- About Quantrix
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"At the end of the day, only one number is important -- the one on the bottom. If I don't understand why that number isn't where we want it to be, I can discover why more quickly using Quantrix."
- Craig Burkett, Chief Financial Officer
Most CFOs would say that it is their job to watch the bottom line. For Craig Burkert, CFO of Romco Equipment, every fluctuation in that number leads to a series of questions. Financial modeling software from Quantrix helps him make sense of the hundreds of thousands of numbers that go into the bottom line, to effectively communicate the relevant data to the right people, and to turn business information into business intelligence.
Romco Equipment Co. is a Dallas, TX-based distributor of construction equipment. Burkert oversees the financial processes for the company's five regions, eight locations, and multiple departments, including the creation and dissection of the monthly operating statements. These reports provide very detailed breakdowns of sales, gross profit, and expenses -- each containing 60 line items by 60 columns of data.
"Someone with a calculator and enough patience can do an awful lot of analysis from these figures," says Burkert. After researching financial tools, Burkert discovered Quantrix Modeler, a software solution for the specialized needs of the professional financial community, developed by the Portland, Maine-based Quantrix. With Quantrix, Burkert can now quickly and easily get the information he needs, sliced and diced by month, year to date, and prior year to date, against both actual and budget figures.
Romco's business is cyclical with some seasonality, so comparing figures in a given month with historical data provides a lot of answers. Traditional spreadsheet tools required Burkert to create multiple budgets for each time period, region, and location to gain accurate comparisons. "There are all sorts of ways to look at numbers and see if they are good, bad, out of line, or need attention," says Burkert. "With Quantrix, I can look at all of the views for each item in a year-by-year, month-by-month graphic history. All of that analysis can happen in a glance."
Unlike traditional spreadsheet applications, Quantrix separates the formulas from the information in a cell, which enables users to quickly change the presentation without rewriting formulas, and to easily view the data in multiple dimensions and formats. For Romco, it means that in-depth analysis on any line item is quick and easy to view. "I can drag the line item into Quantrix's filter tray and the location tile into the column tray. That makes my graph display a separate bar for each location," says Burkert. He can then choose to view the data by month or year to date, and he has a report targeting the specific data he needs.
"Quantrix makes it easy to spot things," says Burkert. "At the end of the day, only one number is important -- the one on the bottom. If I don't understand why that number isn't where we want it to be, I can discover why more quickly using Quantrix."
While managing the numbers is Burkert's primary responsibility, he uses Quantrix to engage his regional managers in using and understanding the numbers that are important to them. Because the sales managers are primarily responsible for interacting with customers, Burkert does not want a tool or process that takes away from their time in the field. However, he knows that understanding financial statements can help sales managers sell smarter, better, and more effectively. "Selling more is not always the answer," says Burkert. "I want the sales managers to understand what is driving the profit of their individual operations."
Quantrix turns the complex monthly financial statements into graphical reports for each regional manager. Burkert created a master file with all of the company's numbers, and using the security features in Quantrix, enabled access to specific data for each regional manager. Burkert used Quantrix's intuitive inter-model formulas to create reports for each division. Rather than manually creating cell-based formulas in each regional file to point to the correct section of the master, he was able to create one instance, copy it and change the region for each report. “With a single formula, Quantrix pulled the appropriate numbers," says Burkert. "Now I only have to update the master file when the new numbers come out -- a process that takes five or 10 minutes."
Burkert is seeing positive results from the new reports. Regional managers check in to say that they are noticing specific trends or important data. While Burkert's goal is not to eliminate questions from regional managers, he does want to help them figure out what to ask. "Instead of saying, 'what happened?' the managers are starting to ask, 'why is this number so high?'" says Burkert. "With Quantrix, they are able to put it into perspective, and see what number was out of line."
That style of approach is what separates Quantrix from other financial tools. "When you analyze a financial statement, there's no cookbook approach," says Burkert. "You need to find things that are unusual, and that is what Quantrix is good at. The more you can ease that process, the more thorough you can be, and the less time you need to spend at it."
Moving forward, Burkert plans to use Quantrix to analyze sales and margin numbers by year, month, branch, sales rep, and equipment type. "I want to track the history of purchases, rentals and sales for any type of equipment and use it as a forecasting tool," says Burkert. "For a distributor, the magic is in the sales and margin numbers."
Burkert is excited about Quantrix, and the ability to view the company's data so fully and in such depth. "Quantrix enables me to turn the 'what' of a lot of data into the 'why'," says Burkert. "It gets you there very quickly by turning a mountain of data into something that's intuitive for those who need to digest it."