New: Better Plans, Better Decisions with Multiple Financial Planning Categories

Nate Mariner, Director of Product Marketing

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Imagine you're trying to navigate to a treasure on a map. Just knowing the distance and the temperature (two variables that will impact how you plan for the journey) wouldn't be enough, right? You'd also need to consider other aspects, like:

  • Direction: Is it north, south, east, or west? (What are the metrics for our organization?)
  • Terrain: Are there mountains, rivers, swamps or open fields? (What resources are needed for the market environment?)
  • Threats: Are there other treasure hunters? (How will we stay ahead of the competition?)

Like the treasure map journey analogy, strategic finance teams have the same types of considerations when planning for their organizations. The traditional approach of focusing on accounts and cost centers results in being underprepared for the journey ahead, and high performing teams know they need to consider additional variables that impact decision-making. In this context, access to, and utilizing, a broad set of data from financial and other systems is critical for building plans which prepare an organization for the journey through the business environment.

Leveraging multiple categories has been difficult

If you’ve gone through the process of pulling financial data from accounting or other source systems, then you know the dataset needs to include accounting segments, or other categories, for it to be useful for analysis and your audience. While exporting this type of data can be a cumbersome and error prone process, additional obstacles arise once you start to manipulate and structure the output into a format that can be used to create polished reports, useful forecasts or ad hoc analysis.

First generation planning solutions have attempted to make the process of extraction, transformation, management and manipulation of these datasets easier, but their aging architecture and complex administrative UIs created the need for specialized expertise, which added unforeseen costs like lagging system performance, maintenance and needing consultants to make functional changes to the model.

FP&A leaders are looking to modern financial planning & analysis software to give them the agility they need.

Multiple Dimensions in Stratify

To address these challenges, we are excited to announce additional accounting segments and planning categories in Stratify. We refer to these additional segments or categories as Dimensions, and they allow for multi-layered insight into your financial data as well as adding increased detail when creating drivers, building your financial plans and testing various scenarios.

Examples of Dimensions (Planning Categories or Accounting Segments)

In Stratify, customers have the ability to plan by any Dimension they define. A typical list of these categories might look something like this:

  • Entity for consolidated financial statements
  • Accounts for FP&A reporting and metrics
  • Departments for budgets and managing operational costs
  • Vendors for managing spend
  • Locations for profit and loss by office or region
  • Customers for sales planning and growth analysis
  • Products for demand planning and performance analysis

By analyzing and forecasting across multiple dimensions like accounts, departments, vendors and locations, our customers gain a richer understanding of their performance. This creates a more adaptable financial plan, allowing businesses to proactively respond to ever-changing market conditions.

Example: Planning by location

Let’s dig into an example where utilizing Locations for reporting and planning allows for a more nuanced understanding of business performance. For certain types of organizations building a financial plan with a location-based focus is crucial for success because factors like commercial rent, labor costs, and even customer spending habits can vary greatly depending on the city or region.

Adjusting for these local variables optimizes pricing strategy, anticipates fluctuations in demand and creates a more realistic plan. This also allows for informed forecasting of things like staffing, inventory, and marketing efforts, with the aim of maximizing margins and profitability.

Dimensions + business logic

Planning using Dimensions is valuable, but what sets Stratify apart is how they work with our delivered business logic. Users can immediately create forecast drivers using a point and click approach. There is no need to modify any underlying scripts, aggregations or formulas, as is common in first generation planning solutions and often requires special expertise. 

  • Delivered Business Logic: Users can create forecast drivers across dimensions like Accounts, Departments, Vendors and Locations (or others as needed) where a period range, a per unit rate and unit type (like headcount for a specific Department) and periodic increases or decreases can be configured without the need to create a formula and will automatically update as refreshed data is imported.
  • Calculation Confidence: Using dimensions in Stratify to create multi-layered drivers is easy, and because your data and driver logic is housed in Stratify you can trust it is accurate and easily accessible for reporting purposes or scenario comparisons.

Get started with Dimensions in Stratify

Dimensions can be enabled in any Stratify environment, and current customers who want to deploy new dimensions from their source data systems (for example, planning to utilize additional accounting segments in your ERP) will be happy to know our Customer Success team is available to activate them today.

Stratify is the top F&PA software choice for midmarket FP&A teams. Reach out for a consultative demo with an FP&A expert today.

Last Updated:
June 18, 2024

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