LucaNet achieves strong results in many important KPIs in The BARC Planning Survey 2017

LucaNet achieves strong results in many important KPIs in The BARC Planning Survey 2017

The Planning Survey 17 has just been published by BARC and LucaNet have attained a very strong result overall, with ‘Performance satisfaction’, ‘Predefined data connections’ and ‘Ease of use’ KPIs in particular being singled as ‘Top-ranked’. 

The result helps to consolidate LucaNet’s position as a leading vendor for BI in accountancy, where companies can benefit from using LucaNet as a planning and BI tool by achieving increased transparency of planning, improved integration of planning with reporting/analysis and better quality of planning results.

A further accolade identified was that customers are often willing to recommend the product to other companies. All the LucaNet customers responding to the survey said they would probably or definitely recommend the product to others.

“This is a fantastic result for LucaNet” commented Gavin Allen, MD of LucaNet UK & Ireland. He continued “This influential survey really has endorsed the LucaNet offering. We have always had extremely good customer relationships and this survey underlines the importance of being able to deliver first-class service and software to our clients”. 

Read more about the BARC Planning Survey 2017 here.

LucaNet on G-Cloud 9

LucaNet on G-Cloud 9

LucaNet UK are now on the G-Cloud 9. The UK Government’s Digital Marketplace procurement framework has added LucaNet to its list of sourcing solutions for specialist Cloud-related projects. 

“LucaNet UK’s addition to the G-Cloud 9 framework will enable a wide range of Public Sector organisations to identify procurement opportunities from us as an approved supplier of Cloud-based technologies and we are looking forward to establishing the brand in this important sector” commented Gavin Allen, Managing Director of LucaNet UK & Ireland.    

LucaNet Continues on the Road to Success. Another strong year announced in 2016 company results

LucaNet Continues on the Road to Success. Another strong year announced in 2016 company results

Sales up 27%
270 new customers worldwide
New offices in Singapore and the USA

LucaNet, the provider of software and consulting services for Financial Corporate Performance Management, continued to enjoy rapid growth in the 2016 financial year. The company generated another double-digit increase in sales, this time of an impressive 27%. With the opening of its own offices in Singapore and the USA, LucaNet remains focused on its plans for internationalisation and now boasts thirteen sites in nine countries.

LucaNet grew successfully once again in 2016, increasing sales by 27% and achieved an average growth rate of some 30% over the past ten years. It has acquired 270 new customers of all sizes, from a wide range of business sectors globally, including Jochen Schweizer, Roland Berger and Vapiano as well as the Alibaba subsidiary Lazada and the Singapore-based pharmaceuticals group TauRx. 

LucaNet’s management team has a few plans up its sleeve for 2017 as well. Executive Board member Oliver Schmitz is confident: “We are very pleased with last year’s results. We are particularly delighted to have once again doubled our sales in the space of three years. In 2017, we want to take our successes in German-speaking countries and transfer them to the international stage, opening up new customer segments in the process.”  

Launched in January, the LucaNet 10 major release fully automates all the processes involved in financial controlling, by optimising all procedures for consolidation, planning, reporting and analysis. Oliver Schmitz continues… “Our software simplifies the complex interrelationships involved in business administration, giving the user a product that is intuitive to operate and that provides all the necessary information more quickly and more accurately. For the specialist department, that means greater security thanks to automated processes and fully traceable figures; for financial managers, it means a sound basis for their strategic decision-making.”
 

William Butler-Adams OBE announced as Keynote Speaker for Sense 2017 Event

William Butler-Adams OBE announced as Keynote Speaker for Sense 2017 Event

William Butler-Adams has been confirmed as the opening Keynote Speaker for Day 1 of our annual event, Sense 2017, which will be held at Silverstone on 20th & 21st June. Guest attendance is strictly limited to 30 people in order to permit maximum engagement of our audience with William. 

Gavin Allen, Managing Director of LucaNet UK & Ireland commented “I am absolutely delighted that William has agreed to join us at Sense 2017. LucaNet work closely with CFO’s, Financial Directors and Financial Controllers and I believe that William will provide the kind of insight into business growth that will be of great value to that community as business moves into uncharted waters as a consequence of Brexit”.

AS CEO of Brompton Bicycles Ltd., Will Butler-Adams is helping spearhead a new surge in British manufacturing. His company design, produce and distribute over 30,000 folding bikes each year from their UK factory – with half the 1200 parts in every Brompton made onsite. Even in the current economic climate, they are enjoying exponential growth. Will’s inspirational approach has seen his own overseas customers grow to account for 70% of sales. 

