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Background

The Henderson Group encompasses six independent companies: Wholesale, Foodservice, Retail, Print, Property and Technology.

 

In late 2018, Henderson Wholesale began reviewing their existing bank reconciliation process. The Finance Supervisor, Emmett Young, saw that the incumbent software was outdated, causing many inefficiencies through slow and limited matching capabilities. He explains, “We were very restricted in our matching with our last supplier. These limitations raised red flags for me.”

 

Realising the need for a technical and functional upgrade, Emmett went to market to evaluate an alternative solution - one that could deal with complexities at a far greater speed, with more flexible matching and superior audit capabilities.

  

Emmett analysed three reconciliation software vendors in the market. He describes his experience.

"A lot of the vendors had good products which stacked up reasonably well with Aurum. But I found that other vendors were not listening to my requirements, and they were not addressing all of my internal processes. But when I linked up with Aurum Solutions, it was more about what Aurum could do for me, rather than what Aurum could sell to me."

After seeing several product demonstrations, Henderson’s chose to implement Groupit by Aurum Solutions. Emmett laid out precisely why:

 

1. “The system offered rich functionality, yet was highly intuitive and configurable.”

2. “Aurum’s consultative approach meant we found a vendor who could provide precisely what we needed - starting with licensing their bank reconciliation application with the option to add others in the future.”
3. “Their clear and detailed demonstration explained all features, covering everything I was looking for.”
4. “Aurum built a healthy relationship with us from our initial contact. They listened more than they talked and really understand our requirements. Their attitude set them apart.”

“Implementation was completely painless. Their technical consultant did all the work. There was no onus put on Henderson. We told them what matching processes we needed, which inputs were required, and what the outputs should be. Aurum Solutions did all the work required to bridge the two. Implementation couldn’t have gone better. I can’t fault it at all.”
Emmett Young, Finance Supervisor - Henderson Group

Phase 1 - Bank Reconciliation Implementation:

Aurum Solutions implemented Groupit to automate Henderson Wholesale’s bank reconciliation in May 2019. This resulted in:

 

  • - A full and seamless integration with ERP, back-office systems and our banks.
  • - A rapid migration of data during conversion from the legacy system to Groupit. No intervention or reliance placed on Henderson’s resources.
  • - Increased automation of each stage in the bank reconciliation process. Automating imports, data enrichment, matching, exception management and exports.
  • - The ability for users to easily apply additional matching rules based on their experience.
  • - Maximised operational efficiency through a reduction in time spent on the bank reconciliations process giving the team time to investigate the resulting exceptions.
  • - The provision of a full audit-trail which can be used for both internal and external regulatory and compliance requirements.
  • - The ability to process high volumes of transactions and allow for future organisational growth.

“I manage a department alongside the end-users; we were all trained at the same time and that was it! There was no further training needed as the system proved to be very intuitive”

“When I was doing the initial tender for Bank Reconciliations, I was once told there was no such thing as an out-of-the-box product… But once they handed over Groupit, it felt like it was out-of-the-box. It was fully equipped and ready to go, with full access to all our historical data.”
Emmett Young, Finance Supervisor - Henderson Group

Phase 2 - Expanding the use of Groupit to automate Bank Reconciliations across the group.

Due to the success, Henderson Wholesale observed from both the reconciliation platform and the relationship built with Aurum, Emmett and his team liaised with their finance colleagues in Henderson Foodservice, another division within the group.

 

During discussions, the two divisions discovered multiple similarities between their processes and data sources. A decision was made to roll-out Aurum’s solution across Henderson Foodservice to automate their Bank Reconciliations.

 

Once again, the implementation could not have been more straightforward, and the results were immediate.

 

Emmett continued, “Having completed the Foodservice implementation, we were informed that Aurum had released their new platform (‘simply named, Aurum’). It was the natural next step for us to upgrade to the Aurum platform as it coincided with our next reconciliation project, Supplier Statement matching. Both projects were able to be implemented simultaneously.”

