Finance leaders are continually striving for a quicker month-end close. But when organizations use bulky spreadsheets for financial close, consolidation, and reporting they are only creating additional stress on accounting teams. As West Bend Mutual Insurance (WBMI) learned, an Excel-based financial reporting process is tedious to manage, inflexible, and prone to manual errors. That’s why, to keep their finance teams from late nights of reconciling and posting journal entries, WBMI made the switch to a modern and unified corporate performance management (CPM) platform. The result has been a more efficient financial statement preparation process, a shorter month-end close, and a less stressed finance team. Let’s take a look at their unique OneStream story.
WBMI was founded in 1894 after a fire destroyed several businesses in West Bend, Wisconsin. For the past 125 years, WBMI has been insuring homes, autos, and businesses in the Midwest and beyond. WBMI previously used Microsoft Excel as a data collection and reporting tool for their month end close process. But using labor-intensive spreadsheets made it difficult to produce accurate financial statements and easily find the source of data errors. Data collection was inconsistent and transparency into the financial details of their multi-tier allocation process was extremely limited. To eliminate inconsistencies in data collection, WBMI began their search for a secure and structured solution for financial close and reporting, as well as producing profit center, product and state-level results.
The Selection Process
A main goal of the WBMI finance team was to give their CFO a well-rounded view of the financials that included workflow, planning and analysis. So they began their evaluation of Blackline, Apptio and Adaptive Insights, with a strong focus on account reconciliations. Yet none of these systems provided the broad range of financial and operations details that WBMI wanted in one solution. WBMI turned to Gartner who recommended they evaluate OneStream.
The all-in-one platform of OneStream XF and the unique XF Marketplace were the deciding differentiators for WBMI. WBMI selected OneStream XF to provide transparency and deliver ad-hoc reporting with timely monthly actuals and budget data. OneStream XF provided WBMI with a single solution for financial consolidation and reporting, account reconciliation and task management that eliminated manual processes and enhanced reporting with audit controls and drill-back features.
Taking Finance to the Cloud
To reduce their IT support requirements, WBMI implemented the OneStream XF Cloud solution. In Phase 1, WBMI went live with financial close, allocations, reporting and account reconciliations. This part of implementation included setting up a direct connect between OneStream and their EAS general ledger to pull periodic data and aggregation for YTD data loads. This enabled the finance team the ability to drill-back to transactional detail from within OneStream. WBMI also downloaded and implemented the Task Manager XF MarketPlace solution to organize and streamline the monthly financial close process. In addition, WBMI configured detailed allocation rules that spread expenses to product level, expense categories, profit centers, and states. Up next, WBMI will begin Phase 2 of the project with a focus on OneStream for planning as well as implementing additional XF MarketPlace solutions.
Streamlining the Month-End Close
With a unified CPM platform, WBMI is saving more than two days every month from their previous close process. OneStream has provided WBMI means for a consistent, stable allocation process as well as real-time visibility into financial results. The finance team is no longer waiting for data loads and they instead are accelerating the review of business-critical analytics. They’ve gained self-service reporting abilities for results throughout the close cycle, which have eliminated the time it took previously to create and reconcile reports. Best of all, WBMI has gained the peace of mind that comes with consistent allocation performance.