Accelerate your Power BI over Epicor implementation with FastClose

In Power BI. 70% of the effort revolves around identifying and finding the right data, joining tables and tackling issues of double counting.

For Epicor, Coda and SAP Business One, FastClose have already worked out the structure of your database and worked out the schema mapping, so you don't have to.

With this baked in, the dashboard designer can specify and pull data without the need for deep technical skill, releasing reliance on and the burden on your IT department.

With the dataset specified, the dashboard designer can focus on the visualisation in Power BI, leaving the heavy lifting to FastClose.

And with FastClose new report processing scheduler we not only make it easy for you to pull the data to build your Power BI dashboard, we can automate the data flow from the database to Power BI, on whatever schedule is most appropriate too.

Find out more here:

Bill of Materials

FastClose has been working with our customers to build a Bill of Materials module for Epicor. We would be interested in feedback as there seem to be several things that customers require. For example, being able to get an online complete cost roll up (materials, labour and burden) before you sell a product and seeing if you have the materials in stock for all the components that make up the BOM. We also extract values for  LIFO, FIFO, average, and standard costing. Please fill in the contact us form or email Nick.Gomersall @ FastClose.uk if you have any suggestions or would like further information.

 

Iracroft swaps Epicor’s Excel Extraction Tool for FastClose

 

Iracroft, one of the UK’s leading metal fabricators – a manufacturer and distributor of a comprehensive range of metal pipe and tube fabricated products – has swapped out its Epicor Excel extraction tool for FastClose, an accounting intelligence system that speeds up month end close, and generates management accounts.

Alan Webb, CFO of Iracroft, explained, “We were introduced to FastClose at an Epicor Finance User Group meeting. A customer was doing a presentation on reporting and how they used FastClose for sales analysis, reporting, and audit. Like us, they had also bought the Excel extraction tool when Epicor was first purchased, as it was on Epicor’s price list, but – like us – found it hard to use. In fact, we employed a number of alternative ways to do our management reporting.

“We have a specific reporting requirement that used to take us ages to do. It relates to our call off orders, where prices change over time, and margins all have to be recalculated.

“We took up FastClose’s offer of a free trial and started to use the product as soon as it was installed for management reporting and audit. But what was really impressive was how FastClose was willing to find a solution to our call off orders. They built us a new module to enable us to streamline the recalculation of pricing; something which was hugely time-consuming previously.”

Nick Gomersall, the CEO of FastClose, expanded on this point, “We want to work with our customers on new modules and templates especially, when these can benefit other customers as well. Templates are starting positions in each module which short tracks the building of reports as they can be modified and saved into password protected end users folders. When we started off, we only had GL, but now we have most of the modules in Epicor covered, and we are going to work with Iracroft on manufacturing.

“The key to FastClose is to hide the complexity of tables and joins so that the tool enables non-technical people to build the reports they need. The reports that help close month ends and reconcile control accounts.

“We see a lot of frustration with Epicor customers as they are not given more choice when they first buy Epicor. If it’s not on Epicor’s price list, then they are not told about products like FastClose.

“Many of our customers tell us they wish they had known about FastClose at the start of their implementation as it enhances Epicor’s great data model and speeds up the reporting cycle.

“We see this changing as more and more of the business partners who are at the coalface are choosing to promote FastClose over Epicor’s standard offerings. They know it solves so many issues and shows off Epicor to its full potential.

“We love Epicor. It has a great database with multi-company, currency, books, and a chart of accounts design that is right up with Workday, SAP, and Oracle.”

Alan offered his final thoughts on FastClose, “FastClose is going to save us so much time in so many areas, and we are looking forward to working with them in the manufacturing area. An added bonus is that FastClose has an Excel plug-in which means you can run live FastClose reports in Excel if needed. So you have the audit controls of FastClose’s GUI and drills to source transactions with the flexibility of real-time data in Excel and a common reporting and distribution platform.”

GHA and FastClose Forge Partnership Deal for Epicor ERP

 

 

GHA Solutions – an Epicor partner and one of the UK’s leading Epicor consultancies – has signed a partnership agreement with FastClose, a software company producing Accounting Intelligence solutions for the Epicor community. The deal will enable GHA to sell and support FastClose’s Accounting Intelligence solution to their Epicor prospects and customers.

