Don’t Gamble on the Evolution of Your Business

Don’t Gamble on the Evolution of Your Business

The Planful partner community is gearing up to show you how finance is leading the evolution of business at Perform 2019. Our industry-leading partners will be showcasing their complementary products and services to help Planful users drive the business with their Planful implementations. Planful partners will be a strong presence at Perform, exhibiting in our Solutions Showcase and presenting at breakout sessions.

Mark your calendars for May 20-22, 2019 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for Perform 2019. It’s not too late to register for the EPM event of the year. And did we mention Vegas?

The Planful Partner Solution Showcase will be open:

  • Tuesday, May 21st 7:30am – 6pm
  • Wednesday, May 22nd 7:30am – 4:30pm

 

Please stop by and talk with our sponsors about how finance will help evolve your business!

Register

Platinum Sponsor

UHY Advisors, a leading financial, tax, and business consulting firm, is also a founding member of UHY International which has a global reach of over 8,000 professionals in 98 countries. We help companies of all sizes transform financial and operational functions with a full suite of services through our Management & Technology Consulting practice. In 2017, UHY Advisors acquired Bright Point Consulting, the largest Planful partner. We have more than eight years of experience working with Planful across hundreds of companies. Our solutions create a change that is fundamental to your operations, lasting and sustainable, and delivered through tested and proven project management methodologies.

Gold Sponsors

CFO Solutions, a comprehensive EPM solution provider, strives to maintain the highest quality deployments.  Partnered with Planful since 2009, our commitment to our clients as well as the Planful platform has proven to be a successful recipe for EPM implementation and adoption.  CFO Solutions is dedicated to improving our clients’ ability to collect, plan, manage, and report financial and operational data. We offer our clients an ecosystem of integration solutions, BI tools, and process knowledge to meet any challenge that may arise during deployment.  We are passionate about what we do, and you can see it in our work.

WG Consulting is a full-service Management & Technology consulting firm helping companies around the globe meet their greatest challenges and seize business opportunities through Finance, Operations, Human Capital and Technology innovation and transformation. The trusted advisor to companies from startup to the global 500, we collaborate with our clients to design and deliver solutions that exceed their demands for impact and innovation in a highly competitive and fast-paced world. We’re successful when our clients are successful.  No matter your industry or issue, WG Consulting is your partner of choice when experience matters.

Workiva (NYSE:WK) delivers Wdesk, an intuitive cloud platform that modernizes how people work within thousands of organizations, including over 70 percent of the 500 largest U.S. corporations by total revenue. Wdesk is built upon a data management engine, offering controlled collaboration, data connection, granular permissions, and full audit trail. Wdesk helps mitigate risk, improves productivity, and gives users confidence in their data-driven decisions. For more information, visit workiva.com.

Silver Sponsors

Elevate your Office of Finance performance by partnering with Bakerfield Solutions, the first company to be both Planful and Dell Boomi certified. Bakerfield team members have the core competencies to modernize your FP&A and Accounting processes by applying industry-specific functional knowledge combined with expertise in cloud-based software solutions built specifically for Finance. Our best-of-breed partners include Planful, Dell Boomi, Sage Intacct, BlackLine, Workiva, and ThoughtSpot. The Bakerfield Approach, our proprietary delivery methodology, was developed especially for successful EPM and ERP implementations. Utilizing an agile-based approach, we engage your team throughout the project to provide the best-tailored solution within your budget and enable self-sufficiency after go-live.

BlackLine is a provider of cloud-based solutions that transform Finance and Accounting (F&A) by automating, centralizing and streamlining financial close operations, intercompany accounting processes and other key F&A processes for large and midsize organizations. The company is recognized by Gartner as a Leader in its 2018 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Financial Close Solutions and as a pioneer in the cloud market for enhanced financial control and automation.

Blue Line specializes in delivering Planful Modeling to support your organization’s unique Financial and Operational Planning Requirements. Models are integrated with your Planful Core Deployment, to create a single, aligned Financial and Operational Plan across Functions and Departments. Let us show you how to achieve Integrated Business Planning.

Cogenics Consulting is your trusted advisor in simplifying and automating processes associated with the office of the CFO. We have proven expertise in implementing cloud enterprise performance management solutions across verticals, working with modules such as consolidation, budgeting, headcount, dashboards or data integration to expense management, invoicing and inventory solutions.

FloQast is close management software, created by accountants for accountants to close faster and more accurately. On average, accounting teams who rely on FloQast close three days faster. Seamlessly integrated with ERPs and leveraging existing checklists and Excel, FloQast provides a single place to manage the month-end close and gives everyone visibility. The cloud-based software is trusted by hundreds of accounting departments, including those at Twilio, DocuSign, Zillow, and The Golden State Warriors. To learn more about FloQast Matching, visit www.floqast.com and join the conversation on Twitter at @FloQast.