Visit our events page and register for Sense 2017

LucaNet further expands its business in the U.S.

LucaNet further expands its business in the U.S.

Philadelphia, May 10th, 2017 – The German corporate performance management software provider LucaNet is stepping up its North American activities by opening its own subsidiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Situated in the heart of the city, the office serves as a hub for all the company's business in the U.S. and Canada. Help will now be close at hand for the American companies previously served from Germany.

LucaNet's newest office is at 1900 Market Street in Philadelphia. The US office shares the same street on which Benjamin Franklin’s home once stood, and is located just a few hundred yards east of where the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776. This historic address will now act as the control center for LucaNet's business in the U.S. and Canada. "LucaNet offers robust financial intelligence software that integrates with any ERP in an unparalleled way," explains Simon van Koppen, Managing Director of LucaNet North America, LucaNet's official market presence on the continent. "Moreover, users can configure and manage the software without being dependent on external consultants or IT. Combined with a rapid implementation methodology, we offer our solutions coupled with a very low total cost of ownership.” 

As Managing Director, Mr. van Koppen is responsible for launching the LucaNet brand in the U.S. and Canadian markets, a task that includes seeking out suitable technology partners. With the ERP suppliers Exact Macola and the disclosure management provider SmartNotes now on board, it has not taken long for him to find success.

Mr. van Koppen brings many years of experience in consulting on, implementing and marketing international projects. He was previously based in Germany, working in international business development tapping into and expanding new markets.

He will be supported by Robert Lawson, a native of Philadelphia and the second Managing Director at LucaNet North America. Mr. Lawson has been with the company since 2015, starting out in Germany as International Business Manager until his transfer to the U.S., where he was responsible for consulting on and implementing projects for international customers. Mr. Lawson knows what makes the North American market tick: "The U.S. is a highly competitive market, and companies demand tools that will provide them with a consistent competitive advantage. With the LucaNet software, financial professionals will spend less time collecting, validating, and reporting data, and more time on the analysis to provide the business with that advantage.”

Having opened its site in the U.S., LucaNet is now represented in ten countries. Dominik Duchon, a member of the LucaNet Management Board, feels confident regarding the leap across the pond: "We are the leading supplier in the European corporate performance management sector because we consistently put ourselves in the user’s shoes. Our software enables all finance managers, from specialist users through to CFOs, to independently shape their processes more efficiently without the need for an IT department or external consultant. We firmly believe that these are the perfect conditions for success in the U.S. and Canadian markets."

About LucaNet

LucaNet was founded in 1999 by Rolf-Jürgen Moll and Oliver Schmitz. Although the company was originally conceived as a management consultancy, the shortcomings in the consolidation, planning, reporting, and analysis systems at the time inspired Mr. Moll and Mr. Schmitz to develop a fully integrated corporate performance management suite of their own. Their vision to provide finance managers with a product that would let them make all their decisions quickly and based on real data grew into a group with ten sites across the world. The company is headquartered in Berlin.

Its 1,700-plus customers include Data Mail, Ricola, Rocket Internet, RWL Water, Toshiba, and Vanguard, all of whom benefit from LucaNet’s flexible, high-performance CPM solution and expert advice.

Contact

LucaNet (North America) LLC

1900 Market St, 8th Floor

19103 Philadelphia, USA

 

Tel. +1 888 691 1523

info@lucanet.us

www.lucanet.us 

LucaNet 10 Optimises Financial Controlling

LucaNet 10 Optimises Financial Controlling

LucaNet sets new market standards

LucaNet AG, provider of software and consulting services for Financial Corporate Performance Management, has released a new version of its software for consolidation, planning, reporting and analysis. With LucaNet 10, the Berlin-based enterprise is launching an automated system that optimises all financial controlling processes and provides finance managers with all the information they need to make their decisions, more quickly and accurately than ever before. The release will introduce an array of new features to increase the efficiency of financial processes.

In order to ensure the lasting success of an enterprise, its accounting department needs to process and analyse the available data as efficiently as possible. Staff need fast, prompt and transparent access to all the relevant financial figures at a glance. Yet there is one problem that plagues enterprises across every sector, regardless of their size: the data is inconsistent, so processes such as reporting and the generation of financial statements need to be carried out manually. This is a slow, arduous process. As a result, those responsible for processing the data are left with little time for what really matters: the analysis and interpretation of the figures that forms the basis upon which many of the enterprise’s important strategic decisions are made. With the new version of its software, LucaNet has brought out a product that fully automates all the processes involved in financial controlling, thus optimising procedures in the fields of consolidation, planning, reporting and analysis.

