Carlson Thought Leadership in Finance & Technology

Even Budget Managers Need a Vacation

July 22, 2016 / by Brian Teets

Carlson-Cape-Cod-Beach.jpgThis is the time of year I look forward to my beach vacation getaway. Walking along the shore, listening to the seagulls, and taking in the ocean breeze always bring about a sense of peace and tranquility.  It’s a welcome and much-needed respite from the stresses of budgeting, planning and forecasting. 

But you can only turn off work for so long. I knew from my past experience as Budget Manager and Systems Administrator at Montclair State University that the relaxation from my vacation would quickly erode upon my return to the office.  I would be greeted with a tidal wave of e-mails and a backlog of financial analysis tasks which would take me weeks to catch up on.  

This all ended two summers ago when Montclair State overhauled its Budgeting and Planning tools and implemented the cloud-based corporate performance management solution, Adaptive Insights.  We were more than ready to leave our legacy systems and spreadsheets behind us and were more than pleased with the results.  Some of the time management and productivity benefits were:

  1. Reduction of Budgeting Cycle by about 50%.

Adaptive Insights provided an effective mechanism to track, approve, or deny multiple budget submissions.  This automated capability provided central budgeting and planning the ability to see all the strategic requests in one place (a central hub) and what funding allocations would best support the overall institution’s operating plan.  Furthermore, collaboration among other budget departments was now manageable and efficient which resulted in about a one month reduction in the budgeting cycle! 

  1. Eliminating the errors and productivity challenges of spreadsheets.

In our old process, budget modifications were required to go to the owner of the master Budget Sheet who would then consolidate departmental budgets and then re-enter the information and update links.  When a link would break or a data input error occurred, several hours and an all hands on deck effort had to be employed to track the issue down, which disrupted the team’s ability to focus on value-added analysis. 

  1. Scenario analysis in minutes, not hours!

 With our previous means of scenario analysis using spreadsheets, it was time consuming and error-prone.  However, with Adaptive, it is just a matter of updating your planning assumptions in a given planning version and in seconds you can see and report on the given scenario.  This saved us significant time and made us much more nimble.

  1. Quickly report and plan with comprehensive driver-based budgets by school, department, fund, project, class, etc.

Each Quarter, we had a ritual at Montclair State. budget analysts would spend an entire week taking quarterly financial data and then enter into an Excel spreadsheet report for the Board presentation.  Also, budget tracking and visibility into all funds budget reporting in our old system was a real challenge which resulted in difficulties in managing spending  .Our legacy systems were really only geared to getting financial information into the financial presentation but not for management presentation.  The flexibility and self-service reporting of Adaptive Insights’ CPM solution saved hundreds of hours of effort!  

  1. Ease of Implementation and access to other systems:

Unlike an ERP implementation or off-premise solution, implementing Adaptive Insights (check out the Carlson Guide to Implementing Adaptive Insights) can be completed considerably faster and with less team effort.  At Montclair State, the decision to select Adaptive was really all about ease: easier access to getting our data from multiple systems, easy and intuitive interface for our end users, ease of administration, and ease of reporting with the drag and drop report building capabilities.  Adaptive Insights was implemented at Montclair State in under three months without a large internal team.  This was critical because we still had our daily tasks to attend to!

As a testament to the success of the new approach, the benefits and ROI experienced by the University were quantified in a case study performed by Nucleus Research.  This study calculated an ROI of 211% and an average annual benefit of $114,665.  A new system and process can not only allow for easy adoption and impact the bottom line, but also have a real quality of life improvement.  By improving productivity, you can free up your finance team for more value-added tasks and, as one of the most experienced Adaptive Insights partners, the team at Carlson Management Consulting can take you there. 

Migrating to a powerful cloud-based CPM solution like Adaptive Insights can free up your time for the important things in life – like taking a second vacation!

Interested in learning how Adaptive Insights can free your up your time?  Then take the first step and request a demo!

Request a Demo


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