Tracy Cook had some major mountains to climb when she joined ACME Lift as Business Intelligence Manager in 2018. At the time, data consolidation and reporting were tedious, manual processes at the Arizona-based equipment rental firm. And with multiple subsidiaries spread across North America, data silos made it difficult to deliver a reliable snapshot of business health.
This led to a disconnect between operations and overall business objectives. Since Tracy couldn’t hone in on key metrics quickly—such as regional demand, profitability and cash flow—she couldn’t empower decision makers with the information they needed to move equipment strategically and run the company like a well-oiled machine.
“Before Vena, we never had the ability to fully consolidate our information,” she says. “I’m talking about separate financial statements for each business unit, separate audits and all the nightmares that come with all that.”
Monthly reporting in particular really kept Tracy up at night because all financial data lived in a massive offline spreadsheet—with multiple versions and support files floating around in emails too. Input mistakes, formula errors and Excel crashes were common. Tracy spent so much time consolidating data manually that she just couldn’t fulfill her role as a strategic, forward-thinking business partner.
“When you’re working with only Excel, everything works great until it inevitably doesn’t,” says Tracy. “There were times when our workbook would just blow up, which was always so scary for me. Instead of analyzing the data, I’d have to spend hours trying to recreate what was already there.”
Tracy's mission was clear: Implement a solution to streamline data consolidation and standardize financial reporting to improve strategic decision making. Having struggled with other software in previous roles, ease of use was critical for Tracy—and that’s exactly what drew her to Vena’s Complete Planning platform.
“Vena makes Excel the front-end interface,” she says. “When you grab your old templates, put them into Vena and map them, the data spits out in a format that everyone is used to. It helps us guarantee better results because we’re 100% in control.”
Another key requirement was the automation power of a central database. Instead of building reports manually each month, Tracy just hits the refresh button on her pre-configured templates in Vena. The new numbers are calculated based on their corresponding GL journal entries, which Tracy loads into Vena when she’s ready for each reporting cycle.
With company-wide numbers at their fingertips—including actuals, historical data and forecasts—Tracy and her teammates finally have one source of truth.
“Consistency is key when it comes to financial information,” says Tracy. “Now our stakeholders are all on the same page.”
Now that ACME Lift’s data is securely consolidated in the cloud, Tracy’s offline spreadsheet nightmares are nothing but distant memories. Cross-functional stakeholders can access up-to-date reports when they need to, but without having to dig through multiple workbooks to find them.
“With Vena, we don’t need to worry about Excel sheets crashing anymore,” says Tracy. “I can slice and dice data so easily now. It only takes me a couple of hours to get 49 different reports out.”
Also, with less time needed for financial reporting, Tracy can now focus on more strategic business planning and growth initiatives. A prime example is the equipment tracking report she created with Vena, which helps ACME Lift’s decision makers determine where to allocate resources.
“We can give our internal business partners the information they need to make a profitable rental,” she says. “People come to me with questions, and I can provide them with information that’s timely and accurate. Now we’re able to work more closely as a team.”
Tracy and her teammates are more than just number crunchers today. Working with Vena has made them strategists, storytellers and the drivers behind ACME Lift’s growth journey.
“Is our equipment placed strategically? Do we need more sales or support staff? Is there an opportunity for a business acquisition here? Those are the decisions we’re able to support with Vena,” says Tracy. “All management has ever wanted is a consolidated view of our business. Now we finally have it, with better data to guide us.”