“Clean data is the cornerstone of a reliable financial planning and analysis that can also weather times of crisis,” says Dominik Duchon of the LucaNet Executive Board. “Homespun Excel solutions are nice enough, but they’ll reach their limits sooner or later. What takes users in Excel days or even weeks to achieve – collecting and processing data from a variety of sources for reporting – our software can do in seconds, thanks to the ready-made interfaces it has with all the source systems. The data is compressed and processed automatically using a framework of rules, and potential triggers for errors are identified at an early stage in order to ensure that only validated data is included in the reports. This makes the generation of financial statements a much faster process, as no time is wasted searching for inconsistent entries.”

In addition to the high degree of automation it provides for data procurement, validation and further processing, LucaNet 10 also stands out due to its intuitive operation, the full administrative options it offers specialist users and the way it combines internal and external reporting. LucaNet has also taken the opportunity of the new release to plug a huge gap left by other systems currently on the market: rather than having to choose between a low-risk, easy-to-implement, standard software suite or a solution that is much more complex but also customisable, LucaNet 10 allows users to have both.

“Profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements follow the same principles the world over. As such, it is possible for accounting teams to have software they can use straight away. But when an enterprise has individual requirements with regard to particular specialist aspects of the process, things start to look a little different. Data from different pots needs to be tapped and combined before it can be processed. Up until now, this was difficult to execute and standardise. y using apps we now have managed to strike the perfect balance between efficiency and customisability by combining these two options. This allows the seamless integration of additional, customer-specific options into the software, allowing users to transparently display completely individual records relating to their enterprise’s business – without losing out on the benefits of a standard software solution,” Duchon explains.

The Future Of Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting

The Future Of Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting

Now available for download, the recently published white paper and research from Gary Simon of FSN, from The Modern Finance Forum on LinkedIn, sponsored by LucaNet.

"The Future of Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting"

Download your free copy today.

In this 55 page white paper, over five chapters you can find the following informative content:

  1. Non Financial Data - The Forecasting Game Changer
  2. CFO's and Heads of FP&A At Loggerheads
  3. Cloud Uptake is Rising bu Outdated Processes Remain Unchallenged
  4. CFOs Who Ignore Continuous Planning May be Putting Their Business at Risk
  5. Bigger Models and More Stakeholders Don't Make for Better Business Modelling

To compliment your reading of this white paper, listen to Gary Simon present the findings and add additional context to this white paper, in this video, which can also be found in our resources page.


To also consider the impacts following Brexit on innovative technologies, and the modern office of finance, you might also like to hear our views from a recent interview conducted by The Business Reporter from The Daily and Sunday Telegraph.

City Of London Breakfast Briefings

City Of London Breakfast Briefings

Join us at one of our upcoming LucaNet UK & Ireland Breakfast Briefings, being held right in the heart of the City of London.

Spaces are strictly limited at this exclusive venue, so please reserve early, by going to the following link and placing your reservation. We look forward to meeting with you, and presenting some highly informative content.

EIGHT MEMBERS CLUB RESERVATION

Ahead of these breakfast briefings, you may also like to watch our recent interview with The Business Reporter of The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, as we discuss the impacts of Brexit on innovative technology and on the modern office of finance.

 

 

The Consolidation Challenge

The Consolidation Challenge

Join us on Thursday 23rd February 2017 at 12:30 GMT, for the first of our one hour interactive live webcasts. This month we focus on "The Consolidation and Data Challenge" of performing the traditional financial close and consolidation of the financials. Obtain your passcode to this exclusive webcast here.

Planning In The Modern Office of Finance

Planning In The Modern Office of Finance

In this Linked In Pulse article, Gavin Allen Managing Director LucaNet UK & Ireland, discusses the significance and emergence of both financial and non-financial planning, and how we must not forget the importance of a baseline key financial plan from the Profit and Loss, through Balance Sheet, to the Cash Flow.

LINKED IN PULSE ARTICLE HERE

Want to know more about the likely impacts of Brexit and what this means not only for innovative technology but also the modern of finance then please find below our recent interview with Business Reporter of The Daily and Sunday Telegraph.