Formos Consulting is a full-service management consultancy and has been a Planful partner for 6 years.  We focus our efforts on creating business value within the finance function and specialize in finance transformation, risk advisory, and information security.  Our experienced team has implemented Planful in companies of all sizes and across industries seeking to transform and automate the Plan-to-Perform process.

The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society committed to advancing the success of finance executives globally. AFP established and administers the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials, which set standards of excellence in finance. Each year, AFP Planfuls the largest networking conference worldwide for over 6,500 corporate finance professionals.

Keen Vision specializes in helping financial management teams make effective and efficient use of data and technology.  Led by knowledgeable CFO’s, Controllers and CPA’s, our team brings valuable practitioner experience to EPM and Financial Advisory projects. See how our expertise in analytics, planning, and modeling can benefit your team. www.kvcfo.com

RSM US LLP is a leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. We guide our clients through business challenges by understanding their needs and bringing together the right team to address them. With 9,000 professionals and associates in 90 cities nationwide and access to more than 41,000 people in 120 countries through our membership in RSM International, we can meet your needs wherever in the world you do business.

Vegas baby, Vegas.

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VLOG: 3 Ways Finance and Marketing Can Stay Aligned During the Quarter

VLOG: 3 Ways Finance and Marketing Can Stay Aligned During the Quarter

In order to grow a company, finance and marketing have to stay in lock-step. Saran Raksincharoensak, Finance Director, and Amanda DePaul, Vice President of Demand Generation at Planful, sit down to discuss how they work closely together to ensure alignment and help grow the business. In this video, they’ll focus on three reports: actual spend vs budget, historical channel ROI, and customer acquisition cost (CAC).

1) The Actual Spend vs Budget Report

Saran: One report that we look at is the Actual vs Budget, I want to hear from you how you use the data for your decision support, say within the quarter.

Amanda:  We have to track our spend versus our budget within the quarter. We want to ensure that we’re doing all the right things to keep finance happy and staying within our allotted budget.

One thing that is a step down from that is ensuring that by channel, the money is being spent productively, so, within our overarching budget, I can move money from one channel to another based on our ROI metrics. If I have a goal ROI of 3X and I’m already nailing that metric in one channel for the quarter, I may need to move that money to a different channel that is underperforming for the quarter.

So that is one ongoing area throughout the quarter that we’re in constant communication with finance about. Just to make sure that we’re getting the most bang for our buck.

Saran: Yes, we love to get the most bang for our buck and we don’t like surprises.

2) Historical ROI Metrics to Allocate Budget to Channels

Saran: Speaking of ROI, we just got done with our annual budget cycle. How do you use your historical analysis or data to determine how to allocate the budget to each of the channels?

Amanda: Once we get our company goals and have an understanding of how much everything costs at every stage in our funnel and the conversion metrics associated, I can work backward and determine the amount of money for each channel. To determine that I also look at our historical ROI quarter over quarter. For example, I may predict that a certain channel would have a certain ROI and we blew it out of the water. I then know I can ask for less money in that channel and more money in a different channel in order to even things out a little bit.

We definitely leverage finance to look at our historical spend data and align that with our performance data in our funnel to determine how much money we need.

3) Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Saran: For the SaaS audience, at Planful, one of the metrics that we look at closely and on a regular basis is CAC or customer acquisition costs, which is basically your total sales and marketing expenses divided by new Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR).

The goal for the company is to have your CAC go down over time, meaning you have more new ARR generated vs. your total spend. How do you look at that?

Amanda: From the marketing perspective we track to a CAC number and while I don’t have the same purview that Saran has, where he’s looking at all of the spend for sales and marketing, I do know that I can control cost by staying within a certain cost range per stage of the funnel.

I have a few numbers that I track:

  1. Net new leads
  2. Cost per marketing qualified lead (MQL)
  3. Cost per opportunity

I know that if I stay within a certain range for each of these at each stage of the funnel that I will likely be aligned to what the company’s CAC goal. So I can control my little bit and then report back to finance on where we’re at for the quarter and ensure that we’re on the same page.

What format should these finance reports be in for marketing?

Saran: So lastly, I work in finance and I love numbers and you also love data and numbers. How do we work together and collaborate and communicate, so that we can help grow our company together?

Amanda: I love numbers too, but I’m a classic marketer and I also like charts and graphs and pretty colors. Finance can gravitate more towards cell-based data where it’s very raw data. If I can have, for example, spend quarter over quarter delivered to me in a dashboard format or a chart format I can quickly look at that and gather the insights that I need at a glance.

If that can’t be provided then the next most important thing is to ensure that we’re working from one source of truth so we’re getting access to that data in real time. This allows us all to be on the same page, we all know where we’re at and there are no surprises at the end of the quarter.

