BEWG gains business clarity with FlexSystem
Water is precious. Treating it and protecting the environment surrounding it has become a lucrative business.
Just ask Beijing Enterprises Water Group Ltd (BEWG). Listed in Hong Kong, it offers a wide range of water services and environmental protection services in China.
BEWG positions itself as a leading integrated water system solutions provider. Services include industrial investment, design, construction, operation, technological service and capital operation. Its serves businesses that provide urban water services, watershed water services, industrial water services, seawater desalination, environment sanitation and solid waste, clean energy and technological services.
From left: Lewis Wu, Project Manager of FlexSystem Ltd and Derek Chan, Assistant Finance Manager, Beijing Enterprise Water Group Ltd
Becoming market driven
Desiring to offer higher value to its shareholders, BEWG wanted to adopt a market-oriented approach. Using a solid capital foundation and advanced technology, it wanted to build on its environmental water protection business as a key enabler.
“Water companies have increasingly turned to consolidation and partnership strategies in the wake of the economic downturn. They constantly grappled with stringent capital expenditure plans and diminishing investor risk appetite, higher debt costs and a risk-averse equity environment. BEWG is looking for an effective consolidation system to help with the development. Every year, the Group will increase to around 200 companies,” Derek Chan, Assistant Finance Manager, BEWG, said.
As a rapidly expanding business, BEWG faces the arduous task of having a clear picture of how deferred projects or programs affect its overall risk levels. They needed to handle massive transaction volumes.
“Efficient strategies emphasized on long term balanced-budget planning and the increased ability of municipalities to capture cost savings. We needed to capture long-term capital expenditure needs, have transparent ongoing monitoring of water resource levels, and improve consolidation processes that lead to regulated implementation of efficiency measures and water-audit practices, and facilitate fact-driven strategies and bring about the desired efficiencies,” said Chan.
Managing “liquid” assets
All this means consolidating data from more than 300 Excel files.
“Each time, BEWG had to allocate staffs spending 2 to 3 weeks to complete the process. Often the workflow revolved around repetitive data input and validation with high time pressure,” Chan said. In addition, financial consolidation and management reports were required to be produced in tight deadline. Different exchange rate transactions needed to be considered for multi-currency transaction. BEWG was looking for an advanced analytics solution and improved collaboration to make more informed investment decisions to the benefit of the stakeholders.
After months of search, FlexSystem Consolidation System (FCS) was chosen. FCS ticked all the features and capabilities that BEWG needed. It allowed the Group to gain an in-depth view of the fiscal health of its geographically diverse businesses. The solution’s ease of use and shallow learning curve, together with its use of the familiar Excel spreadsheet as interface, allowed BEWG’s executives to quickly gain valuable information. “FCS featured responsive reporting and brought several key advantages to the group, including reduction from 2 weeks to 2 hours when issuing Notes. Today only 1-2 staffs to perform the same duties, freeing other employees to focus on non-routine administrative tasks,” Chan said.
The FCS solution allowed the Group to fine tune their business processes and become more competitive. This is vital as the Group now operates in increasing economic uncertainty and in a rapidly changing industry environment. “Every year, utility leaders at BEWG must answer difficult questions regarding where to spend capital and maintenance budgets. Technology provides the ability to obtain and analyze data from individual pieces of equipment and entire treatment and carriage systems, and allows water companies to assess with greater accuracy the capacity and resilience of their assets. This, combined with the ability to catalog data at lower costs, enables the implementation of smart programs that use predictive analytics to help optimize asset performance and minimize risk,” Chan said.
FlexSystem offers a strong data-driven platform to find the right answers.
“A comprehensive integrated system answers the need for consolidated balance sheet & income statement by sub-group, Consolidated Fixed Asset and Intangible Asset Breakdown, segment information, other note to Financial Statements, cross-checking specific account balance from Balance Sheet and from Asset breakdowns,” added Chan.