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH LUCANET INTERVIEW

 

Why Operational Planning?

Why Operational Planning?

Part Three of Three

In this third and final update of three blogs, Gavin Allen (Managing Director LucaNet UK & Ireland), discusses whether there is a difference between financial planning and operational planning, it's data, complexity and processes.

 

So Why The Discussion Around Operational Planning?

So why do we still have the discussions around operational planning, multi-dimensional capabilities here there and everywhere, mobile collection of data, driver based plans, complex computational modelling and so on? When we have already achieved the core foundations of our business plans already with financial planning?

Well the answer in my opinion is that technology has not helped here. From spreadsheets, to the most modern in memory multi-dimensional tools out there (some completely available on the cloud), it would appear that the advances in technology are (and have) started to dictate that everything should be done in a certain way, and in the modern world of social selling, organisations (and the office of finance) are bombarded with messages indicating they need this “must have” technology to deliver accurate forecasts and plans, and requires the involvement of hundreds of personnel. Sound familiar?

You can see that the brief of technologists is to sway the thoughts of organisations in thinking that unless you are planning by day, by customer, by widget, by this, that and the other, and getting the entire organisation involved and collaborating online, and describing what they are doing, provides a better forecast? I agree that modern technology can deliver to this agenda, but it should not be the place to start – time to get back to basics – leverage intelligent financial planning in the first instance – then and only then consider augmenting this with more detailed operational plans?

With this approach, the world of operational planning, and bringing in non-financial data and drivers becomes apparent. Plan drivers can be presented based again on the historical transactional records, then used to model information in a way that is more understood by non-financial personnel. Click to read more from my earlier articles.

Non-Financial Data - Becoming An Instrumental Factor?

The importance of non-financial data and it’s use in forecasting has long been the hidden secret. Why is this? Well again back to your transactional records – say we record the number of overseas trips. Married to the actual financial information, we can turn non-financial information into drivers (e.g. average cost per overseas trip for planning), when involving non-financial personnel! Instead of asking say “what are you going to spend on overseas trips” which is a financially biased request, ask for the “how many overseas trips are you planning on making” and then use the already derived driver to deliver the financial output. This is very essence of operational planning, providing reference points and drivers for those in a more operational position within the organisation.

Multi-dimensional modelling and planning should empower operational personnel to work outside of the constraints of the chart of accounts (for example modelling sales quantities by customer, selling prices, margins etc). Deriving the financial information from a suite of underlying information not held in a chart of accounts. Allowing different perspectives of information to be “sliced and diced”, and of course to perform break back to ease the burden of data entry associated with modelling and planning at such greater levels of detail.

Yet according to FSN's recent survey, Non Financial Data is the Forecasting Game Changer, but not appearing on the list of CFO's top priorties!

To request you copy of the full report, with additional insight and executive briefings / case study references from LucaNet, then please contact us directly, or email at info@lucanet.co.uk.


So we start to know see how the results from a rule based financial plan, can be compared and aligned with an operational plan, and for the resultant business discussions to take place. Agreed, financial planning does not cater for details within the business that are not known by financial personnel. Using run rates and history cannot always be a good basis when an organisation is going through change, but it’s not a bad place to start.

And this is where that value of operational planning lies, using drivers, dimensions and additional context allowing the marriage of operations and finance personnel in what appears to be a harmonious environment. I am not suggesting for one minute that conflict resolution is easy when operations and finance have differing views, but at least those views have foundation, auditability, accountability and buy in for discussion!

I have also witnessed a revolution recently in the charts of accounts being incorporated by organisations – more account lines holding more details that embrace a more operational style of reporting (perhaps account codes for each customer under sales). Often now seeing a whole section of the chart of accounts given over to the recording of non-financial information. This starts to show that in those organisations performing Financial and Operational Planning in harmony that the end result is a co-ordinated platform for business financial performance management.

Back To Basics With Planning

To conclude therefore, start with the basics, accounting, logic based Financial Planning, delivering robust, high quality strategic forecasts of your business, from Profit and Loss right through to the Balance Sheet and Cash flow., simply, easily and effectively.

Then, and only then, enhance, and AUGMENT with Operational Planning. Allow more drivers, non-financial information to influence the forecast results. Bring in to play the dimensional characteristics of specific areas of business performance, and enable cross dimensional modelling accordingly. Collaborate these vast data sets amongst peers and control what is often a very disparate process.

