How to Implement a Forecasting and Planning Tool – and get it right first time

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How to Implement a Forecasting and Planning Tool – and get it right first time

USD $250.00 USD $200.00

This unique implementation toolkit comprise my latest thinking on the subject matter. The toolkit contains 100 pages designed to help readers to avoid the carnage of a failed implementation. This toolkit sets out the foundation stones for implementing a planning tool, the key forecasting traits you need to adopt, an implementation schedule and the reporting output you should aim for. Comprehensive checklists and templates (also received electronically) will help you with implementation. I have spent around US$50,000 developing and updating this toolkit. I guarantee, you will save many times the cost of the toolkit. Price in US Dollars.

Product Description

This unique implementation toolkit comprise my latest thinking on the subject matter. The toolkit contains 100 pages designed to help readers to avoid the carnage of a failed implementation. This toolkit sets out the foundation stones for implementing a planning tool, a list of planning tools around the world, the key forecasting traits you need to adopt, an implementation schedule and the reporting output you should aim for. Comprehensive checklists and templates (also received electronically) will help you with implementation. I have spent around US$50,000 developing and updating this toolkit. I guarantee, you will save many times the cost of the toolkit. Price in US Dollars.

Spreadsheets have no place in forecasting, budgeting and many other core financial routines. Spreadsheets were not designed for many of the tasks they are currently used to accomplish. In fact, I often remark in jest at workshops that many people, if they worked at NASA, would try to use Microsoft Excel for the US space program, and many would believe that it would be appropriate to do so. A spreadsheet is a great tool for creating static graphs for a report or designing and testing a reporting template. It is not and never should have been a building block for your company’s planning systems.

However, many models in planning applications have failed to deliver with seven figure sums being wasted. It is not uncommon for the forecasting model to be reengineered within 18 months of the original. This “planning tool implementation” carnage is well documented. Whilst there was an excuse before, “it was new territory”, now this is not the case.

We must learn and apply the better practices that are becoming standards. If you want to migrate into the 21st century using a planning tool then this is the toolkit for you! This toolkit will help you build a better annual planning tool, or improve your existing model.

Case studies and application providers are listed.

Why you need this toolkit:

  • Understand the foundation stones of better practice planning tool implementation
  • Understand better practice model design and avoid the common implementation pitfalls
  • To avoid the greatest mistake that many accountants make by using the excel model as a template for the new planning tool.
  • To give you confidence to take control of this project ensuring that the planning tool consultants act as advisors and not project managers
  • To understand why you should migrate from annual planning to quarterly rolling planning.
  • Apply the checklists and templates designed to help you to implement QRF
  • To help sell change to your management.

