5 Tips to Make Financial Forecasting More Efficient with AvidXchange

Financial forecasting plays a pivotal role in positioning your organization for growth and sustainability. And it’s become an even bigger priority for many nonprofits navigating today’s volatile landscape.

But forecasting is no simple task, nor is it an exact science.

So, how can you ensure your finance team consistently delivers forecasts your organization can count on?

Watch this on-demand video to learn:

  • Why financial forecasting is critical to long-term success
  • Common challenges facing financial planning and analysis functions today
  • 5 actionable tips for creating better forecasts under any circumstances
  • How automating core financial processes, like accounts payable, can improve the efficiency and accuracy of your forecasting efforts

Interested in learning more about how to automate your accounts payable with AvidXchange?

Kim Fellman @ JMT Consulting: Hello everyone and welcome to today's webinar, five tips to make financial forecasting more efficient with AvidXchange.

My name is Kim Fellman. I'm a marketing coordinator at JMT consulting, I'll be your moderator today and I'm excited to be hosting this session.

This webinar is brought to you by JMT consulting. We are ERP and financial management solution specialists for nonprofits.

We have nearly 30 years of experience, helping nonprofits with technology and business processes for the back office.

This is why we've partnered with AvidXchange. They bring our clients a solution to help streamline their AP process, ease audit season stress, prevent fraud, and speed up the approval processes and payments. We believe they're one of the best AP automation options for a nonprofit to consider for their organization.

Before we kick things off today, I wanted to cover a few housekeeping items. First, today's webinar will be recorded and will be emailed to you for on-demand access, along with the slides.

Next we'd love to hear from you during today's presentation. If you have a question, please feel free to send it through the Q&A tab at the bottom of your control panel.

We will have a dedicated q&a session at the end of the presentation where we will answer all of your questions.

I'd like to get us started by welcoming Vanessa Curie, and Terry Gren from AvidXchange. Vanessa is a partner marketing manager and Terry is the senior channel manager at avidXchange.

For over 30 years Terry has been involved in the sales and support of VARs, like JMT consulting.

He focuses on building and developing relationships and works with us to understand the value of automation and helping streamline a AP departments to be more efficient. So without further ado, I'm going to pass the mic over to Terry. Terry over to you now.

Terry Gren : Great, thank you so much Kim and I'd like to thank everybody for joining us today, taking the time out of your day for a webinar. I'll try to make it not too boring. I'll do my best. So let's just go ahead and jump into this.

The agenda today what we're going to talk about is why financial forecasting is critical to long term success, common challenges the FP&A teams face, Five Tips for building a better forecast, And how AP automation can help. And then at the end, we'll go into a Q&A session where you can ask any questions about the content that I'm showing today.

So let's talk about starting with ways forecasting can help with companies. First of all, it allows you to avoid and then dissipated cash flow shortages, t helps you confirm confidence in your financial position it influences budgets and establishes business goals that are both realistic and feasible. And helps you ensure that those difficult management decisions that you may face are built upon solid financial figures and provide real-time benchmarking in for growth and financial health of your business.

But many companies struggle to produce an accurate forecast and great deals, just to skip it, and from companies to skip them all together.

Why well because it's because forecasting isn't exactly easy. Some of the challenges you may face are the elements that are core to businesses consistently evolving.

Identifying the accounting for external factors may be beyond your control, you may experience having constant pressure to improve your performance while reducing processing costs, or you might find that there's a lot of time required and creating a meaningful forecast manual process and disparate systems make data retrieval difficult or there is a disconnect from core business units that lead to lack of insights those key drivers.

So based on a study done by the Aberdeen group in 2019 many organizations are still using spreadsheets to put forecasting plans together.

With only 34% of that attributed to poor collaboration. Collaboration or speaking across departments as a top challenge and 31% find that process too long and resource intensive all these factors create challenges for accurate financial planning and analysis.

So how can we develop more efficient and accurate forecasts. Glad you asked. Let's jump into it here.

So let's look at the five actionable steps towards better forecasting one make a collaborative, you need to involve all the departments that are involved in the forecast. We can't just let it live rely on one

Identify and minimize assumptions.

Forecasts for multiple scenarios.

And re forecast often as painful as that is, and try to automate that process as much as possible. So let's take a look at each one of these a little bit more in depth.

