Ten Lifestyle Group provides a global concierge and client-loyalty platform to high net worth individuals and businesses such as private banks, premium financial services, and luxury brands. But, faced with finance and accounting processes driven by frustrating spreadsheets, it embarked on a digital transformation to give Finance less time in Excel and more time collaborating with its business partners.
Ten Lifestyle Group, or simply, Ten, provides unrivaled, personalized, and trusted concierge services that help its members get the most from life. Headquartered in London and with nearly 900 global employees, the company runs more than 50 corporate client- and employee-loyalty programs and private services for millions of members worldwide. But, while its members lived life to the fullest, its finance and accounting teams were burdened with slow, manual financial processes reliant upon large, complex, and fragile spreadsheets.
“Life before Planful was just Excel city,” recalled James Muscat, Commercial Finance & FP&A Director at Ten. “If you don’t have the right finance technology in place, you end up building spreadsheet models that all link to each other, everything goes wrong, and it gets frustrating.”
So Ten set out to transform how its finance and accounting teams worked. The project started with a new ERP system, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, and then quickly focused on deploying a platform to empower FP&A and the business. That required a modern solution with the flexibility to meet Ten’s needs and the connectivity to integrate with its new and existing software.
“We wanted a tool that would just sit on top [of Business Central] so we could shove the data up into the tool and slice and dice it anyway we wanted,” James said.
With Microsoft Dynamics 365 as its new ERP solution, Ten chose Planful due to its integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and to create a complete planning and consolidations cloud platform for Finance or Accounting. The combined solution helped Ten confidently move to the cloud while adding end-to-end financial and operational planning, financial consolidations, reporting, forecasting, and analytics so FP&A and the business can drive faster decisions.
“Something that really attracted us to Planful was that you could consolidate, report, do your planning, forecasting, budgeting,” James said. “You could automate consolidation journals, set up technical reporting structures. There are quite a few unique features in there.”
But moving to a new platform and away from the familiar spreadsheet experience could have caused friction as Ten advanced its digital transformation. With Planful, however, Ten could easily enable its finance and accounting teams as well as HR, marketing, sales, and other business teams to plan where they’re comfortable, in spreadsheets or using Excel syntax in Planful. Planful’s business user experience also gives Ten an intuitive platform to rapidly expedite financial and data gathering processes and ease collaboration so everyone can focus on higher-value analysis.
“The [Planful] interface is quite clean,” added James. “It makes your day a bit more exciting than the old-school tools that aren’t as visually pleasing; it matters.”
Ten also relies heavily on the broader Planful community, Planful Engage, to learn new tricks, share best practices, network, and engage with Planful product experts and other Planful customers.
“One thing we really liked about Planful is the community,” James said. “Everyone collaborates there, Planful consultants go on there, everybody’s talking. And you can unlock more potential within the tool, which is pretty handy.”
With Planful, Ten not only accelerated its month-end close process, it’s given Finance and Accounting more time to focus on the business.
“All of the accountants are doing their magical stuff on the ERP side,” James explained. “But then you want to produce the management accounts, analyze what happened, and close the books quicker so you can spend your time doing the value-add. Once all the information is in [Planful], it’s really flexible. You can just slice and dice on different dimensions.”
Planful’s Microsoft integration also helps finance, accounting, and other teams quickly add more value instead of requesting, gathering, aggregating, and loading data. Plus, with built-in templates, automation, and self-service reporting, the company can repurpose the time they used to spend maintaining complex spreadsheets.
“Something really powerful in Planful is that the information is all in the system,” concluded James. “In Excel, if you don’t keep things consistent, it all breaks. We’ve built out a lot more value-add reporting that we didn’t have before because now we don’t have to maintain it like we had to with Excel. That’s one of the most powerful things: having a tool instead of Excel-based reporting.”
Recently, Ten engaged with Trintech to add their Adra Suite, a best-in-class financial close management solution, to its Planful deployment. The combined solution will help Ten gain even more control and visibility over its manual, spreadsheet-driven close and consolidation processes. With Planful and Trintech, finance and accounting can work faster and address high-value, high-priority business issues.
“We are looking forward to working with the Trintech UK team very soon to implement the Adra Balancer and Task Manager modules to automate our balance sheet reconciliations and close management tasks,” James added.
For more information on this integrated end-to-end solution for the finance and accounting process, click here.