Contents of the toolkit

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………. 4

Why the need for a planning tool (PT)……………………………………………………… 4

1.1.      Rule of 100……………………………………………………………………………. 4

1.2.      Career limiting……………………………………………………………………….. 4

1.3.      What a planning tool looks like…………………………………………………… 5

1.4.      Common problems with spreadsheets………………………………………….. 5

1.5.      Many studies support the move to a planning tool………………………….. 6

  1. A better annual plan or a quarterly rolling process………………………………. 7

2.1.      Why annual planning is not advisable………………………………………….. 7

2.2.      The quarterly rolling planning process…………………………………………. 7

2.3.      The quarterly process (based on a June year-end)…………………………. 7

2.4.      Definitions……………………………………………………………………………… 9

2.5.      The flawed logic of the monthly budget……………………………………….. 9

2.6.      Creates the annual plan goal posts quickly………………………………….. 10

2.7.      Create a quarter-by-quarter funding mechanism………………………….. 10

  1. The foundation stones of a planning tool implementation process…………. 12

3.1.      Abandoning processes that do not work……………………………………… 12

3.2.      Ownership of project is in-house………………………………………………. 13

3.3.      Forecasting at category level rather than account code level…………… 13

3.4.      Fast light touch…………………………………………………………………….. 14

3.5.      Using a planning tool……………………………………………………………… 18

3.6.      Linking to current and future strategic issues and drivers………………. 22

3.7.      Separating targets and realistic forecasts……………………………………. 22

3.8.      A bottom-up process that is done quarterly………………………………… 23

3.9.      Designing the planning tool with months of 4 or 5 weeks……………….. 24

  1. The rules for implementing a planning tool………………………………………. 26

4.1.      Accurate revenue forecasting – talking to the right people……………… 26

4.2.      Forecast personnel costs accurately…………………………………………… 26

4.3.      Trend graphs for every forecasted category………………………………… 27

4.4.      Enable monthly phasing for only the next 6 months……………………… 28

4.5.      Automate and standardize travel and accommodation costs…………… 29

4.6.      Roll-out 18 months not 12, 15…………………………………………………. 30

4.7.      Quarterly forecast process not monthly……………………………………… 30

4.8.      Complete before next quarter starts………………………………………….. 30

4.9.      Strategy done before budget……………………………………………………. 30

4.10.       Use key ratios for checking……………………………………………………. 31

4.11.       Set up a forecasting committee……………………………………………… 31

4.12.       Avoid complex scenario planning……………………………………………. 31

  1. Making the planning tool sale to the SMT………………………………………… 32

5.1.      “Leading Change” by John Kotter……………………………………………… 32

5.2.      Selling by emotional drivers…………………………………………………….. 34

5.3.      Selling the move to QRP…………………………………………………………. 35

5.4.      The emotional drivers for a planning tool sale……………………………… 36

5.5.      The elevator speech……………………………………………………………….. 36

5.6.      Deliver a compelling burning platform presentation………………………. 37

5.7.      The sales pitch……………………………………………………………………… 37

5.8.      Getting the green light from influential sages at your business………… 37

5.9.      Progress by stealth………………………………………………………………… 38

5.10.       Market success stories during the implementation……………………… 38

  1. Implementation steps in detail………………………………………………………. 39

6.1.      Secure senior management team (SMT) commitment…………………… 39

6.2.      Selection of a project team……………………………………………………… 41

6.3.      Project research, planning, and training of project team members…… 41

6.4.      Evaluation of forecasting system requirements……………………………. 42

6.5.      Focus group workshop……………………………………………………………. 42

6.6.      Commence acquisition of planning tool application……………………….. 46

6.7.      Test the best three planning tool applications and close the deal……… 48

6.8.      Training of in-house designated experts on the new PT application….. 48

6.9.      Build new model using in-house teams with external advice…………… 48

6.10.       Pilot planning application on three areas………………………………….. 48

6.11.       Road show of new rolling forecast application……………………………. 49

6.12.       Roll out training of planning application (using in-house experts)….. 49

6.13.       Complete QA processes on the Model………………………………………. 49

6.14.       Commence first QRP run………………………………………………………. 50

6.15.       Review process and ascertain lessons learnt……………………………… 50

  1. Some “planning tool” forecasting case studies………………………………….. 51

7.1.      Implementation of TM1 by Ballance Agri-Nuturients Ltd…………………. 51

7.2.      Tomkins………………………………………………………………………………. 55

7.3.      Service sector conglomerate……………………………………………………. 55

7.4.      American Express………………………………………………………………….. 56

7.5.      Procter & Gamble………………………………………………………………….. 56

  1. Forecasting reporting templates…………………………………………………….. 57

8.1.      Reporting the QRF to management and the Board………………………… 57

8.2.      The redesigned month-end report…………………………………………….. 58

  1. QRF immediate steps………………………………………………………………….. 60
  2. Writer’s biography……………………………………………………………………… 61
  3. Appendix 1: How a QRF can be laid out in a planning tool…………………… 62
  4. Appendix 2: Suggested report formats……………………………………………. 70
  5. Appendix 3: Interview selection checklist………………………………………… 73
  6. Appendix 4: Implementing QRF checklist………………………………………… 74
  7. Appendix 5: Performing a quarterly rolling forecast – checklist…………….. 79

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