Acterys Bites

Succulent excerpts on different flavors of Corporate Performance Management
served hot by our in-house experts

CFOs on a Quest to Tame the Wild West of SaaS

By Mike Zack (COO)

CFOs are facing a challenge in evaluating the ROI of their SaaS vendors due to the disparate technology landscape. This makes it difficult to determine the true value of their SaaS solutions investments. To overcome this challenge, CFOs are looking to reduce the number of SaaS platforms and consolidate their solutions within a common ecosystem (i.e., Microsoft – Power BI, Excel, SQL, Power Automate, etc.). By doing so, they can increase data visibility and reliability and simplify the management of their technology investments, enabling CFOs to better understand the value of their SaaS vendors and make ROI-driven decisions.

As the business world becomes more reliant on technology, the role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is changing. CFOs are now tasked with not only managing the financial operations but also evaluating the return on investment (ROI) of their technology investments, including Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult due to the disparate technological landscape that many companies find themselves in.

A disparate technology landscape refers to a situation where a company has many different SaaS platforms, each with its own set of capabilities and limitations. This can make it difficult for CFOs to determine the ROI of each vendor, as it becomes challenging to compare the performance of different platforms. It also creates operational inefficiencies, as companies are forced to use multiple platforms to perform similar functions, leading to increased costs and decreased productivity.

Balancing Benefits and Challenges: The Shift towards a Common Ecosystem for SaaS Platforms

In response to these challenges, CFOs are looking for ways to reduce the number of SaaS platforms they use and find solutions in a common ecosystem. This approach has several benefits:

  • It allows CFOs to get a more accurate picture of the ROI of each vendor, as they can compare the performance of similar platforms more easily.
  • It leads to increased operational efficiency, as companies can perform similar functions using a single platform, reducing the need for multiple platforms and the associated costs.

While this approach sounds tempting and beneficial, it is not without its challenges. Firstly, companies may have to give up some of the functionality they currently have, as not all SaaS platforms offer the same capabilities. Secondly, integrating different platforms into a common ecosystem may incur significant costs and require re-training employees on the new system.

Despite these challenges, CFOs are increasingly recognizing the benefits of opting for a common ecosystem for different SaaS solutions. By doing so, they can not only get a more accurate picture of the ROI of each vendor but also increase operational efficiency, leading to decreased costs and increased productivity.

Acterys provides a consolidated Microsoft-based ecosystem for data consolidation, reporting, planning, & analytics

In conclusion, as the technology landscape continues to evolve, it has become mission-critical for CFOs to evaluate their SaaS vendors in a more strategic manner, weighing in the benefits and challenges of integrating multiple solutions into a single ecosystem and reduce the number of SaaS vendors.

Planning is Just a Guessing Game Without Analytics: The Importance of Data-Driven Decisions

By Mike Zack (COO)

Planning is essential for effective decision-making, but it is not enough on its own. Analytics provides the data and insights needed to evaluate and adjust plans, ensuring they are based on accurate information and achieving desired outcomes. Without analytics, planning is merely conjecture, lacking the ability to measure and modify strategies for success.

Planning is a critical component of any successful organization. It provides a roadmap for the future, outlines goals and objectives, and helps to allocate resources in an efficient and effective manner. However, without analytics, planning can often fall short and fail to achieve its intended outcomes. In this Acterys Bite, we will explore why planning is nothing without analytics and how the combination of the two can lead to successful outcomes for organizations.

Analytics provides the data and information that is necessary for effective planning. Without data, planning is nothing more than guesswork and speculation. Analytics provides a clear understanding of the current state of an organization, including key performance indicators, customer behavior, market trends, and competitor activity. This information is essential for informed decision-making and effective planning.

Maximizing Success with Planning and Analytics

One of the main benefits of analytics is that it allows organizations to track progress toward their goals and objectives. This is particularly important for long-term planning, as it provides a way to assess whether the plan is on track and to make necessary adjustments along the way. For example, if an organization’s goal is to increase sales by 10% in the next year, analytics can help track progress toward that goal and identify areas where the organization is falling short. This information can then be used to make changes to the plan and ensure that the organization stays on track.

Another benefit of analytics is that it provides a way to identify trends and patterns that can inform future planning. For example, if an organization’s analytics data shows that a particular product is selling well in a specific region, the organization can use that information to plan for future product launches in that region. Similarly, if analytics data shows that customers are increasingly using mobile devices to make purchases, the organization can use that information to plan for a mobile-friendly website and payment system.

Reflecting on the Journey and Looking Ahead

Planning without analytics can also lead to a lack of accountability and transparency. When organizations lack data and information, it can be difficult to hold individuals and departments accountable for their actions and decisions. Analytics provides a way to track progress and performance, and to hold individuals and departments accountable for their results. This helps to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and objectives and that the organization is making progress towards its desired outcomes.

