Feature spotlight: Company plans

Feature spotlight: Company plans

So it’s getting close to the end of the year and you’re thinking of Christmas. And next year’s budget.

There’s lots of moving parts – you need to get your department heads involved, and they need to get their own teams involved. There’s a mix of top down and bottom up planning that needs to happen. Some new projects need to be factored in for next year, some need to be continued, some need to be stopped. It’s hard, if not impossible, to accurately foresee how next year will unfold.

Fear not, that’s why we built Company Plans.

Via Giphy

Let’s go through the different steps in creating a plan. Keep in mind that although company plans have many options behind the scenes, the great majority of users will only ever be working with a single, simple page.

Creating a Company Plan

Let’s say we want to setup a plan for the 2019 budget and invite everyone in our organisation to participate. We’ll first want to create it from the Plans page and make sure we tick the ‘Is this a company plan?’ option.

In this case we have a rough idea of the budget and income this plan will contain – but these are optional, and can be changed later.

Inviting users

Once in this plan, this is what we’ll see:

Looks a bit empty! Time to invite some users.

As an example, we’ll aim for a company plan with three levels of users:

  • The CFO, a plan owner
    The CFO will fund the plan and invite the department heads.
  • The R&D Head, a plan manager
    The R&D Head will control a portion of the budget and be able to invite other users – and other plan managers – into the plan, and assign budget to them.
  • Bob, a plan user
    Bob works in the R&D department – he’s been asked to sketch out next year’s projects and forecasts.

Company plans can be set-up without plan managers, but they’re useful for larger organisations – if only so you don’t have to invite everyone yourself!

Note that someone could be a plan owner, manager and user all at once. For example, the CFO might have created the plan and be the head of the finance department and have their own projects and forecasts to plan as part of the finance team.

Let’s get cracking by inviting the R&D Head first.

We’ll want them to invite more users under them into the plan, so let’s make sure they’re marked as a ‘plan manager’. We’ll give them guide expense and income numbers (although you can leave this blank if you want!), as well as notes regarding what the plan is for.

The R&D Head will receive a notification inviting them into the plan, which will prompt them to add users under themselves in the same way. They should add themselves as a plan user if they have their own projects and forecasts to plan.

There’s no limit to how many plan managers or users you can invite! This is how our plan looks like after inviting two plan managers, one of whom – the R&D Head – has additionally invited two users under them:

You can click on any of these plan managers to see the users they’ve invited in more detail.

Planning new projects and forecasts

So we’ve invited our plan managers, and they’ve invited the people in their teams. Great.

You might be wondering what the plan will look like for plan users.

They’ll arrive at a page that looks like this, from which they can start adding projects and forecasts as usual. This page is unique for each user, and contains all the information they need – notes, guideline amounts, budget totals, projects, actuals and forecasts. It’s all there on one page!

Some tips:

  • Plan managers are only be able to see the plans of the users they invite, so you don’t need to worry about your salary forecasts in one department being seen by a user in another department.
  • Projects and forecasts won’t show up in the live view until the plan is approved. So you can safely mock up projects and scenarios without worry!

Continuing existing projects

Often some projects don’t naturally end at the end of financial years – they might continue for a few months, or they might repeat every year. In this case you can find the projects you want to carry over (from the Live view or another plan) and edit them.

By adjusting the dates so they overlap with the 2019 plan, you’ll then be given the option of putting them in that plan.

Notice the amounts of extended projects have an asterisk – this means only the project months within the plan are contributing to the plan’s budget. Thus an overhead can draw from the 2017, 2018 and 2019 plans – making it super easy to compare spend and income across these time periods.

Funding and submitting plans for approval

Now that users have been invited into our company plan and have filled it out with projects and forecasts, it’s time to think about approval and funding.

Users can simply click the ‘Submit’ button, which will prompt them to choose the amount of funds they want to ask for:

This will send a notification to their plan manager, who will then be able to review it from the “Plan approval” page and, if it looks good, approve the plan:

This will in turn notify the user plan owner that they’ve received funding. Projects in their plan will then appear in the live view and the user’s good to go!

Submitting for approval by default goes to the user who created the plan (in most cases the plan manager), as follows:

  • Bob, a plan user
    Once project are finalised, Bob will submit his plan to…
  • The R&D Head, a plan manager
    Once Bob and all other users in the team have finished planning, the R&D Head will submit their plan to…
  • The CFO, a plan owner
    Once all department heads have finished planning, the plan owner then chooses what budget to bring into the plan:

Some tips:

  • Once plans are approved, users can continue to ask for budget throughout the year in the same way – so you don’t need to worry about getting everything perfect from the start!
  • You can see a recap of all budget transfers in the Transfer History table.

Next steps

Everybody in your company is now on the same page, using the 2019 plan as a window for tracking their budgets and projects within the same time period.

Users can continue to create and edit projects, reallocate funds, ask for more funding and so on. And for those who want to plan ahead, you can create next year’s company plan as early as you want.

So what are you waiting for? Time to get planning!