So making forecasts a collaborative exercise. The first step to ensure that an effective forecast is to involve other finance members and cross functional departments finance should never forecast in isolation, which helps drive the outcomes and shares accountability for meeting goals.

Gives the business partners full accountability to drive their budgets and help finance teams understand what drives the outcome ensure accountability for all those goals.

To let's identify and minimize your assumptions. So any forecasts requires that you make assumptions about things that are outside of your control.

The best forecast limits are assumptions about external factors, but clearly identify those that must be included some of the common assumptions are market for validity fatality. Let's see here. Your competitors and their offerings.

Technological changes that might impact your business and the overall help with your partners and thorough your, your supply chain throughout your supply chain.

Says here. Sorry, it's going a little slow I right forecast multiple scenarios.

There's a strong temptation to be optimistic when forecasting growth.

At a counter this many entrepreneurs end up using extreme conservative estimates, in reality, neither is the only option, you should forecast.

I used to devote your predictive energy to all those tools to at least two scenarios. One is optimistic and the other is cautious.

This is especially true if there's uncertainty surrounding major factors that could impact your business.

Such as government regulations, new competition or even overall economic growth.

It can be frustrating use multiple forecast it clashes with a part of your brain that is hardwired to desire certain certainty and precision. Still, it helps you maintain flexibility and strategic planning and create more realistic expectation for your investors.

So re forecast. Often, you should also recap, you know, forecast as often as you can. Don't just set and forget your forecast once here. That's all your company to better align for your budgets and approve your accuracy of your forecasts.

And just those forecasts based on President performance and developing an internal or external trends, rather than relying on what you are other managers predict might happen months ago.

And pivot as needed, based on the new data key. So this is our based on what's happening now not what's happening on your previous year, and allows you to be better aligned with budget and improve the accuracy of your forecast.

So finally, automation your process and building a scalable financial system that enables your team to focus more on analyzing data than receiving the entire or entering doesn't

Just start at the forecasting level, you should look and build it from the foundation

Because what is good, is to apply an automated solution on top of a mountain of manual processes.

It won't improve your overall finance team efficiency and because of some of the risks of manual processes of those lower levels, you may be forecasting off data that is that isn't accurate or have a hard time getting visibility.

Something build a scalable financial system from the ground up by eliminate unnecessary manual effort and disparate systems from processes like sending and receiving payments collecting financial data from across the organization building custom reports.

So let's recap those collaboration.

Identify and minimize assumptions.

forecast for multiple scenarios re forecast often and then automate as much of the process as you possibly can.

So next let's kind of talk about how automation can help.

So the benefits of AP automation for for financial record forecasting result in better cash flow visibility and control.

Having a central hub for all payment related files anytime, anywhere access to invoices custom automated workflows and clicks away from sophisticated reports.

Reducing those processing costs eliminate the hard costs streamline processes limited employee time on manual tasks.

He payments rebates provided additional revenue stream.

And enhanced security, security mitigates risk of costly fraud.

Creates an automatically enforced tighter and internal controls and reduce volume of risky paper. Paper payments and everybody knows that by sending out a paper check

You're sending out all your banking information. So anybody can get that check and use those numbers to create fraud, it's still billions and billions of dollars a year in check fraud.

And approval of supplier relationships service teams assists with inquiries and ensure payments are received and apply suppliers get paid on time every time in their preferred method of payment so you can build a stronger relationship and lower the fatality in the supply chain.

So avid invoice Abbott and more soccer's to automation solutions average invoices for invoice processing and avid pay us for payment processing.

avid invoice. Let's start with this.

eliminate those touch points to pay and receive money faster. So to better understand the benefits of automated accounts payable solutions.

It's important to look at the similarities and the differences of the two methods before handling AP

This can also help you identify bottlenecks in your own process that can be solved with automation. So here on the left, this is before automation.

This is accounts payable process begins when your invoices received by the AP department and invoices can arrive.

For many different methods, including electronically through email, fax. Now, now, which is the US now in our office or maybe a colleague dropped people reckon an inbox on your desk.

When an AP process on AP processes are not centralized handling of processing each and new invoice is essential and an ad hoc adventure.

So once those invoices are received, there is a forensically handed to an AP manager team member or forward if they came in by email.

Next, the invoices or manually typed into an accounting system and can be scanned in as well to create a digital record. This is the best case scenario. And as soon as an earpiece system is in place. However, it can still offer plenty of opportunities for manual errors and typos.

After automation.

