2017 Breakfast Seminar – What did I miss?
Paprika held its annual Breakfast Seminar at the beginning of the last quarter. We had a fantastic turn out, as you can see from the pictures, and it was a lovely to catch up with lots of Paprika people. For those that couldn’t make it, here’s a little recap:
Speaker: Nick Tomlinson
Paprika’s founder and MD opened up the seminar with an introduction to the morning’s themes: reporting and forecasting tools within Paprika. He asked “when thinking about the future, maybe we need to think differently. Is it a forecast or is it a plan”? Nick has always been dubious of forecasts, suggesting that it’s what we think is going to happen but may never happen at all. He points out that whatever is planned is subject to change on a daily basis, but conceded that planning is essential, and famously quotes the 34th President of the United States:
“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
General Dwight D Eisenhower”
Paprika version 8.03, Job Forecaster, Billing tab
Job Forecaster, Paprika’s key forecasting module, also featured in Nick’s brief opening, but was discussed throughout this seminar – so we won’t go into detail just yet. Instead, let’s ponder Nick’s questions surrounding risk and uncertainty when forecasting:
1) How do we include projects or stages which may not happen?
Where lead times are short a forecast may need to include elements with less than 100% certainty.
2) How do we indicate where the timing of income is uncertain?
Even if a project is signed and sealed, there will still be timing uncertainty and slippage may be a high risk and beyond our control.
3) How do we factor in “unidentified” revenue opportunities?
As well as projects slipping out of the forecast, new projects, as yet undefined, are likely to appear.
Nick Tomlinson Presentation: Forecasting Links… slide
Speaker: India Quow
Former Global Revenue Accountant, India Quow, recently joined Paprika’s Client Engagement team as a Consultant. She spoke in detail about forecast time (strategic time planner), job forecaster, both job forecaster browsers (billing & income) and the correlation between them all.
Firstly she introduced Strategic Time Planner (STP), a new program released in the latest i2 (version 2.14). It’s designed for those wanting to forecast time and is ideal for those agencies relying heavily on fixed retainer fee income. STP allows you to forecast time against jobs and tasks, plus, the program automatically pulls through the personnel associated with the job to forecast their time – you can add additional resources too.
Paprika i2 version 2.14, Strategic Time Planner, Summary tab
In India’s example above, time is forecast simply by adding the figures into the month of each person. You can change the visible timespan and plan for 6 months or up to a year. There are also the conventional buttons that allow you to copy hours forward, copy to other personnel, and drag and drop hours to move stuff around. “It’s very fluid in design and you can switch from forecasting time in hours to forecasting the percentage of productive time instead” she said.
The STP Program consists of four tabs: Summary, Detail, Personnel and Total Hours / Bill Value. In the Detail tab, the traffic light system is used to highlight when resources are over or under capacity – red for over, yellow for near capacity and green signifying they have available time. The traffic light system is also used in the personnel tab, which will show the other jobs your people are working on too - it’s pretty nifty.
India also spoke about Job Forecaster which is an additional module (with a licence charge and incurs training costs if required). Its main purpose is to create a billing or income recognition schedule between account management and finance. Job Forecaster will always default to the Billing tab and you can use filters (eg. Live jobs) and create various views:
India Quow Presentation: Job Forecaster (Billing) slide
In addition to the billing tab, the income tab can be used to predict cashflow for the upcoming months - which is added functionality and unique to the Job Forecaster module. It’s more or less the same as the billing tab, however it will only show once income has been recognised.
The word ‘Activity’ in the Activity to Last Month and Activity columns means time incurred (or posted). Here, income forecasts are always shown in home currency and the income recognised should equal the activity.
Paprika version 8.03: Job Forecaster (Income) slide
For more information or to request a demonstration of any of the forecasting programs mentioned in India’s discussion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaker: Selwyn Pye
As Head of Procurement & Financial Operations at iris Worldwide, Selwyn was responsible for managing a £100+ million cash flow through over 70 bank accounts, across 14 main currencies and 30+ entities. He’s used Paprika for over a decade and the discussion was a throwback to 17 years of employment at iris, when he joined as their 12th employee, and now uses his experiences to consult on areas of procurement, cash management, accounts payable, accounts receivable and outsourcing.
