AIH Group had found that its legacy finance system, while meeting the needs of a single restaurant, did not have the capability to manage multiple restaurants (and companies). It offered very little automation of transaction processing and did not have the capability to integrate with external systems like the Point of Sale system and Excel. Managing inter-company transactions, the consolidation process and fixed assets, in an integrated fashion, was also beyond the capabilities of the legacy system.
Reporting was also difficult and time consuming. There was a lack of flexibility from a user perspective and reporting in the format that management required was not possible. In addition, it was difficult to drive reports using both operational (statistical) and financial key performance indicators.
As AIH Group had grown rapidly through acquisition, there was an urgent need to implement a more robust and flexible financial management platform that could provide process automation, efficiency, compliance solutions and user definable reporting. It was also vital that the new system be flexible and scalable to accommodate future growth within a dynamic environment.
"While the other products we considered seemed to meet most of our requirements, Infor FMS SunSystems just seemed to do everything a little bit better." Will Keiler CFO, AIH Group
Solution and implementation
Will Keiler, Chief Financial Officer for AIH Group, decided to begin looking for an appropriate financial management system by working with expert consultants to document the organisation's high level requirements. This document was then provided to a number of potential vendors and a short list was established.
"One of the other benefits Infor FMS SunSystems offered over its competition was the integrated multi-dimensional budgeting, forecasting and performance management tool which comes as a standard part of the offering. We did not implement this capability immediately, but now that the financials are bedded down, it is our next priority. This functionality will allow us to remove Excel from the budgeting process entirely, which will improve data integrity and overall efficiency," stated Will Keiler.
The implementation ran smoothly and Infor FMS SunSystems was delivered on time and on budget, but the rapid growth of the organisation did provide some challenges along the way.
"The system design phase of the project was difficult, as we were designing it around what we thought we would need in the future, rather then what we knew we needed. This meant that some times it was just a matter of guessing. One of the good things about the Professional Advantage project team was the hospitality experience they brought to the implementation. This was invaluable, as was the way we could easily modify Infor FMS SunSystems after we went live," Will Keiler.
"It was certainly the most flexible product, and I liked the concept of a unified ledger where the analysis is separated from the account code." Will Keiler CFO, AIH Group
"With our tight timeframe and a lack of knowledge in terms of businesses future requirements, the implementation had the potential to be very challenging! The fact that Professional Advantage was able to implement Infor FMS SunSystems so quickly and work with a very busy client is a testament to their service delivery capability," explained Will Keiler.
"We have used the inbuilt business rule engine to ensure data integrity and have automated many of the processes that were previously manual. Reporting has improved, with reports now taking less time to produce and displaying more relevant information," continued Will Keiler.
Other benefits include improved data inquiry capabilities, automated journal posting and enhanced audit controls.