Development Case Study: Accounts Control Spreadsheet Tool for a Hotel Chain: Microsoft Excel and Sage Financials

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An Application Development Team Case Study:

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Accounts Control Spreadsheet Tool for a Hotel Chain: Microsoft Excel and Sage Financials

Technology: Microsoft Excel
Client: A large hotel chain with a wide variety of properties and amenities
Year: 2020

Our client was putting together a management pack of tools and processes that they were rolling out across all their hotels in their Irish operation. As part of this suite of tools was the envisaged Account Control Spreadsheet Tool.

Their central accounts team had put together the core of a very powerful custom made accounting tool, constructed within a MS Excel spreadsheet file. This file was pulling data from a huge number of different resources, such as account extracts from Sage, Bank Statements, Trial Balances and Credit Card statements. They were then using this Control Spreadsheet Tool to help both report on and to balance their accounts on both a daily and monthly bases. However, they faced a huge problem with the file! Although it was operational from a functional perspective it was not usable from a user’s point of view!

The construction of the file was so complex that there were left with thousands of external links to other files. These links were both pulling in data directly into cells but also used as part of formula and look-ups. The result of all this was a MS Excel file that was unmanageable from a user’s perspective as it would take an age just to load. Every time Excel then needed to perform a calculation (which is very often) it would hang. This waiting time could also end up being multiplied further in instances where other MS Excel files may have been open at the same time.

In delivering a solution Olas not only addressed these key performance issues but also brought some great extra benefits to the project. Transforming it from a spreadsheet based file to that of a fully-fledged MS Excel based application.

The following is a summary of tasks Olas sought to complete as part of this project:

 

To achieve these goals, Olas sought to take an inventive approach which made use of a daily import process through VBA Coding, which in only a matter of seconds would bulk import data from 64 external files in a single go. Day sheets would then be created from hidden template sheets contained in the file for each day in the month. When rolling over to the next day, all calculations from the previous day would be stored as values and the 64 source data import sheets would be cleared out and replaced with the new day’s data. This meant that at any one time the file would only contain raw source data and formula relating to just the current day; thus massively reducing the amount of formula required in the file at any one time. This approach proved extremely successful with the performance of the file going from frustratingly unusable to incredibly quick.

Olas Team Member - Fergal

FERGAL O’CONNOR
SENIOR TECHNICAL CONSULTANT


Mobile: +353 86 841 3708
Email: fergal.oconnor@olas.ie


Development Case Study: Global Commercial Capability, Distributor Assessment Tool: Microsoft Excel

An Application Development Team Case Study:

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Global Commercial Capability, Distributor Assessment Tool: Microsoft Excel

Technology: Microsoft Excel
Client: A large multinational personal healthcare products and consumer goods manufacturer and distributor
Year: 2020

This project was headed up by our clients Global Commercial Capability team located in the UK but overlooking their 1,200 plus operations in multiple sites across Asia and Africa. The goal was to create a global standardised tool that could be used by the local markets to complete assessments upon their operations. The results of which could then be consolidated and reported regional and indeed globally.

As the tool was to be rolled out primarily across Asia and African locations the tool needed to be able to be available offline, easy to use, intuitive, multi lingual and not be to technologically complicated or resource heavy. For this task MS Excel was identified as the ideal tool for this project.

The project consisted of two main elements, a MS Excel Distributor Assessment file to be completed by each distributor and a MS Excel Consolidator Reporting file, used to bulk import and report upon the returned completed assessments. The project was further complicated by the need for the need to customise the assessment templates text regionally and also to include the ability to translate both tools text into different languages.

The assessment itself consisted of 45 Standards divided out across 6 Platforms, with standards either categorised as General, Commercial, Finance, HR or Supply Chain. In completing a standard, the distributor would be presented with a leading statement, from which they would need to select from a choice of four statements the statement that best represented their operation. A facility was also included to allow for the addition of evidence to support the chosen statement. Upon completion of a full assessment, the assessment would become locked down and the distributor would be given a score (Gold, Silver, Bronze). With the assessment completed, now open to them in the tool would be a printable Scorecard reporting how they performed in each Platform and Standard. Also an Action Plan, generated detailing what actions they need to take for each Standard in order to move up to the next level.

This completed assessment would now also be shared up to regional and global teams for consolidated reporting. Using a separate MS Excel based Consolidator tool, the completed assessments could be bulk imported and merged in the Consolidator tool, with regional/global pivot chart reporting outputted.

The end result was a highly portable and adaptable application that will become a key tool in assessing and managing the many global distributors for years to come.

Olas Team Member - Fergal

FERGAL O’CONNOR
SENIOR TECHNICAL CONSULTANT


Mobile: +353 86 841 3708
Email: fergal.oconnor@olas.ie