Commenting on the deal, Harry Atkinson, Managing Director of GHA, said, “We have been following FastClose for some time now in the Epicor market, and have noted the great reviews from the many firms that use it. As such, we wanted to offer this solution to our client base.

“For those who have not seen FastClose, it is a non-technical product that enables accountants to build the month end reporting pack rapidly, and also reconcile key control accounts.

“FastClose’s development has been remarkable. I can remember them from just a couple of years ago when they only had a basic product for the GL; now, they cover most Epicor modules which enables users to drill from the GL to an invoice and then to purchase or sales orders.

“Importantly, FastClose comes with predefined templates that are starting positions; they can be easily modified and saved to your own directory in FastClose. In turn, users can share reports with other members of the accounts team or business unit managers.

“You don’t need to know anything about tables, or inner or outer joins. This is all done under the covers, with something they call a catalog – which has all the technical requirements covered.

“We really like this approach as we don’t want to spend time building reports for our customers. We want to focus on the key business processes that bring value.”

Nick Gomersall, CEO of FastClose, explained about the tie-up between the two companies. “We met GHA at a recent Epicor user conference and got on really well. Our two companies complemented each other as GHA has great technical expertise that will help us build additional modules, and we have a product that will solve month end reporting issues.

“The modules - template concept is the key, and when we work with our customers, we get a number of requests for new ones. Demand management is the latest, and we are pushing into manufacturing and projects. The key for us is to work with our business partners on the key tables and joins that are needed to build these templates. Once built, they are available to all our customers. We do the heavy lifting; customers don’t need to have any technical expertise and can concentrate on being accountants rather than SQL and database experts!”

Harry Atkinson continued, “Epicor has a number of reporting tools that are all good, but which all do different things. FastClose is aimed at the month end close when accountants want to dig deep into the raw data and can either use FastClose’s GUI, or their Excel plug-in for those that want the data in Excel. The need to look at charts and graphs comes later when the numbers reconcile. It’s no good having pretty graphics if the underlying data is wrong.

Nick Gomersall expanded on this point further. “We have resisted going into graphics, but so many customers are looking to buy one product that does it all. And that ‘one product’ simply does not exist. FastClose solves real business needs which is why we offer a free trial run – so people can see the value. It’s a shame that we might miss out on a sale, short-term, because of the lack of graphics, (although you can use our Excel plug-in for this) but we have found that customers come back later when they still have the same month end close issues.”

Harry Atkinson concluded, “FastClose is an excellent product that complements Epicor ERP even though it’s not on the Epicor price list. What we try to do is find solutions that give our customers options that fit their requirements. Epicor is a great ERP system and a mainstream player in the ERP market, but sometimes our financial customers want another option to view, control and manipulate data quickly and easily. Rather than use Epicor standard tools, they want a solution that can give them Excel and much, much more, and this is where FastClose hits the sweet spot quickly and effectively.

“Take the GL. You can have up to 20 segments that can be split between controlled (e.g., double entry controls) and dynamic (which is an analysis of the controlled segments like customer, product, project, employee and so on). We see very few customers taking advantage of these extra dimensions as you cannot get at them easily with standard tools. FastClose, being a multi-dimensional reporting solution, can.”

Nick Gomersall concluded, “GHA is now our third Epicor Business partner, and many more are now talking to us as they are close to the coalface and see the issues that customers have first-hand. We are looking forward to working with GHA and getting their suggestions for future modules and enhancements to FastClose. Hopefully, one day, Epicor will see the value of our solution, and we can partner with them to enable Epicor to reach many more new customers, as I don’t think they know just how good their software is, especially in the finance and projects area.”

Banana Moon Clothing Addresses SAP Business One Financial Reporting Challenge

Banana Moon Clothing, the leading personalised clothing retailer, based in West Yorkshire, has utilised SAP’s Business One ERP system for a number of years. Now, the addition of FastClose – an accounting intelligence system – has enabled both management and accounting teams to produce month-end, and other dynamic reports, in real-time without the need for developer-driven SQL scripts.

