Building an automated platform for better forecasting
July 9, 2020
Over ten years our company has grown to 70+ people across multiple countries, adding layers of complexity to managing financial reporting and analysis. As a business, we’ve invested heavily in dedicated, highly-skilled expertise that deliver quality outcomes for our customers, whilst intentionally maintaining a relatively lean finance department.
When the world changed overnight due to COVID-19, the team had to quickly rethink the way they approached forecasting models. Our leadership committed to transparency for all employees throughout the economic crises and providing more frequent communications with greater context about the ongoing health of the business.
Using ourselves as a “client”, Melissa McCosh, Trineo CFO, “hired” Trineo to create an Express solution solving for the complexities of our evolving organi[zs]ation. In 30 days, we developed a working solution that enabled our finance team to produce more accurate forecasting models whilst creating significant efficiency with an automated, cloud-based application.
Responding to the fluid global economic situation, the Finance team needed a new way to look at financial reporting with more flexibility and ease of distribution.
Changing the way they modeled their reporting revealed some gaps in the existing processes. As the complexity increased over time due to scaling the business across multiple regions, Trineo’s small finance team was spending a disproportionate amount of time collating reports and managing disparate data sources.
They also discovered they needed a better way to connect and synchroni[zs]e data, and the ability to easily manipulate inputs that in turn automatically update reports and dashboards.
The Express team kicked off with a strategic listening session, looking at what currently existed and listening to what the “client”, our CFO Melissa, was trying to achieve. Through regular check-ins and further investigation, the Express team quickly broke down the challenge into more bite-sized components to tackle one at a time.
Together, they discovered the finance team’s needs were in fact better met with individual components rather than her original assumption of a singular deliverable. With further design thinking and user experience stories, the Express team advised Melissa to modify the approach, ultimately creating a more usable set of outputs.
In four weeks’ time, the Express team was able to deliver a set of automated tools with permission-based access to assist our finance team in more accurate forecasting, leveraging disparate data inputs and creating efficiencies by automating into near real-time reports and dashboards.
The ability to easily manipulate data inputs and change variables, for example currency, creates a more accurate forecast that is easy to slice in various ways according to the businesses reporting needs.
Through the Express team's expert consulting, I learned to be less attached to what I thought the end goal was supposed to be. By shifting attention into smaller components, we discovered new hurdles and gained a better understanding of the real business challenge. This process was not only a good lesson for me personally but ultimately delivered a far superior outcome than what we initially set out to build.