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Sage Intacct Planning: Next Level Forecasting

Jo Fuller, Head of Pre Sales and Product Innovation at Percipient introduces Sage Intacct Planning and talks us through how it’s simple to use forecasting and planning capabilities and real-time analysis is helping modern businesses to refine strategy and boost performance.

A New Way to Forecast

Financial planning software has become a prerequisite for modern businesses looking to navigate turbulent markets and refine strategy through real-time analysis, for optimum performance.

Sage Intacct Planning (SIP) delivers out-of-the-box budgeting, forecasting, and planning capabilities which are easy and intuitive to use, with deep analysis and intelligence. Fully integrated with Sage Intacct, SIP complements and amplifies the core capabilities within the award-winning cloud platform, to facilitate one, meaningful, intelligent version of the truth, enabling confidence, control, and collaboration. But its real value is that it delivers these capabilities out-of-the-box and is fully integrated with Sage Intacct to enable organisations to realise this value quickly.

Many traditional planning and forecasting platforms rely on manual data input from different systems and can be complex and time-consuming to derive value from. SIP is different because it is based on the same principles of Sage Intacct – easy to deploy, easy to use, and easy to drive value from. It simply pulls through data from Sage Intacct, allowing users to select which information is used, alongside external data, whether insight is needed on revenue management; expenses; or employees.

A Meaningful View

SIP takes GL accounts as well as the previous year’s budget and can extract and process data at an accounting, departmental and dimension level to create an informed and intelligent forecast based on all of the relevant facts and figures.

It can map data to budget lines, taking into account revenue; wages and salaries; overheads; energy usage and sustainability metrics; as well as actuals.

This comprehensive, live, view, fosters collaboration in the budgeting process, empowering heads of departments as they can feed into the budget process to create a forecast which closely aligns with performance, market dynamics, variables and intelligence rather than simply looking at the previous year and adding or taking away a percentage. It’s important to note that SIP can be sectioned and shared with budget holders, with parameters built in so that controls are exercised.

Superior Out-of-the-Box Planning

Without such a system, numerous spreadsheets would have to be manually reconciled, which not only leaves department heads vulnerable to errors and version control, but is inefficient as a process, absorbing resources which could otherwise be channelled into refining strategy and supporting innovation.

Two-Way Data Flow

Crucially the integration between Sage Intacct and SIP is two-way. This bi-directional data flow means that once forecasts have been created, the insights and data feed back into tabs and reports within the core system to ensure consistency and enhance the real-time accuracy of core accounts. This unique closed-loop functionality is important because any changes to budgets update all tagged fields, and any field or code can be hyperlinked back to the relevant budget or P&L view.

More than linking back, SIP applies intelligence to be able to drill down into where a particular piece of intelligence or data came from, reinforcing the accuracy and authenticity of a particular view. Once data is in Sage Intacct and/or SIP, you can map to budget lines, representing a huge USP. Greater rigour can therefore be exercised, and budget structures applied.

Revenue Management

When it comes to budget drivers it’s important to remember that the practice of budgeting is not an exact science. So many evolving variables exist, which hold the potential to impact performance and profitability, and budgets must evolve in line with changing dynamics. For example, if an event is likely to increase revenue by 20% what is the impact of this? If a hotel has 20% more guests how will this increase affect the cost base?

SIP supports this enhanced planning by taking insights from Sage Intacct to calculate the true impact.  It can utilise multi-level formula-based budget drivers which can be imported from an Excel spreadsheet so that calculations can look for example at how revenue increases impact cost bases such as travel agents’ commission or staffing costs. So if an average hotel room rate is increased to, say £120 per night, intending to sell 200, it can calculate the revenue value if the occupancy rate is, say, 95%. It can then tell you, if occupancy increases by 10% and the average daily rate goes up by £10, the precise impact of that on revenue lines.

Crucially, this capability extends to longer-term planning. For example, in the case of hotel refurbishments, it can factor in the capex needed, offsetting the revenue generated from expanded capacity to the cost base for the refurbishment.

Personnel Planning

When it comes to HR, wages and salaries can be fully accounted for when onboarding new employees. Because employee costs extend beyond just salaries and must factor in NI, taxes, pensions, health insurance and other contributions, a comprehensive view is needed to establish the actual cost.

SIP links to actuals, therefore costs can be restricted to actual budget lines and integrated with the payroll system. This degree of personnel and budget planning is hugely valuable and offers far greater depth and intelligence than comparable entry-level systems.

Understanding What-If Scenarios

Once you have all budget figures and value you can play with different scenarios to gain an understanding of how different variables will impact performance and profitability. Crucially these what-if scenarios can be merged with the working budget and flow seamlessly back into Sage Intacct. This can be applied over cash flow and P&L to look at the interdependencies and impact of one change on another. Optimum scenarios can be created, and the linked drivers highlighted to enable better decision-making, enhance cashflow and support strategy.

Summary

The comprehensive picture generated by SIP drives a more robust, meaningful, and comprehensive view of financial planning. With SIP customers reporting an average 250% ROI, 75% in time savings and 4x forecasting frequency, few companies can afford to be without it as they navigate modern markets, look to optimise the customer experience, and expand market share.

The benefits of Sage Intacct Planning (SIP):

  • Set up in minutes
  • Syncs GL data and dimensions
  • Multi-currency set-up
  • Easy to navigate
  • Advanced modelling
  • Rolling forecasts
  • Built-in financial intelligence and calculation logic
  • What-if scenario planning

Multi-Award-Winning Sage Intacct Partner

For more information about how we can help your business to succeed with Sage Intacct and Sage Intacct Planning, get in touch or call us on 01606 871332.

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