"It gave us the flexibility to see the cash position and impact at the end of the year, as well as pressure points throughout. We were able to create “what ifs”, playing with staff numbers, pricing product mix and sales per hour."
Zest Plan is a comprehensive home appliance insurance provider founded in 2006. Since then, they have continued to rapidly grow at a rate of 20% annually, with new sites and products rolling out frequently.
This rapid expansion has occurred both organically and via shrewd acquisitions. However, with one investment after another, the complexity of forecasting and budgeting became extreme.
Months were spent tackling an evolving monster of a spreadsheet, which spewed formulas, drained efficiency and blocked a clear view of business performance.
Such drawbacks caused much distress for the financial planning team. Yet, this was just the beginning of a seismic struggle.
With numerous tabs, multiple pivot tables and clunky visual aids, Zest Plan’s spreadsheets masked key information in and amongst a plethora of static data.
To make matters worse, this data was being manually inputted. This process took lots of time and prevented the fatigued finance team from tracking key metrics in real-time.
Furthermore, with the manual insertion of information from systems such as “Exchequer”, mistakes were being made and data integrity could never be fully guaranteed.
For a company dealing with a vast amount of complexity within their financial planning, such mistakes could prove costly. Just one small piece of information incorrectly entered into Excel could set about an entire chain of negative events.
These risks come part and parcel with Excel, as it is a generic tool not designed for collecting data in a dynamic environment. It is used because of the absence of any cost-effective alternative.
However, times have changed. When realising that their business had outgrown Excel, Zest Plan identified four flexible financial planning solutions. These would enable the insurance provider to create advanced rolling forecasts, model multiple scenarios and automate data entry from a single source of truth.
After a lengthy procurement process, it was clear that the pick of the bunch was a Workforce Adaptive Planning tool. All that was left to do was appoint an expert consultancy to build and implement a successful model within the system. Formulate were called into action.
"Workday Adaptive Planning will pay back in two years. It cost us £20K in annual licence fee and £25k to implement – without it, I’d have had to employ a financial analyst which would have cost us £35k-£40k per annum, so over 2 years it pays for itself. "
Experienced in working with Workday Adaptive Planning software, Formulate built a detailed forecasting and budgeting model that automated much of the reporting process.
From sales volumes and call volumes to cost of leads and cancellation rates, metric scores can now be tracked in real-time, as Formulate’s solution automatically pulls in data from multiple systems.
By effortlessly correlating these metrics with one another through a series of algorithms, Zest Plan can also spot trends, operational risks and potential best practices all within one simple, organised system.
This overview allows Zest Plan to generate a “big picture” analysis for financial teams and other key personnel across the business.
Every manager can easily access the latest data as the system pushes reports and dashboards across the business. This means that the entire organisation is singing from the same hymn sheet.
However, this is no ordinary hymn sheet. Formulate’s forecasting and budgeting model enables users to drill down into detail, work harmoniously with one another and make big decisions regarding future investment and expansion.
It achieves this by creating a stress-free space for forecasting cash flow, growth and modelling “what if” scenarios. Profitability potential can also be seamlessly modelled, alongside other key budgeting considerations.
This smarter solution is a real step up from Excel. Previously, only three budgeting versions could be created before Excel become unworkable. In contrast, Zest Plan can now generate 15 for a recent meeting thanks to the new solution, with each taking just 10-15 minutes to create.
Such results were so spectacular that Zest Plan avoided the need to hire an extra analyst. Instead, with Formulate’s guidance, they become completely self-sufficient.
Also, it was not necessary to complete a Workday Adaptive Planning certification. With Formulate’s guidance, everyone became an expert in using the advanced solution.
Do you want to solve forecasting roadblocks and move away from Excel?
As a prestigious Workday Adaptive Planning partner, Formulate know how to help organisations overcome the many challenges associated with financial planning.
To discover more about Formulate and Workday Adaptive Planning, get in touch today.