Catalyst Paper Corporation, recently acquired by ND Paper, LLC, manufactures diverse papers such as coated freesheet, coated one side (C1S), flexible and industrial packaging, food service, coated and uncoated groundwood, newsprint, directory, as well as market pulp. Headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, their customers include retailers, publishers and commercial printers in North America, Latin America, the Pacific Rim and Europe.
Month-end was continually bogged down by their cumbersome manual FI upload into SAP. Catalyst had created a custom line layout in Excel to copy and paste non-standard entries, one page at a time, into SAP. “The bulk of the month-end process was manual – a long, tedious process,” a Senior SAP Functional Analyst reported. “It took two to three days just to enter all the journal entries, forcing us to use every person available.”
Attempts to create an in-house direct upload solution were not successful. Customized options (such as an ABAP tool) did not provide validation of the data before loading allowing few individuals to utilize the template, with the exception of power users, who generated very large month-end journal entries.
The situation soon came to a head when the need arose to migrate the pulp side of their business into SAP. Users on the legacy system adamantly refused to use the manual process. Faced with migrating 30,000 lines into SAP, the company knew it was time for an automated upload solution.
After discovering Z Option, Catalyst evaluated GLSU and quickly deemed it the ideal solution. “GLSU was a forerunner from the beginning,” their Senior SAP Functional Analyst described. “GLSU was polished and had validation tools to avoid the various pitfalls of loading and posting journal vouchers to SAP.”
The project manager of the SAP migration, agreed. “We believed GLSU from Z Option was likely to be the winning tool in this segment,” he says. “We chose GLSU over competitive solutions for its simplicity and ease of use. If the tool was not effortless, it would never be adopted fully by the user population.”
Initially, GLSU was used to post information from three legacy systems with uploads of over 999 lines. “Using GLSU, two weeks of work took three days to enter into SAP.” Now freight vendors, with many invoices, simply e-mail their own customized Excel file to our AP clerk, who copies the template into GLSU, then posts it directly – often the day it is received. The result: vendors are paid more quickly than ever before.
Several GLSU templates are also being used for COPA entries. Month-end variances can be time-consuming, but the GLSU templates have been built so they can be downloaded into Excel and then populate GLSU. “That’s been really good – I don’t know how keen our accountants would be to do that work manually”. Altogether, over 20 different GLSU templates and all complex calculations are now done in GLSU. In some cases, the only change needed is to change the posting date and then upload. Best of all, month-end pressure is alleviated. With GLSU, entries are done throughout the month.
Since entries are detailed and not just summaries, everyone can get the information they need. “Accountants no longer have to provide an explanation of the information found in the spreadsheet,” noted by their Senior SAP Functional Analyst. “The spreadsheets are self-explanatory and provide drill-downs for further information.”
Better information and improved productivity is enables users to conduct more detailed analysis for better decision-making. “Our business analysts can do more than ever before, and even junior accountants are doing analysis. Managers can look at their cost center reports and see the detail without contacting an accountant to explain it, giving them new speed and flexibility on the job.”
Month-end closing is definitely faster. “Nobody does a manual entry anymore, even if it’s just two lines. As a result, we’re finding that the users are putting in a lot more detail.”
Finance users simply can’t get enough of GLSU. “There would be a revolt if we ever took GLSU away from our users.”