Introducing a new process into the financial close in Private Equity reporting is not for the faint-hearted. CFOs and FDs need order, they already have enough chaos to contend with – especially at the culmination of a reporting cycle, when they are wrapped in the familiarity of their own spreadsheets and accounting software like a comfort blanket, and are reticent to devote scant resources to ‘add’ another layer of reporting – resources that need to be deployed instantly for the next high-priority issue.
There is a better way: Baxon maps the portfolio company management accounts in the cloud, which are then downloadable in an Excel template. Thus, when a CFO and the finance team are introduced to the template and upload their financial information into Baxon for the first time, not only are they using a familiar application but, more importantly, their own management accounts. The process is designed to be as efficient as possible, allowing the Finance Team to extract and upload information into Baxon in minimal time – freeing them up to concentrate on those more pressing issues.
A common request is to insert additional line items into the management accounts. Depending on the maturity of the system, and for a multitude of reasons, management accounts evolve over time and these changes need to be reflected in Baxon. Based on Excel templates, the system is inherently flexible; the GP (General Partner) can authorise and implement the changes to the template, and the portfolio company CFO need only download the latest version direct from the system – both saving time and ensuring the integrity of the information flow.
One GP requested that their Portfolio Companies provide forecasted numbers for them to monitor. As many of them would not be reporting forecasts on a regular basis, the client enquired if we could build an upload template which would populate forecast values based on the actuals and budget. Not only did we fulfil the client’s request, but also enabled them to make adjustments to the prepared forecast. This is just another way that Baxon helps shorten the reporting cycle, whilst providing granular, quality data to the GP, who can track their progress and have meaningful dialogue around a common, shared platform.
How well are you ‘Closing the Loop?’
Desmond Lau is Financial Analyst at Baxon.