Shining a Spotlight on a Non-Profit’s Finance Transformation with Planful

136 HoursManual report creation time eliminated per month
½ FTEEquivalent eliminated
2-3 MinutesTo update presentations and reports using Planful Spotlight

The Challenge: Use Planful to Automate Time-Consuming Processes

A non-profit energy research and development organization recently deployed Planful. Still, there were certain limitations to how this organization utilized the planning software. Specifically, it retained a cumbersome, slow, manual process for adding workforce data for new employees.

“The more I used Planful, the more I’m telling my boss, ‘We are not even scratching the surface of what this system can do for us,’” said our contact.

As a research organization with over 2,000 employees and numerous global collaborators, it faced unique challenges in analyzing labor and project costs. Unlike typical corporations, its funding model and financial metrics leaned heavily on net asset balance and overhead instead of net profit.

At the time, direct labor was the most significant expense on their ledger. The organization recognized that leveraging Planful was imperative to deconstruct these costs and provide a detailed analysis of the organization’s efforts to reduce indirect costs while enhancing project and direct costs.

With guidance from Planful, the organization’s budget managers and financial analysts discovered Planful could automate labor-intensive processes. The organization realized the time-saving potential by moving away from manually entering data and pulling reports — which took the organization’s financial analysts 17 days each month to compile.

The Solution: Invest in Planful Spotlight

As a non-profit, this organization generates revenue differently from its for-profit counterparts. As a result, cost management is exceptionally vital, and stakeholders must demonstrate value to funders.

The organization already used Planful, but it wanted to learn how to leverage the platform to prove and improve the value of its efforts to benefactors.

The organization became aware of Planful Spotlight for Microsoft Office, which provides instant access to accurate financial performance management data.

Spotlight integrates with applications like Microsoft Excel. The tool enables users to address on-the-fly questions and swiftly create ad hoc reports and management presentations. It also empowers users to slice and analyze data quickly and in a familiar and user-friendly application.

Since the data is sourced directly from Planful, Spotlight eliminates the need for time-consuming validation and manual consolidation, reducing the risk of errors.

The Results: Planful Spotlight has Supercharged Finance’s Efficiency

The organization has ushered in a new era of data-driven efficiency and precision thanks to Planful Spotlight.

The organization gained newfound proficiency and revolutionized its workflow. Data analysts reduced the time it took to create reports from 17 days to just 2 or 3 minutes.

Leaders and stakeholders were impressed with this new ability to quickly provide business insights with a readily developed breakdown and analysis. “Our financial analysts are very positive about Planful because they see what it can do for them.”

The organization’s analysts now have the freedom to provide commentary on variances month by month. They can also now refresh reports effortlessly and revisit previous analyses to assess ongoing accuracy.

“Friends, don’t let friends copy-paste. Spotlight helps with that a lot. We’ve been able to use Planful to help us, and again, I think there’s just more we can leverage Planful to do for us. It’s flexible, easy to use, and time-saving.”


A non-profit energy research and development organization that collaborates with more than 450 companies in 45 countries, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe.






United States

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