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Case Study:
Four Star Freightliner

Quarterly reforecasts are a game-changer for Four Star’s business planning

Fast facts



Based In

Montgomery, AL



GL System

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“As a result, with Centage we’ve moved away from doing yearly budgets, and work off the quarterly reforecasts. We are able to spend less time talking about the numbers in the budget and spend more time on how we’re going to get there.”

Scott Coleson, Controller, Four Star Freightliner

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Four Star Freightliner is a freightliner dealership with seven locations in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Each dealership has four lines of business: new truck sales, used truck sales, parts, and services. Truckers throughout the region rely on Four Star Freightliner to keep their vehicles in good working order.

Running a multi-location dealership requires careful budgeting, planning, and forecasting. Four Star’s financial team relies on its budget to monitor the health of the business and track whether the company is likely to reach its goals, and to provide early warning if actuals may be off and pivots are required.

Faster budgeting & quarterly reforecasting empowers better strategic planning

We live on our budget. We look at it aggressively and we say, okay, this is where we need to be to meet the goals and expectations that we have. Budgets and plans are a big part of how we operate.”

Scott Coleson, Four Star’s Controller, previously relied on spreadsheets to create the company’s budgets and forecasts. He winces at the memory. “It was very cumbersome. It took two months to build, and another week to enter it manually into the ERP system, and in the end, it wasn’t very adaptable.”

At a certain point it became too difficult to reforecast each quarter and assess how well the business was tracking towards its goals with the finance team using only spreadsheets.

Software to budget by individual employee across multiple locations

Spreadsheets also made it very difficult for Scott and his team to understand and budget employee expenses.

Every year saw numerous personnel changes throughout the locations. Budgeting by individual employee was simply impossible in Excel.

Centage has been a game changer for Four Star’s personnel budgeting. It includes a comprehensive personnel budgeting module where employees are entered either individually or in groups of similar work functions. Payroll-related expenses are calculated regardless of whether the company has a calendar year or a fiscal year, and the correct expenses are automatically posted to the budget and accounted for.

Easily budget revenue & cost of sales by location for a growing business

“We’re growing, and we were struggling to keep up.”

Personnel planning was one major reason Scott chose Centage. Another was ease of use for building an annual budget as the business expanded, opening a new location and significantly increasing employee headcount.

Before Centage, budgeting by location and department “was really a best guess for expenses, and then averaging out the other operating expenses,” according to Scott. This challenge was compounded by Four Star’s rapid growth. In just a few years, the company grew from six to seven dealerships, and from 130 employees to 200.

Centage’s pre-programmed business logic and accounting rules ensure that all inputs are processed according to the company’s unique business structure, and automatically updates all outputs, such as the P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.

Four Star’s budgeting process is now far more streamlined and accurate. An annual budget that used to take Scott two months now takes two weeks.

Nimbly adjust the business plan with quarterly reforecasting

“With Centage we’ve moved away from doing yearly budgets, and work off the quarterly reforecasts. We are able to spend less time talking about the numbers in the budget and spend more time on how we’re going to get there.”

Centage has enabled Four Star to create accurate quarterly reforecasts, which have become essential to business planning. Centage delivers timely and robust data in easily digestible reports and dashboards, which enables business managers to make better decisions, faster. These reports also help the management team assess where they are, and when pivots are required.

Ad hoc reporting also provides strategic benefits to the company, particularly when it comes to comparing actuals to plan, and performing what-if scenarios.

“Our budget sessions are much more strategic. Rather than dwell on the number to put on the line, our focus is: how are we going to meet it?”

Book a demo to learn more about Centage’s formula-free FP&A software.