Enhance Your Operating Expense Planning with Support Details using Vena Solutions

FEATURING Lucy Brennan | Project Consultant, JMT Consulting

In this session, we walk through planning your organization’s operating expenses in Vena. Taking it a step further, learn how Vena enables you to create supporting sheets and tabs for greater visibility. For instance, instead of only seeing your travel cost as a lump sum, enable your staff to detail out where they’re going, when, and for how long, so you can take your budgeting beyond the numbers.

Interested in learning more about how Vena Solutions can optimize your organization's financial budgeting and planning?

Kim Fellman @ JMT Consulting: Alright, good afternoon, everyone. My thank you for joining us for today's webinar. We are going to get started in just a minute. Once everyone has had the chance to log in and get settled.

Okay, thank you for your patience. We are going to get started now.

Welcome to today's webinar enhance your operating expense planning with support details using Venice solutions. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to join us. My name is Kimberly Fellman I'm a marketing coordinator at JMT consulting

And I'll be your moderator today. I'm excited to be hosting this webinar, along with Lucy Brennan, who is a project consultant here at JMT. Before I hand it over to Lucy, I'm going to quickly cover some housekeeping items.

First, we are recording this webinar and we will email you a copy of the audio and video form in recording format within 24 hours.

If you have any questions please feel free to drop them into the Q&A tab at the bottom of your control panel.

I will be monitoring the Q&A and will answer your questions as they come in and we will also run a live Q&A with Lucy at the end of the webinar as well. So there's plenty of opportunities to get your questions answered.

And after the webinar today you'll be hearing from my colleague, Megan Mendiola to hear your thoughts on what you see today. So with all that, I'll hand it over to Lucy to get us started.

Over to you, Lucy.

Lucy Brennan: Thanks, Kim. My name is Lucy Brennan as Kim said I'm a project consultant at JMT, and I've been here for a couple years. I'm going to talk to you about Using the product for you know for aspects planning objects planning is really you know about budgeting your expenses and what I'm going to be showing you is the contributor experience as well as a little bit of the manager experience.

So if you can see my screen now I've got, what, then I'll open and it's set up with your user with your email address. That's your user ID and you can use it on any popular browser from anywhere in the world that you have an internet connection.

The only other preparation, you would need is to download a small Excel plugin. You can get it from zanna as you know what. Once you log in the first time you can download that.

And what that does is it is a tab, you'll see once the next time you open after you download that plugin. The next time you open XML, you'll see a menu and menu option at the top of your Excel workbook.

And what that does is that allows a connection between your local XML and Vena it leverages all your input for running reports and to do all your so you can do all your work in Excel.

And then it links back to the vena cloud database for real-time changes. So when you know someone else can see your changes and you can have also have your changes flowing right into the same report within Excel.

So here's the then a login. Once you log in and it's going to log in here. Once you log in, you'll see pretty much this exact screen.

And this particular login is set up with both a contributor and manager role. There are two other roles in then one is admin. Admin sets up users and assigned roles.

Users can have multiple roles assigned the other role that you don't see on here is modeler and modeler sets up dimensions or segments scenarios. The currency that you're using, that type of thing.

But we're going to start with the contributor URL. So when I clicked on contributor, and this is pretty much what you're going to see what anyone would see when they login to the contributor tab portion. It kind of looks like a to-do list, which is exactly what it is. You can see I have something overdue.

And then the blue part would be your to-do items.

And this would, you know, represent any of the tasks that might be on your plate. It's broken out based on what you need to accomplish within say of budget workflow.

So you may see, you know, other things, you know, here I have a the aspects input which we're going to look at in a minute and some other things. You also have items that are coming soon.

And these are tasks that are not yet on your plate. But there's something you know that they might not be on your plate because something else needs to happen.

You know, maybe somebody else needs to contribute something before you can add your values.

But you visibility. So you can see or begin planning your process and plan out your schedule for the future, maybe you might need to block off some time to work on some of these items if you know they're coming already

At the bottom you'll see a view only section that can be made up of a couple of different things you might see some financial reports or dashboard there.

You whenever you make a submission for from one of your to do items you will see those submissions there.

So we're going to go ahead and look at the the objects planning the input sheet when I click on that the sideboard opens and the first thing you'll see as the details of the aspects planning the Excel workbook there.

There might be under a meal, you'll see a couple of tabs here instructions. Those might be instructions life left by the manager for whoever's or whoever set up the process.

They might leave some information that you should keep in mind as you go through the budgeting and planning exercise and there's also a supporting documents tab that might have, you know, additional instructions, step by step guides you could attach you know contracts any, you know, large documents PDFs, things like that. You can click on these and download them as many times as you want.

There's also a comment tab down here. It's almost like a news feed so that numerous people can leave.