Bring the two result sets (and importantly the people) together for business analysis and business direction, getting away from the “well those are not my numbers, they are finance”, and above all else just because technology can, doesn’t mean you should!

Additional Information

In the mean time you might like to watch our recent interview with Business Reporter of The Daily and Sunday Telegraph, where we discuss the impacts of Brexit and innovative technology.

To discuss your requirements further, or arrange a personalised one to one demonstration of the LucaNet platform, then please contact us and discover the unique, simply intelligent solution that is LucaNet.


Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year to all of customers, suppliers, employees and partners. Wishing you all a very prosperous year ahead.

Warm Regards,

Gavin Allen

Managing Director

LucaNet UK & Ireland

International User Convention, LucaNet.World 24-25/11/2016, Berlin

International User Convention, LucaNet.World 24-25/11/2016, Berlin

With nearly 400 attendees, our recent annual user convention in Berlin, proved to be an amazing success, with fantastic content and user insights over the two days. Many thanks to all of you who attended!

As well as the opening keynote speeches, across the two days, attendees saw a wide variety of LucaNet presentations and workshops including:

Integration between LucaNet and various BI-tools

• Explanation of the different integration options

• Examples of projects with MS Reporting Services and Power BI

• Best practices

Integration of the subsidiaries: LucaNet.Group Report

• Decentralised data collection via web

• Intercompany reconciliation

• Automated validation of data for completeness and consistency

• Monitoring of the approval process

Planning with LucaNet

• Personnel controlling

• Project controlling

• Product controlling

SmartNotes: Producing the perfect business report

• Automatic data transfer from LucaNet

• Parallel processing of reports by several users

• Workflow support

• Complete MS Office integration (MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint)

• Creating ready to print reports

The Dutch Way: Customers’ Project

• Reporting, consolidation and forecasting of a dynamic leisure company

• Best of breed management information solution: LucaNet in combination with a third-party BI Tool

• One source, one platform, creating one through in different views using LucaNet and Microsoft BI

The British Way: Usage of LucaNet in the United Kingdom

• Beyond just monthly financial consolidations, and move into weekly management information, all in a single integrated solution platform

• Gain greater accountability of your financial plans – from monthly financial planning to weekly operational planning and forecasting

• Visualise your complete financial performance management with dashboards and then take them mobile

See you all again next year!

Best Regards,

Gavin Allen

Managing Director LucaNet UK & Ireland

LUCANET OPENS ASEAN REGION OFFICE IN SINGAPORE 11/2016

LUCANET OPENS ASEAN REGION OFFICE IN SINGAPORE 11/2016

LUCANET, EUROPE’S LEADING PROVIDER OF INTEGRATED FINANCIAL CORPORATE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS (FCPM), HAS OPENED AN OFFICE IN SINGAPORE. THE NEW SITE WILL BE THE HEADQUARTERS FOR THE COMPLETE ASEAN REGION. 

With the opening of the new Singapore office, LucaNet will bring a unique, differentiated technology for integrated consolidation, planning, reporting and analysis to Southeast Asia. With customers in Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Japan and Malaysia, as well as with its office in Shanghai, China, that was opened in 2010, LucaNet has already extensive experience in providing a flexible and robust reporting software solution in the region.   

INSIDER BECOMES REGIONAL MANAGING DIRECTOR

LucaNet (ASEAN) is led by Sanjay Sivanandan, a global Singaporean, who is highly experienced in running and profitably growing business both globally and in Asia. He understands the need for new innovative transformative technology to address the opportunities and challenges that companies and corporations are facing in the area of Financial Corporate Performance Management.

Sanjay combines industry knowledge and insight with the necessary sensitivity for cultural differences and intricacies between Asian and European thinking. He is regarded as an expert for both large multinational enterprises and medium sized companies in all major industry sectors. For Sanjay, the LucaNet solutions are truly unique in the market: “LucaNet is a real software technology innovator and European leader in the field of Financial Corporate Performance Management (FCPM) solutions. Its core strength lies in its capability to consolidate and integrate financial information, P&L and cash flow in a real-time and transparent manner for all types and sizes of client business. We are able to implement our intelligent, yet simple ‘out-of-the-box’ solution that augments and enhances existing systems and processes already in place at our clients operations without disruption.

A typical implementation takes only two weeks, and our clients are up and running with our easy-to-use, yet powerful and fast ‘in-memory’ technology. This is exactly what clients want and need to run their businesses in the dynamically growing marketplace of Asia, and what makes the LucaNet technology truly unique, differentiated and ‘Simply Intelligent’.”