To sum up, while planning plays a crucial role in the success of organizations, without the support of analytics, it becomes merely a shot in the dark, relying on assumptions. Analytics provides the data and information that is necessary for effective planning and helps organizations to track progress towards their goals, identify trends and patterns, and hold individuals and departments accountable for their results. The combination of planning and analytics is a powerful tool that can lead to successful outcomes for organizations. By leveraging the benefits of both, organizations can ensure that they are making informed decisions and working towards their desired outcomes in an efficient and effective manner.

Acterys and ChatGPT: The Dynamic Duo of Planning and AI

By Mike Zack (COO)

ChatGPT and Acterys are two powerful tools that can work together to revolutionize the way businesses operate. ChatGPT, a machine learning model by OpenAI, can generate natural language text based on a given prompt, while Acterys is a cloud-based platform that automates financial processes and creates advanced financial models. Together, these technologies can automate financial tasks, such as generating financial reports and creating advanced financial models like forecasting and budgeting.

Companies can revolutionize their operations with ChatGPT and Acterys. Combining the cutting-edge technology of OpenAI and Acterys, businesses are empowered to experience remarkable advancements within financial processes and model creation. When combined, ChatGPT and Acterys can be used to create a powerful tool for automating financial tasks and generating financial reports. The combination of these two technologies can help businesses streamline their financial operations and improve overall performance. One of the key benefits of using ChatGPT and Acterys together is the ability to create advanced financial models. Acterys can be leveraged to create advanced financial models, such as forecasting and budgeting models, which can help predict future financial performance. ChatGPT, on the other hand, can be used to create models that can understand and respond to queries related to these financial models. For example:
  1. Financial forecasting: Acterys can be used to create financial models and projections, while ChatGPT can be integrated to provide natural language explanations of the results and insights. This allows financial analysts to easily communicate their findings to stakeholders in a clear and understandable manner.
  2. Sales forecasting: Acterys can be used to predict sales based on historical data, while ChatGPT can be integrated to provide automated responses to sales inquiries, providing customers with accurate and up-to-date information on product availability and sales projections.
  3. Supply chain optimization: Acterys can be used to model and optimize supply chain operations, while ChatGPT can be integrated to provide natural language instructions and notifications for logistics and warehouse operations.
  4. Inventory management: Acterys can be used to predict inventory levels and optimize stock replenishment, while ChatGPT can be integrated to provide automated notifications and alerts for inventory levels and reordering.
  5. Project management: Acterys can be used to create project timelines and track progress, while ChatGPT can be integrated to provide automated updates and notifications to project stakeholders.
  6. Human resources: Acterys can be used to predict workforce needs and optimize staffing, while ChatGPT can be integrated to provide automated responses and support for HR inquiries and processes, such as employee onboarding and offboarding.
  7. Chatbot for training and navigation
  8. Automatically send an email to John who covers the P&L for subsidiary ABC.

In conclusion, ChatGPT and Acterys are two powerful tools that can be used together to revolutionize the way businesses operate. The combination of these two technologies can help businesses to automate their financial tasks, create advanced financial models, and improve their overall performance. As the technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more powerful and innovative ways that ChatGPT and Acterys can be used together to help businesses succeed.

The 90% Club - Don't Let Your Spreadsheet Errors Get You Down

By Mike Zack (COO)

Spreadsheets are a common tool in many businesses, but they also have a high rate of errors. A study by the University of Hawaii found that 88% of spreadsheets contain errors, with an average of 1.037 errors per cell. These errors can range from simple typos to more complex mistakes in formulas and can cost businesses billions of dollars each year. They can be difficult to detect and fix, leading to delays and missed deadlines. To prevent spreadsheet errors, businesses can implement quality control measures, use software with a built-in database structure, and use data visualization tools like Power BI.

Spreadsheets are a staple in many businesses, but they also come with their fair share of errors. According to a study conducted by the University of Hawaii, 88% of spreadsheets contain errors, with the average spreadsheet having 1.037 errors per cell.

With errors in spreadsheets costing businesses billions of dollars annually, CFOs must remain vigilant to ensure financial data accuracy. These errors can range from simple typos to more complex mistakes in formulas. Regardless of the size of the error, it can have serious consequences. In fact, here are some examples of the top three spreadsheet errors:

  • TransAlta experienced a $24 million loss due to a cut-and-paste error in a spreadsheet. This caused the company to purchase US power transmission hedging contracts at higher prices than necessary.
  • Fidelity’s Magellan fund had to cancel a $4.32/share year-end dividend distribution due to a missing negative sign in a spreadsheet. A tax accountant omitted the negative sign when transcribing the fund’s $1.3 billion net capital loss, turning it into a gain and causing the dividend estimate to be off by $2.6 billion.
  • The University of Toledo discovered that they had $2.4 million less than budgeted for due to a typo in a spreadsheet formula. This led to an overestimation of enrolment and revenue at a time when the university faced significant state funding reductions.


