Founded in 1914, inspired by a mine explosion killing 80 miners, MSA is “The Safety Company” striving to prevent accidents like this from happening in the future. MSA has been the world’s leading manufacturer of high quality safety products since its inception. One of MSA’s first products –invented alongside Thomas Edison— was the electric cap lamp, which reduced mine explosions by 75% over the next 25 years.  MSA’s founder John T. Ryan Sr.’s motivation was, “If I could spend my life doing what I can to lessen the likelihood of the occurrence of such terrible disasters, I shall feel in the end that my life had been well spent.” In the years since 1914, MSA has consistently provided high quality products that make the workplace safer. Their products continue to make a huge difference in the workplace today. These products have been advancing greatly with research and new technology and developments that ensure workers’ safety.  Many of MSA’s products are now taken for granted such as small first-aid kits, helmets, gas and flame detectors and so many more that are in the everyday workplace.

Before Breakaway

In 2004, using exclusively excel, MSA would manually add the data from 35 different affiliates to be included in their final report. This manual process took far too long and MSA needed a way to be able to close much more quickly, and they decided to take action.

In order to fix this problem, MSA had to first select software to automate the process, and then choose a company to implement it.  They chose SAP’s (what was then OutlooksSoft, now BPC) software, and after meeting Breakaway Technologies at a conference and seeing their demo, the partnership began.


Breakaway implemented BPC for MSA at their headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA. MSA also operates in over 50 different countries, so the solution was a bit complicated and therefore had to be custom built for MSA.

Breakaway custom designed all applications in the project for MSA’s needs. Their planning application is used within Pittsburgh, and it all rolls into the finance application.  The CTA (cumulative translation adjustment) – translates everyone’s currency to USD- sends a balance and everything is completely automated. All the applications work smoothly together to ensure MSA is getting the most accurate information right on time.

Now MSA uses BPC to collect finance and sales data for their balance sheets and income statements at the local currency level, to maintain currency and run consolidations.

Theresa Carr, Consolidations Accountant Financial Reporting Manager, has seen MSA through each step of implementation and she explained that “prior to Breakaway, we would only do the financials on the quarter and at year end with only the details necessary, and on off months we would only do financials at a high level,  no balance sheet”. She went on to describe that, “now we’ve refined the process and we’re closing and publishing in 6 working days.  Not 2-3 weeks like it took in the past”.   BPC makes it easy to translate currency at an average rate for the income statement and end rate for the balance sheet and then consolidate at the end of the month. FCC reporting templates for shareholders all are in BPC

Continued Partnership

Breakaway is still engaged at MSA, actively creating more applications, increasing the power of the details within their budgets. Anytime MSA comes up with new need, Breakaway implements it for them.  Breakaway has completed work in multiple different areas of the business, but as MSA changes the way they look at the world, Breakaway changes with them.  As new executives come in, many aspects of the company can change including shifting regions and zones, and BPC allows changes to happen quickly because of the way they handle their entity dimensions.

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