Comments for each other and they're seen by anybody who has access to this particular workflow.

You can also leave attachments there.

And, you know, so that you can download them and open them.

The one thing that you want. I want to notice we're going to go back to the Details tab. So this is the aspects planning Input Form that we're going to work with. And notice it has a checkout here that so that we can check it out into XML and and so we can put in our budget values or what have you.

And it'll prompt you is when you when you click on it, it'll prompt you as if you're opening an XML. XML file from anywhere on the internet. Same process, you know, as if you were opening attachments from an email or something like that.

I'm going to go ahead and click it. So you'll see it popped up over here on my lower left for maybe open it since I click checkout. And you'll notice that it that changed or since I clicked, check out. You'll notice that that changed to check in.

And that's so that no one else can work on the file while you'd have it checked out. So, otherwise you know when values are being entered, you know, in there with numerous people have access.

It'll create accounts accomplished as far as version, you know, which is the latest and greatest. So in other words, while you're working on the budget, no one else can work on it. So there allows for a single record of truth.

So let me open up the file here, I'm just going to click on it.

Give it a minute to open and I'm going to click on enable content here.

You'll see in the background, you have the framework going for this template and it was talking to Vena.

This part shows really shows the power that then it brings to the table because it allows you to choose what data you want to work on as at a given time, you know, we have the entity department year all specific and scenarios all specific to your organization.

I'm going to leave it on New York but you can toggle to whatever you know entity. You want to do all these options would be specific to your organization and your user access.

You can also, I just want to point out under scenario we have it set a budget, but there are also other options. You can add like you know what if some scenarios forecast, things like that. But we're going to stick with budget today.

And I'm going to click OK. And it's going to talk to them and pull in the existing data that's in there.

So it's still, it's filling in the format based on what I or whatever user selected. In this case I selected, New York. And then the other selections that I made it automatically filled in that information for me.

If I go in a lot of this is Xcel base here. So if I go in and delete some numbers. If we could enable content here. If I go in and delete some numbers.

It's not letting me do that out because I had that selected. Give me one second. If I go in and delete these numbers.

And then click Refresh.

It's going to pull them back in to see what it

So it's connecting to the cloud. It's a, it's still XL. It's using Excel as an access point into the underlying data center cloud database.

So in so once here the data entry is very similar to what you've are you probably already know, using Excel. In the past, I can put in some values. For example, and

You know, here I could maybe I want it says 10,000 here. Maybe we're going to reduce it down to 5000 I can drag it across to all my months here. And, you know, similar to what you do for in, you know, regular Excel.

Another option you can do in an FX planning sheet we can design them so that, for example, in this promotion section.

You know, here we have some events or promotions that they're working on, I could insert another one. Let's say we're going to have a gala or something like that.

I could type properly.

And then add my fields, you know, add the detail for that gala, and that would all have, you know, five put in. I don't know 5000 here.

And that's maybe some deposit money or something like that. But then the gala is going to happen here. Something like that. Notice that's all those entries that I made a rolling up into this top-level for promotions.


The other options to would be maybe like you down here under office equipment you could

You know, break it out by

vendors as well. You know, it's really customizable to your organization organization so

And and I just want to also point out that anything in blue here can be editable disgrace stuff because you know if you'll notice this column header is for actual so I can't edit that. But any of these blue items I can edit.

I can add also add comments over here for. So for that gala they put in for 250,000 you know to be annual gala, something like that.

These are all budget numbers. And one thing you can do is this particular aspects planning document also has this is all budget that we're looking at here, I could expand this. And so now we have actual with the budget over here on the right.

So, you know, once we have actual as you notice, these are all these aren't blue, so I can't edit those because those are coming in and those are actual numbers that are coming in, but I can drill down to them to see the underlying the real

Transaction detail. Let's say for, you know, like this.

Advertising in January.

I could drill into that and see transaction and it will open another sheet, similar to what it does. When you if you're familiar with pivot tables. So it's showing me all the data that was in there from that came over from actually, these are invoices that make up that act those actual numbers.

On the app in this affects planning sheets.

And so that's really helpful thing because traditionally you've had to reach out to finance to get this information or have somebody pull it for you and you had to wait email them, you know, go through all that and now you don't have to do that anymore pulls you know you can pull it right from the vendor cloud database.

So it show essentially shows you the detail that we would have in your system associated with a transaction.

Another thing that you can do with this.

Affects planning the way this affects planning and then minimize this for a second. With this effect planning is that say someone else on your team has access to this and you want to see who's been in it and made changes. Another option you can do is this drill saves

Talking to vent on there.

And so this is showing everyone that's been in, that in the sun in the aspects planning sheet. It shows who has made the changes to what cell and the values that they changed.

