Stella E-bikes: ‘With Extended Banking, there’s nothing holding us back anymore in our ambitions for growth’
Stella E-bikes is the largest e-bike specialist in the Netherlands. With more than 50 branches across the Netherlands and Belgium, it keeps its production in-house as much as possible, which enables it to respond to changes in the market much more quickly, all while keeping its prices competitive. Stella’s Finance department uses Extended Banking for Dynamics 365 Finance. We spoke to Arjan Vlieger, Finance Manager/Controller at Stella, about this add-on.
Dynamics 365 Finance for long-term vision
‘I started at Stella around six years ago,’ Arjan starts, ‘so in Stella terms, I’m a bit of an old hand in this field, as we’ve only been around for eleven years. I started my career here as a controller, and we soon realized that our ERP package was ripe for replacement. The old package was jam-packed with custom solutions, but no particular long-term vision was evident from the choices made in that regard. As I know my way round IT, I became involved in the selection and implementation of the new ERP package. We eventually settled on Dynamics 365, a product that aligns really well with our long-term vision, considering our ambitions for growth both at home and abroad. As the standard module did not meet all aspects of Stella’s business case, we asked our implementation partner whether they could suggest a suitable package or add-on at the same timef add-on*
“I have to say, I got pretty excited about Extended Banking as soon as I saw the demo.” – Arjan Vlieger, Finance Manager/Controller
The freedom offered by Extended Banking
‘We started the selection process for this additional package by comparing several candidates, but I have to say, I got pretty excited about Extended Banking as soon as I saw the demo. The main reason for that was the fact that as a client, you’ve got a lot of freedom to configure and revise the software as you wish. With other packages, it doesn’t take long to get to the stage where a consultant needs to get involved if the software no longer suits your processes. With Extended Banking, you’ve got much more scope to adjust things exactly as you wish. And to be honest, that was the main difference that set Extended Banking apart from the other packages we considered.’
Working towards complete and error-free matching
‘Even after the implementation stage, we kept working to configure the system as optimally as possible. As things stand, we’ve reached a rate of 90% when it comes to automated invoice matching. We’re at a really advanced stage in that respect, and that’s great to see. Of course, our ultimate goal is complete and error-free matching, so if Extended Banking fails to match an entry correctly, we investigate what went wrong. That way, the system can learn, and we get to increase our matching rate, bringing us closer and closer to our goal of complete and error-free matching.
The best thing is that it’s really easy to teach the system about these errors or exceptions,’ Arjan beams, ‘precisely because there are so many options when assigning search values. Now that we’ve got our house in order in both the Netherlands and Belgium in this regard, there is nothing to stop us from realizing our ambitions for growth in Europe. All that remains to be done is to add a new bank and get to work: after all, a change is a change. As a result, my staff no longer need to spend any time on processing tasks; instead, I can ask them to carry out analyses and the like.’
“What I really value is that our feedback is taken seriously, and that we feel genuinely listened to as a client. We’re allowed to help come up with solutions and put forward practical examples to improve Extended Banking. – Arjan Vlieger, Finance Manager/Controller
Partnership with Focus Enterprise Solutions
‘Our partnership with Focus Enterprise Solutions has been fantastic,’ Arjan responds when asked about that aspect. ‘During the implementation stage, the staff who were about to use the new package all got clear instructions on how to do so, but above all, everything has been properly documented too. Once every while, we have a consultancy session with Paul de Bruijn, one of the consultants at Focus Enterprise Solutions. He updates us on the developments within Extended Banking that matter to us, but we also discuss any issues we’ve encountered.
These sessions not only help us solve problems; they also enable us to keep our knowledge up to date. After all, Extended Banking can sometimes get a little technical, but with detailed explanations and by maintaining that knowledge, it’s easy enough to keep up with. Of course, Paul also knows all the ins and outs of our business and our processes by now, and that makes it even more of a joy to work with him.’
Feedback leads to improvement
Arjen goes on to add that ‘what I really value is that our feedback is taken seriously, and that we feel genuinely listened to as a client. We’re allowed to help come up with solutions and put forward practical examples to improve Extended Banking. For example, at one point, we were faced with a scenario surrounding the structure dimension of our fleet in which we encountered a problem. Focus Enterprise Solution set out to address the issue and optimized its package accordingly. Of course, it would be impossible to implement every single requirement, but Focus Enterprise Solutions is always happy to take a closer look at whether something might add value to its overall offer. If something might be of use to other clients too, they simply run with it! And as a result, the software keeps getting better for us too.’
Optimal use of Extended Banking
‘I’m genuinely excited about Extended Banking, as it has been saving us huge amounts of time so far. As such, I would absolutely recommend this package to other businesses in my network. One piece of advice I would give is that anyone who is considering Extended Banking should really take all the time they need to properly explore the possibilities. After all, the possibilities offered by Extended Banking are almost endless. If you fail to do so, you’re unlikely to be making optimal use of the functionalities within the module, or you’ll lose sight of the overall technology. Together with Focus Enterprise Solutions, we’ve managed to find just the right balance, meaning we’re now using Extended Banking in the most optimal way,’ Arjen concludes.
Want to find out more about our Extended Banking add-on for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance after reading this client case? Feel free to get in touch with us. We’re happy to help you explore how you can make the most of it at your organization.
“With Extended Banking, you’ve got a lot of scope to adjust things exactly as you wish; there’s a very extensive set of search values, for example, meaning you can achieve a very high matching rate.”
* Everyone who works with Dynamics 365 Finance can use Extended Banking, as it is an ISV solution (ISV stands for ‘independent software vendor’). That means businesses who implement Dynamics 365 via another partner or who do so themselves are also able to use Extended Banking. –
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