To stay competitive in the fast-paced world of technology, it is important for businesses to minimize errors and increase operational efficiency.

One major problem with spreadsheet errors is that they can be difficult to detect. They may not be immediately obvious, and it can take time to spot them. This is especially true in large, complex spreadsheets with many formulas and data points.

In addition to being difficult to detect, spreadsheet errors can also be difficult to fix. Once an error has been made, it can be time-consuming to go back and correct it, especially if it has been propagated throughout the spreadsheet. This can lead to delays and missed deadlines, which can be costly for businesses.


What can be done to prevent spreadsheet errors?

We suggest a few strategies:

  • Implementing quality control measures, such as assigning a designated person or team to check for errors in spreadsheets before they are used can improve the accuracy of your business data.
  • A database can provide a secure and organized storage solution for your business data, ensuring that it is readily available and error-free.
  • Using data visualization tools can help make data easier to understand and analyze, reducing the risk of errors.


In conclusion, spreadsheet errors can be costly for businesses. By implementing quality control measures, using spreadsheet software with a built-in database structure, and using data visualization tools, businesses can help reduce the likelihood of errors and save themselves time and money.

Do you have errors in your spreadsheet? Check out Acterys Excel Add-in.

Mastering Financial Planning, Budgeting, and Tracking KPIs: Essential Strategies for CFO Success

By Mike Zack (COO)

This Acterys bite is a quick preparation guide to financial planning, budgeting, and tracking KPIs for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs). It covers essential strategies for success in these areas, including setting financial goals, forecasting revenues and expenses, and monitoring progress toward those goals. This guide will help CFOs effectively manage their organization’s financial resources and achieve long-term financial stability.

As a CFO, effectively planning, budgeting, and tracking financial KPIs is crucial to the success of a business. These tasks involve analyzing past financial data, forecasting future financial performance, and setting financial goals that align with the company’s overall strategy. To stay ahead of the curve, it is essential to adequately prepare for swift and hyper-change. Make sure you have your bases covered with these vital tasks!

One of the first steps in effective financial planning is to gather and analyze past financial data. This includes reviewing financial statements, such as income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, as well as other key metrics, such as revenue, expenses, and profit margin. By understanding the company’s historical financial performance, the CFO can identify trends and patterns that may impact future financial planning.

Once the CFO has a clear understanding of the company’s financial history, they can begin to forecast future financial performance. This involves setting financial goals and creating a budget that aligns with the company’s overall strategy. The budget should include projected revenue and expenses, as well as any investments or capital expenditures that may be needed to support the company’s growth.

In addition to creating a budget, the CFO should also establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to track the company’s financial performance. These may include metrics such as revenue growth, profitability, cash flow, debt levels, LFL Revenue growth (volume, mix, price split), EBITDA and EBIT margins, working capital, Free Cash Flow, Leverage, and any relevant operation KPIs. By regularly monitoring these KPIs, the CFO can ensure that the company is on track to meet its financial goals and identify any potential issues or challenges that may arise.

Effective financial planning, budgeting, and tracking of financial KPIs requires a combination of analytical skills, strategic thinking, and attention to detail. By staying on top of these key tasks, the CFO can help the company achieve its financial objectives and support its long-term success.


How to Plan Your Company's Inventory Levels for Maximum Efficiency

By Mike Zack (COO)

As the CFO, it is your job to ensure that the company has enough inventory on hand to meet customer demand. This can be a difficult task, as you must strike a balance between holding too much inventory (which ties up capital and incurs storage costs) and not enough inventory (which can lead to lost sales). Here are some tips to help you plan your company’s inventory levels.

Demand Planning: The first step in effective inventory planning is understanding your customer demand. You will need to develop a demand forecast that considers both historical sales data and expected future trends. This will give you a good idea of how much inventory you will need to have on hand to meet customer demand. Supply Planning: Once you have a good understanding of customer demand, you can begin to plan your supply. You will need to determine how much inventory you can realistically produce or procure given your production capacity and lead time. It is important to build in some flexibility into your supply plan so that you can adapt to changes in demand. For example, if you suddenly receive an influx of orders, you may need to source additional inventory from suppliers or increase overtime production shifts. Conversely, if demand falls short of expectations, you can reduce production or cancel orders with suppliers. Safety Stock: No matter how well you plan, there will always be some degree of uncertainty when it comes to forecasting customer demand. That’s why it’s important to maintain a safety stock of inventory. This safety stock acts as a buffer in case demand is higher than expected or there are delays in procurement. The size of your safety stock will depend on the degree of uncertainty in your forecast and the frequency with which you replenish inventory. Maintaining too large of a safety stock can tie up capital and lead to storage costs, so it is important to strike a balance. Inventory planning is essential for ensuring that your company has enough inventory on hand to meet customer demands. By understanding customer demand and forecasting future trends, you can develop a plan for procuring or producing the necessary amount of inventory. However, it is also important to maintain a safety stock in case of unexpected changes in demand or delays in procurement.

