Upmarket crisps maker Kettle Foods has streamlined its financial reporting processes with IBM Cognos Express.

The Norfolk-based company brought in systems provider Logicalis to help plan and deploy the Cognos system, which allows employees to take responsibility for creating their own financial reports, in turn shrinking the reporting cycle from eight weeks to just three.

Shaun Richardson, IT manager at Kettle Foods, said: "We found IBM Cognos Express to be simple to use, easy to configure and innovative in being able to mould a model specifically tailored to our specific needs."

The growth of the company had led to the creation of up to 80 spreadsheets being updated and sent back and forth between departments, and which required IT support to consolidate effectively. Board members, unsure as to the reliability of the data, and spending up to 70 percent of meeting time deciphering the information, decided to seek out a solution.

Consultants from Inca Software, a Logicalis company, worked with Kettles to create a reliable standard reporting process, which included a budget report model accessed via a web browser. The new system immediately reflects updates from multiple departments, with sales reports generated directly from the company's ERP system.

Richardson said alterations to any reports now take minutes instead of up to two days, and just a single report is now produced for board members.

Last year the YO! Sushi chain deployed a similar IBM Cognos system to help improve sales and streamline operations at its restaurants.