For Ariel Quiñones and Gonzalo Manrique, founding Ironhack was the realization of their dream to revolutionize the tech-education landscape. The international tech school offers immersive programming and engineering courses that give students the opportunity to transform their careers and become successful professionals in the tech space. In January 2021, they landed a successful $20 million Series B round led by Lumos Capital to accelerate their growth and international expansion.
Ironhack currently has 420 employees and operates 9 campuses in Miami, São Paulo, Mexico City, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon. However, from an organizational and financial perspective, they were divided into 8 subsidiaries - the Madrid and Barcelona campuses were grouped under the same entity.
Every month, María Ares, VP of Finance, and Luis Lin, FP&A, were responsible for preparing and delivering P&L reports to each Campus Leadership team, and a consolidated report to the Global Leadership team. This task became complex and time-consuming due to each campus transacting in the local currency. Reports at the campus level were reported in the local currency, while the consolidated report was reported in US dollars.
Aside from having financial transactions in various currencies, another complexity arose from transactions recorded under one subsidiary, but belonging to another. For example, in one case, the Brazil subsidiary incurred the cost of a professor’s teaching hours, although the course was taught also for students of the Mexican subsidiary. These transactions needed to be reclassified with the corresponding allocation and currency conversion (in the example, from Brazilian real to the Mexican peso). For María and Luis, it was a manual, tedious and time-consuming process.
Challenges in Data Preparation and Report Delivery
When it came to extracting and preparing data for reporting, Luis followed a monthly standard process:
- Request financial controllers to download and send P&L data from Navision (ERP system).
- Place all datasets in one GSheets document (one tab for each campus).
- Organize, reformat and reclassify data to have the same reporting structure across all subsidiaries for consolidation.
- Apply exchange rates for any reclassified inter-subsidiary transaction.
- Create a new GSheet document for each campus with their respective report and share it with budget owners for review and feedback.
- Make necessary changes and adjustments based on comments and feedback.
- Finalize the Global Report by converting all currencies to USD and consolidating the P&Ls across all subsidiaries.
- Deliver report and presentation to the Global Senior Leadership team.
From the beginning, the process had its obstacles that made it inefficient for the team. First, there was always some waiting time when requesting the financial controllers to send their Navision data. Second, transforming, reformatting and reclassifying data was very manual, it took a lot of time and was error-prone. Finally, converting currencies was a headache due to the number of cross-subsidiary variations.
Reviewing and delivering reports came with its own set of difficulties. To send financials to campus budget owners and get feedback from them, Luis spent a lot of time sending emails. When there were discussions about their numbers, these got buried within long email trails.
For a recurring and important task such as this, Maria and Luis believed that an automation solution would ease a lot of their pain points.
“We’re aware that reporting for multiple markets is always a complex process and with our reporting responsibilities, it was key that we didn’t waste time on painstaking work. Abacum came at the right time for us to optimize our tasks.”
María Ares, VP Finance
End-to-end Automation with Abacum
With the implementation of Abacum, Luis realized several benefits in having their data preparation and transformation automated. All together, he was able to save 2 days in manual work.
Single Source of Truth for Collaboration
More than simply automating his tasks, Abacum was also able to improve Luis’ process of collaboration with business partners. Having all the information in one place led to better and more productive conversations, allowing him to drive more strategic value.
Driving Value and Empowering Finance
The end result was a P&L reporting process that allowed María and Luis to focus more on analysis and insights that matter to their leadership team and business partners, and less on manual tasks. Through the Abacum platform, the speed of having reports ready and the capability to have it organized and shared immediately in working spaces were valuable, driving the Finance function to have more impact on the entire Ironhack team.
From complex currency conversion processes to powerful but simple data visualization, María and Luis tapped into FP&A tools to minimize non-value adding tasks and deliver faster and better insights to their budget owners.
With Abacum, we empower finance teams of high-growth tech companies to become true strategic partners in the organization by driving time-to-insight with powerful automation and seamless collaboration. Request a demo now to see the product live and start your own transformational journey.