St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Improve Financial Acumen

A new reporting and planning tool is helping St Vincent de Paul Society NSW understand how to make money go further to help more people experiencing poverty and homelessness.

8 weeks shorter budget cycle

General reports are available 2 days earlier than before

200+ users trained to access information for themselves

Foundations in place to enable insights into store performance

In the 2020/21 Financial Year, the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW supported more than 170,000 people through its diverse range of programs and services, assisting people experiencing hardship and disadvantage. Vinnies NSW is committed to ensuring that all donations received are put to the very best use in the community. 

With disparate systems and 1,200 cost centers doing their budgeting in individual Excel spreadsheets, the financial planning team was spending all its time consolidating and reconciling reporting data. This meant that less time was available to analyze how Vinnies could better allocate its resources to have a greater impact. The business also had issues with data sourcing, reliability, accuracy, and timeliness. 

With a background in business intelligence, Chief Financial Officer Jean-Bapiste Naudet knew an automated planning and reporting tool would yield information that could revolutionize how decisions were made. “We couldn’t get a reliable view of the numbers, so we didn’t understand the full business—or where investment should be directed.”

The reporting advantage Workday Adaptive Planning has given us is helping us increase our impact.

Chief Financial Officer

Quality information improves decision-making.

Adaptive Planning has given Vinnies its first ever clear overview of the business and the ability to plug in different numbers and forecast the results. Jean-Baptiste says the tool was implemented rapidly. “Speed to deployment was fast, and the admin burden was not too heavy.” Just as importantly, Adaptive Planning soon gathered compliments from across the business. “People couldn’t believe the transparency available in their reporting packs, how easy the system is to use, and the insights available to support better decision making.”

He says the finance team can now play with, review, and manipulate the data. “It’s also given people in the business fantastic visibility as they do their budgets. It saves time because they are basically looking at exceptions. On the fly, they can test out options: ‘If we invested here, what would it look like?’ And, straight away, they can see the impact.”

The business has much greater confidence in data accuracy and reliability and can see the financial effect of decisions.

Group Financial Planning and Analysis Manager

Rapid reporting supports re-forecasting during COVID.

Group Financial Planning and Analysis Manager, Michael Hyde, is excited that self-service reporting, real-time aggregation, and consolidation have cut two months from the budget cycle, and two days from the time taken to prepare general reports. “It dramatically reduced reporting time and effort for people in my team and gave us all sorts of new functionality to analyze the numbers.” 

CFO, Jean-Baptiste, says the new reporting speed and analytics capability were essential when Vinnies had to re-forecast budgets as its stores shut during the pandemic. “Previously, we wouldn’t have been able to give the board exact details. But, with Adaptive Planning, we could understand the full impact of COVID and run scenarios to determine how to minimize its impact.”

Before Workday Adaptive Planning, it took a lot of work to prepare the numbers at the expense of better analysis.

Group Financial Planning and Analysis Manager

New insights will help to boost store performance.

Jean-Baptiste is looking forward to getting more out of Adaptive Planning by better analyzing non-financial information such as store square footage, best sellers, location (metro vs. regional), and cost model (owned vs. rent) to make more accurate like-for-like comparisons and identify high and low performers. “We’ll soon be able to have a more accurate view of retail store performance, learn from high performers, and make changes to pull low performers up. It will be a game changer for the business.”

We’ve been able to improve the robustness of decision making and mature our systems and processes.

Chief Financial Officer

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