Nothing saps the joy out of the holiday season like the daunting task of annual planning. It’s that time of year when you take the c-suite’s wishlist of goals and, after a month or two of late nights and stressful meetings, turn it into a complex amalgamation of forecasts, spreadsheets, emails, models, presentations, budgets, and formulas. It’s not just the eggnog that makes your Decembers a blur.
There used to be a “no pain, no gain” view of annual planning. But that’s now outdated, analog thinking. When data is everywhere and technology is constantly advancing, there is no reason businesses should continue to rely on slow, manual, burdensome planning processes. Even more, there is no reason to rely on a massive annual plan that starts to lose credibility and value the moment you call it done.
But let’s back up a bit.
Those aforementioned pains aren’t just limited to annual planning. For most finance and accounting teams, manual is the name of the game all year long. For monthly consolidations, when creating cash flow forecasts, and when building the workforce plan with HR–the data gathering, report creation, and people chasing for those processes are manual. You’re copying and pasting numbers, you’re chasing the business for up-to-date data, you’re triple-checking the formulas. It slows you down, invites errors, and leaves you awake at night worrying about what you might have missed ahead of tomorrow’s big board meeting.
Your challenge is that, even in this era of self-driving cars and quantum computers, most finance and accounting processes remain decidedly manual. Sure, you’re using spreadsheets as the foundation, email for collaboration, and cloud drives for sharing. But those aren’t modern technologies. It’s 2022 for goodness sake! Email is what your parents used.
Add up all the manual work and late nights and it’s no wonder you and your team are burned out, frustrated, and unhappy.
But not Dave. Dave is as happy as a clam because he’s using Planful. You see, he’s in FP&A but he’s offloaded most of those manual, error-filled, time-consuming tasks to technology. Even during stressful month-end close and planning cycles, he’s able to log out early on a Friday to get home and fire up the barbecue. Take a look:
Dave had the same fears and struggles as many of you. He was always stressed, stuck in reactive mode, and couldn’t keep pace with the rest of the business. In fact, and we hope Dave doesn’t mind us sharing some personal details, he was ready to call it quits with his company. He saw how great his peers at other companies had it. They were with their kids on weekends, hanging out with their friends in the evenings, and truly energized about their work. They actually enjoyed finance and accounting because they had time to focus on the fun, fulfilling, strategic aspects of their work. They even had time to focus on new projects, get out and learn the business, and set themselves up for promotions. Dave wanted that, too.
So Dave made the move to Planful and, in less than a month, saved his team weeks of combined effort on their monthly close and reporting cycles. He then pushed Planful over to Accounting so they always had instant access to accurate numbers. He even brought the business and HR into the fold so they could create better workforce plans in less time and with more accuracy. Oh, and then Accounting and HR and their business colleagues all got to go home on time, too! They love Dave.
But back to annual planning. Dave didn’t just use Planful to take the pain out of annual planning, he used it to move his company from annual to quarterly plans, and then to monthly plans. Dave is like a superhero at his company: striking down errors and saving time with the click of a mouse! And he still gets ample time to work on his barbequing skills.
Don’t you want to be like Dave? Yeah, we all do. Dave rules.