Jumia gains financial agility and resilience for the changing African market

With financial reporting on Anaplan, teams have reliable data and more time to respond to market conditions

Jumia, an ecommerce marketplace serving 11 countries in Africa, must constantly respond to changing market conditions, but manual finance processes got in the way. With budgeting, forecasting, and reporting moved to Anaplan, the company gained agility and resiliency, and managers in national markets are able to respond rapidly to changes in their business.

We have almost real-time reporting of each country’s performance with Anaplan, so we are able to react extremely fast.

Antoine Maillet-Mezeray, CFO

To serve the growing, evolving needs of Africa’s 1.3 billion people, ecommerce marketplace Jumia must respond to constantly changing business conditions. Agility and financial resilience are key to Jumia’s success, but they haven’t always come easy.

In its early years, Jumia’s finance team needed 20 to 25 days to produce financial reports, and planning was a struggle. “Every time we wanted to run a budget, forecast, or benchmark on a country, we needed to start from scratch,” recalls Rodolphe Mollet, Jumia’s Head of FP&A.

To address these challenges, Jumia deployed Anaplan in late January 2020—first for driver-based budgeting, and then for forecasting, and finally for management and statutory reporting (both profit and loss and balance sheets). Over a 12-week deployment, aided by Sonum International, Jumia enabled its finance personnel in more than a dozen countries to collaborate on forecasts and budgets. They created custom dashboards to support foreign-exchange scenario modeling and built management and statutory reports to leverage identical structures.

As a result, tens of categories—ranging from food delivery to payment services, each with unique business processes and financial calculations—coexist on a single platform and contribute figures to a single company-wide financial picture. A co-build approach made the complex project a success, says Maud Vermeulen of Sonum. “Together, we made the puzzle work,” she notes. “The co-build approach we applied allowed us to transfer knowledge in both directions, making sure we understood what was required to support Jumia’s business and Jumia becoming self-servicing on Anaplan.”

Jumia’s statutory reports are ready in less than a week with Anaplan—an 80%-plus time savings. “The ability to know what happened and take action just days after closing is priceless,” Mollet says. Identifying issues and potential actions is easy thanks to drill-down capabilities that show profitability dynamics for each country. “In two clicks, you know the issue and can change the trajectory for the following month,” he explains.

Faster, better reporting permits local finance teams to focus more energy on operations, including serving the thousands of merchants in the Jumia marketplace. When COVID-19 struck Africa, this operational focus paid off: As each country (and some individual cities) enacted different laws and restrictions, Jumia quickly adjusted operations and adapted its product assortments region-by-region, often to provide essentials like masks and hand sanitizer. “We have almost real-time reporting of each country’s performance with Anaplan, so we are able to react extremely fast,” notes CFO Antoine Maillet-Mezeray. He adds that Anaplan’s ease of use, flexibility, and availability via the cloud supports Jumia’s distributed business model. “Anaplan is a perfect match, in terms of architecture, with the way we work,” he notes.

Since its initial launch in finance, Jumia has expanded Anaplan use into logistics, a major cost center. Also, about half of the HR team now uses Anaplan to budget and forecast people costs; since Jumia employs around 5,000 in Africa, Mollet expects workforce planning to be yet another win for the company.

“Anaplan has become the trustable source at Jumia,” Mollet concludes. “When people want financial data they can rely on, they turn to Anaplan.”