Small Business Financial Consulting (SBFC) specializes in providing financial consulting services two small firms that want to expand into global mark...
Background: Small Business Financial Consulting (SBFC) specializes in providing financial consulting services two small firms that want to expand into global markets. Examples of its customer base include a software developer in India wanting to set up a sales office in England; a contract manufacturer of audio equipment in Malaysia wanting to set up a partnership with firms in South America; and a winery in Australia wanting to tap into the Canadian market. With local consultants in Europe; Southeast Asia; Australia; and North, South and Central America, SBFC provides cost effective advice and support to small businesses that are expanding into or from those regions. SBFC consultants, who are both full time employees and contracted consultants, have in depth knowledge of local laws, language, business practices and culture, and the challenges that small businesses face. Their business model is highly successful because they provide the same level of service as the big consulting firms, but their low overhead allows them to provide these services at a cost that small organisations can afford. SBFC grew through mergers and acquisitions of other small companies in those markets where their clients intended to expand. Most of the companies they acquired usually employed fewer than 10 employees and often only two or three. Typically, the owners of those acquired firms become partners in SBFC. Currently clients are invoiced by the local office that has the contract with the client. That local office coordinates all the resources assigned to the project and reports the accumulated time and expenses to the client in the client's chosen currency. Accurate time and expense reporting and timely invoicing are essential to SBFC's profitability. The fact that each SBFC office generally follows the format that the acquired company had been successfully using prior to joining SBFC is becoming quite a problem. Every office uses a different spreadsheet, and often contracted consultants have their own too. As SBFC's clients and offices have grown so have the inconsistencies in time and expense reporting practices by the SPFC offices. The number of different languages and currencies in which SPFC operates has also led to confusion, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies. The partners at SBFC have decided to implement a new system for time and expense reporting that will consolidate time and expense reporting, better manage currency conversions, and improve the consistency of project tracking. They will keep the current ERP system in place that is used for invoicing and other financial applications. Current Business: AS-IS Model Currently employees and contractual consultants record their time and report their expenses in the local currency and language of the local office dealing directly with the client. Each SBFC office is responsible for keying in expense costs, time, and invoicing data into the ERP system that SBFC's headquarters in New York uses to track overall corporate financial data. Each office converts its accounts into U.S. dollars before reporting to the ERP system. However, because most local offices joined as SBFC through acquisition, the local SPFC offices generally follow the processes for expenses and invoicing that the acquired company had been successfully using Prior to joining SPFC. Individual project managers are required to approve invoices before they are generated by the ERP system. However, because many projects span multiple countries and different systems are used for expense reporting, project managers currently do not have the capability of approving time and expenses before employees are reimbursed. Also, project managers must rely on the ERP system to track project time, which means there are often reporting delays because some local offices are not only timely or accurate when keying project data into the system. AS-IS & TO-BE REQUIREMENT TABLE
Implement a new time and expense reporting system that combines reporting from all offices, ensuring consistency and accuracy. x x
Improve currency conversion management, reducing confusion and inaccuracies in financial reporting.
Improve financial control and accountability by requiring project managers to approve time and expenses before employees are reimbursed x x
Improve project tracking by allowing project managers to track project time in real time and reducing financial reporting delays.
Continue to use the current ERP system for invoicing and other financial applications, ensuring that invoicing data is captured accurately and on time.
Allow employees and contractual consultants to record time and expenses in the local currency and language of the local office directly dealing with the client, improving the system's usability and accessibility.
Ensure that all SBFC offices are in charge of entering expense costs, time, and invoicing data into the ERP system, as well as ensuring that the overall financial data is tracked by SBFC headquarters in New York.
Individual project managers should be required to approve invoices before they are generated by the ERP system, which will improve financial control and accountability.
Company financial data is manually entered into multiple spreadsheets. x x
Marketing efforts are managed through manual processes and spreadsheets. x
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