SaaS Brief

Sage Intacct Customers Reap Rewards of Flexible Forecasting Amid COVID-19

Is it possible to predict the unpredictable? COVID-19 has challenged budgeting and planning teams to find out.

Amid unprecedented economic uncertainty, financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professionals had to reforecast across multiple scenarios that could include drops in revenue, facility shutdowns, and furloughs or layoffs — all while moving to a work-from-home model themselves.

Speed, flexibility, and accuracy in reforecasting were critically important, yet some organizations weren't well prepared. Excel-based budgeting remains widespread, especially among small to midsize organizations.

In the wake of the pandemic, a McKinsey survey found that 43 percent of CFOs recognized the need to streamline budgeting to react more quickly and effectively. And Deloitte neatly summarized the budgeting dilemma that many organizations faced:

“The pandemic has made clear that existing systems, processes, and ways of working cannot necessarily deliver consistently, given the greater demands for data, insights, scenarios, forecasts, and plans," a Deloitte report says.

Agility and Resilience with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning

Organizations using Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning were well prepared. Customers including MemberClicks, Walden Behavioral Care, and Knock were able to quickly reforecast for multiple scenarios when COVID struck in March 2020 — and in the months to follow.

Each of these organizations had upgraded from Excel budgeting to Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning not long before the pandemic got started, building on their successes with Sage Intacct for general ledger accounting. Customers tell us they’ve seen big gains in areas such as:

  • Agile planning and what-if analysis to model multiple scenarios

  • Greater forecasting frequency and/or rolling forecast models

  • Continuous insights with near real-time budget vs. actuals reporting

  • Deeper collaboration with executive and departmental stakeholders

  • Improved resilience and confidence to adapt to disruption

Let’s take a look at how Sage Intacct customers have put their new budgeting and planning solution to work amid the tumult unleashed by COVID.

MemberClicks Reforecasts in Just 2.5 Weeks

A software vendor serving more than 3,000 professional and trade associations, MemberClicks was able to reforecast its business across dozens of revenue and cost scenarios in record time with robust scenario planning and what-if analysis.

“When COVID-19 hit, Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning gave us the ability to model in real time and reforecast the entire business in just two and a half weeks,” said Brent Stringer, senior director of finance and accounting. “It was invaluable. I couldn’t have done it in Excel, even if I worked 12 hours a day.”

Using both Budgeting and Planning and core Sage Intacct accounting, the Atlanta-based SaaS vendor had accurate, timely data for informed decisions. When the reforecast was finalized, MemberClicks had actually forecast an increase in EBITDA.

Stringer’s reforecasting presentation at a board meeting was “very well received” in terms of both the package presented and the ability to address questions based on trusted data. “We were able to present a conservative forecast based on reasonably expected scenarios,” Stringer said.

Overall, Stringer has seen a 60% reduction in his budgeting workload since moving off Excel — time he’s now investing in higher-value strategy and analytics.

“Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning has allowed me to move more quickly, be more efficient with my time, and turn around deliverables much faster,” Stringer said. “I’m able to put my time to use within the analytical functions of the organization, helping to make sure we’re making the right decisions and driving the best results we can.”

Walden Behavioral Care Adapts with Telehealth Model

COVID brought big changes for Walden Behavioral Care, a healthcare provider that specializes in treating people with eating disorders with 15 locations for outpatient, inpatient, and residential care in New England and Georgia.

Walden needed to temporarily shut down outpatient services and adopt a telehealth model, with impacts across revenue and staffing requirements. The organization devised about 10 versions of a COVID reforecast, forecasting line-item expenses and revenue at a much more granular level to make informed business decisions.

“With Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning, we can look at different scenarios and make adjustments far, far more easily than we could have with Excel,” said Anthony Scaltreto, senior budget analyst and staff accountant. "We were able to reforecast for COVID in a few days rather than a week or more, and that efficiency was key.”

With overall budgeting efficiency up at least 50%, Walden is accelerating forecast frequency from a once a year to every two months. That’s helping the organization adapt as COVID-related economic conditions continue to change.

"Before we would do a forecast right before the budget cycle, in September,” Scaltreto said. “Now with the option to create forecasts much more easily, we do utilize them a lot more. We can forecast and budget far faster and more accurately with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning than we could before.”

Knock Reforecasts Amid Real Estate Market Uncertainty

Knock, a technology-driven real estate lender whose “Home Swap" program makes it easy for people to buy the home they want before selling their existing home, faced acute uncertainty as COVID lockdowns upended expectations.

“When COVID started, we didn’t know whether we would be able to even transact anymore,” said Megan Dunne, head of finance. “We had to model different scenarios and say, ‘If everything comes to a grinding halt and we aren’t able to transact on behalf of our customers, what does that look like?’"

With Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning, Dunne ran three scenarios in just a few hours that included comparative P&Ls with impacts on revenue, costs, cash, and more based on varying sets of assumptions.

“That was very beneficial to decisions we needed to make early in the pandemic,” Dunne said. “As things changed through March, April, and May, we were able to update those scenarios and recalculate the impact. Those scenarios were the key driver of the decisions that were made.”

Once real estate markets recovered from initial COVID impacts, Knock has found more flexible forecasting and budget vs. actuals reporting to be especially valuable in its growing and fast-changing environment.

“We’re a very data-driven company, we’re always re-iterating and re-engineering and re-looking at everything we do,” Dunne said. ”I would practically start from scratch with every innovation, and that was very difficult and complicated in Excel. We wouldn’t have been able to adapt and evolve as quickly if we hadn’t moved to Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning.

Visit our webpage to explore how your organization can transform traditional budgeting and gain agility and resilience to withstand disruption with Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning.

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