Swaps spreadsheets for rolling forecasts and long-term planning
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation is one of Australia’s largest port authorities. By tonnage, more than half of Queensland’s trade passes through its ports at Hay Point, Mackay, Abbot Point and Weipa. The corporation’s facilities play a vital role in Australia’s import and export success.
Five years ago, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation’s budgeting and forecasting processes were stretched to the limit. Its Excel-based spreadsheet software could no longer handle the volume or complexity of data needed to support day-to-day activities. Managing budgeting and forecasting processes dominated the finance team’s schedule, leaving little time for providing quality business support. In addition, it was almost impossible to manage or forecast growth.
To maintain a high level of performance, the business needed to upgrade its budgeting and forecasting software. Management saw this as an opportunity to also strengthen data integrity, improve collaboration and introduce rolling forecasts.
It was decided that the new solution should:
- Replace Excel spreadsheets with a digital alternative
- Support North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation’s diverse operations across multiple sites
- Be scalable and grow with the business
- Provide budgeting variances across key drivers, incorporating a variety of commodities and key suppliers
- Allow for rolling forecasts and long-term planning
Working with Professional Advantage, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation replaced its spreadsheet-based processes with the BOARD budgeting and forecasting solution. The corporation selected Professional Advantage for its consulting expertise and strong record, delivering successful enterprise-level CPM solutions.
BOARD handles all aspects of its budgeting, forecasting and analysis. In addition to replacing budgeting and forecasting spreadsheets, BOARD has eliminated the need for large file directories containing spreadsheet versions. There is now one, holistic source of truth for all budgeting and finance data. Data structures and hierarchies are directly transformed from ERP without maintenance.
The solution also features new copy, import, forecast, export and cash flow processes, which are more accurate, efficient and user-friendly.
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation selected BOARD based on:
- Positive reviews from industry analysts, such as Gartner
- A proven record of success with customers in Australia and overseas
- Its user-friendly interface
- Seamless integration with all major Microsoft Office applications
- Its flexibility – management can easily modify the software to account for organisational changes
- Ability to meet multiple reporting and regulatory needs concurrently
- Ability to report and examine performance from all levels of the business
Professional Advantage completed the project in less than three months – just in time for the start of the next budget cycle.
- Time taken to prepare annual budgets slashed from five months to one month
- More accurate budgets
- Rapid adoption by business users
- Eliminated cumbersome, inaccurate budget spreadsheets
- Rolling monthly forecasts help managers quickly identify variances and adapt strategies to respond to changing circumstances
- Data is no longer locked up in spreadsheets, improving collaboration and knowledge sharing across sites
- Faster, more informed commercial decision-making
- BOARD trusted to manage an asset base worth half a billion dollars
“When I first arrived at NQBP, we were using spreadsheets for budgeting/forecasting and I never thought we'd be able to do rolling forecasts. We are now using the system to perform rolling monthly forecasts and our people have access to better information. Software benefits may not always be tangible, but managers are saving a lot of time in terms of finding the information they need. BOARD has assisted us in improving our processes.”
Santosh Mathew, Reporting Manager
North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation plans to use BOARD to further simplify budgeting, forecasting and planning processes.
“As our business evolves and aligns to market conditions, information requests for analytical analysis has changed focus. Initially, our requirements were quite complex, but the organisation has matured since then, which provides an opportunity to simplify many of the processes. One of the key reasons for choosing BOARD was the fact that the platform can change with the organisation relatively easily and without incurring a lot of cost.”
Santosh Mathew, Reporting Manager