While older generations wistfully recall slalom and downhill racing on Saturdays with the famous names of ski racers, young people are no less enthusiastic about disciplines such as snowboarding, freeskiing or ski cross. For young and old alike – the enthusiasm and fun for snow sports is still there. The Swiss umbrella organization Swiss-Ski, with its 12 regional associations, 770 clubs and around 100,000 members, plays a large part in this. In addition to the 300 athletes who are members of a Swiss-Ski team, Swiss-Ski employs around 150 coaches and supervisors in the field of competitive and junior sport. At the business offices in Muri BE, around 50 employees do their utmost to provide the best possible foundations for the figureheads of Swiss snow sports.
Often Thwarted by Budgeting
This is not an easy task, because coordination between the association’s headquarters, the sectorial associations and the various trainers is extremely challenging. Financial planning is thereby an important issue. From budgeting to ongoing monitoring, expenditure and revenue must be coordinated, consolidated and monitored at all levels. So far, this has been tediously done via Excel tables, which had to be sent back and forth several times via e-mail when making adjustments. Through repeated copying and data pasting, errors crept in. The entire process was sluggish and hindered rapid, transparent assessment of both the overall situation and the individual areas.
“We want to have a central, shared IT system instead of having to fight through a jungle of mails and files.“ – Daniel Grossniklaus, Director of Finances and Services, Swiss-Ski
Cost centre managers only had the corresponding statements at their disposal, based in each case on the Excel input data and historical data. Hitherto, the complexity of the various tables became increasingly opaque.
With Clear Performance Targets at the Start
It was clear to Daniel Grossniklaus, Director of Finances and Services at Swiss-Ski, that the situation at that time could not keep pace with the requirements of a modern association. The lack of transparency and flexibility during evaluations, but also incorrect use of current data and the huge coordination effort were contradictory to the sporting ambitions of Swiss-Ski. The declared goal was therefore to simplify the entire process, from budget planning and creation, through monitoring and down to forecasting, in such a way that the Association and the cost centre managers had access at all times to current, historic and also future data.
Technology and Know-how as Success Factors
Finding the right partner for sophisticated IT projects is not easy. Trust thereby plays a central role. The discussions with the Abacus partner Axept were thus particularly important for Swiss-Ski. The concerns of the Association were discussed intensively and no questions were left unanswered, according to Daniel Grossniklaus. This resulted in an intensive, constructive collaboration between Axept Business Software AG and Swiss-Ski. This partnership was complemented by the company Informatec. Together, a solution was developed that was tailored to the needs of the Association. Each of the three partners contributed their skills towards this. With AXview, Axept provided the optimal extension to Abacus’ existing financial solution for reporting and KPIs. In combination with the Jedox planning and analysis application provided by Informatec, the entire planning and budgeting process was covered and integrated into AXview.
Efficient Solution Ensures Powerful Results
Instead of an obscure Excel construct, an intuitive solution is now available to users. This includes functions such as planning and budgeting, including approval processes, ongoing monitoring, extrapolations, forecasts, individual evaluations and analyses. Cost centre managers can thereby access current year-to-date figures, including accounts payable documents, at all times. The necessary values are provided, so to speak, at the touch of a button. As a result, forecasts and budgets are not only much more accurate, but the overall planning process is also far more efficient.
“Thanks to the new system, we can always get an overview of the current state of play at Swiss-Ski – be it during the planning phase or when monitoring the budget. Instead of having to deal with mails, today we can have a central system.“
The great thing about it is that the users perceive the new solution as a unified system. AXview was simply supplemented by a further “Planning” area (based on Jedox). Here users can evaluate the figures from Abacus, manage their budgets and extrapolations and release them by means of a sophisticated approval process. There are detailed comment functions for each budget step. When someone changes the budget, the responsible persons are automatically informed by e-mail. If the budget is approved, it can be imported directly into Abacus‘ financial accounting.
An essential element is the authorisation and security design. Budget managers only see the data from their own cost centre. Instead of having to inquire at the head office, users can access current and historical data at any time. A look into the future is also possible. So-called „game versions“ of the budget and the extrapolations allow the calculation of what-if variants. These can be adapted continuously and then easily transferred to the normal budget process.