Selwyn took attendees through a number of operational changes which improved financial operations at iris. Many of the discussion points included Paprika functions that helped in that endeavour. Here are his summary points:
- Invoices scanned and digitally approved anywhere in the world
- New Supplier Form mandated with 60 days payment terms
- Reject non-compliant forms / invoices
- Mandated two approvers to enter or change supplier bank account numbers
- Uploading of payment runs to banking system to make bulk payments
- Purchase Analyser reporting on spend categories to control payment runs and provide data for cash flow
- Use Sales Analyser reports as a tick list to ensure every client invoice is paid
- Reduced average overdue unknown debt from over 30% to under 17% of total debtors
- Draft invoice report (DIR) monitored closely
- Sales Analyser and DIR reports used in the Cash flow
Cash Flow Forecast
- Each entity/office had template to submit weekly
- Global consolidation took 15-20 minutes which summarised monthly and daily transactions, targets, daily bank accounts in local currency and Sterling.
- Sales Analyser, Purchase Analyser, draft invoice reports from AP/AR team fed directly in to the cash flow
AP and AR Service Centre / Outsourcing
- Standardised processes and systems globally in order to create a UK AP and AR team servicing all offices
- Set up Service Centre in Macedonia in 2016 at less than 50% of the UK cost
- Service centre has expanded to Group Reporting team
- Significantly reduce costs as well as significantly improved processes and cash collection
- Used to monitor over-burn and job profitability
- RufMyTimesheets, used as an add-on to Paprika, blocks nominated websites (eg.facebook, youtube, twitter) when timesheets are not completed within parameters defined by the agency (iris)
System Improvements / Expansion
- With the support of Paprika, iris rolled Paprika out to 3 companies across 3 continents in 21 days.
- Single Data Multi Company set-up – iris consolidated 14 Paprika systems in to two systems, USD and Sterling, saving incredible amounts of time across the business.
- GRMC – Global consolidation reporting tool for all currencies
- Mapping of Paprika to SAP for parent company reporting
- Paprika i2 is the next improvement for iris and is due to be rolled out in the near future.
“improvements cannot limit an agency’s creativity, but will deliver more time for employees to focus on what they are employed to do”
and we couldn’t agree more. Agencies can make more and save more money, simply by reviewing and revising their Paprika set up.
Having used Paprika software extensively in a variety of roles at iris, Selwyn is now embarking upon a new venture as one of 5 consultants forming the NGINEROOM. For advice on streamlining agency processes and incorporating new systems which deliver time and cost efficiencies, all vital elements leading to improved profit margins, feel free to email him directly on email@example.com.
Speaker: Paul Purcell
As a qualified Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA), Paul has over 20 years’ experience at FD level within companies such as: Omnicom, Publicis and many other SME’s. He’s used Paprika in numerous roles and now works as a Paprika Consultant, advising on areas of business such as: client profitability, management information systems, resource and capacity planning, KPI dashboards and translating those into 1- 3-year exit strategies.
His talk focused on cash flow saying “well run businesses tend to use a 13 week cashflow forecast”. Paul believes good working capital relies upon regular planning and forecasting, as well as having solid business processes:
- Robust sales forecasting
- Good credit control
- Favourable terms and conditions
Next, he looked at Cashflow Forecasting as an automated or manual process. Of course, Paprika can be used to completely eliminate the need for finance to manually update or input data, simplifying the process for finance teams, and improving overall accuracy. However, Paul recommends agencies have a “mix” of automated and manual processes to ensure due diligence.
Although we champion Paprika users to “stay within the system”, Paul highlights some easy excel exports. Simple Paprika report exports for cashflow forecasting include:
- Aged debtors
- Aged creditors
- Pay When Paid Reports
- Sales Analyser reports – customise
- Purchase Analyser reports – customise
- Nominal – salaries/rent/VAT forecasts
If you would like to speak to Paul, Paprika Consultant, feel free to contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speaker: Volker Bendel
Paprika’s Head of Training & Implementation Consultant, Volker, guided users around some of Paprika’s reporting tools. There are many standard reports available: from the expenses detail report to Job Bag Report. There’s too much to go through in this recap and Volker prepared a really useful reporting “How-To’s” manual which covered: Job Reports, Sales Reports, Nominal Reports, Time Reports and Purchase Reports.
All attendees received a copy in their handouts folder at the event. If you missed the seminar and would like to request a digital copy for your records, then feel free to email email@example.com.