REVIEWER: Lori Giordano, assistant corporate controller for Gilbane Building Company.

BACKGROUND: Gilbane Building Company is one of North America's leading construction management firms, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. It is part of Gilbane Inc., one of America's largest family-owned companies in the construction and real estate industry. A second entity, Gilbane Development Company, works in concert to provide integrated expertise in finance, development, planning and construction.

PLATFORMS: SQL Server 2000.

PROBLEM SOLVED: For years, Gilbane used various legacy financial reporting and forecasting databases, which could not keep pace with growing demands for consolidated, monthly reports. We had no way of easily combining all actual reporting with forecasting and budgeting. The corporate accounting staff as well as regional controllers spent a significant amount of time each month collecting and merging financial data from disparate databases into various spreadsheets. A number of Gilbane's financial professionals were nearing retirement age, meaning we would soon have to work more efficiently with fewer people. We knew we needed a more streamlined way to access our financial data, which is why we turned to Cartesis.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Every 30 days, our accounting group prepares voluminous reports used for internal financial reporting and forecasting of construction ventures overseen by each of the 10 regional offices. Cartesis Finance easily integrated with Gilbane's existing servers and IT platforms for management reporting, budgeting and forecasting and is able to successfully bundle our various reports into a single monthly book for significant efficiency improvements. In addition, Cartesis Finance provides us with reports that identify and compare actual and budget data as well as figures from previous periods with actual results. This comparative reporting ability combines with analytics that facilitate decision-making throughout Gilbane. The finance teams benefit by having more time to analyze the information, which results in faster and higher-quality reporting to senior management. When executive management has questions, Cartesis Finance makes it easier to get answers.

STRENGTHS: We needed a way to consolidate all of our data and produce financial reports in a timely fashion. Cartesis Finance allows us to combine reporting of actual financial data with forecasting and budgeting data, resulting in quick, reliable and highly accurate reports that provide a single version of the truth. The results have been impressive in terms of efficiency while confidently and consistently providing reliable advice to senior management.

WEAKNESSES: We hope future versions of this  solution will further enhance analytic capabilities with BI convergence and enriched dashboarding.

SELECTION CRITERIA: When Gilbane decided to consolidate all financials from multiple sources onto a single performance management solution, various systems were considered. Cartesis Finance was selected because of three highly important attributes. Cartesis Finance was ideally configured for easy use by accountants. Its intuitive user interface encourages someone trained in accounting to easily develop the program's analytical and comparative functions and quickly allows the building of advanced databases outside traditional accounting. Once the actual numbers are entered, it effectively moves this data to a higher level for forecasting and reporting to our executives. We can now update forecasts in a day or so, something that used to take two or more weeks. Finally, a competitive price and excellent customer service and technical support made Cartesis a smart selection.

DELIVERABLES: Cartesis Finance provides our controllers with extensive reporting for budgeting and forecasting, including computations of overhead and G&A rates, monthly/quarterly reviews for banks and bonding companies and accurate data for ad hoc or scheduled audits.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Cartesis has been a true partner throughout the course of our relationship. From the first proof of concept, they exhibited their commitment to us. On the horizon we plan to expand the Cartesis solution to consolidate all of Gilbane Inc. into a single financial statement - both building and development companies.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation for installation is well written and easy to understand. 

Cartesis Finance
Cartesis Inc.
383 Main Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06851
(203) 956-2800

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