To maintain margins while diversifying its business, the MINIT Group must keep a close eye on its finances. Its existing financial consolidation tool was at end-of-life, posing a risk to the business.
The MINIT Group moved to a new version of IBM® Cognos® Controller, taking advantage of enhanced functionality and fine-tuning processes to drive more efficient month-end and annual reporting.
1 daysaved on month-end closing, getting key figures to the business faster
3-4 hoursper week saved for the financial controlling team through automation
Reducesrisk by providing instant access to technical support services
Business challenge story
Getting back on track
Over the course of 60 years, the MINIT Group has built businesses that people trust to deliver fast, quality service—whether that means repairing shoes, cutting keys, or fixing smartphone screens and watches.
To maintain this success, the group needs deep visibility into all areas of enterprise performance, so that it can identify risks, seize new opportunities and drive informed decision-making. And as MINIT Group continues to diversify—introducing new services such as smartphone repair—having solid financial data at the group level is critical to understanding which new lines of business are performing most profitably and identifying where improvements can be made.
This is why the MINIT Group has counted on IBM Cognos Controller to form the cornerstone of its financial consolidation and reporting process for more than a decade. However, with the group’s existing version of the Cognos solution reaching end-of-life, the financial planning team knew that it needed to take action.
Kristina Chatzisavvas, Financial Planning and Analysis Manager at the MINIT Group, elaborates: “We depend on Cognos Controller to provide accurate figures to decision-makers—without it, we would struggle to manage financial consolidation and reporting.
“We felt that running an unsupported version of the software would create a significant amount of business risk. Not having access to IBM support meant that if something went wrong with our system, we would be on our own. This is why it was essential for us to upgrade as soon as possible.”
Taking consolidation and reporting to the next level
Working with IBM, the MINIT Group upgraded to a new version of Cognos Controller. The financial planning team adopted a hands-on approach to the upgrade, taking full advantage of IBM training resources and the expertise of IBM consultants to enhance their knowledge of the software.
Kristina Chatzisavvas comments: “We wanted to become more self-sufficient and arm ourselves with the know-how to quickly solve issues and make improvements. That’s why we largely led the upgrade project ourselves—we drew on support from IBM when we needed it, and we were very lucky to work with an excellent consultant from IBM who provided great guidance.”
Phillip Plaatjes, Group Financial Controller at the MINIT Group, adds: “We have definitely gained a deeper understanding of what is possible. We know much more about how the software works and how our data is structured behind the scenes. That means that if we encounter an error or want to introduce new functionality, we can handle it ourselves with relative ease.”
During the upgrade, the MINIT Group took the opportunity to enhance its existing consolidation model and make use of a wider range of functionality.
Kristina Chatzisavvas says: “We have reorganized our chart of accounts and set up new account codes, and we are using calculation accounts for key performance indicators [KPIs]. We have also automated cash flow, which is making it much quicker and easier for us to put together final figures. In the past, we had to run calculations in a separate report after we performed a consolidation, which was very time-consuming. Now, we’ve embedded cash flow logic in the account structure, which makes things much more transparent and efficient. We no longer have to run additional reports after consolidation to get the final results—once we enter the data, the final cash flow figures are immediately there.”
The MINIT Group is also taking advantage of automatic journals to optimize the consolidation process.
Phillip Plaatjes explains: “Using journals is really helping us to bring more efficiency and control to the way we work. Before, if we needed to make adjustments to our figures—for example, if we prepared a year-end report and there was an audit that introduced some late changes—we had to recalculate the data for every affected period from scratch. Now, we can simply overlay our base figures with the required journal layers, which makes it much quicker and easier to adjust the numbers.”
Putting a new shine on financial planning
Greater automation and more efficient processes have freed up valuable time for the financial planning team, and are helping the MINIT Group to close its books faster than ever before.
Phillip Plaatjes notes: “I have personally gained three to four extra hours in my work-week because consolidation and reporting processes are so much more efficient. As we have a very lean financial planning team, the time savings are incredibly valuable. Rather than just crunching numbers, I have more time to focus on deeper analysis of our financial results, which adds more value to the business.”
He continues: “The efficiency gains have also helped us to speed up month-end closing; we can finalize our monthly reporting within six working days, a whole day faster than before. The result is that we can put financial data in the hands of our management sooner, helping them make more timely decisions.”
As a private company, the MINIT Group has no statutory reporting obligations, but it does need to be able to satisfy its auditors and internal stakeholders. By providing a more automated and robust process for consolidation, Cognos Controller enables the group to create accurate, comprehensive reports.
“While we don’t publish our results publicly, we still have reporting deadlines—and Cognos Controller helps us meet those commitments every time,” states Kristina Chatzisavvas. “What’s more, we get a consolidated view of all our financial results on a single screen. We can look at results from all our operating countries, with all the currency conversions done automatically. The software is very flexible and intuitive; once you set up your reports, you get exactly what you need.”
With its Cognos software now fully supported and up-to-date, the MINIT Group can rest assured that if any issues arise, it can count on rapid resolution from IBM, ensuring that business continues as usual.
Kristina Chatzisavvas concludes: “It gives us great peace-of-mind to know that we can count on IBM for support. We now have a rich, robust financial planning foundation in place—and with the knowledge that we have gained from this project, we can be sure to make the best use of Cognos software to help us run a profitable, well-controlled business.”
The MINIT Group
The MINIT Group comprises two brands: MISTER MINIT, which offers shoe repair, key cutting and related services, and Montre Service, which provides watch and jewelry repair. Founded in Brussels, Belgium in 1957, today the MINIT Group operates nearly 1,000 shops in 14 countries across Europe.
- Cognos Controller
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