Partnering with the auditors

Datawatch develops and markets self-service data preparation and visual data discovery software that optimises any data to deliver next generation analytics, revealing valuable insights for improving business.

“Sunflower provided Datawatch with an experienced and highly competent Financial Controller. Her approach was both rigorous and pragmatic. The Sunflower Controller was quick to identify the importance of forging relationships with the Datawatch finance teams and Auditors, something which she did with ease and flair. This gave me comfort, knowing that any issues would be dealt with and/or escalated as appropriate.”

Jim Eliason, Chief Financial Officer, Datawatch Corporation Inc.

The Challenge

Datawatch operates a shared service centre out of the company’s headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. This centre is responsible for meeting the day to day operational needs of Finance. In the UK, the International Finance Director had limited bandwidth to manage the various local entity annual audits and oversee the completion of annual statutory filings. As these are local requirements it was challenging for them to be effectively managed remotely by the US team. As Datawatch is a NASDAQ listing company, timing is critical and the local entity audits needed to run as smoothly and as cleanly as possible.

A flexible, part time resource was needed to ensure the auditors had all the information required, that their queries were investigated and resolved promptly, that the preparation and filing of annual local statutory accounts and tax returns were completed on time. Key requirements included experience of dealing with country auditors in the UK, Singapore and Sweden, working knowledge of local country accounting practices and a deep understanding of US accounting practices.

The Solution

The Sunflower Group provided Datawatch with an experienced Financial Controller who initially worked on site three days per week. Since then, days have been flexed up and down according to the scheduling of audit work and other developments within the Datawatch organisation.

The Sunflower Controller took full tactical ownership for the audits and drove them through to completion. All three audits were successfully completed on time.

The Sunflower Controller also worked directly with Datawatch’s US finance organisation and external accountants to oversee the production of Statutory Accounts and Tax Computations, ensuring overall completeness and compliance of the company’s statutory filing obligations. As a result, all statutory filing deadlines were met.

During the engagement, structural changes within the Datawatch finance organisation meant that more support was required from the Sunflower Controller during a transition period. The Controller oversaw the completeness and accuracy of the International entity VAT returns and helped transition these tasks to new owners in the finance team.

Over the period of the engagement, the Sunflower Controller has built a strong relationship with the US finance team and external Accountants, therefore becoming an invaluable and trusted member of the Datawatch team.

Business Benefits

Datawatch has been able to leverage an experienced senior finance resource at a time when the International Finance Director’s bandwidth was limited. This allowed him to focus on partnering with the sales organisation in the business and provide the commercial support it needed.

The Sunflower Controller has been a critical factor in these complex audits being both clean and completed in time. In addition, improvements to month end processes were developed, introduced or recommended to ensure any issues identified during the audits were addressed for the following year.

The Sunflower resource was available on a flexible basis without the commitment or cost of hiring an employee or contractor. Changes in the organisation have meant that Datawatch has been able to revise the scope of the engagement to adapt to the new needs of the business.

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