Bakerfield Solutions: Plan For Easy with Derek Milioni and Rob Carloni

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This is a podcast episode titled, Bakerfield Solutions: Plan For Easy with Derek Milioni and Rob Carloni. The summary for this episode is: <p>Planning is at the core of FP&amp;A processes, but it takes intelligence, speed, and collaboration to pull together accurate plans, budgets, and forecasts. In this working session, Rob Carloni, Executive Vice President, and Derek Milioni, Technical Account Manager, both of Bakerfield Solutions, show how Planful evolves and automates planning, budgeting, and forecasting to simplify and maximize the value of these critical financial processes.</p>
What makes planning difficult?
01:39 MIN
Make planning easier with the Planful platform
01:54 MIN

Rob Carloni: Hi, my name is Rob Carloni and I lead the Planful Practice here at Bakerfield Solutions. Today we're going to be talking about some of the challenges that are inherent to both budgeting and forecasting processes. Then we're going to show you how to plan for easy. Before we get started, let me take a minute and tell you a little bit about ourselves. I've been at Bakerfield for three years, where I worked to assemble a world- class delivery team that has helped many of Planful's incredible customers along their financial improvement journey. Prior to being at Bakerfield, I spent my career in the corporate finance role at IBM, where I worked with various tools and processes across many different financial roles. Joining me today is going to be Derek Milioni who's responsible for helping our customers to get maximum value from their Planful investment. He's also worked on the implementation team where it's completed many successful engagements. Prior to joining us spent years in corporate finance. Later on, we'll also be joined by Eric Jue or SVP of delivery for the Q and A portion of the presentation. Our entire team here at Bakerfield has decades of finance and Planful experience. Many of our solution architects spent years working directly for Planful prior to joining us here at Bakerfield. One of whom actually trained us when we first became a partner nearly eight years ago. Others we've hired directly from industry, but at the end of the day, we believe in hiring finance professionals and helping them become experts in Planful. We've worked on hundreds of successful projects with customers across industries and of all different sizes. We also have an established Planful success program for Planful customers designed to max adoption and return from your Planful investment. Enough about the intros, let's get back to today's topic. How do you make your planning processes easier. For those new to the platform, we hope you get a sense of what embracing Planful can do for your organization. For those already working in Planful today is going to focus around how to use its planning capabilities to the fullest. What's so hard about planning anyway, right? What is getting through a cycle often bring about a sense of doom and consternation? Well, because to do it right, requires putting on a successful symphony. Getting through one interdependent challenge on top of another. I always described it, being in a planning cycle is feeling like you're running a marathon, while having to engage in a never- ending series of sprints. What do you need to do to get through it successfully? We'll mentioned a few, you need to manage the little time you have. You need to constantly be trying to shorten the cycle, but maintain the integrity of the plan. Not easy to do. All plan owners need to have various pieces of what's typically scattered but relevant data and compares assembled into one easy to use location and managing the overall process can be arduous as the different business owners cycles and scenarios all need to be aligned and in harmony rowing in the same direction. Much of the process involves using multiple inputs from various teams. A change in one input may need to be iterated throughout the entire plan at any moment's notice. Then everything needs to be done quickly, with a sense of urgency. Any changes need to be quickly aggregated up with any reports being available to all parties, updated with any of those changes. Throughout all of it, constant validation needs to be performed. Nothing's a career killer like presenting incorrect or down level numbers at a critical moment. You don't want to be the person in front of the board, realizing all your numbers are off because somebody added a column in one of your Excel files. Then top of that throughout the entire process, you need to be constantly explaining derivations and iterations of all the different points and numbers along the way. I know I personally was always constantly and painstakingly building bridges, which was always a lot of fun. So yeah, there's a lot going on. I always thought it was a miracle when we got through a tough cycle in one piece. The thing is, a lot of these challenges can be alleviated and made easier just by having the right technology and knowing how to use it. That's what Derek is here to show you next. How planning can be made easier through Planful. With that, Derek, if you want to take it away.

