Case Study: how Cobelpro achieved 50% time savings for their finance team
Cobelpro is a Belgian company founded in 1992. They manage professional real estate for private investors, insurance companies and family businesses that invest in real estate but do not want to be involved in the operational management. Cobelpro manages their real estate on three levels: administrative (such as compliance reports), technical (such as maintenance or cleaning) and financial (such as contracts or rent). They currently manage 900,000 square meters for approximately 1,000 tenants.
Read about Cobelpro's experience with AiVidens in this article (in Dutch).
In depth analysis
Cobelpro’s finance team was spending a lot of time reporting the financial results of the buildings they manage to their owners. Each report was done manually and had to be checked and analyzed afterwards for accuracy and adapted to the specific needs of the clients. This unstandardized work often resulted in unclear, inaccurate, unreliable and sometimes unreadable data.
When Covid started (in Europe, in March 2020, NDLR), the impact of the pandemic on payment behaviors was immediately noticeable. Cobelpro’s clients’ requests for reports started to explode. Reports that they used to do monthly, became weekly, then daily.
Next to the phenomenal increase in requests for reporting, clients also began asking Cobelpro for support in managing the risk associated to rent payments. Cobelpro knew that reporting was not enough and they needed to understand which tenants were already in trouble and which ones would be.
Cobelpro needed, not only, to get out of the manual, time consuming reporting, but also, and most of all, to find a way to offer a predictive approach that would enable their clients to anticipate their tenants’ payment behaviors.
They needed a solution capable of meeting these challenges.
Over the years, Cobelpro had collected 25 years of data about the tenants of the buildings they manage. AiVidens takes this past data into account and combines it with external data, current input and Artificial Intelligence. The result is an automated, immediate, real-time and accurate view of the client portfolio – globally and for each tenant.
This is particularly interesting to Cobelpro when tenants abandon their traditional payment patterns. Because the application predicts when each tenant will make the next payment, Cobelpro knows beforehand, for a given tenant or period, how long it will take to retrieve 100% of the rent. In an industry where cash flow forecasting is crucial, this is gold.
Also, AiVidens provides Cobelpro with a priority management tool: it clearly shows the largest outstanding debts, giving them precise information to build the adequate strategy to efficiently collect unpaid rent.
Working from scratch to implementation during lock-down was definitely the biggest challenge of this project.
However, according to CEO Gilles Naeyaert, the physical distance imposed at the time actually added value to the relationship between Cobelpro and AiVidens. Despite circumstances that were by all means less than ideal for kicking-off a collaboration, AiVidens successfully managed to deliver a product that met Cobelpro’s expectations.
“The success of the collaboration in difficult circumstances gave us real confidence in AiVidens, its solution and team“, says Gilles Naeyaert, CEO at Cobelpro.
Using AiVidens has considerably helped Cobelpro gain time and resources.
“Previously, each report we did for a client would easily take several hours. Now we can get the information directly. We’re talking about 50% time savings for our finance team.” comments CEO Gilles Naeyaert.
A reporting tool that results in one version of the truth is another major improvement after years of working with unstandardized, often unreliable and inconsistent spreadsheets. The real-time accuracy of the data gives Cobelpro a real head start, going from previously reactive collection to proactive recovery.
Also, the scalability of the AiVidens software is included and planned. Cobelpro found it reassuring to know they were signing up for a solution that would not get outdated.
“I like the proactivity of AiVidens. They work with us to find solutions (…) They don’t just try to sell a product; they really try to move our company forward.” says Gilles Naeyaert.