AEW Energie AG is a Swiss energy company established in 1916 in Aarau in the Swiss canton of Aargau. The company is primarily involved in the generation and distribution of electricity and heating as well as the provision of telecommunications services. It is a leading grid operator and electricity supplier in Aargau.
We were delighted to visit AEW’s headquarters and to speak with Thomas Freymond, who has been AEW Energie AG’s Chief Accountant for the last 9 years. Mr. Freymond’s department consists of seven people, who are responsible for accounting, bookkeeping and asset management.
“Looking back, here at AEW, we had no special tool or software for capital budgeting. Like many other companies, we used standard Excel spreadsheets for all our calculations. It was not very convenient: imagine entering formulas and building the layout for an investment project with lifespans of 30 to 40 years! Sometimes we used templates which saved us a certain amount of time, but at the end of the day, we still needed to enter and check formulas manually.” – says Thomas.
“In 2014 I was contacted by a DataPartner representative who suggested that we looked at Invest for Excel® Software, which was used widely by energy companies in Scandinavian countries. At the same time, our company’s CFO stated that we needed a software solution for more efficient investment appraisal and financial modelling. It was a perfect match and perfect timing, so we scheduled an in-house meeting in our office to see how Invest for Excel® works.” – recalls Thomas and continues:
“We had one intensive training session, where we went through all the important functions and program features. It was enough for us to start using it, besides it was easy to ask for support when something was not clear.
Currently, there are four people in our company who use Invest for Excel® for investment analysis.” – explains Thomas.
Practicality and Benefits
“The biggest advantage that this program gives to us is security. When we create an investment calculation in Invest for Excel® we can be sure that it is accurate and reliable.
Now, the investment planning process is standardized and systemized. In our company, all investment calculations are done in Invest for Excel®. The calculations have a certain structure and a unified format: we can easily see all basic data, such as the nominal value of investments, discount rate or rate of return, etc. At the same time, one can see how profitable an investment project is: what are the IRR, NPV and other ratios.
With this program, we don’t have the previous uncertainty: we have all the necessary figures and we can be sure that they are correct. This simplifies the investment planning process when it comes to the analysis and consideration of different projects at the board meetings: e.g. the CFO or CEO are familiar with the calculation format: all calculations look the same, so it is easy to compare and analyze them.” - admits Thomas
Does Invest for Excel® save time?
“For me, it is not about saving time! When one is planning the investment and assessment of the profitability of projects one of the most important aims is to create reliable calculations and assumptions that are supported by correct figures.” – finalizes Thomas
Images are used with permission of AEW Energie AG.
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