Derek Milioni: All right, thank you so much, Rob. What we're going to be doing today and what you're going to see here in a second is we're going to see a live demo application. We're doing this all live using a real application and we're going to walk through an actual template and we're going to see how to plan and ways to make it easier. To do so, we're going to get started here in the structured planning area of the application and jump right into the planning control panel. Right here and here we are in the application and we're seeing here we're going to jump into the planning control panel. What that's going to allow us to do is look and answer a few questions about how we're planning today. One of the first things that we're going to do is talk about," Okay, what are we planning for?" I've got this 2021 annual operating plan selected. For you, I want you to be able to imagine maybe it's a budget or a forecast. 2022 budget or forecast, or maybe it's a specific plan, or what if scenario. You get to choose how you plan. Next we're going to focus on who's planning today. One of the things that my clients often ask me is like," Hey, Derek, I feel like I'm doing all of the planning in Planful, how do I get it to a point to where all of my different department heads are managing their own plan? How do I get them involved?" You can do that by setting up your planning in a way that allows the people that you want involved in your planning to be able to have access to these plans and planning within Planful. What I'm doing today in my application is I'm looking at my legal entity. I've got my US entity. I also have the ability to do Canada and Mexico, Europe, Asia, Africa... all of my different entities today. Then I'm saying, all right, within that legal entity, I'm doing it by department. Now that's what's unique from me, but what's unique for you, maybe customer and vendors. You're planning by vendor, maybe you're planning by customer, maybe by product. We want you to know at the end of the day, Planful has the ability to plan your way. Look at this set up as just one example of how you can plan in Planful. Next, okay, what are we planning today? I want to focus on operating expenses. If we thought of operating expenses as a puzzle piece, what would be the whole puzzle, and that would be a PNL. That would flow into that operating PNL for our 2021 annual operating plan. What does that mean? That means we need all of the pieces available today. One of the key things Rob was just mentioning, was that one of the things that makes planning hard is a combination of time, interconnectivity and bridging and validation of the data. All of those things can be answered by doing planning in Planful holistically. By having all of your pieces for that PNL your sales, cost of goods sold, any capital expenses, as well as things and pieces planned at the employee level via workforce planning, as well as operating expenses. We need all of our pieces and why do we need all of those pieces? Let's jump into this template and see. Again, this is a live demo of this template. You can see the load in real time, you can see that we're... as we're jumping into this template, you're going to see a lot of live pieces that all flow together. When it's live and when we have all of these pieces in here, again, you can see we've got our sales in here. Why is there a sales and an operating expense template? It's because we're going to need that for some of our ability to plan. We're going to need that whole picture, the whole puzzle, as you would say. You can see that I'm bringing in an externally from another area of the application, not externally from Excel or Offline and we'll talk about that in extent in a second, but from another area of the application, because it's a reference account. Let's talk through all of the pieces that are here in this template. We're bringing in our sales data, we're also bringing in salaries and benefits. While that is a piece of operating expenses, we're referencing it from the workforce planning area of the application. We're doing that because we're planning this at the employee level and Planful has some amazing ways to do employee level planning and other templates. Then we have our travel and entertainment. We're actually going to be planning that here today. Those are going to be L or direct inputs. GNA, which are going to be the same. We'll talk about why this is green here in a second. Then our other expenses. Then you'll say," Hey, Derek..." Okay, well we've got head count right here as well. That's a statistical account, we're actually taking our full- time employee count. We're saying," All right, we're going to be using that for some of our calculations." These are pieces that we're going to be planning today. Now let's actually talk about how we are going to be planning. How are we going to be using these pieces? Why is it important to have all of these pieces within Planful and to do all of your planning in Planful? The first key piece here is let's look at a few examples about how we're going to be planning this template. We're looking at other expenses, we're going to start from the bottom and work our way up for right now. I want to talk about why I chose to bring in headcount. One of the ways that we can make planning easier is by leveraging tools, like headcount to do our planning. We've got this office supplies number and you could, as many of our clients do before they begin implementing Planful, go into an Excel and type out and rough draft your numbers for what you want office supplies to be. Or you could use a driver. A driver is a way to say," Hey, let's drive off of our headcount here." So AY 44, and then you use a driver here in column O that we've added in so that we