How a controller became her company’s business consultant

Zoologischer Garten Berlin AG

Project

Straightforward data import from many different source Systems; automated monthly reporting; dynamic planning on an annual basis
Sabine Kirner, Zoologischer Garten Berlin AG

I’m really very happy that we chose LucaNet, because as a controller, I see myself as a service provider for my enterprise. Reporting is the basis, but it can’t make up the main part of my work time. LucaNet backs this philosophy and as such my expectations have been met in full.

Sabine Kirner , Head of Controlling  Zoologischer Garten Berlin AG
Logo: Zoologischer Garten Berlin AG

About the company

Industry
Leisure and tourism
Headquarters
Berlin - Germany
Employees
500

 

Sabine Kirner is the Head of Controlling at Zoo Berlin. For a long time, she struggled with time-consuming routine activities, such as collecting data for monthly reporting. All too often, little time remained for her to handle important tasks such as analyzing data and advising executive management. LucaNet gave her a solution.

 

Zoo Berlin is a zoo that sets records. Managed jointly with Tierpark Berlin and Aquarium Berlin in a single public corporation, Zoo Berlin is the biggest zoo operation in Europe. It is the oldest zoo in Germany, and has the largest number of species of any zoo in the world. If you want to see panda bears in Germany, for example, you can do so only at Zoo Berlin. For controller Sabine Kirner, too, the work at the zoo is something special: The days are varied – from her office, she looks out on flamingos and elephants. You won’t find the usual cost centers like production and sales here; for Sabine, they’re called the predator enclosure or great apes.

 

The challenge: integrating the data and automating the reporting

Zoo Berlin is structured as a charitable recreational facility and as an incorporated company. Funding rests upon three main pillars: zoo visitors; donors, patrons, and those giving bequests; and shareholders. All of these groups are managed using different IT systems. In addition, there is software for payroll and financial accounting. To ensure the reporting system works without a hitch, the information from all of these different sources needs to be available centrally, quickly, and in full. That’s the ideal.

But for a long time, complete figures that were available quickly were more of a dream than reality for Sabine Kirner. The data from various sources were merged together manually using Excel, an error-prone and time-consuming process. As Sabine tells us, this was an impossible situation: “As the sole controller, I provide support to two institutions. I’m the point of contact available during daily operations to all departments for business-related issues, from the marketing team, to the technical departments and administration, right through to zoology. With that kind of workload, routine activities simply cannot take up too much of my work time.” For her the solution was obvious: there needed to be an alternative to Excel.

 

Ctrl+Q: a new favorite key combination

Sabine’s search quickly led her to LucaNet. The software provided her with a standardized interface to the Addison bookkeeping software, and gave her the option of easily integrating other software packages, such as the Beckerbillett ticketing software. “LucaNet”, Sabine emphasizes, “has for us become a bit like an atoll that groups together all the different islands of data. With my new favorite key combination, Ctrl+Q, data from all sources are immediately available, and reporting is updated. This means we have a truly integrated reporting system. This means I save one to two working days every month, allowing me to focus on data analysis sooner.”

 

A week of time saved in planning

As well as for reporting, Sabine Kirner also uses LucaNet for financial planning. The planning starts from the bottom-up: First, requirements from all kinds of areas are considered – in addition to standard items such as staff costs, these include admission fees, energy and maintenance costs, and feed for the animals. Next, the individual planning estimates are exported from Excel to LucaNet, where Sabine Kirner has created a file for planning reporting, in which she immediately sees the overall result and can make additional top-down changes if necessary. For each institution and planning cycle, this means she saves at least one week of work time. When there are significant planning changes, the time saved is even significantly greater. And just as important: she can finally consider the substance of the data, hunt down deviations and explain them. She is now not just merely a collector of data, but is also a point of contact, advisor, and service provider for her enterprise.

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