July 26, 2019
Successful Financial Planning: How to Create a Functional Adaptive Insights Structure
Posted by Reena Driver
Your journey to successful financial planning with Adaptive Insights begins with a functional Adaptive structure. This means having a clean set of GL Accounts, a logical Organization Structure, and clean ERP actuals.
Start by looking at your GL Accounts. You will want to make sure they are clean and consistent across your company structure. If your GL Accounts repeat by product or location, it might be time to evaluate your ERP and consider a multi-dimensional ERP solution, such as Intacct.
Next, your Organization Structure in Adaptive should be functional to your needs in Adaptive. If your intention is to streamline your budget process across your department heads, you will want to make sure the hierarchy rolls up by Department. If your intention is to streamline your reporting by location with multiple currencies, you would want your hierarchy to roll up by Location and Currency. Consider reviewing your current Organization Structure if you have more than 2,000 levels, to avoid performance issues, and think about making use of Level Dimensions for alternative rollups.
After your structure is functional, you can begin reviewing your Actuals and Transactional data. If you are performing multiple uploads each month, you may want to consider integration solutions to increase efficiency. However, an integration tool is only as strong as the underlying data, so if you find yourself making manual adjustments or overriding mapping, it might be time to evaluate your accounting processes.
Tools like Blackline’s financial close solution may be a great option in helping resolve some of these issues. Once your integration is configured, I suggest setting up the integration to run as a daily task. Utilize the “auto-map to accounts” option and turn on failure notifications so you are emailed any time there are missed mappings or kick-outs.
Next, you can work through building out your budget models and key reports. For modeling, start with the big wins like Personnel and Revenue Modeling. Our advice is to keep assumptions, inputs, and formulas simple and easy to follow, then expand out as your team and users become more familiar with navigating the system.
For reporting, create a simple Budget vs. Actuals report with conditional formatting to attract attention to material variances and with parameters for easy updates to report views. Even better, you can set up your monthly Budget vs. Actuals report as an announcement page and set the announcement page as the homepage for your users. This will engage your end users and motivate them to log into the system, where they’ll see their current Budget vs. Actuals immediately.
On that note, when rolling out Adaptive, be mindful of your end users and make their navigation experience as easy as possible. Set your current version as the default, and make use of tasks in Process Tracker that link directly to users and sheets so the system takes them exactly where they should go to input their budgets. On sheets, update the settings so formula-driven cells are read-only and users only see white spaces for input in places they truly should be inputting.
At the end of the budget process, ask your users for feedback on what worked well, what they had a difficult time with, and what their “wish-list” items are. Create a list and roadmap of these items to implement for the next budget cycle, so you can continue to improve.
And remember, you are not on this journey alone! Our team of Armanino consultants and account managers are here to guide you and direct you to the tools you need to make the most of your Adaptive instance. Have a question or need some help? Contact our Adaptive team.
Reena Driver is a Manager on Armanino’s Adaptive Insights team.
As a Certified Adaptive Insights implementer, Reena has managed multiple 100+ hour implementation projects for companies in numerous industries including technology, nonprofit, real estate and higher education. She provides best practices for budgeting and forecasting alongside assistance with training, integrations and internal controls.