The process is streamlined. So this is a normal process for that invoice comes in. Somebody has to open that mail route it code it approve it.

Do that manual data entry, select the payment type to a bank bank reconciliation and follow up and then invoices file for later research.

After automation. These are the, what we consider to be the business partner decisions for you code it and approve it, and select it. So we take everything out of the equation. All those manual tasks. We're going to take out of that process for you.

And invoices are important in three different ways email. So we have a designated email address for suppliers and consented to you electronically.

If you are already receiving those invoices by email. We can just have that either forwarded or someone at your office converted into the now that we've set up for you, you can scan.

You can scan invoices in directly to the portal and then the good old fashioned snail mail paper mail.

We set up a lock box where we get those invoices, we do a change of address to your vendors and those invoices come to one of our two processing facilities across the country and we will open that mail and scandal done electronically for you.

We extract all that header detail around the invoice, including the P O number and submitted it to the invoice application that gives you the ability to have additional workflows, if needed, you can have as many approvals and as many workflows, as you would like. That works for your business.

So pending approval queue shows all the invoices that need action specific to each user. This could be coding or simple review users have easy access to all the pertinent data from the invoice number the supplier ID and name to the amount

The manual approval process and paper invoices so down payables consumed loads of accounting time and hours and results in Miss discounts average change of course makes approving invoices as simple as selecting and clicking approved and the top right corner.

So the invoice detail page gives you more detail on it's where you coach your invoices.

The left hand side of the invoice details that page showed you all that invoice header information kayden by avid exchange.

With the invoice image on the right hand side. So if there's 50 pages to an invoice all 50 pages are going to be there. And then at the bottom is where the coding takes place.

Every exchange also has what we call smart coding that if an invoice always comes in from the same supplier.

Is coded the same way the system learns that and it will automatically code that for you. That is a feature that you can either have turned on or turned off. If you want to have that control and code things how you want to you can do either or

You also have the default GL when you receive an invoice from this specific supplier 100% of that amount will pop pre populate to a specific account code.

You can use previous remember how the invoice was previously coded

You also have a tool to go in here and look at any invoices that have come in from this particular supplier. So if you forget how it was coated last time are allocated.

You can pull up all those invoices in the admin portal and be able to review those and and see how you paid them in the past or how you approve them recorded them in the past. We also have a history tab, which keeps track of everyone who has touched that invoice and what's

Encoded or worked on. If there needs to be an ad hoc upriver to where you need to send us out of its traditional workflow and have somebody else take a look at it.

This history file will keep all of that we always make a joke. Be careful what you say in here because it's permanent so you can't say anything bad about a co worker, because that's going to be permanently stored in that history file and you cannot delete it.

So let's talk about avid pay

They haven't paid network. This is how it works, the Avid exchange pays a full service offering, which includes intuitive software.

Which gives you and your team control over payment approvals and full visibility into all of your payments avid exchange also provides a service component

To help reduce manual tasks that can take up a lot of your accounting staffs time. It all starts with reviewing your accounting system and selecting those payments that you're ready to make on the network.

You're going to use that same cash decision process, you would today.

For those organizations that have checked centers or dual signers depending on that and you can go ahead and set those workflows up to review all payments before the funds withdraw.

Request is submitted and we start paying the payment process, money is going to be pulled from your bank account. And there are three ways that supplier to get paid. I can jump into more detail in the next slide, but

After the payment has been made. And then, since this flyer for those technical capabilities of financial relationships, your team can see full visibility into the status of those payments.

That the supplier has applied for that payment if the check has not been cashed yet.

Every payment that you send to the network is has pods pay included in it. So our team follows up on it so you don't have to worry about that any longer. I have to do is send those payments of the FP network.

We're going to facilitate making those payments for you. And we're going to make sure that those funds are collected

If not, our team is going to reach out to those suppliers and vendors and find out why did they move was a loss in the mail.

Those electronic funds, why you didn't collect those funds and we'll work with them to make sure that they get paid.

If we cannot reach them now. Maybe they went out of business or whatever is the case will reach out to you and say, hey, we're trying to make a payment to your supplier.

They haven't cashed that check their phone numbers not working, we're not getting any callback. What would you like to do

So we, we have a team that ensures that your vendors or and get paid on time every time and there is no fraud.

And we're going to follow up on all those payments. Also we have that

Where we talked about the service team for the first 30 days.