can input once and times it by the head count. I'm going to come in here. I'm actually going to say, all right,$ 40 per person is my office supplies like per diem expense and it's based off of head count, so that as my team grows, my number grows. We want our budget to match the changes and fluctuations of our year. One of the great pieces, again, we talked about why do we need to bring all of our pieces into Planful is I'm no longer having to ask the question then to my HR team," Hey, is my team really at 31 and a half combining full- time and part- time employees. I thought we added somebody new in June." I don't have to ask that question because I can see as soon as they update our HR templates, our HR planning, it's going to update here as well. You no longer have to ask the question. Is this the latest version? If you're doing planning and Planful. Same thing with telephone expenses, I can come in here and say," All right, what's going on? How am I planning telephone expenses? Oh, it's AY 44, I know that's head count. I'm familiar with that and I'm using my driver." If I'm coming in and I'm saying," I want to plan different this year. I know we start out with 60. Let's go ahead and put in 45." I'm spending less time finding my offline Excel, less time, finding out how we did it last year and I'm quickly able to visualize how we do things and update on the fly. Again, we're leveraging our most updated recent HR information, we're updating the fact that we've got visual calculations that are simple to see and easy to adjust. Then one of the questions that's often asked is," Hey, Derek, our planning is complex. We don't use Excel for plus minus times we've got if formulas and some formulas and VLOOKUPS. How do I bring all of that in?" Well, again, you can reference other things here with a reference account if you're using the look- ups. You can also use if formulas. Now, again, this is a little bit of a lengthy formula. Instead of trying to explain, what's going on here in a live environment, let's create this formula together. I've got this line here that says happy hour. We've got that if formula that I just showed you and let's talk about why we're doing that. What we're doing today is we're going to say," Hey, at the Bakerfield team, we love to just... Once a month, get together and have a little virtual wall happy hour, it's a fun way for us to all connect, drinking, anything from water and sparkling lemonades to the good old ice cold beer." What we do then to plan at those, we want to make sure that we're for incentivizing our employees that we're doing so when times are good and we're not using crucial cash that we need when times are bad. We're going to use this net sales that we brought in. Again, how do I know that this net sales number is up to date? Because I'm using Planful to do my planning. As soon as they updated there it's going to be updated here. I'm going to look at them. I'm going to say," All right, let's go down to our formula and let's bring in." An if statement, if the statement is true, we give it one value, if it's false, we give it another. That's what we're going to do today. Were going to say," If net sales is greater than..." I'm just going to throw out a bottom line incentive number of 2. 5. We've got 3. 2 here, I'm going to add in 2. 5. If we're above 2. 5 each month, that I'm going to take the amount of people that are on my sales team and I'm going to times them by my driver. That visualized input that allows me to note instantly how I am... And I've added these little dollar sign here so if I copy across, it will not move. Just like that, I've got this 1260 number. Notice here, if I say," Hey times are really good." Let's increase the 45. Now I've got 1418. If we want to cut back, maybe we just do 15. Now are 473. I'm quickly able to use a complex formula, but still have an individual driver, an update on the fly. That way you're spending less of that crucial time that we talked about that makes it hard to plan on finding Offline Documents, copying, and pasting calcs or VLOOKUPS and just bring it into Planful. Even if it is complicated, you still have it in a cloud based application that you can share and not lose. That's one way to use planning and Planful has a lot of tools available. One size does not fit all here. Another way we can look at let's, look at planning travel and entertainment. Now we have the ability to look and say," Hey, what about airfare?" I don't want to do a if formula for airfare. I know what my travel is going to be based off of what we have planned way ahead of time and I want to plug that in, in the easiest way possible. Let's leverage what we call a spread method. You can also call it... you can use an allocation method as well. The nice thing about methods is that they have some out of the box options here, but then they also understand that just because you have some out of the box starting places, you also have the ability within Planful to make it unique, create your own customized spreads and allocation methods. What this is going to do is this is going to allow you to say,'Hey, based on the last year of January or February, et cetera, I can do a monthly increase." I could do it by dollar amount, by percentage. I could even do a full year growth percentage and you see some additional options here. We're going to talk about that in a second. Or I could just type in an annualized number and spread it across based on last year's history. Those are the out of the box options, as well as global fields. What we see on the right here and you saw it here with the four year growth, it's the same spreads here in the annualized value is these ones that we've created. I've created some very standard ones that many of my clients are using