This runs on purpose. So, you will always have this audit trail to track who's modified what at any given time gives you the visibility as to who's changing what numbers. But what if you don't know what's changed. There's another option for that.

So let's say this 5000 I want to know, you know, or maybe I just don't know what's changed so I could use the audit trail for that. When I click on that.

And make it a little bit bigger here.

It gives you a similar similar view as the drill save option, but this is going to tell you who's been in the template but also what combinations. They've worked on, you know, example New York department 10 budget.

But what if you wanted to look at to see what it looked like from one version compared to another and what you could do is let's select select this one and maybe we'll select mine from down here, actually selected the wrong way.

And then I can click this compare button here.

So now it's pulling data for me and it's going to create a comparison between the two versions.

Showing where the showing the changes that were made.

I go to the objects planning. This is the new objects planning can see that all these cells are highlighted.

And if I hover over on. That's the one that I changed just a minute ago. It changed. I had changed it from 10,000 to 5000

This one you know changed from that very large number to 1500

It even tracks the comment changes that were made.

The comment changes, it didn't have one now. It's got a new formula in there.

So you can easily track back and see who was in the system and what changes were made. So I'm going to close this. It opened actually two new workbooks, so I'm going to close this one not save it and close this well.

So now we're back to the original, just taking a second to catch up here.

There we go. Okay, so some more things that you can do with the data entry piece and there is. You can also add drivers. So I expand this.

We've got some drivers built into this one here, so maybe you know like on this one dues and subscription looks like they've got it set for headcount so you could, you know, enter your head count in there and it will allocate it across based on the headcount

You know, you could also there's some other options in here. You can allocate things quarterly evenly across the 12 months, you can use prior year. You can do it as a percentage of revenue, like this one is or head count.

For example, if I change this to 150 you'll see the number changed quite a bit there.

Because I did that.


And again, you could also you know you like I said you could do.

You know evenly. I meant to pick evenly.

Take even there.

And it would allocate that across evenly across 12 months.

Now another thing that I think organizations really like is this travel expense often that's made up of, you know, multiple you know meetings and conferences that your staff might be attending notice this is white. So I can't make any entries into it. That's because it's pulling from this supplemental tab here.

I'm going to pull enter on this supplemental tab.

They also that's also a supporting tab, you can have any number of these different tabs and structure in a way that makes sense for your organization. This one happens to be just for travel.

But it allows you the flexibility to provide the details of what makes up that travel number. So what I could do is, you know, Adeline here, I'm just going to click down here and click Insert

It's going to add a row and I can type in the you know event name, let's say, let's pick on that gala again and

I could say I'm going

And you know, you can pick this one just happens to be set up with a friend into location. Yours may not. Let's say I'm going from San Francisco to, I don't know, Montreal going to be there five night.

So I'm going to need a rental car, airfare, lodging, meals per day, maybe some entertainment and here again I can select whether how I want this to be allocated.

Maybe I know exactly what month that's going to be happening. Or maybe, I don't know. So maybe I want it to be allocated evenly across the month or I know it's going to happen sometime in the first quarter.

I'm just not sure when something like that I could just select first quarter and it puts it in this budget line this budget section over here. So it just went into the first quarter.

If I change that to, let's say, maybe I know it's going to happen in January, I want you to notice that it's going to change the visuals, we have built into this. Also, I'm going to select January and notice that increased my January numbers for me.

Again, none of this. I can't update any of this because it's pulling from this piece and then the total number is feeding back over to the FX planning sheet right here.

There's that at 631 that we updated on the supporting tab.

So you know you like I said you could have any number of supporting tabs, you know, just, you know, depending on what makes sense to your organization.

So once I've done all my made all my entries into my aspects planning sheet, then we're ready to close it and check it back in. So it's real simple to do. I'm going to

Just close it and it's reminding me that controlled by Ben and do I want to save data to the database. I'm going to say yes.

So it's talking to Vena and it's giving me and there's a threshold on this particular workbook that for 20% but in mine exceeded. I'm going to say, I'm going to go ahead and save it. Yes.

Because I might want to check it out later maybe I'm not done.

And do I want to check in this file, yes.

So now we're back in Vena. Notice that affects planning sheet is back to check out because I checked it back in for them.

So one thing I just wanted to point out is that you know that, like I said, there's some financial at the bottom of this contributor tab here, you know, you have your to-do list.

You're coming soon and view only those financial reports down there, you know, there whatever reports that were created by your system administrators and would be available here and you can run them anytime you need to.

Keep in mind that when you're viewing a report and someone else has access and changes some values on it as soon as they save and you click refresh, you'll have an updated value in your report, so there's no need to manually move anything between two different files you just click Refresh.

So if I click the Financial Statement report. Let's see.

Let's see their view only here.

