This is the third in a four-part series digging deeper into our Spring19 product release. The series helps illustrate how finance teams can use these new features and capabilities to accelerate, streamline, or otherwise improve their daily and periodic activities.
We’ve packed hundreds of changes into Spring19, but we’ve distilled them down to four areas of impact. Here’s where our customers will see the most value from Spring19:
The periodic consolidation cycle always comes with a sense of urgency. Finance has a short window of time to get every piece of the process gathered, assembled, buttoned-up, and closed, and then manage the distribution of the appropriate reports. Only then can the finance team get back to work on more strategic projects. Spring19 offers plenty of new and enhanced features to help finance, and even those outside of finance, better manage and contribute to this process.
Consolidation Status for Insights and Control
Effectively managing the month-end financial close process is critically important to delivering trusted financial results in a timely manner. It is a process that just can’t be wrong. There needs to be confidence among all internal and external stakeholders in not only the reported financial results, but in the process itself. There’s a tight window of just a week or so for closing the books. Everyone involved has to be aligned, working quickly to accomplish tasks, and staying focused on key deadlines. Compliance is also relevant here since the accounting team is required to conform to regulatory laws and standards. To add to the pressure, business users outside of finance are impatiently waiting for the books to be closed so they can start their own analysis of the business performance.
Managing the financial close process well is all about control and transparency so that the accounting team knows what’s happening, what needs to happen next, and where the bottlenecks are. Spring19 helps in this management effort by offering an all new Consolidation Status feature to give newfound insights into close cycles. It provides an “at a glance” dashboard view of the process for each period and entity, and allows for deeper and more granular control so everyone can stay on track—and you can nudge those who aren’t. These enhancements accelerate the entire monthly close process so that all key stakeholders in the business can get on with the important work of analyzing that financial data to make better, more strategic decisions.
See the Story Behind the Numbers with the Flow Dimension
Understanding the financial reporting output from the close process helps those across the organization better plan, forecast, and make decisions. Frequently people need to see the full story behind those actual results to better understand where they came from and how they can best be interpreted. This also helps finance and the business build their own compelling story about the business performance in that period, using the financial data to effectively understand what happened in the past, and then using those insights to make better decisions about the future.
Spring19 offers enhancements to a relatively new feature, the Flow Dimension. The Flow dimension allows for the tracking of Movement and FX Impact at a more granular level, which facilitates easier cash flow reporting and provides more detailed data for analysis. Movements related to Cash, Operations, Investments, Financing can all be tracked at an account level to enhance cash flow reporting.
Customize Your Close
One thing that’s common to every organization is uniqueness. No two are the same, and no two close processes follow exactly the same steps, use the same data, or expect the same output. We understand that, and we want you to navigate and manage your close process just the way you like it.
Spring19 adds new features that let you personalize your close process. The User-Defined Consolidation Process provides greater control over the order and timing of consolidation calculations, and allows for actions to be reordered or even skipped if they’re not needed. This flexibility lets finance work faster and with more agility (and less confusion) by only presenting what’s needed for your custom close process.
One example of User-Defined Consolidation Process is enabling your team to balance the books in local and common currencies, but then moving the processing of interim and reporting currencies to after the consolidation is complete. Or, for the accounting consolidation, you have the flexibility to run consolidation scenarios for specific period ranges instead of all years. It gives you more flexibility to do whatever meets your specific needs.
Spring19 offers even more benefits on the reporting side, all leading to more personalization, more flexibility, and more security. These new features and enhancements will help you get the right reports and data into the right hands quickly, easily, and securely.
Spring19 brings enhanced Report Collection distribution functionality that enables you to more easily and efficiently send reports to those—and only those—who need them. Through pre-defined, scheduled processes, the Planful platform will automatically compile and format the reports, then email them to designated individuals based on user roles and security.
We’ve also enhanced the ease at which you can dynamically select reports and the dimension members within your automated report packages. This lets you dynamically build reports based on parameters set during report creation. So, as subsequent report packages are created, they automatically include the proper data. For example, if a report is structured around departments, any new department will be automatically added and the relevant data included.
We mentioned security in the last Spring19 post, but we have also included security and control enhancements specifically related to reporting and automated report distributions.
When the books are closed, it’s time for the reports to go out. Much of the included data is obviously sensitive and confidential, so it’s critical that only the right people get the right data. And, it’s equally important for finance to make sure HR isn’t getting marketing reports and sales isn’t getting operations reports. To help, Spring19 improves the security around report distribution by making it easier to control who gets what, while giving you more control and more options around distribution.
Spring19 also gives you the ability to personalize the email subject lines and email text, even down to formatting, fonts, styles, and more. Additional controls let you send targeted emails with accompanying reports based on recipient data security. For example, managers might get one version of a report, directors get another, and executives get yet another.
Easier Close, Easier Reporting
The close process always comes with a sense of urgency, and the accompanying stress. We’re trying to ease the entire process, and Spring19 offers many great new features and improvements to help remove the pain. By giving you more control over the process, more insight into the activities, and more control over the dissemination of the resulting reports, we know you’ll rest easy at the end of every month. Well, at least a little bit easier.
In the next and final installment, we’ll dig into how Spring19 offers extended data integrations to help finance go further in their quest to become the central data source for the entire organization. Stay tuned for more from the Planful team!