One Stop is a convenience retailer with operations throughout the U.K. with close to 1,000 store locations, employing more than 10,000 colleagues. This scale means the company has a lot of data to maintain and keep track of, particularly the finance team.
In order to manage all the data, One Stop’s finance team has to be both efficient and accurate. But according to One Stop’s FP&A Manager Ian Brown, before implementing Vena, it would take a long time for their finance team to complete financial reporting tasks.
“The overall process of completing our budgeting was unnecessarily time consuming,” he said. “We wanted a system that sped up the budgeting process and made it a lot simpler for people to input numbers and use templates. If you take store colleagues into account, we probably have four or five nominal codes for things such as gross pay, pensions and overtime costs. We have to manage all of this data for nearly 1,000 stores and that’s just for one P&L line in one area. That would lead to 50 templates being passed between different team members and over 250 thousand lines of data which would become extremely granular.”
Following feedback from Ian and his team, One Stop decided to bring Vena on board. With Vena, the team knew that manually checking data would be significantly reduced, allowing this element to be automated, therefore increasing the reporting accuracy. More importantly it opened up another opportunity, with more time now available for the finance team to conduct meaningful analysis.
In order to prepare for this project with Vena, the One Stop finance team started the planning process. The challenge was consolidating the wide range of financial reporting the team is responsible for. Ian said, “We spent three months doing our planning cycle prior to Vena.”
After One Stop implemented Vena in 2018, the impact was seen and felt very quickly. The finance team now has a solution which fully integrated data, as well as having easier report building processes and a user-friendly interface.
Vena now allows the team to break down and analyze data within the reports, which wasn’t possible beforehand. Ian said, “The general feel and ease of use of Vena is exactly what we were looking for, we can now open reports and automatically refresh them, whereas previously we’d have to work with many different spreadsheets to consolidate and work with the data, which was incredibly time-consuming.”
“Working with any new system can be challenging, but because Vena had the familiar Excel interface, me and my team were able to use this tool effectively almost immediately, therefore reducing the training and transition time over to the new system. We were also able to seamlessly import our existing Excel templates directly into Vena, therefore avoiding the need to build reports from scratch.”
Vena has provided the finance team at One Stop with more time to focus on data analysis. The finance team is now able to drive agile and more informed business decisions. The stand-out time savings are described by Ian Brown, “Budgeting reports used to take 2 weeks to build, with Vena this takes 2 minutes as all the reports automatically update.”
The new system also enabled the finance team to feel more confident when delivering reports, with planning and implementation also becoming more streamlined. “With Vena, we’re able to simply input the data and the source into the system, and we can quickly conduct our analysis. Data accuracy is essential in finance, especially when reporting to senior stakeholders who make business decisions based on these reports.
Vena also gives the finance team members increased ownership and control of their project. Ian said, “A good example of this would be if we wanted to implement a new sales strategy. Before Vena, this would be a long process and would involve working with many different people across the team. However, with Vena I can set up a template, insert a trial input and play around with the numbers to see what the tradeoffs will be, making adjustments in real time if needed.”
Ian added, “When it comes to P&L, I now have time to look at the numbers and to reflect on the long-term plans for the business. Vena allows me to be more strategic.”