- Thorough analysis of data sources is key to delivering qualitative reporting
- Adequate preparation is a must
- The project enabled Ahlers to achieve better financial reporting outcomes
Addressing data quality challenges early on is really essential for quality reporting, as is meticulous preparation for implementing reporting solutions. Those were important learnings from a project at Antwerp logistics company Ahlers, where TriFinance experts Evert Augustyns and Emre Ozden implemented Power BI reporting at group level.
Creating a multidimensional reporting framework
As a decentralized organization, Ahlers faced the challenge of effectively consolidating and reporting financial data. The objective of the MI&S project was to create a multidimensional reporting framework encompassing P&L, Balance Sheet, Gross Margin Analysis, and Headcount Reporting.
The implementation process encountered several hurdles, particularly with the data extracted from their CPM tool, Lucanet.
Two scripts were utilized: one for consolidated data and another for transactional data. Aligning the transactions with the consolidated figures proved challenging due to allocations and changes in mappings. To address this, the MI&S experts developed a new query logic, resulting in a more streamlined process.
A critical aspect for Ahlers was obtaining insights into Gross Margin per Customer, which was lacking in their existing reporting. Leveraging the transactional Lucanet data, the TriFinance team overcame hurdles related to missing and incorrect customer information. To achieve the desired outcome, they adopted a flexible approach, automating where possible and resorting to Excel files when necessary.
‘Thorough analysis of data sources is key to delivering qualitative reporting. If you can spot data quality issues early in the process, it will save you a lot of time and energy during the implementation phase and will also gain confidence from the customer
Evert Augustyns, Project Consulltant, Management Information & Systems
Integrating Power BI visuals
To enhance the reporting process further, Ahlers requested the integration of Power BI visuals into PowerPoint for their monthly closing slide deck. TriFinance used a third-party integration tool, "PowerBI Tiles Pro," to accomplish this, ensuring proper cropping and alignment of visuals. Although they anticipated a simplified process through the native integration between PowerBI and PowerPoint in the future (which is currently available), they effectively addressed the challenge at hand.
The end result was a well-formatted and comprehensive reporting deck, providing Ahlers with a unified view of financial data. This allowed them to allocate more time to analysis during the monthly closing process, rather than spending valuable resources on data gathering.
Project Consultant Emre Ozden emphasizes the importance of adequate preparation: ‘Thanks to Evert’s great preparation work, we were able to deliver without major hurdles,’ he says. ‘It is crucial to take the necessary time and steps in your analysis or preparation phase. The sooner certain issues are tackled and managed, the easier it will be to deliver the output.’
TriFinance provided temporary assistance to Ahlers' BI team, ensuring the smooth functioning of the implemented reporting framework. The project enabled Ahlers to achieve better financial reporting outcomes.
- Evert Augustyns, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emre Ozden, email@example.com.
Learn more about Power BI integration in PowerPoint
Read the blog post and check the brief instruction video by Emre Ozden, How to integrate a live Power BI report in your PowerPoint presentations.