Aquila Merchant Services uses Comshare® to reduce budgeting time and effort

ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 22, 2002 — Comshare Inc. announced that Aquila Merchant Services, a subsidiary of international energy giant Aquila, Inc., has improved its budgeting and reporting process with Comshare MPCà¢â€ž-.

Aquila Merchant Services has reduced its budgeting cycle time nearly 70 percent — without adding financial personnel, all during a period of tremendous growth and change for the company.

Outside of reducing the budgeting process from six months to six weeks, Comshare MPC helped Aquila to simplify its budgeting process by eliminating the need to use spreadsheets. Previously, budget holders handed in their individual spreadsheets that needed to be reformatted, and then the budgeting group linked the spreadsheets to a summary.

With Comshare MPC, the application sits on Aquila Merchant Services’ existing database, so all budget holders have access to their budgets and all the information is available in real-time, which lessens the burden on the budgeting group while reducing administrative time. Further, since MPC works on Aquila Merchant Services’ existing database, no reinvestment in IT infrastructure or training was needed.

Since deploying Comshare MPC, the company’s benefits go beyond shortening the budgeting process, while increasing productivity: Aquila Merchant Services can now get the kind of detailed analysis it never had time to uncover before. Company reorganizations can be reflected immediately in the budgeting model using a drag-and-drop interface. And managers at all levels are taking an interest in the financial aspects of how their areas of responsibility are tied into the company as a whole. Users are asking more questions and are doing more analysis. Before Comshare MPC, users felt their budgets went into a black hole. Now these same users are more involved, more accountable and more in control.

Based in Kansas City, Aquila Merchant Services is a wholesaler of natural gas, power and coal in North America and provider of risk management services. Aquila Merchant Services also provides wholesale energy and risk management services in the United Kingdom, Germany and Scandinavia. Aquila Merchant Services is wholly owned by Kansas City-based Aquila, Inc., an international energy company with four million customers across the United States and in Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. Additional information on Aquila Merchant Services can be found at the web site for Aquila, Inc.: .

“Undoubtedly Comshare has helped us save time and money — two things we never have enough of. The budgeting process previously took six months. Now it takes about six weeks,” says Dan Streek, CFO. “If we didn’t have the Comshare system and were still required to do all the things we do, we’d need at least two more people. And after the implementation was complete, the assistance didn’t stop — Comshare’s Helpline answers questions quickly and is a major factor in our happiness with the product.”

Comshare Inc. is a provider of software for implementing and executing strategy. Our integrated application for management planning and control (MPC) comprises planning, budgeting, forecasting, financial consolidation, management reporting and analysis. Comshare software helps companies implement, execute and track progress against their strategies, plans, budgets and performance metrics.

For more information on Comshare, call 1-800-922-7979, send e-mail to or visit Comshare’s website at .


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