Alex Grace, CEO of Banana Moon Clothing, explained why they bought FastClose, “SAP is a great ERP system but without good database knowledge it’s difficult to get management reports from. We needed something to generate formatted financial accounts, but SAP has no finance specific report generator.  We have had to rely heavily on Excel and SQL queries, which were not ideal.

“Ochiba, our SAP business partner, introduced us to FastClose and we took it on trial to put it through its paces. FastClose was installed easily, and it unlocked all the GL data as soon as it started up. There are predefined templates that shortcut the process of report building, and we were getting management reports at a balance level, with full drill-down to transactions, very quickly.”

Jill Banks, Banana Moon Clothing’s management accountant, expanded further, “What I liked were all the online videos that were available. With their help, I quickly built our main P&L which used to take us ages to do, and which now runs in minutes. What’s more, once built, it is multi-dimensional which means we can run it for any dimension, or range of dimensions like year, period, accounts, business partner, and so on.

“You can save the reports to user folders and share them with other users who can run them in real-time to get up-to-the-second information.

“We also now want to upload budgeting data, so we can carry out variance analysis just by clicking on a filter. FastClose is so easy to use, and the key – to us – is that there’s no need to have any technical skills.

“From the high-level balances, you can then drill-down to the detail to get at the transactions for analysis and audit purposes.”

Nick Gomersall, FastClose’s CEO, clarified the design of SAP Business One.

“SAP is unusual as it is a transactional ERP system with no balance tables. This meant that we, at FastClose, had to build consolidated starting positions – which we call templates – that accounts departments can then build their reports from.

“FastClose has an in-memory database so rolling up transactions in real-time is not an issue for us. Technically, SAP has a great data model but, needs a tool like FastClose to take advantage of its great design.

“FastClose is an Accounting Intelligence solution which means that we have done all the heavy lifting and have worked out all the key tables and joins; we deliver these as standard templates. All the accountant needs to do, is click and select the relevant filters to retrieve the data they need.”

Alex Grace continued, “After the initial success with our management accounts, we asked FastClose if they could help with our sales analysis. Before FastClose, we had to take our web development team off the front office to build SQL reports as the management team here is not technical; it took everyone’s eye off the ball.

“FastClose built templates for Sales Order Processing, and all our user-defined fields were there to use as we are a size, colour, style business so we had to have several additional columns added to the database. I can now build all the reports that I need to analyse sales, and our techies can focus back on building our web presence.”

Ochiba Business Solutions is one of the UK’s leading SAP business consultancies. Nick Gomersall explained how FastClose and Ochiba became partners. “FastClose has built an impressive user base in the Epicor market, and we wanted to get into the Business One arena, but drew a blank when looking for partners. One, in particular, seemed to be making vast amounts of money building the same reports for all of their customers – they were not right for us! We were not right for them either; they could see that FastClose puts the power back into the hands of the customer. When we came across Ochiba, it was perfect because Ochiba took a different approach.”

Dave Worsman, CEO of Ochiba, explained, “We want to help our customers be self-sufficient as quickly as possible and to concentrate on helping them to get their business processes correct; not billing them every time they need a new report.

“We were introduced to FastClose by SAP and could see this was the product that not only our customers needed, but one which we needed to build all of our management reports internally.”

Nick Gomersall continued, “It was great to see a company like Ochiba take this approach, and we are really pleased to have them as a business partner for SAP. Too many partners are just trying to milk their user base and make them totally dependent on them.

“Ochiba is a breath of fresh air. They have been really helpful in telling us what tables we need for each module, and introducing us to their user base.”

Alex Grace of Banana Moon Clothing picked up on this module development, “FastClose is expanding their modules with AP, AR and Purchasing next, which we intend to take as soon as they have built the templates.

“We use Excel a lot, although we know that Excel can produce issues with data integrity. As well as FastClose’s own GUI, they also have a plugin so we can run live FastClose reports, in real-time, within Excel. This gives us the best of both worlds.

“FastClose is a must for companies running SAP Business One, and I would encourage anyone that runs SAP to take FastClose up on their offer of a free trial to see how effective it is for themselves.”