Flex Your Muscles: Modernizing Portfolio Company Performance Management
Leveraging EPM & CPM Solutions to Solve Portfolio Company Pain Points
Studies have shown that people who wear fitness trackers, like an Apple or Android watch, exercise more frequently and are more likely to achieve their fitness objectives. Having a fitness tool helps to set goals and consistently track progress; anyone who has tried to “close their rings” or “get their steps” for the day can likely attest to this…
These core concepts also apply to private equity-backed companies seeking to generate stronger financial and operating results.
Any portfolio company with a rapid value creation plan requiring significant transformation initiatives needs to set goals, track, analyze, and report performance and, when necessary, dynamically re-forecast. This is where Performance Management solutions (like CPM or EPM) – the “fitness trackers” of a business – come into play.
Let’s review some common pain points and outline how we help our clients “exercise” to achieve better results with performance management tools.
PORTFOLIO COMPANY PAIN POINT #1:
”Our budgeting or reporting process is too manual, time-consuming, or error-prone to focus on real value creation.”
Often, portfolio companies use overly complex models that are built in Excel and linked to inputs with hard-coded numbers, leading to errors and inaccurate forecasts. Collaboration is difficult and access to the necessary data and key performance indicators needed to manage the business is lacking, making it nearly impossible to project the financial impact of business and market changes.
TOOL TO TRACK AND IMPROVE: Unlock operational, margin, and/or EBITDA improvements more easily with real-time forecasting and a streamlined close process.
Performance Management platforms help set and track goals for operational improvements through dynamic forecasting, leveraging capabilities and best practice methodologies such as driver-based forecasting, machine learning, and data automation. Putting an effective CPM system in place makes the close and forecast cycle run more quickly and smoothly, ensuring that accurate numbers are driving decision-making. Furthermore, the automation capabilities within CPM systems enable portfolio finance teams to reduce time spent on manual data collection and improve process activities.
PORTFOLIO COMPANY PAIN POINT #2:
”We don’t have the tools or processes in place to manage changing market conditions, internal growth plans, or meet business transformation targets.”
Portfolio companies often lack a “reporting playbook” for new acquisitions or high-growth plans. Teams typically do not focus on EBITDA management or have the visibility needed to adequately plan for and react to changes in the business. They don’t understand the company’s most profitable product and service lines, and those with plans to go public don’t have the correct controls in place.
TOOL TO TRACK AND IMPROVE: Performance Management systems help track and scale within a changing business landscape.
CPM solutions dynamically link operational data to strategic plans and forecasts, unlocking executable value plans. With dashboards that easily calculate both actual and projected business KPIs, CPM solutions can surface underperforming products or business units in need of focus. Implementing a CPM system makes it easier for portfolio companies to comply with financial regulations (like Sarbanes-Oxley in the event of an audit) and accounting principles (like GAAP/IFRS). Finally, companies with CPM solutions can more quickly prepare for additional acquisitions or major business changes.
PORTFOLIO COMPANY PAIN POINT #3:
”Between our business lines, acquisitions, and subsidiaries, there is simply too much segmentation to oversee the business in a cohesive way.”
Portfolio companies typically have disparate and disconnected systems spanning multiple business lines. As a result, they lack a “single source of the truth,” which presents many management challenges. Financial reporting and consolidation are not streamlined across multiple groups, causing elongated closes, delayed reporting, and missed deadlines. Integrating a new company acquisition and rolling up their business for reporting becomes more difficult. And teams find themselves persistently in “Excel hell” as they manually navigate tons of files from all business units.
TOOL TO TRACK AND IMPROVE: Leverage Performance Management tools to generate a centralized view of how the business is performing, so that you can plan for the right value creation activities.
CPM solutions help organizations establish a single source of the truth for financial data and reporting. By enabling the collection and consolidation of disparate data sets and business unit inputs, these platforms drive a cohesive view of the “low hanging fruit” of operational improvement. Industry-leading planning processes are enabled in CPM tools by a “connected” data flow, linking financial planning with operational and strategic planning. And business units or companies with disparate ERP systems can still leverage a Performance Management solution to have a single platform for budgeting, close, and reporting.
Remember that the exercise of unlocking value from within a portfolio company is no different than unlocking value in a personal exercise plan. When you have the right tools to aid the process, you can establish targeted goals and get consistent performance updates that reliably indicate your progress. So, flex your muscles and get in touch with us to talk about a Performance Management solution.