Gem Diamonds

Background

Gem Diamonds Ltd is a UK listed entity specialising in the mining of high value diamonds, operating the Letšeng diamond mine in Lesotho (currently producing the most valuable diamonds in the world) as well as the Ghaghoo mine in Botswana (currently on care and maintenance). Gem Diamonds comprises eight companies as part of the global group, with several worldwide subsidiaries based in diverse locations, from Lesotho to London.

Despite its global presence and an annual revenue of between $150 to $200 million, Gem operates on a relatively small scale. With limited financial resources, and considering the declining diamond prices in the market, the group remains heavily cost conscious.

Solving Gem Diamonds’ pain points

Being solely Microsoft Excel-based, Gem Diamonds had been managing its financial data collection, consolidation and reporting systems through largely manual interventions.

Kiki Constantopoulos, Group Financial Controller at Gem Diamonds, says, “The system we had in place involved numerous Excel sheets that needed to be open and worked on simultaneously. Over the years, this system had become increasingly and extremely complicated as finance people would come and go in the business. New employees joining the finance team would have to take on a legacy system that was at this point highly convoluted.”

“The result was that the entire process became very time-consuming, prone to error, and Excel would crash constantly because we just had so many documents open at the same time,” says Constantopoulos.

There was also high staff turnover in finance positions responsible for overseeing this process as individuals became overworked and overburdened.

Choosing Finnivo®

From 2017, Gem Diamonds embarked on a significant transformation process in order to create a leaner and more agile business. Following the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, Constantopoulos says that the business was finally able to pause and re-evaluate its reporting and consolidation systems during lockdown.

“We had a longstanding business relationship with Infinitus Reporting and a good working relationship with their team since 2009. They understood our business and at the time we were just using RollupSheets software solutions, so there was no need to look elsewhere for a solution when it came time to finally look into automating. Then Finnivo® was introduced. We loved the fact that it could be tailored to suit our unique requirements,” she says.

“We loved the fact that it could be tailored to suit our unique requirements”

-KIKI CONSTANTOPOULOS

On the implementation process

Constantopoulos worked closely with the South Africa-based Finnivo® support team to implement the software, providing her input in terms of what she needed to achieve, which would then be implemented in the customised way she needed. Constantopoulos says that there was a great deal of testing and troubleshooting that went into the implementation process, all of which had gone smoothly.

“We were able to keep the system and reporting packs with the same look and feel as our old one, which meant that the data was in the same format, and this made it much easier for our team to adapt to the new system,” says Constantopoulos. “Now, however, the final outputs are much sleeker and easier on the eye, with a colour scheme that’s consistent throughout all our documents. What’s great is that our subsidiary companies have also started adapting to the colour and format of these too.”

Successes

“What works really well with Finnivo® is that it’s based on a single template scenario and whatever you do in one template automatically applies across the board to all subsidiary accounts,” says Constantopoulos. “You can link across spreadsheets and lock cells, and as a template administrator you can control who has access and editing rights so that no one can move or change cells. This is a major win, especially with multi-currency subsidiaries.”

Where consolidation and reporting used to take up to eight full working days, now with Finnivo® it takes Constantopoulos and her team less than a day. “We’ve shaved off almost two weeks from the entire process.”

“We’ve shaved off almost two weeks from the entire process.”

-KIKI CONSTANTOPOULOS

Finnivo® also assisted Gem Diamonds in streamlining audit process, which can often be a stressful experience for businesses. Auditors were given access to view files and data on Finnivo® without editing capabilities, and Finnivo’s® unique drill-down feature allowed them to find the information they needed without having to enquire with the finance teams. “The auditors also trusted the outcomes from the system over the years following their testing and did not identify any errors” adds Constantopoulos.

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