Gambit Financial Solutions was created in 2007 by a handful of scientists of the HEC Business School of the University of Liège. The ambition of this spin-off consisted from the start in providing financial investment advice that was entirely set up around the client, which seems rather obvious nowadays, but was a pretty innovating concept 10 years ago. The software solutions developed by Gambit Financial Solutions for client profiling, portfolio optimization and risk management are currently used by several Belgian, Swiss, French and Luxembourgian financial institutions. The company with HQ in Liège employs about 40 people and has 4 local agencies in Europe.
“The management team gathers every month to analyze the activities of Gambit Financial Solutions, its consolidated situation, the evolution of its customer projects, the sales figures and the profitability of every individual project” explains Séverine Plunus, the company’s CFO and one of its co-founders. “Spreadsheets do not provide an overall view of the company’s evolution and even less of its consolidated situation; nor does it allow easy comparison between periods” she points out. In addition, working with spreadsheets is a very time-consuming activity when preparing tables for the monthly board of directors: too many time must be dedicated to collecting and processing data generated by the accounting and sales departments, with all the risks that may result from it: formulas that no longer seem to work properly, different amounts compared to the accounting situation. “I definitely spent too much time drawing up tables that would eventually only serve once”, concludes Séverine Plunus.
So, the management team of Gambit Financial Solutions started looking for an analysis and reporting tool allowing to easily compare the current situation and its evolution to both the past situation and the budget.
A solution for the board of directors
As Gambit Financial Solutions consists of 4 entities, among which Birdee, a FinTech that develops a robo-advisor platform dedicated to online savings advice, the analytical accounting is conducted separately for each individual company. The EMAsphere dashboard software allows managing consolidated views and analyses, even if it involves accounting systems from different countries.
The EMAsphere tool, and its forecast module in particular, has enabled Séverine Plunus to gain a lot of time and work in a much more efficient way when preparing presentations for the monthly board of directors, while drastically reducing the risks for errors. It also allows her to produce every month the same, automatically updated views of the situation.
The forecast module, called EMAforecast, which is mainly used to analyze the future evolution of the KPIs, allows to make projections to the end-of-year situation. While the year budget remains fixed, the forecast situation can be adjusted every quarter in order to correct the situation and make the necessary decisions at the right time.
In addition, the profit and loss table is so user friendly, that it allows the immediate use of the automatically generated figures which can be represented in a different way in order to elaborate new scenarios and strategies.
Even closer to reality
The efficiency gain does not only concern the preparation of the board of directors. It also applies to the calculation and follow-up of the DSO¹ which has never been correctly calculated in the accounting system formerly used by Gambit Financial Solutions. This particular KPI is very obvious in EMAsphere; it is not only automatically calculated within the platform, but its evolution is also shown in a very visual and comprehensive manner. Besides, it provides a realistic view of the company’s activity which follows upwards and downward trends. “EMAsphere enabled me to analyze more easily the company’s need for working capital and to better document a file for credit application”, confirms Séverine Plunus.
Updated information that is online accessible anytime, anywhere
The online EMAsphere solution has also improved the in-house communication. Indeed, the time and efficiency gain also has a positive impact on the exchange of communication and it has resulted into faster response times: the CEO is from now on able to consult the platform directly in order to check, for instance, the current cash analysis.
The smartphone application will also contribute to this improvement. Séverine Plunus, as well as the CEO and the other members of the management team, may select the KPIs of their choice as ‘favorites’ on their phone so they can follow their evolution at any time and compare them to the past or the budget.
Finally, Séverine Plunus wants to point out a major advantage of the EMAsphere solution: “the dashboard being preconfigured while still offering a very high level of customization, it allows easy and smooth set-up, so you don’t have to worry anymore once it’s done”.
Séverine Plunus, Head of Administration and Finance
Séverine Plunus holds a PhD in Management and is co-founder of Gambit Financial Solutions where she heads the HR and Finance department. She is specialized in establishing risk profiles of investors. Besides her activities within Gambit, she also teaches Investment and Portfolio Management at the HEC Business School of the University of Liège (Belgium).
¹DSO (Days Sales Outstanding): is a measure of the average number of days that a company takes to collect revenue after a sale has been made. DSO is also often referred to as “days receivables” and is an element of the cash conversion cycle.