We're able to catch accounting errors early on and make real-time adjustments, which are easy to update back into the models.
- Reduced manual efforts: Thanks to Cube's automation capabilities, InStride has gone from a multi-step import process to a single-click.
- Improved data accuracy: The team can rely on accurate financial data without the need for manual manipulation.
- Increase in forecasting frequency: Instride went from annual forecasting to monthly, resulting in more recent actuals that provided greater visibility into the company's real financial performance.
Arduous financial processes hindered efficiency and strategic focus
When Alex Leavitt joined InStride as their Director of FP&A (and first-ever FP&A hire) in January 2021, he was immediately met with a challenging financial close process.
“My first close was a nightmare,” Alex laughed. “It took way too long to verify the data and get all the information I needed.”
For a team of one, this time-consuming process felt nearly impossible to complete. However, even after building out the team, the challenges remained—and new roadblocks began to appear.
From data validation and month-end reporting to budgeting and forecasting, Alex and his team were spending too much time gathering and manipulating data, which took their focus away from what mattered most: strategic planning and analysis.
Alex sought a solution that would streamline processes, improve data accuracy, and enable the team to focus on more value-added tasks.
Implementing Cube to streamline FP&A operations and drive value
After exploring options like Planful and other competitors (which would have taken months to implement), Alex felt that Cube ticked all the boxes for InStride’s requirements.
As the first hire in a growing FP&A team, Alex needed a solution that could be implemented quickly and efficiently. Cube's user-friendly interface and intuitive features, such as the ability to build and customize various components and leverage Excel-like functionality, made it the ideal choice.
Cube's compatibility with familiar tools like Excel and Google Sheets—along with its seamless integration with NetSuite, cost effectiveness, and ease of use—also made it a perfect fit for InStride.
Since implementing Cube, Alex and his team have streamlined their financial processes (including the month-end process) and have experienced drastic improvements in their strategic planning capabilities.
One of the most noticeable benefits has been the enhancement of data accuracy and integrity. By connecting Cube to their source of truth, NetSuite, the team can rely on accurate financial data without the need for manual manipulation.
“Cube has eliminated the human error aspect, which has helped our data become way more accurate.”
This ensures data integrity and provides a solid foundation for decision-making.
Time savings have also been a game-changer for the team. With Cube's automation capabilities, InStride has gone from a multi-step import process to one that can be completed in a single click. The ability to refresh financial models and update reports with a simple upload or data refresh means the team no longer needs to spend hours manipulating data, verifying data, or creating reports.
“We focus more of our time now on the analysis, we're able to catch accounting errors early on and make real-time adjustments, which are easy to update back into the models.”
Another key area where InStride has noticed a significant improvement is in budgeting and forecasting. “When I started at InStride just 1.5 years after its inception, the forecasting frequency was annual,” said Alex. “Immediately after implementing Cube, my team could begin forecasting monthly.”
The ability to easily upload forecast data and compare it with actuals has provided greater visibility into the company's financial performance. This enhanced visibility has empowered the team to make informed decisions, adjust investments, and align their bottom-line commitments more effectively.
"Our top priority is managing our bottom line. In 2022, I was able to identify negative trends early that required course correction in our OPEX spend. With Cube, we're able to run real-time forecast scenarios, incorporating department lead feedback during the monthly forecasting process,” said Alex. “This allows us to pull investments out of the projected spend and understand the risks associated with those cuts. Since the teams were familiar with the process and had a clear understanding of their plans for the year, we were able to materially cut spend and still meet our bottom line goals for the year."
Looking ahead, Alex sees even more potential for Cube's features. Connecting Cube to Salesforce and Tableau is a priority for InStride, as it would enable them to leverage additional data sources and gain comprehensive insights. By integrating Cube with these platforms, InStride aims to further enhance their analytics capabilities and drive data-driven decision-making across the organization.
As InStride continues to grow, Cube remains an essential tool for their FP&A function to optimize their workflows, save time, and drive better strategic planning and analysis.