And we can talk more about the funds and how they get transferred here on the Kevin system transfers those payments, the payment data.

moves over to avid pay. We do have it pay pay control money is pulled from your existing bank account.

And then, however, it's set up for them to receive those funds. It can either be by MasterCard, which is a virtual card. It's a one time issued number for that exact amount to that exact vendor.

So they can't change the amount or change the payee are avid pay direct is the Avid exchange version of a direct deposit or a CH where we include a enriched

remittance form so they know exactly what it was paid for. I'm sure everybody in the past that send out a nice car payment and somebody will call and say, What is this, for we need more detail.

And if you put that Mel that's going to show up. A week after you've already made them the payment and then the good old fashioned check. And then at the end, it's the client reconciliation.

Alright, kind of went through that a little fast, so I apologize. But if anybody has any questions we'd like to open that up now.

Kim Fellman @ JMT Consulting: Great. Thank you, Terry. So if you have a question for Terry, you can submit it through the Q&A button at the bottom of your screen.

Vanessa Curry : Terry and Kimberly it looks like we do have a couple of questions that have come up. The first one is, can I send all of my vendor payments through avid exchange pay

Terry Gren : Great question. Yes, avid exchange purposes to accommodate all of your vendor payments only payments that you select to be paid by avid exchange will be facilitated

The examples of those payments so that your corporation might ultimately want to retain

And execute themselves so that payments related to employee reimbursement or wire payments interrupts your inner company reimbursements dividends to shareholders or cross border payments and employee payroll everything else you can send to avid exchange.

Vanessa Curry : Another question popped up. Can I still print checks.

Terry Gren : Absolutely. We understand that there's times, you still need to print a check in house so we offer as a self managed payment option that enables you to print on going. Check stock market checks as what they call that

So that it's more secure than having that pre printed checks doc laying around your office.

Vanessa Curry : Thank you. What is we need to send a copy of the invoice or other information with the payment and we do that.

Terry Gren : Yeah, you can always print that invoice out because it's electronic so you can print out a copy and attach that to the payment if you need to send it out. Yeah, there's situations where that always needs to happen. So absolutely.

Vanessa Curry : Have another question. Well, my invoice approval process needs to change.

Terry Gren : It's up to you if you have a current process that works, we will work with you to set up in the system, the way you want it to work.

But this might be an opportunity to improve the existing process. So if there's no need to change. We can mimic the approval process.

But our team has has done this so many times and they've seen how people do it. And they might see a way that might work better for you. It's not something we're going to force on you, but we're just going to let you know.

This might be a better way. But in the end, it's up to you. You can decide how those workflows go

Vanessa Curry : I don't see any additional questions in the question box but if anyone has an additional question. Please feel free to enter it and we will try to get an answer for you.

Okay, we have another question.

What if we decided to take back our AP processing in house after five years. What we have access to our invoice history to keep

Terry Gren : Kevin's. No, I'm just kidding. Of course, yeah. If you decide to leave avid exchange, we will put all your invoices on a DVD and send those to you.

We, we understand that everybody you know might need to change or pull it back in house. So we want to accommodate everybody. Yeah, we will put that on a DVD for you and send it to you say bubbles invoice coffees.

Vanessa Curry : That's all the questions we have in a queue at the moment, we do have a little more time if there's any additional questions.

Kim Fellman @ JMT Consulting: Definitely, we can give it a you know 30 seconds or so when see if anyone has a last minute question for Terry

Terry Gren : No need to be shy.

About baseball, football or basketball. I'm here for you.

Know doesn't have to just be about AP automation.

Kim Fellman @ JMT Consulting: Okay, well, I don't think that any additional questions are going to come through for you, Terry. Thank you.

So thank you all for joining JMT consulting and avidXchange for this webinar today I would like to thank Terry, for your time and we hope you all enjoyed the presentation and learn something.

We'd love for you to join us at future events and webinars. Also, which you can find all of our upcoming webinars by visiting us at GMT consulting com and clicking on the training and Events tab. So this will conclude our webinar unless Terry or Vanessa have something to add.

Terry Gren : Want to thank everybody for joining us today, taking time out of your day. Hopefully that was informative and if you do have any questions please reach out to your JM T representative and we'll get those answered for you if you would like to see any type of a demo or

You know anything more in depth. We can set that up for you as well. So I appreciate everybody's time and have a great day.

Have a great day. Thank you.

powered by