With this strong value proposition LucaNet ASEAN has already acquired their first client, TauRx Pharmaceuticals, a global pharmaceutical company. Dominik Duchon, Member of the Executive Board of LucaNet AG, sees enormous potential for LucaNet in the Southeast Asian region: “We are very excited on entering the ASEAN market via our new regional HQ office. Given the large potential, growth and size of the yet untapped ASEAN region, we see a great opportunity for the LucaNet technology to expand and grow profitably and extend our market leadership to Southeast Asia. The complexities the companies in this region face regarding consolidation, reporting and planning increase the need for flexible FCPM tools. We are confident that with Sanjay we have found a Managing Director that can profitably expand and grow the LucaNet brand in the ASEAN market, and deliver a high-quality service to our customers.” 

ABOUT LUCANET

Since 1999, the LucaNet group has stood for the highest level of business intelligence expertise in the field of accounting. Its software solutions for consolidation, planning, reporting and analysis are distributed worldwide through its own sites and a global network of partners. The enterprise’s headquarters are in Berlin. More than 1,500 customers of varying size from many different sectors benefit from LucaNet’s flexible, high-performance software modules and in-depth specialist consultancy.

The Future CEO Report

The Future CEO Report

In a time of unprecedented dynamism and uncertainty, 72 per cent of chief executive officers believe that the next three years will be more critical to business than the previous 50. With the current geopolitical uncertainty and ongoing digital disruption, the role of the CEO is inevitably changing, with the future of companies hinging firmly upon the capacity to adapt. 

Addressing the main concerns and intrigues of a global C-suite audience, this report will provide the seminal guide for successful leadership and strategy in a time of increasing complexity. The report will explore the development of the role, and the requisite skills and qualities for an efficient future CEO. 

Download the full report here.

Financial versus Operational Planning

Financial versus Operational Planning

Part Two of Three

In the second of three blogs, Gavin Allen (Managing Director LucaNet UK & Ireland), discusses whether there is a difference between financial planning and operational planning, it's data, complexity and processes.

Financial versus Operational Planning - Are they the same?

In my mind there is a very clear distinction in my pointers above, between what is described as Financial Planning and Operational Planning.

Referring to the basic art of Financial Planning, leveraging actual data portrayed in the chart of accounts, and performing initial forward looking information. Take each line of the chart of accounts – the profit and loss is the place to start this, and decide on double entry accounting rules that should be adopted to plan each of these profit and loss line items. For example, take the sales line of your profit and loss, project forward based on historical and/or statistical trends to derive a forward looking data set.

However, the real importance of such financial planning, is to ensure that these rules (for each line of your profit and loss), are integrated to your balance sheet and then cash flow! In this example of sales, consider the balance sheet and cash flow impacts. Do we account for all of the sales as cash in the month of invoice? Perhaps not, so profile the outturn, hence modelling your debtors and cash flow all at the same time; not to mention being able to model your VAT as you go!

Conversely that same methods apply to expense items, and the impacts on creditors and cash. Yes, I understand that if you could do this by each and every customer and each and every supplier you should gain accuracy, but at what cost? And does it actually give you that much greater accuracy when seeking an initial integrated strategic plan? Imagine the CFO presentation for his forecast cash flow – the slide (or several) that show how the mass of detail for each customer and supplier has derived the results being seen – OR, surely coming from a CFO that presentation is far better stating “for 80% of our revenue assume 60% are collected 1 month after invoices and the remainder in month two” – more strategic but financially intelligent none the less?

In an earlier blog post, we refer to the importance of capturing your actual transactional data, in a simple, efficient and easy to understand manner. Click to read more, and what we had to say on this topic, which very much aligns with establishing a trusted platform of information, prior on embarking on a journey of planning.

Should we go back to basics?

Simple really, and back to basic accounting – debits and credits. I have seen countless complex financial planning models, that forget that despite the fact you are forecasting, budgeting or planning, the principles of double entry accounting have been forgotten or ignored?

Conducted between June and July 2013, research findings fromLoudhouse Research, clearly demonstrated that despite the importance of data, only 17% of companies are truly data driven.

Conducted between June and July 2013, research findings fromLoudhouse Research, clearly demonstrated that despite the importance of data, only 17% of companies are truly data driven.

