SAP Business One invaluable, says CallForce's Annemarie Haywood

“Not only is SAP Business One key to the smooth running of daily operations and the business at large, but I personally have found it invaluable in the execution of my role as finance manager,” says Annemarie Haywood, finance manager at staffing solutions company CallForce. Annemarie will be part of a panel, hosted by 4most, at the Finance Indaba Africa on 14 October 2016 (see details below). We spoke to her ahead of the landmark event.

14 October 2016, 13.15 - 14.00 - Are you ready for tomorrow? Start today!
The trends that are shaping the future of the finance profession will be revealed and the actions finance professionals can take today to be ready for tomorrow will be discussed. A panel of finance leaders in various industries, from small and mid-size businesses, will discuss how they see the finance professional's role in the future and how this will enable further success within their companies.
Hosted by: Ruanne Byles (Business Development Director at 4Most)
Panel Members: Marius Fabian (Managing Director at 4most Systems), Mark Stewart (Chartered Accountant at Aklin Carbide), Annemarie Haywood (Financial Manager at Callforce), Yolandé de Wet (Financial Manager at 4most Systems), Werner Strydom (CFO at GENRIC Insurance Company)
Room: Boardroom 2, Sandton Convention Centre

As specialists in outsourced people solutions, CallForce's multiple offices and revenue streams require an enterprise management solution capable of providing it with real-time access to critical information, enabling dynamic and timely decisions. A user of SAP Business One, from 4most, for many years, its financial manager remains committed to leveraging technology for greater efficiencies, quicker turnaround times and deeper business insight.

Founded in 2000 as a traditional recruitment agency, the last few years have seen CallForce expand its operations to include both a national presence across Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, together with multiple divisions. In addition to its three main areas of operation - flexible staffing, permanent placement and business process outsourcing (BPO), CallForce is also involved in many other smaller yet complementary areas including payroll, industrial relations and assessment coaching, to name but a few.

"We have restructured the business in line with the three main revenue streams," says Annemarie. This is strongly underpinned by SAP Business One, CallForce's choice of enterprise management system. "Not only is SAP Business One key to the smooth running of daily operations and the business at large, but I personally have found it invaluable in the execution of my role as finance manager." Having been in her position for a number of years, Annemarie is passionate when discussing the role technology plays.

Marius Fabian, Managing Director, 4most Systems, a leading supplier and implementer of SAP Business One and ERP software and technology, concurs:

"Technology is providing today's finance manager with both the platform and infrastructure needed to adapt to their changing role. Finance managers are becoming increasingly more pivotal across all spheres of an organisation, placing them under pressure to evolve in order to cope with shifting demands."

Despite having found SAP Business One a bit overwhelming at first, as with any new system, Annemarie is impressed with its user friendly functionality. "It enables us to keep track of every single transaction, smoothly and seamlessly," she says, with the automation of certain key finance functions imperative to the smooth running of daily operations and the business at large.

Having implemented SAP Business One a number of years prior to her appointment, Annemarie consulted with 4most after joining CallForce to ensure maximum use of the system. "Reporting was a challenge, particularly across the various divisions," explains Annemarie. CallForce's income statement was manually exported into excel, with divisional income and expenditure manually calculated using a percentage based formula. To overcome this, CallForce began utilising the allocation function. This enables all transactions to be captured under the relevant division, enabling automatic and real-time divisional reporting. "It has reduced the time needed for divisional reporting from three days to two hours, whilst also allowing us to see the profitability of each division in real-time," says Annemarie. This is saving CallForce both time and money.

Further, reduced manual intervention is eliminating the propensity for human error, resulting in data integrity and confidence in reported results. "I now have access to correct data, at my fingertips, allowing me to provide management with accurate information." This is facilitating faster business decisions - key to the effective management of any organisation. Further, with data integrity assured, Annemarie is now free to focus on other areas of her job.

A commitment to utilise technology for smarter and more accurate work processes will see Annemarie leveraging SAP Business One's available functionality still further. At present a manual process, Annemarie's plans involve working with 4most to automate the budgeting workflow. "I currently need to physically match divisional reports against each respective budget," says Annemarie. The automation of this process will provide real-time insight into the exact status of each division's budget versus actual spend.

Annemarie goes on to add that a key part of a finance manager's role is to empower management. "Finance needs to be able to provide a company's top decision makers with accurate and timeous information," she says. "It is no use providing management with the financial standing of a business weeks after the fact. One needs to provide precise financial information as soon as possible post each and every month end." This enables the decision makers to act quickly, making fast and informed decisions facilitating the growth and future direction of an organisation.

"SAP Business One puts me in control of the finance function in a way not previously possible. It is providing me with deeper insights, real-time and accurate information, thereby empowering me to increase both my value and contribution."

"The need for today's finance manager to extend their reach, and value, across the organisation is essential," continues Fabian, as evidenced by the recent report, 'Thriving in the Digital Economy: The Innovative Finance Function' (CFO Research, in collaboration with SAP). It discusses the trends shaping the changing role of today's finance manager, detailing amongst others the need for finance professionals to become more influential whilst growing professionally. "It calls for the finance manager to have deeper business insight," says Fabian, "able to adapt and operate in an environment where complex decisions are needing to be made much quicker than ever before, with technology key to the success."

However, Annemarie goes on to stress that as important as the right technology infrastructure is, so too is choice of vendor. With CallForce having worked with 4most for many years, since initial implementation, Annemarie is enthusiastic about the relationship and service received. "It is a true partnership," enthuses Annemarie. "The step by step guidance and proactive nature of our engagement leaves me confident that the combination of 4most and SAP Business One will continue enabling me to deliver a positive impact across the organisation in which I operate."