Carlson Thought Leadership in Finance & Technology

Keys to a Successful Budgeting Solution Implementation - Q&A with Carlson Consultants

October 26, 2018 / by Lauren Strohmeier

 Finance Transformation 4

Our Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

As you begin your journey to finance transformation, you’re likely wondering how to best implement a budgeting, planning and reporting solution. Like many areas in business, a successful implementation comes through preparation.

That’s why we are giving you information and resources that help guide you along the way.

Drawing from our experience managing almost 400 corporate performance management (CPM) implementation projects, Carlson consultants provide answers to five frequently asked questions.



How do you evaluate for best fit when selecting a partner for your implementation?

Joe-Giorgio-Carlson-MC-550-400-1Joe Giorgio, Manager, Implementations

“To evaluate for best fit, it’s important you look for these qualities in a potential partner:                           

Collaborative working style. You want a collaborative partner who will share best practices with you, so you can truly elevate your finance function. It’s not enough to solely move your current processes to a new system. You want to make the most of the opportunity to make them more efficient. A collaborative partner can also share how to get the highest returns from your solution.

Specialized industry experience. You want a partner with specialized expertise in your industry. Why? Because the partner who understands your business can share best practices optimized for your niche. A good implementation partner creates a solution that’s customized to your organization.

Excellent communication.  Communication is important during any implementation project. Your partner should be in frequent contact with you and provide tools that make information-sharing smooth and easy for all stakeholders. Everyone should know how the project is progressing as well as any issues that have or could arise. At Carlson, we have weekly progress update calls and put together status reports, so everyone stays on the same page.”

How do you select the best implementation partner for your organization?


Dallas Moody, CPA, Vice President

"To select the best implementation partner, I recommend you use the following methods:

Don’t bargain shop. Implementing a CPM solution is a key opportunity to implement best practices as well as make changes to existing processes. So, it’s wise to consider whether the partner can bring your finance function to the next level.

Look for Specialized Experience. A partner who has knowledge of your industry can suggest ideas that fit your exact needs and organization. They will also know how to effectively identify data sources for modeling in source systems (i.e. Sage Intacct, Salesforce, and NetSuite).

Evaluate the Staff’s Experience. You want to collaborate with a partner that has staff-wide financial and technical expertise. For example, Carlson’s consultants are certified in Adaptive Insights as well as power users and administrators. Some of our consultants have also extensively used Adaptive Insights in previous roles. Therefore, they can use their first-hand experience to provide educated insights and top-notch implementations."

How do you assemble the most effective team for your CPM implementation?

Laura-Hayes-Carlson-MC-550-400Laura Hayes, Senior Associate

“To assemble the most effective team for your CPM implementation, find people who bring the following qualities to the table:

A different perspective. It can be helpful to have ‘fresh eyes’ on the project to create new and better ways of doing things. When current processes are outdated, a different perspective can bring new ideas to the table.

Skilled with systems. Team members who are systems-inclined can give momentum to an implementation project. With their technical expertise, they can advise on how to best leverage the CPM system to address business needs.

Engaged and eager disposition. When team members are enthusiastic, that can translate into a high-quality CPM implementation. Because they are in tune with the process, they are more likely to test early and modify accordingly, resulting in a high-performing CPM solution.”

What is the most common mistake that organizations make during CPM implementations?

Josh-Ladd-senior-Associate-550-400Josh Ladd, Director of Adaptive Insights Implementations

“Whether you are planning to implement new software, such as Adaptive Insights or Sage Intacct; are currently implementing a CPM solution, or are currently using these tools successfully, being prepared and well-organized goes a long way to knocking it out of the park.

Through my experience conducting over 80 implementations, mainly focused on Adaptive Insights, I have a pretty good sense of what practices work and what don’t. Many organizations make the common mistake of not being prepared. Your implementation’s success depends on your and the consultant’s project readiness.

You can better prepare for your implementation in the following ways:

Make resources available: Equip your team with the time and resources necessary to effectively manage the project’s key deliverables and milestones.

Clearly define goals: Establish goals so everyone is working together in unison. For all participants to be on the same page, they must understand what the implementation will accomplish for the finance team and broader organization.

Set a timeline: Set an expected date of completion for each milestone to keep everyone on schedule and the project on track. Doing so ensures a smooth workflow and provides ample time for you to cover all the bases of your CPM implementation, from proper design to testing.”

What are the best practices for successful CPM implementations?

Jenna-McPhail-Carlson-MC-Director-Finanace-550-400Jenna McPhail, Director of Financial Consulting

“The key best practice for a successful CPM implementation is investing time in training. Here’s how to learn the ropes of your CPM solution to make it work for you:

Develop an understanding of how the solution works. To get the most out of your implementation, it’s important you know it through and through. When you learn along the way, you benefit from a faster return on your investment. For example, when I implemented Adaptive Insights at my previous company, I devoted time to it as though I were onboarding, training, and nurturing one of my employees. 

Take the admin training. Based on personal experience having implemented Adaptive Insights, gaining working knowledge of terminology and basic set-up protocol helps you build the foundation for a successful implementation.

Get hands-On. You learn best by doing. By immersing yourself in the experience, the results are two-fold: you develop a deeper understanding of your CPM solution and benefit from a faster implementation.

Administer continued training and engagement. Your CPM solution must grow and scale along with your organization. Through continued training and engagement, you get the most out of your investment in the long run. You also know how to add tools that customize your CPM solution to your needs.” 

Want answers to your questions about CPM implementations? We invite you to share them with us! Connect with a Carlson consultant to guide your CPM implementation in the direction of finance transformation.


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