That’s how Kevin Graney, VP of Global FP&A at PRGX, described planning, forecasting and management reporting when he first joined the recovery audit and spend analytics firm in the spring of 2019. It wasn’t long before he realized that some big changes were needed to modernize the finance function and enable better decision making with more agile business planning.
In order to ensure an accurate management reporting process each month, for example, at least two different people on Graney’s team would have to pull financial data from PRGX’s ERP, manipulate it manually and then present reports to stakeholders in several different formats, languages and currencies. With more than 80 stakeholders spread across 30 countries around the world, this made for an extremely tedious and globally inconsistent process.
“We were spending two to three weeks of FP&A time doing this management reporting every month, and we really only had a basic financial view,” says Graney. “What we were doing with our teams in Asia, Latin America and Europe was much different than what we were doing in the U.S. from a budgeting and forecasting perspective as well. It was a burden not only for the FP&A team, but also for end users.”
This made real-time forecasting and finance-led analysis very complicated and time consuming for PRGX. Graney and his colleagues weren’t serving as the strategic business partners they knew they needed to be.
“In the FP&A world, everyone wants to focus on analytics. Analytics is what makes finance fun, and it’s what helps people make good business decisions,” he says. “We were not able to spend much time on any analytical detail prior to Vena.”
When he launched the Vena implementation in June 2019, Graney had some primary goals for the project: improving finance efficiency, standardizing company-wide procedures and simplifying the planning process for his teammates.
“We wanted to realize efficiencies beyond just spending less time on reporting or budgeting,” he says. “We really wanted to be able to drive costs down for the business, figure out how to use our time better and be better strategic partners.”
But the most important requirement for Graney was minimizing change, maximizing user adoption and making good use of his team’s existing expertise in Excel, which was easily fulfilled with Vena’s Excel interface and flexible platform solution. Now—thanks to seamless integrations with all of PRGX’s source systems as well as automated data transfers with user-specific parameters—Graney and his colleagues have a holistic view of company-wide data and don’t need to spend hours on manual consolidation to get the reporting view they need.
“Typically, when you introduce a new software, people get a little nervous and tend to push back a little bit,” he says. “But we’ve gotten great buy-in with Vena and that’s because we’re providing stakeholders with the information they need in a format they can understand.”
With easier access to the data they need, more empowered users across the organization and significant time saved from the reporting process—all thanks to Vena—Graney and his FP&A team have been able to realign their focus towards driving value for the business through strategic, finance-led analysis.
“We have a global process now with one consistent forecasting process and one consistent report that we send out. As for that two to three weeks of time we were spending doing stuff manually, we’ve now saved that,” he says. “When we had one of our analysts take a job elsewhere, we decided as a team that we didn’t even need to backfill that role, and that’s because of Vena. We’ve realized significant savings and freed up a considerable amount of time, so now we’re able to perform even more strategic analysis with one less person on the team.”
Instead of spending all of their time gathering data manually and creating multiple reports, Graney and his colleagues can generate the reports they need in minutes and focus on more valuable initiatives such as regional profitability analysis, driver-based forecasting and enhanced data visualizations.
But, like all savvy finance leaders, Graney knows this is just the beginning of PRGX’s agile planning journey. He’s looking forward to growing even more with Vena and continuing to drive strategic decision making across every function of the organization.
“Vena helps us do the things we need to do faster and more efficiently,” he says. “We’re excited to continue learning on that journey!”