While budgeting, planning and forecasting processes are critical for aligning financial goals with detailed operational plans, driving organizational performance requires more than just completing these processes. Finance leaders at sophisticated organizations know that effective collaboration and communication are critical to helping business partners achieve their goals. Only with effective communication can Finance teams translate their analyses into actionable insights to support key decisions.
Unfortunately, many organizations still rely on Excel for budgeting, planning and forecasting processes. And while Excel is a great personal productivity tool, its lack of control, auditability and scale ultimately dilute planning processes. Why? Well, with Excel, rather than leveraging planning processes to collaborate with key stakeholders, Finance teams are often forced to spend time on low-value tasks, such as moving and reconciling data and checking reports for accuracy.
Leveraging the budgeting, planning and forecasting processes to drive effective collaboration was a key topic of our recent webinar with EFG International.
Hosted by OneStream’s SVP of International Sales, Ricardo Rashce, the webinar featured Dimitrios Itsanis, Head of Planning and Controlling at EFG, and Thomas Kissling and Matthieu Rivat of Inplenion International AG.
The focus was on how EFG leveraged OneStream’s unified platform to effectively modernize its planning processes.
As one of the top ten Swiss private banks and renowned for its distinctive client approach, EFG International is a pure-play private bank with a global presence in approximately  locations worldwide.
Inplenion is an international management consulting company engaged in projects worldwide. Its services include CFO advisory, corporate strategy and enterprise risk management, enterprise resource planning, enterprise performance management, and business analytics. Inplenion provided process design and implemented the OneStream XF SmartCPM™ platform for EFG.
Below are the highlights of the webinar.
Ditching Excel to Modernize Budgeting, Planning and Forecasting
After Mr. Rasche’s brief overview of OneStream, Mr. Itsanis shared some of the key challenges EFG’s Finance team faced as a matrixed organization with local entities across the globe. See below a quick summary of the key points mentioned by EFG (also see Figure 1):
- Using Excel limited EFG’s ability to leverage business drivers to accommodate the unique needs of business unit plans.
- Continuous alignment between EFG’s legal entity structure and business unit-specific plans were difficult to maintain while conducting multiple budget iterations in Excel.
- EFG had limited ability to “enforce” corporate cost-saving initiatives due to Excel’s fragmented nature and lack of control over decentralized, local plans.
Next, Mr. Itsanis presented his vision for how OneStream’s unified CPM platform would help EFG simultaneously modernize its planning process and replace Excel.
EFG’s key objectives with the switch to OneStream are noted below (see Figure 1):
- Convert EFG’s strategic agenda into action: Enable the application of detailed business drivers to derive the budget at the business-unit level.
- Align group performance to operations: Foster efficient budget negotiations and collaboration processes between the business units and the local units.
- Ensure proper controls while driving accountability: Enforce corporate cost-control measures while enabling cost centers to plan and manage business with the granularity required.
Mr. Itsanis then concluded his presentation by describing the key design principles EFG considered necessary for achieving its project goals with OneStream.
As Figure 2 indicates, EFG’s design focuses on creating a unified data model and business drivers for a centralized (and controlled) planning process. But Mr. Itsanis also highlighted how OneStream enabled EFG to plan at the level of detail required at the individual business-unit level– all while enabling consistent communication and reporting throughout the budget negotiation and, ultimately, the final sign-off on the plan.
Figure 2: EFG's Key Planning Design Principles
OneStream in Action
Mr. Kissling and Mr. Rivat, from OneStream Silver partner Inplenion International AG, then brought the webinar to a close with a live demonstration of EFG’s solution for budgeting, planning and forecasting processes. The live demo highlighted three EFG budget workflows. This demonstration illustrated OneStream’s ability to offer users individualized dashboards (see Figure 3) based on their unique needs. It also showcased how the platform intuitively and efficiently guides users through key tasks while maintaining data integrity as budget proposals pass between users.
Bringing It All Together
Mr. Rivat closed out the webinar by showcasing how OneStream enables EFG’s Finance team to quickly scan across all critical planning processes and tasks to monitor progress on outstanding tasks. He also emphasized how this allows for collaboration with users across the globe.
With OneStream now in place, EFG’s Finance team can finally focus on collaborating with local units and line-of-business leaders to drive business performance. Here are just a few more of the key benefits EFG realized by replacing Excel spreadsheets with OneStream for budgeting, planning and forecasting processes:
- Improved agility: Leveraging one unified financial planning system for corporate and local requirements, EFG’s business units and local units have immediate visibility into updates and changes they each make to planning and budget data.
- Alignment between detailed business plans and financial goals: EFG can now plan and manage performance at the unique cost center-level while supporting individual corporate and legal entity reporting needs.
- Accelerated planning cycles: EFG now spends less time collecting data and more time collaborating and supporting decision-making across the enterprise.
To learn more about how EFG International modernized its budget, planning and forecasting processes, watch the full webinar replay here.