today. Again, your business could be unique. Maybe you have a retail business that's very heavy in Q4 travel or spending. You could create a spread that spreads it across heavier in Q4 and lighter in months, Q1 two and three. What I want to do is I want to say," Hey, I want to base it a base off the week." Four week, four week, and then five week plan based off of how the weeks interact with my months. If I come in here and I say four, four, five and I hit this apply button, you'll see now the spread code instantly tells me again, visualize is how we're planning right here in column Y. I can then say," Hey, let's plug in 250, 000." And just like that... again, four, four, five. That third month is higher because I'm assuming it's five weeks for the third month. And you could do it the opposite and do five, four, four. I think you get the picture around how we can make it unique. Let's have lodging do the same thing and match our travel. Come in here, and I'm actually picking 250. Because I'm looking at my history and saying," Hey, we did 121 last year for actuals let's plug in 120 this year." Just like that. I've got mine spread method. Notice here I also have the ability to use an even spread. This one's end of quarter, so you can really customize it however you want. If you have any questions about how to do a custom spread, feel free to ask us more in the Q and A. All right, again," Hey, Derek, we're using Excel, we're using Offline, we're using another product because our planning is too complex. How do we handle complexity? Even if it's something like a spread method, or if we just need multiple lines of detail. I may just not want one line of airfare. Maybe I have six different types of airfare and different types of way of planning airfare. How do I handle that?" I would love to then show you sub- line detail. You can see that this is highlighted green because I already have some information in here. When I click on the sub- line detail, you'll see again, live environment. It's going to load up that detail and we're going to see, I have my property, I've got Rob's property and it all rolls up into that building lease line right here. Somebody is missing. I remember we have Rob and myself but we also have Eric Jue here on our panel and we want to give him a property. I'm going to come in here and I add it a line and I'm adding detail as we go. My property uses an even spreads the same amount every month for my building lease. Rob's a little mean. He forces us to pay half upfront and then we can pay the rest of it over the course of the year. Eric's the nicest one out of all of us. What Eric does is Eric just run the lemonade stand. Eric's property only applies for the month of April, August. Just like that, I'm adding in that detail. I hit save here and just like that, I've got a building lease number here that has three different properties, all summed up to a summarized view here. Then I can instantly come in and go back to those details by clicking that sub- line button. Now, sometimes planning is more than just multiple lines of details at a GL level or statistical level, but sometimes you also may want to apply offline documents, such as lease or notes, emails and that's what I have here. I'm saying," Hey, Rob's property half upfront, mines equal every month and I could apply both of the lease agreements via PDFs and attach them straight in." No longer are we needing to take our planning and find your emails? If you feel like every year around this time of year, when you're doing planning, you're having to find some email that you have no idea whether or not it exists, bring it into Planful. Save everything to the cloud, so that way, when you and your team decides to either bring someone on new, to help you plan, if you are leaving for another opportunity and someone else is coming and replacing you, you're not playing the who has what email game, you're going to say," Hey, I'm not worried. Planning is easier because everything I need to plan is here in Planful. I know my notes, my details, my calculations, they all exist here, where I have full access and control over it." Why do we do all of this planning? Why are we setting up and working hard to simplify and make planning better for you? It's so that then we can use that planning for a lot of different areas, including dashboards, reporting, decision- making. What I want to show you next is the ability to then save this template and see how it looks in a report. It's the final piece of a lot of planning was be... do it in the template and then see how it looks in a report. I'm jumping over here to the reporting area of the application and I'm going to show you a live report. I've got this PNL consolidated with a focus on North America. That's going to allow me to look at it again from a higher level. We were digging in the weeds here, doing our detailed planning and now we take a step back. As a sales manager, we've done our job and now as a CFO, we're coming in here and we're seeing," Hey, I saw Derek finished his sales planning." I can jump here and say," What's the TNE at the consolidating North America level? What's our airfare? What's meals? I can look at GNA. I can then say what's our total revenue in comparison. One of the things that makes planning easier is that again, you're able to bring the planning into Planful. See all of your pieces in one place. You're able to simplify and visualize your data with drivers. You're then able to do these things, hit, save and instantly see it in a report from start to finish we're using Planful. At this time, what I want to do, is take it over to Rob and have him introduce our panel again for the Q and A and really make sure that we answer as many questions as we can with their remaining time.

