Empowers program managers to own their budgets
The COPD Foundation is a patient-centered nonprofit organization committed to preventing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchiectasis, and nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease, and to seeking cures while improving lives and advocating for all affected.
The organization is small but mighty, making a big impact for the community it serves while remaining dedicated to outstanding stewardship of donations and operational efficiency. They needed a software solution that could help the finance team work together with program managers to efficiently create budgets, projections, forecasts, and more. COPD Foundation tracks about 70 different cost centers and needed a way for program managers to provide inputs and oversee their program budgets. At the same time, they needed nuanced access controls specific to each individual user to allow them to manage their financials without gaining access to data for other programs.
How COPD saves time and improves accuracy
Providing individual access to specific pieces of the budget was difficult and time-consuming with Excel. The finance team had to export data to various sheets, provide specific access to individual users, and link cells across sheets to have data roll into a consolidated budget. Additionally, attempting to roll up data from over 70 different sheets made it challenging to adjust the budget or do any type of scenario planning. Identifying and fixing inaccurate data or broken formulas was time-consuming. COPD turned to Vareto’s FP&A platform to streamline its budgeting and forecasting process and improve visibility across the organization.
“Last year, I reserved 2-3 weeks alone for the roll-up process using Excel. There’s so much involved and so many formulas that are linking different workbooks, and it’s hard to trace errors when you’re working with that many sheets. With Vareto, I spend less than a week consolidating the budget, and that’s mostly double-checking numbers.” — Kaleo Curtis, CFO, COPD Foundation
Accomplishing better alignment across departments
COPD has over 70 pages in its planning model within Vareto, each representing a different cost center, and respective program managers have access to their own program pages. For annual planning, program managers are given a timeline based on stakeholder needs and receive deadlines to enter their forecasts for the year based on their knowledge of their programs. Kaleo Curtis, the CFO, reviews program manager inputs, delivers feedback, and approves forecasts. When it’s time to survey the organization’s financials, the consolidated forecast is already rolled up in Vareto’s platform, meaning Kaleo can access the Reporting application and use the visualizations he created to compare actuals vs. plan, vs. forecast, and more. With a simple copy of the model, COPD Foundation can track adjustments and create multiple scenarios and compare them all in a single report.
“The ability to not just create a bunch of different files, but see them summarized easily on one report and analyze the data much quicker than I could in Excel has been crucial.” — Kaleo Curtis, CFO, COPD Foundation
Each program manager has their own dashboard for their respective programs to see how they’re performing against budget in real time. They can view restricted versus unrestricted net asset balances within their specific programs, their budgets vs. actuals analysis, and more. Adoption of Vareto across programs was relatively easy, and the platform is intuitive enough that most business partners could utilize the application without formal one-to-one training sessions.
COPD also created a single-source-of-truth model that is the approved budget for this fiscal year. Through integrations with their Sage Intacct ERP, they’re able to pull in actuals each time they close the month, automatically updating the forecast and updating the remaining months of the year. The automation of these processes saves significant time for the team, removing the need to manually transfer data from Sage and enter the information into the appropriate sheets in Excel, while enabling the team to keep an accurate forecast of where they will end up at the end of the year.
Vareto doesn’t charge an additional fee for each business user on the platform, meaning COPD can provide additional members of the team access to the platform without incurring additional costs. Vareto’s platform is easy to navigate and understand, and the organization has found that both finance and business users are easily adapting to new processes supported by Vareto. Overall visibility into budgets and financials has increased, allowing for more transparency, efficiency, and better decision-making.
COPD Foundation's adoption of Vareto has revolutionized their budgeting and forecasting processes, streamlining operations and significantly reducing the time spent on data management. With enhanced access control and a user-friendly interface, program managers can now easily monitor and analyze their program budgets in real time, fostering better alignment across departments. The partnership has improved operational efficiency and empowered the organization to stay focused on its mission to prevent and cure COPD and related lung diseases while advocating for the affected community.