How do you want your life to be simpler?
- Faster close times create more opportunities to be a strategic partner
- Greater flexibility and agility means better insulation from disasters
- Peace of mind unburdens the FP&A team from consistent stressors
Kristina Delvalle, the VP of Finance and Strategy at 1Rockwell, was justified in thinking she had it all figured out.
After all, she'd forecasted for all the myriad, unlikely possibilities: sales fluctuations, spend overruns, and project delays.
But what she couldn't prepare for—because nobody saw it coming—was the once-in-a-lifetime change that was COVID-19.
"All the projections we did for 2020 were now scrap," she said. "We had to scramble. The new situation was totally different."
So at the end of 2020, Kristina made a decision: she was never going to do that again.
Kristina and 1Rockwell had a few challenges:
- Their current system wasn't agile
- Lack of communication between Google Sheets and Quickbooks created extra work
- Too much extra work made it harder to be a strategic partner
Let's look at each.
COVID-19 Uncertainty Highlighted 1Rockwell's Low Agility
When COVID-19 hit and the world all started working from home, Kristina's team, like FP&A teams around the world at the time, had to redo all of their forecasts and models…with an additional set of constraints.
"We had to create all of these different scenarios to find the best solution for everyone," she said, citing the reality of the budget priority changes the pandemic necessitated. "Doing that in Excel alone was grueling."
But that was incidental—March 2020. At least, that’s what everybody believed in March 2020.
And yet this new reality didn’t go away. The world was still remote, vaccines weren’t available, and the end to the pandemic wasn't in sight.
In other words: there was still a lot of uncertainty that she needed to account for. And Kristina didn't want another March 2020 incident.
Quickbooks and Google Sheets don't communicate, creating a lot of manual work
1Rockwell’s actuals were in Quickbooks but their projections were in Google Sheets. “So there was always a manual input of actuals from Quickbooks into Google Sheets in order to get an accurate picture of a ‘rolling’ forecast,” Kristina said.
In other words, Kristina not only had to constantly copy and paste between Quickbooks and Google Sheets, but she also had to spend a lot of time (and mental energy) checking that the numbers matched up. It was a massive headache.
"I was dealing with this constant reconciliation between Quickbooks and Google Sheets," Kristina told Cube.
This got even more complicated when Kristina had to consolidate her models or predictions.
“Consider having to merge multiple entities, multiple scenarios,” she explained. “We’d have to find something scalable so we're not in a situation where we have 2-3 entities and dump them all together.”
Extra work eats into time meant for strategic planning
Because Kristina was spending all of her time doing work, she didn't have much time left over to think about how to be faster or more strategic with her work.
Even worse, she didn't have the time to be a better strategic partner to 1Rockwell. Her role was responsive rather than proactive.
Additionally, some things just took too long. For example, Kristina knew it would sometimes take her a week to prepare a few KPIs.
"I was spending so much of my time closing the books," Kristina said.
Cube wasn't the first solution that Kristina tried.
"[This other solution] was great when I first started using it, but as my requests got more complicated and I wanted flexibility, the system wasn’t able to provide that for me," she said.
"It's important to do a trial run and see if this is really truly what you need," she added. "It's important that you test to find the right software."
Cube's single source of truth makes Kristina more nimble
Cube is a single source of truth for all of 1Rockwell's data, so Kristina and her team can make pivot much more easily.
Because Cube conceptualizes and stores data—rows and columns—as dimensions. It's simple to push or pull dimensions from Cube to either Excel or Google Sheets.
This means that to create a new model, all Kristina needs to do to import her data is to fetch it from Cube in the appropriate rows or columns. Cube handles all the copy/pasting, matching, governance, and cleansing.
What this means in practice is that creating different scenarios can take Kristina and her team fractions of the time it used to.
Cube integrates with 1Rockwell’s tools like Excel, Google Sheets, and Quickbooks
Cube integrates with Excel, Google Sheets, ERPs like Quickbooks or Intacct, and several other systems.
This means that Kristina can import her data into Cube directly from any source system she desires. Cube then matches, consolidates, and organizes it for her so that she can fetch it directly into Excel or Google Sheets.
This “Cubeification” is the core of all the benefits that Kristina gets—more agility, faster turnaround times, and extreme data integrity.
"The most important thing is to tie together Cube and Quickbooks and make sure all my Cubeified reports in Google Sheets are correct," Kristina said. "This makes my life much easier. What used to take me 2 hours to do now takes 5 minutes."
Cube’s robust customer success team removes barriers to keep Kristina fast
One of the surprise benefits of partnering with Cube is that Cube has a robust Customer Success team.
Each Cube customer gets to know one customer success representative who is their first point of contact whenever they have questions about the tool.
"I really appreciate that I have Sid as my go-to person because he knows our history and he knows what we're trying to do," Kristina said. "I can write Sid a one-sentence Slack message and he knows what I'm talking about. I don't have to give him the whole spiel."
Then she smiles and glances towards Sid on the Zoom call before adding, "It helps that he knows a thing or two about finance."
"When I first started Cube, I had one idea of how I was going to use it," Kristina said. "But it's flexible. I can apply Cube to all sorts of different situations now."
For example, Kristina now uses what-if scenario analysis for her projections in order to make better strategic decisions.
Speedier systems translate to massive time savings for Kristina and let her think about the big picture
“We can spit information faster instead of having to do it manually,” Kristina said. Kristina can now prepare KPIs in an hour or two instead of blocking out a week for them.
One of the most noticeable differences for Kristina was how her close time is now a 1-click process.
"Even if I have to manually tweak a few things, it doesn't matter,” she said. “Cube handles the majority of the work for me."
“These time savings let me think about the bigger picture,” Kristina said. “Especially now, gearing up for the new year. I can do things other than closing.”
Cubeified systems and Cube’s support team keep Kristina lean and agile
When looking at Cube, Kristina said it was important that Cube not only served her pain points, but also that it gave her that kind of quick, dedicated service.
The question she asked when she first started to look for FP&A solutions was, how do you want your life to be simpler?
For Kristina, that meant the standard promises of an FP&A solution—like handling the repetitive tasks she didn’t need to spend time on—but also having someone there to eliminate roadblocks and advocate for her.
“It's that white glove service you want: if you have any issues, you have a dedicated helper,” she said. “It's important to have a support team where I can chat or email and get an immediate answer.”
Kristina can better handle uncertainty because Cube gives her peace of mind
"Cube gives me peace of mind because I don't have to go back in and double-check my numbers,” Kristina said. “I know nobody has typed anything. I know that the numbers have already been loaded and reconciled."
So not only is Cube's extra speed and functionality helpful to Kristina as she completes her work: it also makes her job less stressful, improving her overall quality of life.
Overall, Cube has made Kristina's work life simpler, and she urges others to ask the same questions when considering the software they choose to invest in.
"How do you want your life to be simple by investing into the software?" she asks. "It's important to know your pain points and how you want the system to solve them."
Kristina has big plans for how she's going to continue being a strategic partner to 1Rockwell in the future and looks forward to continue working with Cube.