A common business tool, spreadsheets are still heavily used in organisations for financial planning.
Unfortunately, their use comes with significant risk.
As Belinda Johnson, CEO of Mindfull, found in a previous role as the CFO for a large property development firm, not summing a column right to the bottom led to a million-dollar mistake.
In addition to how easy it is to make and miss errors, spreadsheets can become complex and cumbersome to work with as more data is inputted.
Often different departments create their own spreadsheets which then have to be combined into one master financial planning spreadsheet.
Each time this is done and each time another person is involved in the process, the greater the chance of data inconsistencies.
Accuracy is not the only problem with these outdated processes. They are also extremely costly on time and resources.
And this is to create a financial plan once a year.
A plan that by the time it is created is probably out of date.
How actually useful is this plan?
Not very. Particularly since you can’t understand how your business is performing in real time and are always relying on reporting that is at least a month old.
Spreadsheets also mean that you can forget about creating accurate financial models and being able to run what-if scenarios.
And, with the role of the CFO growing, including taking on responsibility for the company’s growth and profitability, it’s critical they have the information and insights they need to proactive lead.
It is these widespread problems that encouraged Mindfull to find solutions for their clients.
No More Million Dollar Mistakes
When clients come to Mindfull they are normally using spreadsheets for some or all their financial planning.
Regardless of their business size, Mindfull has a solution that will transform how they measure their business performance. This may be a fully customised planning software or templated, ready-to-go solutions.
So, instead of entering data into spreadsheets, data is inputted directly from the source, wherever that might be in the business, ensuring accuracy and sovereignty.
This removes the data silos that can appear in organisations and allows a holistic financial plan to be created.
Since these solutions can sit in the cloud, anyone who needs access in the company can view and, if required, edit the plan.
Adding AI into the mix allows Mindfull’s clients to reallocate their human resource. Since the software can process the majority of the data and discover patterns, analysts can now spend their time delivering insights that can be acted on.
This data can be easily used to create accurate financial models and deliver reporting in real time. Completely changing how the CFOs, that Mindfull works with, carry out their role.
Best of all, they can use what-if scenarios to understand, plan for, and respond effectively to market disruptions. Ultimately, transforming the culture of the business.
Transforming Financial Planning
The biggest change for Mindfull’s clients is that financial planning is no longer only an annual event.
With all the data, reporting and information at their fingertips whenever they need it, they can accurately monitor business performance up to the minute.
This allows them to rapidly and confidently make critical decisions in response to market changes and stay ahead of their competitors.
Management is not the only department empowered by the deployment of these financial planning solutions, the ease of use of the software empowers users at all levels of the business.
And, instead of spending hours, if not days, collecting and collating data, users can focus on analysis and planning.
These benefits have completely transformed the finance departments of Mindfull’s clients.
Instead of being bogged down in data and struggling to produce reports and budgets, they are now ahead of the game and able drive business performance.
A vastly more exciting proposition for everyone involved.
Additionally, for some Mindfull clients, this has had a great deal of influence over their S&OP processes, allowing them to optimise and achieve better sales results.
Overall, these solutions allow Mindfull’s clients to be fast, agile and accurate, and truly transforms what financial planning means to them.
Enabling Integrated Business Planning
Working with Mindfull and their financial planning solutions allows clients and their CFOs take advantage of planning that’s connected, organised and easily accessible.
Integrated business planning connects everything you need together for successful financial planning. This includes data, people, and plans.
Dynamic, intelligent and collaborative, it is the only way to plan and manage your businesses performance in this fast-paced, ever-changing environment.
Their clients can easily update and revise their plans to respond to market disruption.
Mindfull’s clients understand that to succeed in a disruptive market, like we’re in right now, they must have better integrated planning across their business.
Implementing IBM Planning Analytics
What sets Mindfull apart from other consultants is that they are experienced in IT, finance and data organisation. This makes them ideal for deploying, optimising, and supporting the right financial planning solution for their clients.
Since they know these powerful solutions inside and out, they can ensure they are fully set up and integrated into their client’s business.
The result is their clients have simplified their financial planning and truly transformed how they manage business performance.