How do I use gini to manage my business?
Although 73% of organisations have moved from an annual financial planning model, to a form of Continuous Planning - most are not automated enough to do this efficiently. Only 15.5 percent can re-forecast within 24 hours and a further 39 percent take up to a week. This means that over half (55 percent) will dedicate over a week of resources just to update their forecasts and financial models and reports.
With gini, that process can be automated down to a matter of hours - or even minutes. Below we have outlined a weekly and monthly process that can be followed to implement continuous planning as a way of managing your business.
Weekly Process (<1 hr)
Recommended Flows: Financial Performance Dashboard
Although it is not realistic to close your books on a weekly basis, by leveraging automation, it is possible to have a high level overview of your companies financial health on a weekly basis. We recommend leveraging automated bank feeds, so that transactions automatically flow into into your accounting software.
Once the transactions are in your account - you need reconcile them. On a weekly basis we recommend optimising for speed and avoiding making manual journal entries which have long term repercussions. Do your best to categorise all transactions you can, but, if there is a difference between the balance on the bank account and in QB resist the urge to solve it in your weekly process. Instead, note the discrepancy, and move on - you can solve these issues later on in your monthly close.
Once this is done, you can open your Financial Performance Dashboard and share it with your stakeholders.
Since the information is shared for informational purposes only, and no strategic decisions are made on a weekly basis, we do not suggest having a meeting to discuss the report.
Monthly Process (<3hrs)
Recommended Flows: Financial Planning Model, Balance Sheet Report, Profit and Loss Report, Financial Performance Dashboard, Cashflow Forecast Model
Our monthly process is based on the assumption that a business is able to achieve a monthly close. This is where any unreconciled balances need to be resolved, and any journal entries added if needed. At gini, we target a mid month close, with the a months books closed on the 15th of the following month.
If this is a challenge for your business - our bookkeeping service can help you get there for an affordable price.
Once your books are closed - it’s time to talk strategy and planning. There are 2 steps to this:
1. Prepare Reports & Identify Issues (2 hours)
(Here I will add instructions on how to prepare the various flows and link to flow guidelines)
2. Meet (1 hour MAX)
Share materials ahead of meeting - In order to streamline the meeting, we suggest sharing all Financial Reports + Plans 48 hours in advance. If anyone is unable to review the materials before the meeting, we suggest either rescheduling the meeting or politely asking them to excuse themselves.
Check In - This should take no more than 5 minutes for everyone to share a personal or business highlights since your last meeting. The goal of this is to get everyone on the same team before you start.
Review Plan vs. Actual (Company) - Use the Financial Planning Model to review your Plan vs. Actual. If you see anything that needs to be discussed, do not talk about it now, drop it down to the Issues List for later prioritizations and resolution (see Issues List below).
Review Plan vs. Actual (Department) - Use your Financial Planning Model to review your Plan vs. Actual for your Departments. If you see anything that needs to be discussed, do not talk about it now, drop it down to the Issues List.
Review Cashflow Forecast - Use your Cashflow Forecast model to estimate the working capital needs of the company, and identify any potential cashflow crises that may be occurring in the near future.
Review other Reports - Quickly give an overview of the Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, and any information from the Financial Performance Dashboard that might be relevant. In particular, highlight any anomalies on the expense or revenue size - whether they are big wins, or, unusually high expenses.
Look Forward - Here we want to look forward and and potentially make changes to our financial plans and forecasts. Areas you can look at include: sales pipeline, marketing projections, headcount plans seasonality’s (starting or ending), macro environment, or unforeseen occurrences. Anything raised here should be put in the the Issues List.
Issues List- This is where you discuss and solve your problems! Rank the top three most important issues and discuss how to solve these first. Solving may mean a “To Do” or project for someone to complete. We recommend focusing on 3 issues at a time to keep your use of time focused on the things that move the needle the most, but, you can choose to address more than 3 issues if you feel you have capacity.
Communication – Lastly, decide as a team to whom and how any communication will be disseminated through your organization around any issues, solutions, or new information.
Adjourn - time to get back to work and start growing your company