Rob Carloni: All right, thank you Derek very much. Now I'd like to introduce Eric Jue our SVP Delivery. Eric has been with us about eight years now and he pretty much touched every project we've worked on. Comes from corporate finance at PPG in the past. I don't think there's a better expert on Planful. With that, I do see a question here. From Maria, I love the sublines however, when we roll forecast, sometimes the some formulas at the top are getting lost, turning into hard coded numbers. User is not vigilant to pop up... To reset the formula you up with the wrong roll- ups. Is there a way to mass update the formulas and the sublines? Eric what can you say about that? I think Eric connecting on the call right now. What I believe is it probably depends on the scenario that you're using to roll and the seating that you're actually using. The sublines should roll with the formula. I believe you have to use the plan scenario and you have to make certain selections. Maria, we can follow up if you want to email us afterwards and we can help you with that problem. I should also mention apologies at the beginning there for the lack of slides. Those will be available for download afterwards. Alternatively, everybody can reach out to us at info @ bakerfieldsolutions. com or go to bakersfieldsolutions. com and happy to talk. Any more questions? Checking the chat. I don't see any additional ones right now.

Derek Milioni: Hey Rob, one question we get a lot is what does it take? What's the timeframe to build a template, get planning started? What does that look like?

Rob Carloni: Yeah and so Eric do you want to take that first then I can jump on?

Eric Jue: Sure, so normally when we implement a budgeting process, it usually takes time that we have to spend to design the process, gather your requirements and then build out the templates. It can vary depending on the requirements.

Rob Carloni: Yeah, so basically what I tend to say is on average to build out a regular type template is typically about eight hours. That's what we assume. Obviously that being said there's complexities and customers specific things we have to take into account. What we like to do is really sit down with you, get a sense of how do you want your overall planning environment to work? How do you want to do reporting off of it and what ways do you want to do that. Really get a sense of all the details behind that. We make sure we encapture all the different variables that need to happen throughout it, so that it supports you both today and going forward. Long story short, it's about an eight hour process. All being said, it typically spans a week or two to really get it done, but it's usually... At the end of the day it's really on you or the customer's calendar.

Derek Milioni: Awesome. Thank you. Do we see a lot of time- saving from people who switched from Excel and Offline Documents to then using Planning? Is this something that's going to save a couple of hours in their planning cycle or what does that look like?

Rob Carloni: Yeah, so my experience has been... First of all, there's a lot of issues with planning outside of a tool like this. That's what I was talking about at the beginning. There's the time aspect, there's the validation aspect and how do you make sure it's all right. It's all that stuff together. All has to be working in harmony. In terms of just pure time- savings we definitely see that. I've seen days to weeks and I think even months just by implementing a tool like this and having the right processes and education around it. Obviously that all depends on your unique situation. I would say not only the time savings, but it's all the other things that now are easier to do and more consistent and more accurate that it really just rounds out the whole process and just makes the whole thing easier. So you're not down in the weeds but instead really on top managing the process, not reacting to it.

Derek Milioni: Awesome. All right. See, double check. I believe that's all of our questions for today. Thank you so much, Rob. Thank you so much Eric. For those of you who joined us live, thank you and for those of you who are going to be watching this recording later. We're sure you guys will have questions as well, feel free to reach out to us here at Bakerfield Solutions for those questions and for anything you guys need around Planful. We love working with Planful as a Planful partner and we're excited to be able to work with you as well and answer and help you in any way we can. All right. That's all. I think that's all we have at Bakerfield back to you, Emily.


Planning is at the core of FP&A processes, but it takes intelligence, speed, and collaboration to pull together accurate plans, budgets, and forecasts. In this working session, Rob Carloni, Executive Vice President, and Derek Milioni, Technical Account Manager, both of Bakerfield Solutions, show how Planful evolves and automates planning, budgeting, and forecasting to simplify and maximize the value of these critical financial processes.