Electricity Commission switches over to Microsoft Dynamics NAV
The industry regulator has swapped an endless data paper trail for a brighter, clearer view of all its accounting and reporting activities...
Efficiency is a word uppermost in the mind of the Electricity Commission. Established in 2003 as the Crown entity charged with overseeing the regulation and operation of the electricity industry, the commission's business landscape is one of regulation, environmental sustainability and encouraging energy efficiency throughout New Zealand.
In its own business accounting environment, however, the commission had several inefficiencies to deal with.
Since its establishment, the Commission had utilised the finance system running within the Ministry of Economic Development. A switch-off date loomed for the existing Masterpiece platform, and the commission wanted to gain independence over its financial systems. Under Masterpiece, the commission had functioned haltingly on a continuous paper trail of data outsourced and delivered by hard copy to the MED.
Finance manager Ruth Murphy says the commission's limited ability to control timeframes due to the data being in the hands of an external agency, plus the need to give business decision makers greater access to information, were the key reasons to seek a flexible and dynamic finance platform.
Making the switch to Microsoft Dynamics NAV 4 SP3
“Intergen were able to convince me that Dynamics NAV 4 had the flexibility to handle the different dimensions we use to manage our financial reporting requirements," says Murphy. "They understood the capabilities of the product and translated that into the nuts and bolts of how we work each day. They communicated the benefits in a way that was relevant, giving me confidence that they really understood our business.”
Her comment sits well with Intergen’s Paul Murray who stresses the point that if you don’t understand a customer’s business environment, then how can you add measurable business value.
“Intergen is not product focused, we’re benefit driven. How can you go out and present for a project if you don’t understand where the client is coming from. We have a team of actual accountants here within Intergen working with the developers, because they live and breathe the nitty gritty of the real business at hand.”
Murphy cites three key factors behind their decision to go with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 4, after a lengthy tendering process.
“We were tired of being constrained by limited access to data and inflexible reporting tools. Dynamics NAV stood out because it offered us a truly multidimensional approach, allowing us to cut and dice information from different angles. For example we could easily analyse and report on the business by cost centre, project, output, and so on,” she says.
“The ability to cut and paste or export data to Excel was also an important consideration, so the Microsoft compatibility was something we rated highly.
“The third deciding factor was the ability for our managers to access financial information and approve expenditure themselves. Dynamics NAV 4 gives them the ability to do this online in a user-friendly way. This gives them more independence and empowers them to manage their own cost centres more effectively.”
Delivered to deadline
Murphy comments positively on the commitment that Intergen brought to meeting the project deadline, which was tightly timed to occur just prior to their financial year end.
“Intergen was able to tackle some pretty challenging issues. One of the most complex was the decision to import the entire transaction history, rather than just totals, to the new platform," she says.
"This was important, because as a relatively young organisation we wanted to retain all the information we had accumulated to this point. The data manipulation was a huge task, but the team at Intergen put in long hours to make it happen.”
Business as Usual?
“We’ve come a huge distance in an extremely short time," she says.
"There are efficiencies that you can measure in terms of days saved. Just one example is how NAV enables us to reverse a journal and make a change, something that now takes minutes as opposed to days.
“Automated invoice approval is another clear gain. A manager can now approve an invoice online, whereas before it was a case of leaving a paper file on their desk and waiting for it to be actioned. It’s saving us time and that’s vital across all our accounting activities. All ties to the existing Ministry of Economic Development platform have been cut.”
The before and after comparison is like turning on an energy efficient light bulb – the commission now has a clearer view of all accounting and reporting activity combined with measurable savings in the time committed to accounting tasks.
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