By looking at an initial financial plan in this way, every line of your profit and loss will be modelled based on historical records of information (which of course can be adjusted as required to incorporate strategic changes), and all linked into the balance sheet and yes the cash flow! At no time in this initial brief have we considered the need for super complex multi-dimensional models involving several hundred personnel (more on this later), with drivers here there and everywhere. Surely this is a better starting point for the forward looking forecasting process – it’s intelligent rule based Financial Planning – providing the ability to easily, simply and more importantly quickly capitalise and react to changes in actual information, providing a clear rule based insight into the health of the organisation and it’s all important cash position.

Consider the “stitching” process of the actual and forecast data? Not an issue really with the profit and loss, but for the balance sheet it is often forgotten that when moving to rolling forecasts, as actual balance sheet closing information becomes available, this will invariably be different to what was forecast. Financial planning should cater for this, and allow for the transition or “unwinding” of the balances? Calculations of interest on bank loans and financing, depreciation flows on future capital investments, eliminations of future inter-company trading.

Can you see the focus and importance here – financial planning – a wider brief than operational planning, with what one could describe as more significant impacts if not done correctly?

The often forgotten art of the Financial Plan?

I am sure by now you are thinking that it’s time to discuss the many modern practices of driver based planning, and yes multi-dimensional planning by every which way under the sun!

But before we do, let’s wrap up the financial planning discussion here. It does not require an army of people to construct, provides a really rapid way of collating a high level strategic forecast or plan, and most importantly allows several iterations and versions of the high level plan to be developed (say goodbye to having to create separate budgets and forecasts, with both being “snapshot” of say the current rolling 36-month forecast?). Providing a catalyst for investment decisions, and the strategic direction of the organisation, that is based on accounting rules / logic, fully auditable and easy to change, prior to the involvement of more operational personnel in the business.

Read that back and ask yourself – this is what most CEO’s and CFO’s require, and let’s face it have always required since the dawn of time! 

Look out for our next blog article in this series in which we will discuss whether business organisations are actually ready for true multi-dimensinal driver based planning. In the mean time you might like to review or recent article where LucaNet has been subject to an independent research study.

To discuss your requirements further, or arrange a personalised one to one demonstration of the LucaNet platform, then please contact us and discover the unique, simply intelligent solution that is LucaNet.


"Our lifetime may be the last that will be lived out in a technological society." Arthur C. Clarke

 

What Is Business Financial Planning?

What Is Business Financial Planning?

Part One of Three

In the first of three blogs, Gavin Allen (Managing Director LucaNet UK & Ireland), discusses the topic of business financial planning, what it means, it's relevance, and just where should you start?


So just what is business financial planning? What does it involve, who does it involve and where do you start?

It’s a common question that I get asked all the time within the finance community, and it’s often a misunderstood business process. Sure, we all know that a successful organisation will prepare annual budgets, and if possible forecasts, and for the very brave rolling forecasts! In addition, such financial information is also complimented by non-financial information used for both drivers and indicators of forecast performance.

However, I do not think it is that simple to merely categorise the process of planning, budgeting and forecasting into these areas. I believe it goes further than this, especially with the constant evolution and march of technology in the financial performance management domain.

What do I mean by this? 

Well, let’s be absolutely clear, since the dawn of time, organisations of all sizes and across all business sectors have always wanted to look into their crystal ball, and look forward beyond the actual financial results, so nothing new here. However, I believe where organisations need to start, is by considering the levels of detail that are actually required for their business plans, and does that extra level of detail actually provide greater accuracy, especially when considering a strategic financial plan? For example, does planning by widget, by customer provide a quick route to a business financial cash flow plan, especially when it’s the CFO asking the question?

It is high time we look back to basics. Sure with the right technology we can now plan and model at inordinate levels of detail, and involve thousands of personnel in the process, but should we really be starting here? The Office of Finance operates on a day to day transactional basis, recording transactions pertaining to either income or expense, that then flow through to the financial statements depicting the welfare of that organisation (i.e. the balance sheet). Organisations invest countless hours in the development of their transactional recording systems – the general ledger – with a codified logic for recording of those transactions – the chart of accounts. In essence the fundamentals of accounting, being Debits and Credits.

Click Here, to read more about my views and thoughts on technology and it's impact on the Office of Finance, when I presented at Accountex in May 2016, sponsored by CIMA, and interviewed by Tom Herbert, Business Editor of Accountweb.com. I have also made the slide deck available as a slide share here.