Don't Let Excel Spreadsheets Kill Your Business​

By Mike Zack (COO)

The collapse of FTX is causing investors to rethink their evaluation process when determining the viability of an organization. FTX successfully raised $2 billion with an Excel spreadsheet (Source: How to raise $2 billion with a sloppy Excel spreadsheet | Fortune).

If you’re still using Excel spreadsheets to consolidate your financial information, it’s time to stop. While Excel is a powerful tool, it’s not meant for large-scale data consolidation. This can lead to errors and misrepresentations of your financial statements—something that investors will not take kindly to.

Why You Should ditch Excel Spreadsheets

There are a few reasons why you should ditch Excel spreadsheets in favor of dedicated consolidation software. First and foremost, accuracy is crucial when it comes to financial information. One small error can throw off your entire consolidated statement, and that’s something you can’t afford.

Second, timeliness is also important. The sooner you can get your financial statements to stakeholders, the better. With dedicated consolidation software, you can automate the process so that your statements are generated as soon as the underlying data is updated. This way, you’ll never have to worry about being late with your reporting again.

Finally, ease of use is another important consideration. Spreadsheet-based consolidation can be cumbersome and time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of data to work with. Dedicated consolidation software is designed to be user-friendly and efficient, so you can get your work done quickly and without any headaches.

If you’re still using Excel spreadsheets to consolidate your financial information, it’s time to switch to Acterys. This will help ensure accuracy, timeliness, and ease of use—all things that are important when it comes to consolidated financial statements. Don’t let Excel kill your business—make the switch today!

Why Revenue Planning is like Dating

By Mike Zack (COO)

Revenue planning can be a tricky business. You’ve got to forecast how much money you’re going to make, and then determine how you will allocate this revenue against expenses and potential investments. It’s kind of like dating- it takes some effort, but if you plan well, the payoff can be great!

Revenue planning is an essential part of any successful business. At its core, revenue planning is about forecasting revenue and then determining how you will allocate this revenue against expenses and potential investments. By doing so, businesses can make informed decisions about how to scale their operations, whether it be through investments in new technology, marketing strategies, or hiring additional employees.

One tool that can help businesses with revenue planning is Acterys, a cutting-edge software solution that makes forecasting revenue and allocating funds quick and easy. With features like revenue growth modeling and cash flow guidance, Acterys helps businesses effectively manage their revenue over time and predict future revenue trends with accuracy. And by optimizing revenue allocation, Acterys enables companies to invest where they need to in order to grow and succeed. Whether you are a startup looking to get off the ground or an established business looking for new ways to maximize revenue, revenue planning with Acterys can help you achieve your goals. So why not give it a try today? With the power of Acterys at your fingertips, there’s no limit to what you can achieve!

xP&A: The Key to a Successful Workforce

By Mike Zack (COO)

Make sure your workforce is planning for success with Acterys xP&A. This powerful tool provides workforce analysis and planning that will help you optimize your team and reach your business goals. Don’t miss out on the power of Acterys xP&A!

When it comes to workforce planning and analysis, effective management is essential. This involves coordinating staffing levels, identifying skills gaps, and ensuring that personnel needs are aligned with organizational goals. To be successful in this regard, managers must take a data-driven approach and leverage various tools and techniques to identify trends and analyze workforce dynamics.

By conducting workforce assessments, for example, managers can gain insight into where talent gaps exist, allowing them to make strategic decisions about workforce composition and recruitment. Additionally, by analyzing workforce metrics such as turnover rates, training budgets, or performance reviews, managers can identify patterns that may impact workforce planning and optimization over time. Overall, effective workforce planning and analysis requires both conceptual understanding as well as analytical know-how, making it an important tool for maximizing human capital resource investments.

Acterys is one of the most trusted and reliable tools available. This powerful technology platform has been developed specifically to help organizations manage their workforce more effectively, optimizing workforce size and composition in order to achieve maximum performance. Using comprehensive data collection and analytics tools, Acterys makes it easy for companies to assess workforce needs over time and plan for future business growth or retrenchment.

Whether you are a large multinational corporation or a small startup, Acterys can help you make the most informed workforce decisions based on real data about your company’s needs and capabilities. So, if you are looking for an effective way to plan your workforce more effectively, look no further than Acterys.