Award-winning McAuley Engineering combines the skills and talents of McAuley Precision and McAuley Fabrication to serve the needs of the aerospace, transportation, energy, and materials handling industries. McAuley is one of the largest employers in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, serving customers throughout Ireland and the UK mainland.
A recent £5 million investment in McAuley created dozens of highly skilled jobs and laid the trajectory for McAuley’s growth. As reported by the BBC, their ambitious plans to quickly double in size include upgrading their manufacturing facilities, investing in their IT systems, and implementing a robust business development and marketing strategy to target new customers.
McAuley’s budgeting and forecasting plans were contained within complex, unwieldy Excel spreadsheets that had multiple tabs and complex formulas. Even the simplest of changes would cost hours to incorporate. McAuley needed to find a more flexible and sophisticated solution to support their growth projections.
The financial controller at McAuley, James Nicholl, implemented and used a competitor product at a previous employer. He said that it required coding, was extremely hard to use and maintain, and didn’t meet his reporting needs. He insisted that the new planning solution be easy to use and satisfy their operations, sales, reporting, and planning requirements.
To effectively plan for their production and fabrication lines, McAuley Engineering needed to tie their anticipated customer orders to material costs, inventory management, and sales projections. The new solution had to be sophisticated and maintain detail of their productive capacity, materials, and labor needs.
In addition, Nicholl needed to provide the management team with fast, precise reports for analysis to increase the efficiency and profitability of their operations and achieve the ROI expectations of the £5 million investment. McAuley Engineering wanted to produce balance sheets and cash flow statements that would allow them to more closely manage their assets.
To complicate matters, McAuley also needed to apply the value-added tax (VAT) formula in its calculations throughout the material costing, production, pricing, and reporting functions for the UK-based operation. This was necessary to provide accurate cash flow and balance sheet projections for the company.
Nicholl’s thorough research led him to select Budget Maestro, Centage’s premier budgeting and forecasting solution. Its formula-free environment with fast, accurate, and flexible reports provided the platform McAuley needed to optimize their budgeting, planning, and analysis to grow their business.
Budget Maestro’s enforcement of McAuley’s chart of accounts and its driver-based budgeting and planning feature allow Nicholl the flexibility to develop budget models that mirror their financial statements. Nicholl now easily adjusts driver values to perform scenario planning for the production group on the machining floor, while concurrently giving sales and marketing information to create effective marketing plans.
Budget Maestro includes the complete set of financial statements in their budgeting solution. Nicholl noted that profit and loss statements, accompanied by proper balance sheets and cash flow statements, were often missing in the software offered by other companies.
Budget Maestro’s robust reporting and analytics tool, Analytics Maestro, enables Nicholl to create dynamic dashboards. Sales department requests for income projections on a specific customer job used to be provided in simple, single-page scenarios that lacked depth and were barely useful. Now, with more dynamic reporting, the sales management team views information by product, customer, or sector.
Budget Maestro delivered McAuley Engineering from using spreadsheets for modeling and forecasting to the dynamic solution they needed to prepare accurate revenue and material cost projections, meet the compliance needs of VAT, and inform management and investors of their cash flow positions throughout the year.
- One of McAuley’s key clients manufactures buses on seven production lines. Nicholl uses unique codes for each of the client’s production lines and enters the type and volume of vehicles planned into Budget Maestro. This has enabled more accurate budgeting and quicker forecasting updates during the year. Materials purchasing is now more precise and McAuley is better able to meet customers’ needs.
- Replicating the current budget takes just a few keystrokes, and modeling to analyze margins and results is lightning fast. Setting up new customers in the spreadsheet-based budget used to require adjusting rows and editing formulas, and there was a high probability of error. Now, taking only 30 seconds, adding new or potential customers is done easily during meetings, where proposals can be instantly evaluated.
- Budget Maestro’s sophisticated driver-led operational planning helps McAuley anticipate pricing and material cost projections, while remaining flexible enough to allow overrides for unique situations. For example, labor allocations are driven by production cost assignment, but Nicholl can adapt the allocations to consider the labor costs for employees that occur during time off.
- Centage enhanced Budget Maestro to include the VAT regulation requirements so that the budget plans would replicate the financial reporting results. This ensured that McAuley’s budgeting plans considered tax collection and remittance throughout the production and sales cycles. If not done correctly, this would have a significant impact on the balance sheet and cash flow statements.
Nicholl noted, “I’m quite impressed about their desire to get things right in Budget Maestro. It’s refreshing to get a company you can phone any day of the week. They have solved every problem that I’ve come up with. It’s very, very refreshing and has certainly made me a fan of Centage.”
Budget Maestro has delivered the complete financial package with built-in financial logic that Nicholl envisioned.
Location: United Kingdom
G/L System: Sage 50
“I’m quite impressed about their desire to get things right in Budget Maestro.”
“Other companies provide a P&L within their budgeting package, ignoring the need for a cash flow and balance sheet to properly manage the business. We needed a complete solution and I
would recommend Budget Maestro to anyone.”