Generating renewable energy from wind and solar plants is a volatile and complex business. Price fluctuations, changing demand, and competition from non-renewable energy providers are just a few of the factors that confront companies such as U.S.-based Acciona Energy, a subsidiary of the global Acciona headquartered in Spain.
Since going live in 2010 with Host Analytics for budgeting, planning, reporting and consolidation, Acciona Energy has gained vital insights into its business that has helped the company reduce costs, improve profitability, and make smarter investments.
Vital Insights Amid Volatility and Growth
Host Analytics Cloud EPM empowers Acciona Energy’s Chicago-based finance team to deliver critical decision-making data, which Acciona Energy can mine for business performance insights that supports operations of more than a dozen wind and solar installations in the U.S. and Canada, with nearly 1,000 megawatt of power capacity.
Brian Farrell, vice president of accounting at Acciona Energy uses Host Analytics to marry financial data from SAP with megawatt-hour production data from its plants — generating a single version of the truth on revenue and costs not possible in SAP or with Excel.
Armed with greater visibility into the company’s financials, Acciona Energy has a solid foundation for deep reporting, forecasting and budgeting that accounts for a variety of factors, such as gas prices from competitors and other industry trends. Acciona Energy is also able to react to opportunities and challenges, such as potential property assessment reduction appeals, and changes in taxation or incentives.
“The accuracy and visibility we have through Host Analytics offers a level of accuracy and confidence to do better assessments, have better cost control, and make better decisions about our future investments,” Farrell said.
Performance and Flexibility for Change
Initially, Acciona Energy fed data from Peachtree into Host Analytics. When Acciona Energy replaced Peachtree with SAP in 2014 — while undergoing a reorganization of the business — the company was able to quickly adapt using Host Analytics to accommodate completely new business models.
“In terms of adaptability, performance for a finance team is being able to take on new twists and turns and rolling them into meaningful and consistent processes,” Farrell said. “Host Analytics is a big contributor in our ability to do that.”
Time Savings Frees Finance for Analytics and Strategy
The time savings that Acciona Energy has realized since replacing spreadsheets with Host Analytics have been tremendous. Time needed for budgeting and reporting has been slashed by up to 90 percent — and the team can perform analytics that were not possible in Excel. Farrell’s team can now close the monthly books in just three days.
“There’s less time toiling and fighting with spreadsheets, and more time on actual analysis, and drilling down for greater visibility into the financials and the business,” added Farrell.
A Mutual Partnership for Success
Farrell views Acciona Energy’s use of Host Analytics as a long-term partnership supported by a highly responsive team.
“Host Analytics is a very important partner in our success, and I know our success is very important to Host Analytics,” Farrell said. “That’s evident in the responsiveness of their customer support and professional services teams.”
He added, “If I was to talk to a potential client, I’d say Host Analytics is one of the better decisions you’ll make as a finance executive. It’s certainly one of the better decisions I’ve made over the course of my career. It’s fast, consistent and adaptable, and provides meaningful information at the touch of a button.”