“Upgrading to Aurum from Groupit was even more smooth than the initial implementation. On the morning of the upgrade, I had to attend internal meetings on Supplier Statement Reconciliation. When I returned to meet the Aurum consultant, it was already completed. It was so smooth I didn’t even see it happen!”
Emmett Young, Finance Supervisor - Henderson Group

Phase 3 - Upgrading Groupit to the all-new Aurum platform

In January 2020, Henderson Group upgraded Groupit Bank Reconciliation to the all-new platform, Aurum. The advantages of Henderson’s experienced include:

 

- Considerable performance improvements with significant increases in the speed of loading and matching.

- Improvements to functionality with an advanced Reporting Suite, including customisable reports which can be exported in a variety of formats including PDF, CSV, and Excel.
- Management Information Dashboard.
- Updated Modern User Interface with vastly improved navigation.

“What Aurum does, they do it very well…It’s like a magic act! You don’t actually see what goes on behind the scenes. The new system just seems to appear ready to go”
Emmett Young, Finance Supervisor - Henderson Group

Phase 4 – Extension of Aurum to automate Supplier Statement Reconciliations

As a result of the above successes, Henderson decided to automate their Supplier Statement Reconciliation process with Aurum.

 

One of the Accounts Payable Supervisors at Henderson Wholesale saw how Aurum’s platform could work for her department.

 

Previously, the supplier statement reconciliation process was done manually with no reporting tools and tended to be both error-prone and laborious. Emmett explained: “Reconciliation was a combination of a paper-based and Excel process. The department was experiencing issues such as time lags on statements being paid, dealing with multiple data sources, and it involved a huge manual effort.”

 

After seeing Aurum’s capabilities and ease of use, they looked no further. Aurum was implemented to automate the Supplier Statement Reconciliation process in January 2020, simultaneously with the Aurum upgrade.

 

The results were outstanding:
- Operational risk mitigated through increased accuracy.
- Seamless integration with Henderson core financial system and supplier statements.
- Robust Audit Trail provides improved accountability and visibility, with the capacity to track transactions across their entire lifecycle.
- Freed up staff time to focus on exception management and data analysis.
- Flexible and configurable rules-based matching engine, providing tracking and management of outstanding items.
- Powerful data enrichment functionality.
- Fully scalable reconciliation tool, designed to deal with increasing volumes of invoices.

 

Emmett Young detailed the success of the implementation but summarised its simplicity in saying: “We made a call to Aurum and away we were again. The Supplier Statement implementation went extremely smoothly.”

 

“The process of working with Aurum felt almost like we had joined their family. The results achieved already have influenced us to welcome them into the Henderson Group family too. This journey has been a great experience and we intend to go further!”
Emmett Young, Finance Supervisor - Henderson Group

Plans for the future - Building a Reconciliation Centre of Excellence.

After the successful implementation of Aurum’s platform to automate Bank and Supplier Statement Reconciliations across both the Wholesale and Foodservice, Henderson continue to look to the future.

 

Emmett explains: “As a group, we experience a lot of small headaches that aren’t big enough to justify a project. But when you put all those headaches together, you have enough there to investigate the idea of a Centre of Excellence for Reconciliations.”

 

“We are now starting to look more strategically across the Group as to how we can centralise all reconciliations.”

“I have no hesitation in recommending Aurum to any business because it is so versatile. You have a product that you can do anything with. Whatever sector you sit in, I would be pretty confident that Aurum can deliver a comprehensive reconciliation solution for you.”
Emmett Young, Finance Supervisor - Henderson Group

About Henderson Group:

John Henderson began in the retail grocery business back in 1897 selling butter, cheese, and eggs at premises on the Old Lodge Road in Belfast. Mr Henderson was a well-known figure and frequently judged cheese and butter categories at the annual Balmoral Show.

 

The Henderson Group remains in the retail grocery business more than 120 years on but has expanded and diversified significantly. Four independent entities now make up the Henderson Group brand – Henderson Wholesale, which is complemented by subsidiary companies Henderson Technology and Henderson Print, Henderson Retail, Henderson Foodservice, and Henderson Group.

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