings with the Balkan Services team gave him confidence, security, and a desire to work with us.

The deciding factor in choosing LucaNet financial management software was the demo that Balkan Services presented to us before we even decided to work with them,” Blagovest is adamant.

He adds that the professionalism of our team was the reason why he wanted the project even more.

The meetings with the Balkan Services team were quick and relaxed. The team understood what our company needed and guided us through the entire process during the implementation of the system,” says Blagovest. He adds, “The Balkan Services team was close to me at every moment a decision had to be made. This made me feel very relaxed and secure in working with them.”

Read more: How Boni Holding AD reduced the time for financial consolidation by 92% [case study]

Step by step to a successful LucaNet implementation

The project was launched in February 2022. The initial plan is to cover management reporting for MFG.

At the moment we have developed management reporting, plus consolidation for management purposes; budgeting and consolidation of budgeting data; consolidation of official accounts (IFRS),” says Galina Nankinska, financial consolidation and planning consultant, certified LucaNet specialist, part of the Balkan Services team.

During the implementation of the financial management software, our team worked in two areas. The first one is at the Group level and the second one is by sectors, which is necessary as MFG is present in four business sectors. Presenting by sector enables owners to see how each is doing and what its financial performance would be if it were standalone rather than part of the Group.

In the first month of the project launch, the system was fed with historical data for all companies for the period 2016 to 2020.

This is very fast in terms of implementation from our side and therefore as an organisation from MFG’s side,” notes Galina.

Subsequently, the process of collecting data for the year 2021 as well as for the past year 2022 has started.

LucaNet screenshot

CPM software LucaNet - Balkan Services

All data for previous periods is collected in an additional module to LucaNet – Group report, which replaces various versions and formats of consolidation packages in spreadsheets. It enables groups within the holding company to track and correlate related party transactions before the information enters the main system module.

Statistics are also entered into LucaNet. Based on these, key performance indicators (KPIs) have been created, which are different for each of the business sectors.

In the meantime, the MFG team has been trained on how to create reports themselves, how to import information into them, and how to create key indicators. Blagovest is adamant that he has continuously learned from our team during our work together, which has been invaluable to him.

A key point of the implementation of the system is the process of creating budgeting by company and sector as well as consolidation of the budget data. As a result, the Group can compare and analyze budgets against actual data on a consolidated basis.

Another important point concerns the official consolidation (IFRS), which is now fully prepared in LucaNet.

Full integration between Excel and LucaNet has been achieved. This means that data can now be both imported and exported into Excel,” explains Galina, adding, “The selection of companies that are in management reporting can be different from the selection for the official data presentation, as can the consolidation method. LucaNet gives a lot of flexibility on data review – the same data entered once into the system can be grouped differently.”

The financial management software also provides a solution to a specific problem encountered by companies such as MFG operating in different countries, namely information coming in in different currencies.

LucaNet screenshot

LucaNet software screenshot - Balkan Services

Learning to create in the language of LucaNet

Challenges to successful implementation emerged from the very beginning of the project. First and foremost are the tight implementation deadlines that our team managed to meet. The process itself is structured as follows:

First we wanted management consolidation without stopping the ongoing process that was happening in Excel at the time. The next part required the system to be upgraded with accounting consolidation,” says Blagovest.

It was in the second part of the project that the consolidation report proved to be a challenge because it required a change in the way of working and the accounting department had to collect data only in the new system.

According to Galina, this was an important and courageous decision by MFG and what made the project so successful – to stop permanently practicing the old way they had been collecting data until then, only three months after the start of LucaNet implementation.

Once you start working with LucaNet you have to forget working with tables. Start working, creating, and thinking only in the language of LucaNet, because then LucaNet reveals its full potential to users,” says Blagovest.

Read more: 4 business software implementation challenges – what do the experts advise

And the work became a song…

Consolidation is becoming a favorite activity of the MFG Reporting Department. In Blagovest’s experience, the consolidation process in the new system now takes only two days compared to seven or more in previous periods.

Another frequently used functionality concerns budgets.

Our goal is to make our reporting more automated. The old way of working, with forwarding Excel reports from person to person and copying from file to file, which takes time to prepare, leads to the fact that at the time of sending, the data is no longer up to date, and this poses the additional risk of a new version not being taken into account,” points out Blagovest.

He adds that our team has taught him the importance of “having one truth and everyone looking at it.”

“And that’s LucaNet’s biggest strength,” says Blagovest.

That’s why the Group subsequently developed a BI application on top of the LucaNet data to easily see the true numbers.

Fast, easy, and true

The benefits that MFG’s reporting department reports after implementing financial management software are many.

It was a huge ‘pain’ for us if management asked for the accounts in a different form or detail,” Blagovest tells us.

The new financial performance management system gives the Group the ability to expand both the analytics that are fed by the accountants and the analytics and detail that the reporting department feeds to management. And all this is now made very easy.

Thanks to LucaNet, the Group is also processing reports by company much faster.

A ready-made individual accounting report is translated into a management report with a few operations. If previously one person from the team could process one company in a day, now he can process three or four companies at the same time. So we can easily see other things that we would otherwise not have time for,” explains Blagovest.

According to him, a big advantage of the system is the ability to compare intra-group operations by users who enter the data before the consolidation process starts.

So information comes to us that is very clean, whereas before it was just missing.
Right now we have time to carefully review the financial statements and think about new metrics. We can analyze the company’s performance through the prism of a larger period, rather than month-to-month as before, without seeing the full story unfold,” says Blagovest.

To make the data more comparable, the Group’s history going back seven years has been uploaded to LucaNet.

For greater data comparability, the Group’s history going back seven years has been uploaded to LucaNet.

LucaNet screenshot

LucaNet system - Balkan Services

The two teams worked as one

Good stacking, ease, and compatibility marked the workflow according to both teams.

I consider the process a success because the Balkan Services team was responsible, extremely proactive, and ahead of the curve with ideas,” says Blagovest.

The MFG team, for its part, contributed to the success of the project with its openness to simplify processes and also with its precision, accuracy, and speed.

We are always guided by the idea of being innovators in what we do and embracing new ideas boldly. We are dedicated to the job and are a very close-knit team,” Blagovest adds with pride.

The MFG team was very focused and dedicated to the project. And that contributed to creating this synergy in the work,” says Galina.

According to her, on the other hand – in our work one of the most important things is to be able to listen to our clients, to understand their needs, and to be able to deliver a service that best suits what they need.

According to Blagovest, the formula of project success is rooted precisely in the combination: a consultant on the one hand who knows the process and is a professional, an open-minded and willing specialist on the other.

Balkan Services has been implementing business software solutions since 2006 and has completed over 690 projects. Our experts have years of experience in implementing business software, including systems for managing the financial performance of organizations.

If you would like more information about the Organizational Corporate Performance Management solution, our consultants are here to help.

Balkan Services
Balkan Services

Balkan Services has been implementing software solutions for businesses since 2006 and has completed more than 720 business software implementation projects and building complete IT infrastructure for 390+ companies. We follow a proven implementation methodology with clear steps and best practice know-how.