Grant Thornton LLP
Case Study: Grant Thornton LLP
Solution: Sage 300 ERP
Industry: Audit, Tax, and Advisory Services
Location: Toronto, Ontario
About The Company
Grant Thornton LLP is one of the Canadian members of Grant Thornton International Ltd., one of the world’s leading organizations of independently owned and managed accounting and consulting firms, with over 2,500 partners across 100 countries. The Canadian firm operates from 45 locations, spanning Victoria, B.C., to St. John’s, N.L., and employs more than 1,700 professionals. As you might imagine, professional accounting firms such as Grant Thornton LLP are very discriminating when it comes to selecting their own internal accounting applications. Grant Thornton LLP trusts its operations on Sage 300 ERP.
The Situation & Solution
“We standardized our operations on Sage 300 ERP back in 1999,” recalls Jim Bromilow, senior manager of MIS for Grant Thornton LLP. “It is a strong, secure application and a very good fit for us." Grant Thornton LLP’s Canadian operation is comprised of several business units, each made up of one or more office locations. Until 2005, each of the firm’s business units ran a separate instance of Sage 300 ERP software, sending summarized data to the company’s headquarters in Toronto. “By 2005, our company’s technology infrastructure was sufficient to allow us to centralize the application,” explains Bromilow. “Today we run a single instance of Sage 300 ERP on our Toronto servers, and each office has access to the server using Citrix.”
Results & Benefits
The benefits resulting from the consolidation are significant; Bromilow summarizes as: “consistency, security, and control.” He explains, “By centralizing the application, we are able to ensure consistency in account structure and avoid duplicates or multiple formats. Security is more easily managed, as well, as fewer individuals need access to sensitive administrative data. Control of the database overall, including backups and storage, also is better served.” And the firm also finds that the administration and reporting of Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is more easily managed. Grant Thornton LLP has set up triggers that monitor the SQL database and alert administrators when certain activities occur. “For example, we receive an alert when a new vendor is set up,” explains Bromilow. “With early awareness of these activities, we are able to ensure the setup is proper and consistent.”
The firm’s business units are represented as individual companies in the Sage 300 ERP system; each has secure access to its company database to enter accounts payable transactions, complete journal entries, and run various reports. Many other transactions, however, originate at a corporate level and need to be allocated across the business units. By using the Intercompany Transactions module, Grant Thornton LLP is able to distribute accounts payable transactions and general ledger journal entries to each business unit in a single transaction. “It makes what would otherwise be a very complex set of allocations very easy,” notes Bromilow.
The Benefits of Business Intelligence
Access to timely business intelligence data is vital for any successful enterprise. For Grant Thornton LLP, Sage 300 ERP Insight is the tool that delivers its intelligence data. The Sage 300 ERP Insight application facilitates rapid report creation by converting information already set up in the company’s accounting system plus other applications into a single SQLbased data warehousing system. It helps Grant Thornton LLP employees in remote offices and disparate departments manage, distribute, and collaborate on data from a single, unified source. The reports can be deployed over the web to key personnel or sent as a Microsoft Excel® file that they can review on demand.
“Before Sage 300 ERP Insight, this kind of data consolidation was a manual process,” Bromilow says. “Each business unit filled out spreadsheets, and we keyed them in at our corporate office. Then updated reports were compiled and distributed manually. Sage 300 ERP Insight dramatically streamlines this process. For example, we have one report that consists of 80 interlinked sheets. What took hours previously now takes three minutes to update and compile.” The Sage 300 ERP Insight tool allows Grant Thornton LLP to analyze its operations from any angle. “We have three service lines, Assurance, Tax, and Advisory, and we have the need to look at those service lines in various ways,” explains Bromilow. “With the Sage 300 ERP Insight application, we can look at each service line as a whole or broken down by business unit. We also can incorporate nonfinancial data such as number of billable hours and head counts in our analyses.”
In addition to being active users of Sage 300 ERP, Grant Thornton LLP also is a Sage Authorized Partner, implementing the ERP solution for clients across Canada. “At Grant Thornton LLP, we place our confidence and trust in Sage 300 ERP,” concludes Bromilow. “We recommend it without hesitation.”
Find information about individual Sage ERP systems: