Arawak Port Development Runs a Tight ‘Budgeting’ Ship Since Going Public in 2012

ABOUT

Located in the beautiful Bahamas, Arawak Port Development (APD) was created in 2009 to allow downtown Nassau to shine by moving the commercial shipping companies a few miles to Arawak Cay. Along with the move, APD took the opportunity to streamline both shipment and customs processing operations and has since been named the most productive port among 24 in the region by the Florida Shipowners Group, for the last 2 years. In addition, APD was rated first in an efficiency study of 12 gateway ports conducted by the Caribbean Development Bank.

APD is a critical enterprise for The Bahamian Government and its citizens, with all ocean freight passing over their bulkhead at the Nassau Container Port (NCP). In 2012, APD joined The Bahamas International Securities Exchange in a public-private partnership with the Government of The Bahamas in an IPO that raised $10M Bahamian Dollars (the U.S. Dollar and Bahamian Dollar are equivalent), and offered an unprecedented 20% of its shares exclusively to Bahamian citizens.

CHALLENGE

At APD, operational efficiency drives their financial success, and Vice President and CFO Dion Bethell runs a tight ship. After going public in 2012, Bethell needed to start producing a range of financial statements that would satisfy the quarterly and annual filing requirements of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, provide sufficient information to external auditors, and enable the APD Board of Directors to better manage the growth of the organization.

Bethell also wanted to ramp up the level of detail in his planning, while concurrently weaning the management team away from budgeting for items that had a low likelihood of occurring. Because APD is a critical economic hub for the country of The Bahamas, there was no room for error.

SOLUTION

The software installer for APD’s Sage ERP system recommended that Bethell take a look at Centage to address his budgeting and financial reporting needs. After careful consideration, Bethell found that Centage’s solution would allow him the degree of oversight that APD now required, while also saving his team time and effort.

Bethell loaded the current year’s budget into Budget Maestro in a dry-run to ensure they’d be able to close the books efficiently by their fiscal year-end. APD was essentially a start-up, and Bethell was able to easily load all of the prior years’ actuals into Budget Maestro with no loss of data.

Centage’s driver-led budgeting is a critical element in creating an actionable budget that can be managed at a very detailed level. For example, APD’s property lease expense owed to The Bahamian Government, varies each month because of the fluctuating number of shipping containers that are at the facility. The containers are measured in twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs. The lease expense is based on TEU volume and can now be calculated systemically without error.

BENEFITS

The solution gave Bethell the components he needed to create a sound, realistic budget. Its ability to easily update variables and to complete what-if analyses were also substantial improvements over what was done in the past.

Publishing financial statements is no longer the chore it was before APD adopted Analytics Maestro. Bethell has been able to replicate the exact layouts required for his public quarterly filings with The Bahamas International Securities Exchange. Data and statistics populate condensed financial statements, and audited financial statements and department-level views give each area what they need to be successful.

Financial statements are due within 45 days of each quarter-end and within 90 days of year-end. Instead of providing a mere two to three days for their auditors to review the financial statements and respond to them before publication, Bethel now completes the full range of statements, including the management discussion and analysis, within 30 days. This enables his team to research and double-check data and ratios, while still giving the auditors a full two weeks for their review.

Bethell’s ability to answer management and board questions about the budget and financial statements saves everyone time and promotes responsibility.

Being able to do line item budgeting encourages department heads to come to their budgeting meetings with explicit explanations for the funds requested, which, in turn, speeds up what used to be a lengthy budgeting process.

Once completed and approved, APD exports the final budget from Budget Maestro and imports it into their Sage ERP with Centage’s seamless data integration tool. With ease, Bethell creates different metrics, ratios and trends, and often runs various scenarios to ensure they don’t miss an opportunity to become even more efficient and profitable for their shareholders.

FAST FACTS

Industry: Distribution
Location: The Bahamas
Employees: 100+
G/L System: Sage 300

“When someone has a question, I’m able to drill down and get details on the spot, versus saying ‘let me get back to you’. I can add notes and attach files to document assumptions and refer to them when needed.”

“One of the beautiful things about Centage is that once you set it up the first time and you roll your budget over, it’s much easier the following year since you don’t have to spend as much time because you know that the drivers are correct.”

Dion Bethell
Vice President & CFO
Arawak Port Development

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