Innovate 2017 Takeaways: Modern Finance – Moving Fast and Staying Nimble


Thomas Peff of Adaptive Insights had an excellent session at Innovate this year as he addressed common problems for nonprofits and demonstrated how Adaptive Insights’s application helps solve these challenges. We’ve provided an overview of the session so you don’t have to miss out on some on some of this great information!

Who is Adaptive Insights?

Adaptive Insights is a software company that provides budgeting and forecasting tools for finance departments to better manage their business.

Who is Thomas Peff?

Thomas Peff has implemented business change and driven growth at both early and late stage companies in a variety of financial, operational and principal investment roles. He currently serves as Director of Finance at Adaptive Insights. Prior to Adaptive Insights, he held roles as an investment professional at TDR Capital, a London-based PE firm, a CFO at a technology startup and an investment banker at Deutsche Bank. Tom graduated from Princeton University with an AB in Economics/Finance.

What does Adaptive Insights do?

They help organizations get financial models up and running with their application, Adaptive — which gives individuals the ability to collaborate on projects and increase operational efficiency. Adaptive Insights ultimately helps nonprofits develop a plan, establish targets, define a budget and start reporting accurately on their metrics so everyone is on the same page.

What did the presentation cover?

Peff’s session covered financial modeling at Adaptive Insights and highlighted common challenges that are prevalent for nonprofits. He discussed ways to structure models so that department heads can take ownership of their department’s finances. He also walked viewers through what those models would look like in Adaptive.

Challenges for Finance Teams

Most finance teams have long cycle times for creating annual budgets and new forecasts. They aren’t optimized for rapid change. According to Adaptive’s research, 85% of CFOs have direct access to the data they need, but spend too much time gathering data, confirming its accuracy, and formatting reports.  
Thomas Peff Innovate 2017
It takes most finance teams 77 days to complete annual budgets, 20 days to prepare a forecast and they spend 83% of their time on non-strategic tasks. They’re also stuck in manual-intensive tasks that don’t leave much time for analysis — a big problem for organizations that need to develop an effective growth strategy for the future.  

Static Planning

It’s important to be able to predict future performance when running a business. Every organization does their best to plan and model their business. Many of the elements of these plans are similar with some variation between industries. All businesses have inputs that ultimately need to come together in a financial plan. That’s usually accomplished with a siloed approach, on different platforms.

Thomas Peff Innovate 2017

This usually results in something we call “static planning.” Static planning isn’t collaborative and does not have comprehensive interlocked models across an organization’s teams. That means that the process is ultimately too slow to do proper scenario planning, let alone a continuous rolling forecast process. Organizations that live with these limitations cannot actively manage their business. Planning becomes more of a one-time event — and as soon as the planning is done, it’s already out of date.

Active Planning

Adaptive installs “active” planning within companies organizations so that the planning process can truly drive the business and enable a continuous improvement cycle. Everything is connected — the people and the model — so that it all works smoothly and continuously, together. When one component is altered in the model, everything updates accordingly — including reports. Active planning gives you the opportunity for continuous improvement and an ongoing, automated view of business performance, from KPIs to financial statements and reports.

Thomas Peff Innovate 2017To accomplish active planning, businesses need a solution that is easy, powerful, and fast. That’s where the Adaptive Suite comes in — it’s specifically designed for active planning.

The system is cloud-based and built on a modern, in-memory planning and analysis engine. This technology is important because it means that your data is always updated and accurate. Rather than multiple systems stapled together, Adaptive Suite was built from the ground up as one system with data that’s always fresh. This is crucial because organizations need a single source of truth that can be consistently relied upon.

Thomas Peff Innovate 2017

Adaptive Suite is designed for all the steps of an ongoing active planning process. This starts with a powerful, flexible and scalable modeling capability that makes it possible to quickly build and maintain a comprehensive business model that can be used for expense budgeting and more broad-reaching business modeling.

We’d like to thank Thomas for his session at Innovate this year, and we hope to see him next year so he can keep us updated on any new developments with his company’s incredible software.

Save the date for Innovate 2018!  

Join us in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island April 10 – 12 for the best nonprofit training conference for finance professionals, including:

  • 5 tracks covering Intacct, MIP, Adaptive Insights, Financial Strategy and Innovate Solutions
  • Hands-on Training 
  • 1:1 sessions with JMT Consultants 
  • Earn up to 12 hours of CPE credits

Registration will open shortly; make sure you have this in your 2018 budget!