Revolutionizing FP&A at an International Media Company
The Financial Planning & Analysis (“FP&A”) team of an international digital media company that produces over 1,500 pieces of content a day.
The FP&A team was responsible for preparing a Profit & Loss Statement (“P&L”) for leadership at the end of each month. To do this, they needed to gather global data from department spreadsheets, enterprise resource planning systems (“ERPs”), and online social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. There was hundreds of thousands of records to gather and leadership expected reporting to be completed within 10 days of the end of the month.
The team manually extracted information from each data source and manipulated everything in Microsoft Excel. As the file size increased, so did the amount of broken formulas and reference errors. In order to resolve these issues, the team was forced to spend countless hours investigating individual cell blocks.
By the middle of the year, the file contained so much data that refreshing a pivot table would crash the team’s computers. They continuously struggled to meet deadlines and settled for standard reporting with minimal analytics. The entire process limited leadership’s ability to make impactful decisions because the reporting lacked the actionable insights needed to operate a global company.
I redesigned the monthly process by implementing an Alteryx workflow consisting of over 150 drag-and-drop, code-free building blocks. The solution connects multiple data sources, transforms the financial information, and prepares a P&L that includes advanced analytics such as digital inventory sell-through rates and output capacity percentages. In addition, it automatically identifies transactions that were inadvertently misclassified and sends a report to relevant business leaders for investigation. The solution has successfully captured every aspect of the old process and much more.
After 4 weeks were invested to create an Alteryx workflow, the monthly preparation and reporting time was decreased from an average of 10 – 12 days (over 240 working hours) to roughly 35 seconds. This translates to a 2,400% improvement, an annual savings of 2,870 hours, and a bottom-line savings in excess of $130,000 per year. Business leaders now receive financial reports each day, as transactions are updated. Additionally, they receive customized analytics providing key performance indicators (“KPIs”) relevant to their individual lines of business. This provides leadership with the information and actionable insights needed to be agile in a changing global environment. They are more confident in the results knowing that the data is validated through an automated error reporting process. The FP&A team now spends their time producing valuable insights that help grow the business instead of struggling through spreadsheets. Best of all, no other team was required to change the systems they use or they way they operate.