Agency type

Enterprise sized brand & packaging design agency

Office locations

  • London
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • Singapore
  • Shanghai
  • Beijing
  • Vietnam and Hong Kong

Number of Users


Duration to implement

12 weeks

Why AccountAbility

Global, centralised database; customised, consolidated reporting

Agency description

Cowan is an international brand and packaging design agency, specialising in FMCG packaging, with established offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Vietnam, Hong Kong and London.

The Challenge

Cowan was running separate finance and production systems for each of its eight offices around the globe. This resulted in many operational and financial issues including:

  • Manually entering data from the production system into the finance system
  • Minimal visibility of foreign entity activity
  • Manual consolidation of group results on a monthly basis
  • Inefficiencies in the recording of related party transactions
  • Group forecasting performed manually and often with numerous Excel errors
  • Minimal job profitability analysis

There was an overwhelming business case to find a solution which was able to simplify and better manage these areas.

The Solution

Cowan considered a number of potential solutions before deciding in August 2013 to commence the migration of all financial and production to one centralised database powered by AccountAbility.

Cowan required a system which was capable of linking multiple local and global offices on the one database. The AccountAbility team understood this complexity and worked closely with Cowan to ensure the solution met their requirements.

AccountAbility’s configuration allowed all local accounting requirements to be complied with, making it very easy for related entities to transact across different currencies and tax codes.

The transition from Cowan’s existing supplier to AccountAbility was smooth and didn’t disrupt operations at any of its eight offices. Group Financial Controller Mina Lekkas said, “AccountAbility provided outstanding training and ongoing support to all Cowan staff. They always delivered prompt support and were keen to work with us to answer any queries.”

The Results

Since the implementation, AccountAbility has provided numerous and significant benefits to Cowan, including:

  • Greater capacity to analyse job profitability at various stages of a project
  • Standardised processes and procedures across the Group to ensure operation and financial consistency
  • Tools to provide the Group with streamlined budgeting, forecasting and reporting processes
  • The ability to transact in numerous currencies
  • Increased efficiency and a reduced head-count in our finance division

The success of the Cowan implementation has largely been a result of a successful ongoing relationship between AccountAbility and Cowan,” Ms. Lekkas said. “We now have a true integrated solution across our entire agency.”