Hames Corporation, based in Sitka, Alaska, owns and manages several retail stores in both Sitka and Ketchikan, Alaska two of the largest and most visited cities in the state. The business began in 1949 as a small neighborhood market operated by one of the current owner’s grandparents. 65 years later, Hames has evolved into a thriving corporation. Today, the Hames’ brands include Sea Mart Quality Foods and Market Center, grocery stores in Sitka; Cascade Convenience Centers in Sitka; and Watson Point Liquors and Newtown Liquor Store in Ketchikan. Each of these retail brands are separate operating companies owned by Hames.
Despite the company’s growth, the organization has made sure each of its stores and overall corporate culture remain true to the company’s origins, and fosters a neighborhood atmosphere with friendly, small-town service. However, as Hames has grown so too has its need to significantly improve the budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting process to keep pace with the expanding business.
Difficulties with Excel
Like many small and medium-sized businesses, Hames Corporation relied on Microsoft Excel for all of its budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting needs; using it to manage monthly balance sheets, cash flow statements and P&L. But with so many stores, seven individual departments and 160 employees the budgeting process was complex and time-consuming.
“Budgeting was becoming problematic from the standpoint of timeliness, accuracy, and frankly relevance. It became so cumbersome and difficult that something had to be done to better manage the growth and competitive environment of our business” commented Maxwell Rule, CFO, Hames Corporation. “Our financial reporting, budgeting, and forecasting for internal management purposes was not where it needed to be.”
“We wanted to move to easier and more sophisticated reporting.”
Rule determined that he also needed a solution that could accurately forecast earnings, integrate with his General Ledger, Microsoft Dynamics GP, provide a deeper level of detail and simplify consolidations.
Easier Budgeting, Better Reporting
Because of the challenges with Excel, Hames turned to Centage to handle all of its budgeting, forecasting, consolidations and reporting. The company is now able to import its actuals from Dynamics GP on a regular basis and can more effectively budget by department. Hames is also able to produce a cash flow statement and do cash forecasting to come up with appropriate projections.
Zeroing in on Personnel Costs
One of the biggest benefits has been the ability to manage personnel costs, one of Hames’ most significant operating expenses. Unlike anything else on the market today for small and medium businesses, the solution can track and analyze all salary-related expenses and provide an unprecedented level of granularity to help financial leaders gain an understanding of costs by individual employee. “We use all of [the solution’s] payroll functions,” said Rule.
Centage has not only provided Hames with a quicker and easier budgeting and forecasting process, but empowered the organization with more sophisticated financial reporting. As a result, Hames now has regular reports for balance sheets, cash flows, results from operations and department profitability.
Location: Sitka, Alaska
G/L System: Dynamics GP
“The ability to analyze and budget labor and related benefit costs has been invaluable, particularly in light of the unknowns and challenges related to the Affordable Care Act.”
– Maxwell Rule,CEO & CFO of Hames Corporation
“Centage has replaced some of our ‘traditional’ financial reporting with a new, strategic approach that has made our shareholders, executives, and management team very happy and more confident in the long term financial success of our organization.”
– Maxwell Rule, CEO & CFO of Hames Corporation