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GSL SA improves reporting, budgeting times
with Dream Catcher’s XLi

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GSL Correctional Services in South Africa has automated its financial reporting and budgeting processes with the recently completed implementation of the SQL-based Dream Catcher – Ability XLi, thereby achieving time savings in its reporting and budgeting activities.

The Dream Catcher XLiA converts Microsoft Excel into a high-performance management reporting tool. It provides GSL with "real-time" Microsoft Excel access into the general ledger, and drill-down facilities to the transactional level. It also enables the creation, modification and distribution of free-format Microsoft Excel reports or spreadsheets without leaving the spreadsheet environment.

“GSL found that its financial department’s valuable time was being wasted on finding information needed for reporting and budgeting, extracting that information, and then inputting it into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets,” says Nicholas Campleman, MD of Dream Catcher Consulting. “With Dream Catcher XLiA, these unproductive and time-consuming activities were halted and the company gained immediate and accurate access to its financial information, directly from Microsoft Excel.”

The Dream Catcher XLiA provides GSL with the ability to quickly generate Excel-based management reports without requiring any of its three licensed users to work through complicated formulas and references.

References to general ledger information can be altered in Microsoft Excel; and template reports can be created simply, allowing users to change details without having to recreate entirely new reports.

“A major advantage of the Dream Catcher XLiA is that it is completely designed with financial information in mind,” says Vusi Ngwenya, financial director at GSL. “”By not trying to be everything to everyone, it provides us with the exact reporting and budgeting functionality we need.”

GSL users can use Microsoft Excel to drill down; through the active consolidation of branches and levels; to reveal how an account’s consolidated value is made up.

Dynamic consolidations allows users to create consolidations of business information as it appears in the general ledger, consolidating from company, to branches, to the lowest level of hierarchy. Information is drawn directly from the general ledger, which results in it always being up to date.

Expanding on the functionality of the Accounting solution at GSL, Campleman says: “Mix-and-match accounting periods and versions allow GSL to create reports that reference multiple periods and versions in the same spreadsheet. The Dream Catcher XLiA also has its own security structures that allow non-financial managers the ability to draw information and management reports directly from the general ledger, using Microsoft Excel, without jeopardising data integrity.”

Dream Catcher provided on-site training using GSL’s data. GSL plans to implement the full Dream Catcher suite during 2005, which will enable complex financial reporting, forecasting, planning and modelling activities. 

With 500 employees and an annual turnover of R130 million, GSL in South Africa provides custodial services such as correctional services, prisoner transport, youth detention services and immigration services. With offices in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, it is organised around the management and development of outsourced services, care and custody, and operational support. GSL is part of a global group which employs more than 8 000 people and is also active in the UK and Australia. 

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