Navigating Today’s Uncertainty to Maintain Profitability

Times are changing…again. What were once afterthoughts (cash-flow forecasting and capital consumption rates ) are now at the forefront of your business. Most businesses are making the shift from growth to capital efficiency. Planning Maestro helps maintain profitability and navigate times of change.

What Business Leaders are Doing Now Versus

What They Need to be Doing

High-Growth Mode vs. Capital Efficiency

All businesses need to plan for strategic change, such as office expansion or acquisitions, or to act on risks introduced by market dynamics. With Planning Maestro, our scenario planning software, the dynamic link between all key financial statements (profit & loss, balance sheet and cash flow), means all related reports can be created quickly and easily, so you – and your executive team – can immediately quantify your assumptions and understand how they will affect your financial statements. 

Slow and Manual Financial Processes vs. Scenario Planning

The ability to explore the financial consequences of alternative business growth and funding strategies is critical, especially in fluid or volatile markets. But, this type of what-if-analysis isn’t possible within spreadsheet budgeting. Changing data at a detail data level and have it dynamically “ripple through” to the cash flow analysis, or quickly make a percentage adjustment on a group of data to drive a different cash flow scenario becomes a large and often imprecise task.

Created to provide dynamic cash flow capabilities, Planning Maestro provides a flexible tool with which to easily implement a meaningful, timely and resolutely accurate cash flow statement. Built in financial logic provides insight, allowing the user to manage and predict cash flow activities over a given time period, especially during uncertain times.

Top-Down Budgeting vs. Driver-Based Budgeting

With driver-based budgeting, it is easy to link corporate goals and financial metrics to operational activities. This allows your business to track performance and progress while offering the flexibility to course correct whenever necessary.

Lack of Personnel Planning vs. Automated Workforce Planning

Today’s environment requires business leaders to plan for workforce expenses at a level of granularity that is difficult, if not impossible, with Excel. Personnel planning with Planning Maestro means you can control your expenses across different operational centers, shifts and products, adjust payroll numbers for high turnover departments such as call centers, and even budget at an individual employee level to see the cash flow implications of each employee’s taxes and benefits throughout the year.

Reporting on Actuals vs. Forecasting

Finance leaders know that budgets are never set in stone. The dynamic nature of business means a budget that looked great in January can require a major overhaul in April. It can cause havoc in an organization that does not have an efficient process for adjusting budgets and plans accordingly. Planning Maestro streamlines budget to actual variance analysis and eliminates the time consuming and error-prone manual work typically needed to reference and compare budgets and forecasts.

What it Takes to Run a Business

Empower Your Business with Planning Maestro

Common Challenges During Sluggish Economy

How Planning Maestro Can Help

Cash-flow planning

Small and mid-size businesses are often the first ones to be hit, and often hit the hardest, during “tough and uncertain times”. The ability for a company to develop an insightful, strategic, and accurate cash flow budget or forecast allows you to manage scarce resources effectively, as well as provide investors with greater insight.


With less cash to count on, knowing your cash flow position has never been more important: how much is really in the bank, how much is available on short notice, what revenues are coming in when, and what resources are going out and when. Managing your cash flow as tightly as possible is perhaps the most important tool you have to withstand the down economy and come out on the other side intact and poised for growth.

Personnel planning

Many small and midsize businesses operate on a low profit margin and, therefore, become very sensitive to any market fluctuations. Even during times of immense growth, your employees are often your biggest expense. Forecasting workforce expenses accordingly will help prepare your business for even the worst market conditions.

Profitability analysis

All companies strive for growth and earnings, no matter what market conditions look like. It is known that three-quarters of companies will experience a revenue decline during a recession, yet 14% actually experience revenue and profitability growth.


Companies that remain strong during uncertain times are often those that have the ability to forecast with accuracy, pivot budgets easily, and analyze how to reduce costs using robust what-if scenario planning. 

Business Volatility

For most small to medium sized companies the management of cash inflows and outflows is critical. Your company may have limited resources for borrowing capital quickly. An accurate cash flow statement developed during the plan or forecast process can serve as an alert mechanism for any future problems caused by an unfavorable cash position.

Why Accurate Cash Flow Insights Matter More During Times of Uncertainty

Download our white paper, Making the Big Shift: Transitioning from Growth to Capital Efficiency, to learn how an insightful, strategic, and accurate cash flow budget will allow you to manage scarce resources effectively.

Making the Shift: Transitioning from growth to capital efficiency white paper by centage
Heartland Customer Testimonial for centage's planning maestro

Trusted By More Than 10,000 Users

“We used Planning Maestro to do some worst-case scenario planning, such as losing 50% of our revenue and planned hours. It was a huge benefit to forecast the impact on our revenue. We were fortunate that our worst-case scenario didn’t come to pass, but it was still helpful to know what it would look like so that we could plan ahead.”

- Peter Welch,
CFO, Heartland

Your Cash-Flow Forecasting Options

The challenge for most companies in developing accurate and timely cash flow plans, reports, and analysis is the limited availability of capable software for supporting this effort. The lack of viable software has ensured that spreadsheet technology remains the go-to method for developing cash flow models and statements and had led to inability to forecast at all.

Tool/Application

Rating/Grade

Advantages or Limitations

Spreadsheets

C

- Inherent spreadsheet limitations do not effectively support planning or forecasting of cash flow

- Difficult to develop and maintain versions, dynamic financial statement links, and what-if analysis

ERP Systems

D+

- Most ERP systems do not support best-in-class planning and forecast modules 

- Inflexible cash flow functionality

- Implementation and modeling efforts can be costly

BPM Solutions

B

- Business Performance Management (BPM) solutions can be very expensive, often more than $100,000, requires significant IT support and may take up to years to implement.

- Difficult to find a solution that offers inherent dynamic links between financial statements

Cash Flow Point Solutions

B+

- Cash flow point solutions will usually offer robust functionality for creating effective cash flow models but are not integrated planning & forecasting applications. As a result, there is a disconnect between the operational and high-level planning activities that companies need to prepare a realistic cash flow projection.

- Insight and visibility into the underlying components of cash flow reporting is difficult to maintain

Planning Maestro

A+

- Support for purpose-built cash flow reporting and analysis planning capabilities

- Minimal implementation costs with out-the-box cash flow statements

- Support for automatic, dynamic links between key financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow)

- Support for cash flow versioning and what-if analysis

- Drill-down capabilities to provide visibility to underlying cash flow components

- Dynamic synchronization between cash flow and planning/forecasting activities

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