Improving visibility and forecast accuracy for faster decision-making

Optimized Reporting and Forecasting at RTL

We have changed our way of working in the Controlling and Reporting departments from Excel to a tool, an automation, where we are able to work even better than before. 

Gerben de Birk
Senior Business Controller 

00:00:11In this, I will walk you through some of our experiences with the changes from Excel to Board, and how we optimized our reporting and forecasting processes.

00:00:27As you can see, we have a broad range of media and activities towards the consumers in the Netherlands, and we have multiple TV channels where we reach a large part of the audiences. But we have so many more activities than you can see here, and, well, with this wide range of activities, for the finance department, there are also a lot of challenges accompanying this.

00:01:04So I will take you through, a little bit, our processes we had before we had Board, and it was done mostly in Excel. I think that sounds very familiar for a lot of companies as it's the easiest tool to use. But during the time that RTL was growing and expanding with activities, and also sometimes the activities were removed again, we were working with the same Excel files. Over the years these files became bigger and bigger and bigger. And also for the forecasting process we used a lot of Excel, and therefore basically what we did was we had a full year forecast.

00:01:51So what we did was basically telling, from a controlling point of view, what were the differences on our budget. So, what's the variation on the amount you have in your budget? So therefore we thought it was a better idea to look for another solution and to have more detailed information, you know, especially also quicker. And so we came up with Board.

00:02:24In the reporting nowadays, we don't use Excel for reporting anymore. Nowadays, we have all the reports available in the same system and using the same data source. So the reporting department, the controlling department, they're all using Board.

00:02:43Also, the biggest benefit is that the data is now readily available to everyone. We have a daily upload from SAP to Board. And then Board, of course, has the data immediately available, and everybody can look at it. And of course, we now can easily combine data from finance with other KPIs.And because now everything is just up and ready in Board, you have less risk of errors.

00:03:17Also, our forecasting process is basically similar in how it changed. So now, instead of just using all the templates and emailing and copy-pasting, the data is readily available to everyone after the input. So the controller just enters the new figures and everybody can immediately see what the total impact will be on the figures.

00:03:42And now, also, we make forecasts per month so therefore we can compare the actuals per month, and that helps us for the decision making during the year. And this whole forecasting process has proven to be really efficient during the Corona era. With Board, we were able to have a weekly forecast where we just started on Monday and by the end of the week, everybody enters their number, then the next Monday morning, we could already discuss the figures which were available, and those which are also immediately available in a report. It was quite easy to distribute as well.

00:04:18So overall, that's a short story, of how we really changed our way of working in the Controlling & Reporting department from Excel to a tool, an automation, where we were able to perform work even better than before.