[Case Study] Automated Financial Planning and Reporting in Plinacro
Most growing businesses are similar in one regard: at some point in their growth, they will realize that Excel will not suffice as their only financial planning solution.
Plinacro, the largest Croatian gas transmission system operator, is not an exception.
They did use a dedicated planning solution, but it was a legacy tool with expiring support, and even when it worked, the planning team still had to rely on Excel to create their yearly financial plans.
Farseer helped them optimize planning workflows, plan their investments more effectively, and automate the planning processes.
Read on to learn how.
About The Company
Plinacro was established in 2001 by unbundling from its mother company - INA, the largest Croatian oil company. They are a 100% state-owned company in charge of supervision, maintenance, development, and construction of the entire Croatian gas transmission system and all related technical activities.
They aim to be the leading infrastructural energy entity in the Croatian gas business. They are also a crucial strategic energy partner in the EU region.
Expiring Software Support and Other Planning Problems in Plinacro
In 2020, a team of 30 people in charge of planning processes in Plinacro started looking for a new planning solution. The support for the old one was running out, and the team was aware that their planning needs cannot be satisfied by Excel alone.
What Plinacro needed was a software solution that covers:
Detailed revenue and cost planning
Complex gas transmission maintenance financial planning
In-depth CAPEX planning - investments and fixed assets
Detailed planning reports - P&L, cost allocation reports, listed not only by company divisions and GL accounts but also on the transaction level.
Centralized planning database, easy workflow management, and a single source of truth for all 30 planners
Due to the nature of their business, CAPEX planning and reporting was the most sensitive part of Plinacro’s problem. All their investments are usually broken down into projects, which are then divided into phases. Every phase is then granulated to specific project tasks, each one with its specific costs that need to be planned for in detail. These intricacies of the planning process needed to be reflected in the reports. Plinacro’s planning team wanted to easily generate P&L and other planning reports for all of the company divisions, not only for all GL accounts, but they also wanted to drill down to the transaction level.
As a state-owned company, Plinacro was obliged to put out an official request for proposal (RFP) and started taking bids from software vendors. Farseer applied as a vendor, together with a partner company that should help with the Azure environment where Farseer was hosted.
The Implementation and The Results
The first step was a detailed analysis of company processes and infrastructure. We connected to their ERP and loaded all key accounts to Farseer. This was not an easy task because their ERP, Oracle EBS, is on-premise, and Farseer's infrastructure is cloud-based.
We created a two-way communication channel between Farseer and the ERP system. The company could now automatically sync Farseer plan figures with the ERP, and vice versa: to constantly track the actuals because Farseer always has the latest transaction data from the ERP.
This way, Farseer became the company's single source of truth and hub for all plan vs. realization comparisons.
Planners can now enter all plan data directly into the software. Farseer's commenting and messaging systems make it easy for the team to communicate inside the application. There is no more need to juggle several simultaneous email threads, sending Excel files back and forth for entry and approval, risking potential expensive errors, as they did before. Farseer also helped solve one of Plinacro’s crucial pain points: report generation. In the Dashboard area, users can find ready-made, automated reports classified by several dimensions: company divisions, GL accounts, and transactions. Users can easily switch between the views and review P&L, CAPEX, revenue, and budget reports.
Naturally, not all of them were supposed to see everything, so Plinacro leveraged Farseer’s granulated permission access system to limit access both to the model and the reports in the Dashboard. Another perk of using Farseer was completely formatted reports planners could automatically export from Farseer to Excel when needed.
After the implementation, employee education, software testing, and deployment, the project manager from the client-side rated the project with 36/36 points, according to the official project rating process.