Surely with such an investment in capturing the transactional levels of detail in the general ledger, against a coded and defined structure, this must be the place to start looking into the future? Yes, I hear you cry, but we need to plan and model our sales, by customer, by geography, by widget etc., but that should not be the place to start given we have such comprehensive information at our disposal with the actual records of information, albeit summarised into a chart of accounts?

Conducted between June and July 2013, research findings fromLoudhouse Research, clearly demonstrated the challenges; and they remain today, despite the advances in technology.

Conducted between June and July 2013, research findings fromLoudhouse Research, clearly demonstrated the challenges; and they remain today, despite the advances in technology.

Assuming of course that you have clean data to start with, then thats great. I have previously highlighted the importance of good quality data in my previous blog article Financial Performance Management and Data.

So here is my point. Why don’t we capitalise on the information we have already from the actual transactional records (the general ledger or general ledgers if you have more than one), and start the process of forward looking financial information from this basis? It seems to make perfect sense really, but I hear too often in today’s organisations that they must have forward looking financial information, with copious amounts of detail for everything, produced by an army of personnel. Only to then be compared back to an initial strategic plan initially put together based on – guess what – the current financial statements, and the chart of accounts from which they were based!

In the brief highlights video below, see LucaNet in action leveraging the actual reference data, to construct and delivery "out of the box" plans and forecasts with accounting rules and logic that hark back to the principles of Debits and Credits.

Simply plan with the awesome power of LucaNet. Remove the need to use spreadsheets for your Financial Planning, and streamline the production of your Cash Flow from underlying Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet information.

Look out for the next blog article, in which I will go on to discuss the real meaning of planning, and the differences between Financial and Operational Planning. In the meantime you might also be interested in a previous article highlighting the Top Financial Concerns of Financial Controllers.

To discuss your requirements further, or arrange a personalised one to one demonstration of the LucaNet platform, then please contact us and discover the unique, simply intelligent solution that is LucaNet.


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke

Financial Performance Management Starts With Data

Financial Performance Management Starts With Data

You actual historic data is a vital component of Financial Performance Management.

The importance of being able to connect, extract, transform and then load data is often a component of financial performance management that is overlooked. LucaNet has brought this to the forefront of what we do, by having dedicated connectors and components to simply manage this initial process seamlessly. Couple again with a dedicated components for remote data form gathering, and exposing our in memory multi-dimensional model to any business intelligence solution, LucaNet provides the complete vision for financial performance management, from data through to analysis.

The most difficult and time consuming part of introducing software is often its integration with the existing infrastructure, in particular, the connection to source systems. Often the most difficult – and therefore most time-consuming part of introducing new software is often its integration with the existing infrastructure, in particular, the connection with source systems. This is not the case with us: We have developed a tool for you which can be used immediately. On the one hand, it automatically transfers data from various operating systems neatly into our database and on the other hand, it enables you to write enter data in relational and multidimensional databases equally easily.

Numerous ready-to-use converters to all common ERP- and financial accounting systems

  • Converter to MS Excel and relational data bases
  • Import of individually configurable Excel reporting packages
  • Preparation of individually definable ETL scripts
  • Directly accessible import of all documented information, including cost centres, partner codes and transaction types
  • Value breakdowns according to deposited IC-receivables or liabilities by collective accounts without partner code
  • Drill down to document level
  • Automatic account assignment on the basis of either standard or individual account framework of a consolidated group
  • Status monitor for supervision of all data imports

The ability to capture underlying actual financial and non-financial records quickly, efficiently and robustly should be the foundations of any financial performance management solutions. Without verified and auditable reference data, then the main stream components of consolidation, planning, reporting and analysis become almost irrelevant. Therefore by having an array of pre-built, proven data connectors, means solutions can be up and running very quickly, with the baseline information ready to go, verified and audited before the main activities of financial performance management itself. 

With LucaNet, we bring this initial stage of data loading and importing, as well as remote template data capture, into the office of finance, ensuring that full data lineage and transparency is present. Through a few simple clicks of the mouse, users can understand the nature and sources of the data they see in the reports, and in turn allow them to forecast and plan more accurately etc. Traditionally the process of data extracting, transforming and loading has been hidden “behind the scenes” from finance. 

Like all of the components of LucaNet, our brand values flow throughout; simply reliable, simply connective, simply flexible, simply transparent and simply integrated.

Join us at our Open House event in Epsom on 15th November 2016, and invite you to bring your trial balance data, and see how quickly we can breathe life into your financials.

Register your interest here.