Location: Cambridge, MA
GL System: QuickBooks
“Now I close the month in QuickBooks, bring the actuals into Planning Maestro, change the reporting period in Analytics Maestro and have it recalculate. The 25 P&Ls and the consolidated version are done within just a few minutes.”
“With Planning Maestro, I expect it’ll take no longer than a week to two weeks to build the full budget, compared to a month.”
Faster Budgeting and More Timely Reports Provides Greater Visibility into Personnel Expenses
Founded in 2002, SerenaGroup® is a global healthcare management company that develops Centers of Excellence in wound care and hyperbaric medicine. SerenaGroup has locations across the United States and works with hospitals, nursing facilities and state-of-the-art wound treatment centers as they focus on patient care and medical treatment education.
Staying at the forefront of the wound care field, SerenaGroup conducts clinical trials ranging from bio-engineered skin to growth factors to platelet gels. Dr. Thomas Serena, the founder and CEO of SerenaGroup, is the president-elect of the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care, serving 2,300 members in 31 countries.
SerenaGroup’s financial structure separates their locations into 25 to 30 separate cost centers. Their month-end closing process required creating a full profit and loss statement for each individual site, which was then compared to the budget, every reporting period. Joe Paratore, SerenaGroup’s controller, was able to produce all the individual P&Ls within his QuickBooks Enterprise edition, but the solution didn’t support consolidating them into the summarized report that he needed.
Paratore’s work-around using Excel involved a 2-3 day process every month. He’d export the 25 to 30 individual P&Ls from QuickBooks in batches, then merge the spreadsheets to develop the consolidated P&L. Because of the time it took to collect and format the reports and then resolve the errors he inevitably encountered, he was unable to produce precise forecasts, including down to the cost “center level.”
SerenaGroup also needed to allocate overhead expenses to individual facilities. One layer of allocation was needed to spread personnel costs among cost centers (individuals often work at more than one location) and a second layer of allocation was needed to spread overhead expense to individual facilities after the personnel expense allocation had taken place.
CFO Rich Morris joined SerenaGroup in 2011 from a background of working in much larger businesses. There, he had larger budgets, bigger accounting teams, and business metrics at will. Morris knew that he needed more sophisticated information to effectively manage the financial results for SerenaGroup. The existing budgeting process, while adequate for a small number of cost centers, didn’t allow the agility that their growing business needed.
Morris was initially prepared to invest a significant amount for a complete update of the organization’s accounting system, to get the consolidated financial reports with drill-down abilities that he and the others in the C-suite needed. After careful review, SerenaGroup recognized that by limiting the use of QuickBooks Enterprise to handling only the actuals, and then supplementing it with Centage Corporation’s suite of robust budgeting, forecasting and reporting tools, they’d have the solution they needed.
Once the solution was implemented, Paratore was able to produce the 25 to 30 individual P&Ls and the consolidated version monthly, with literally the touch of a few buttons.
SerenaGroup was able to complete the double layer of allocations they needed by creating a custom-built, automated process that performed the overhead allocation after the personnel allocation was complete, thus producing the cost center distribution results that SerenaGroup was looking for. In addition, they also created a new data group for personnel expenses to give SerenaGroup an unprecedented look at payroll expenditure detail at the FTE and location level, so they’re able to confirm that they’re on track to meet their operational goals.
The process of collecting the data and preparing the separate reports and then combining the dozens of cost centers to create the consolidated company-level financials took two full working-days every month. The same process now takes minutes, without having to worry about formula errors, missed data or broken links.
Paratore can easily run “what-if” scenarios to explore business opportunities and analyze expenses. When Morris wants adjustments to the forecast or to see results when adding an additional location, Planning Maestro gives SerenaGroup a variance analysis on the results that wasn’t possible when Paratore had to manually prepare the financial statements in Excel. Using a uniform report template for the cost center and consolidated P&L reports has given SerenaGroup the ability to analyze and compare year-over-year models, which helps them make better decisions, faster.
When it comes to the monthly reports and forecasts, Paratore saves 24 workdays a year that he previously spent compiling and formatting his financial reports in Excel. SerenaGroup has also been able to defer adding another accountant to their team.