Like we said, finance doesn’t like surprises and marketing doesn’t like facing finance when there are surprises.

Saran: Yes, real-time is a key word here, we want to be able to make proactive decisions rather than reactive, and be able to move money around within a quarter is really key in managing money in a budget conscious way.

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For even more best practices in financial reporting, check out our Best Practices in Financial Reporting white paper. Download your free copy below and subscribe to the Planful YouTube channel.

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Achieving the Elusive Zero-Day Close

Achieving the Elusive Zero-Day Close

Closing the books, whether it is monthly, quarterly, or yearly, often takes much more time than companies would like. This is due to the extensive manual effort that is required to collect, aggregate, and validate data in financial systems before reports can be finalized. Lack of security, controls, and poor collaboration abilities through Excel (the most commonly used tool for closing) all contribute to delays in the process.

However, the more quickly the accounting team can close the books and produce accurate, reliable financial reports, the more time the executive team has to analyze the results and make decisions about how to guide the company forward. In fact, a zero-day close would be considered the ultimate in accounting achievement! Executives would be able to get the most immediate and accurate information to make decisions much more quickly, and accounting would be able to move past the tedious work of verifying individual transactions period after period.

Surprisingly, achieving a zero-day close isn’t as elusive as it may seem. Modern enterprise performance management systems (EPM) can make this dream closer to reality than one might expect. Below we discuss some of the steps any organization can take to reduce their time to close from weeks to a matter of days with a well-configured EPM.

Built-in Consolidation Functionality

A key component of EPM systems is built-in consolidation. This is possible through automated data integration with key systems, which bring all of the relevant financial data into a single system. This is especially relevant if your company is using more than one GL system, or if it is using other external solutions for processes like tracking expenses, time off, purchase orders, etc. Make sure your EPM system is capable of integrating with your various systems and that it can pull the data frequently, even nightly, so that you always have a single source of truth for your business.

Once all of the data is captured in one place, EPM systems are designed to organize financial data based on the organizational structure of your company and handle complex transactions such as intercompany and international transactions. Industry-leading financial close solutions can even categorize data by accounting properties, so data is always structured and presented in the way that your financial professionals expect it to be.

Your EPM system should also be able to validate transactions based on configurable rules, so you can be alerted if anything appears questionable or off. If run every night, errors can be caught in real time rather than later on when it becomes more difficult to recall the facts around the discrepancies. This built-in consolidation capability can alleviate much of the manual labor that is often part of the close process while at the same time building confidence in the accuracy of the data and final results.

Security and Audit Trails

Examine your EPM system’s audit trail capabilities. Audit trails can help track down the right people when an issue is identified. Rather than scrambling to figure out where a transaction originated from or who is responsible, you can utilize audit trails to quickly hone in on the appropriate owners and resolve discrepancies quickly. This too can help reduce the amount of time it takes to close your books.

Data governance and security controls should also be a key consideration to your EPM configuration. This is an important factor to ensure only the appropriate people can access sensitive data in the system.

Automated Reporting Capabilities

The primary deliverables of the close process are the reports that go out to the stakeholders of the business, which may include public investors. Designing reports can sometimes be a menial and thankless job, especially if reports are produced and reproduced individually as data is corrected, or the number of recipients increases.

Modern EPM systems offer capabilities that dramatically reduce the manual and repetitive work of generating reports, especially when corrections are made. Reporting templates can be defined for different types of audiences and should be able to handle the formatting and layout options that you prefer. Additionally, substitution variables in reports allow corrections to be dynamically cascaded to all the other reports to ensure accuracy across the board without manually applying the change individually for each report.

Another useful feature is workflow management to automate reviews and approvals of reports before they are published. Eliminating the reliance on paper printouts or emailing reports back and forth is another way EPM systems can reduce the time to close.

Leaving Finance to the Finance People

Best of all, depending on the features of your EPM system, the entire process from start to finish can be handled directly by Finance, without burdening IT or waiting on IT availability. Less sophisticated systems often depend on IT to generate financial reports with requested data or even input changes as they are discovered. With a modern, easy-to-use, SaaS-based EPM solution, Finance can self-serve when they see errors. No more waiting for IT to find time, or trying to explain what or why certain data is required. This too can help reduce your time to close.

Conclusion

Closing the books doesn’t have to be a stressful, drawn-out process of hunting down discrepancies, printing reports, and chasing approvals. With a strong EPM system and smart configuration setup, your organization can dramatically reduce your time to close.

Planful has empowered numerous customers to go from closing the books over the course of weeks to closing, reporting, and disclosing their data on the same business day. With Planful’s built-in consolidation capabilities, reporting features, and ownership and usability by Finance, your company can also take dramatic strides to achieve the elusive zero-day close.

For more best practices in financial consolidation and reporting download this white paper to learn how to evaluate modern finance solutions to meet your needs.

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