And I don't have to check it out. I'm just viewing it it's talking to, it's talking to excel right now. Same kind of thing. I can make my selections here, these would be, you know, whatever is makes sense to your organization. I can click OK.

That this workbook has errors in it.

And so I did you know view my reports. Notice it's all in white. So I can't make any changes to it. There's the balance sheet, cash flow. They're all in the same workbook.

And so these reports, you know, we in this particular workbook, we have, you know, the statement of activities balancing cash flow, but you know, you can have whatever makes sense for your organization in here.

It might, you know, might it might have a report that includes statistical data as well. It might, you know, for headcount or other mess metrics like patient visits visits those sort of things.

So that's kind of a high-level view of the end-user for bene. And how do you know how the process works for and an effect planning sheet.

As far as the process. So, you know, it's really like I said earlier, it's really easy to get comfortable with it because if you know excel at all. You know 70% of what you need.

What you need to leverage then at that point, I'll tell you a little secret. I've only been personally been using Vena for about a month and a half. And I've done all of this.

So I just wanted to point that out to you that that's how easy it is and that's the contributor experience and how that would be working for a aspects planning sheet. We went through checking out the FX planning sheet.

And checking back in and some of the you know details in that planning sheet that you can use to leverage your input there. I'm going to now show you what it looks like as a manager.

Managers I click on the manager tab appear.

Managers have the ability to, you know, build the budget process right in here like click on that you're going to see this is a budget process and you can see there's a start and end and all these steps in between.

That you know take place in each box here represents a step that happens.

Each step can have individual staff associated with them. The steps can involve reports input aspects planning sheets, for example, approvals and our rejections that's worth it with this is right here.

It's going to go from personnel input to the executive to executive approval or they can send it back.

Excuse me, this is custom built to what makes sense for your organization. You can also set due dates on these and you can see what template. You've associated with the step in the process. It looks just like, you know, if I double click on. Let's see.

This. So, this looks very similar to the contributor tab when you selected one of your to do items you can see here's where know the the users are assigned to it.

And the template that's assigned to it. Here's where the manager would put in the instructions and attach anything to it. Here's where they would put in all the supporting documents.

That the contributor will see and be able to download on the other end easily.

So these kind of green boxes represent approval levels so managers and approvals can approve, they can add content they can reject this is sort of an automated process.

And you know contributor submits approval gets an email notification approval reviews and an automated mean email is sent. So there's no need to manually send an email out

In addition to doing all this work that this can be built out to be as simple or as complex as your organization needs it to be and can be changed year over year as your organization grows and changes.

You know, it's pretty simple. You know those notifications are really simple to, you know, just click on this bell, and you can turn them on and off as you go.

And so there's a lot of out of the box functionality with this for sure. And one of the things that I think managers really like the people that are building the process really like, especially after the process get started. So I'm going to click on this.

Gauge over here. That's a status tracker this you know shows. This is the manager review and shows them the status of their of the, you know, let's say the budget creation process that's where we are right here, the budget creation process. It gives them a calendar view.

It also gives them a visual for how long, how far along they are in the process. You can also see individual statuses at the you know the status of individual tasks at the bottom. So you can see who's been working on what who hasn't even been.

So you can see there's a tremendous amount of visibility within then I already, you know, sort of pre built into the system. A lot of out of the box functionality.

There's a tremendous amount of Mandeville visibility, it's very difficult to do any of this. It was just XML based solutions, but was then it can be easily leveraged for you.

I'm going to go back to the contributor. And that's all I have. Does anybody have any questions just based on what you've seen so far.

Kim Fellman @ JMT Consulting: Thank you Lucy. So we're now going to open it up to questions, so please submit any through the Q&A tab at the bottom of your screen. And we'll get them answered right away.

Lucy Brennan: I can just point out that in the beginning of the session, I talked about downloading so let's go ahead...

Kim Fellman @ JMT Consulting: We can give it another minute or so and see if any questions come through and if not, we can call it a day.

Lucy Brennan: Okay, I was just going to point out in the beginning, I mentioned that you needed to download an Excel add on. It's pretty easy. The way you did is you just go to your user ID get add on download it, that's it's that easy.

Kim Fellman @ JMT Consulting: Nice. All right, well, oh, we got a question. Does Vena integrate with many other ERP systems?

Lucy Brennan: It does. There are several other integrations with, I don't know all of them off the top of my head, but I do know that it integrates with Intacct.

You can you can integrate with MIP, Intacct, any of those.

Kim Fellman @ JMT Consulting: Great. Thank you. My understanding is that if there's not a pre-built integration that's already set up that you can still integrate with any software. It's super easy to do.


Alright. Well that looks like all the questions we have for you today. Lucy, so we can wrap this up.

So thank you all for joining JMT consulting for this webinar today and we would love for you to join us at future webinars and events which you can find listed on our website JMTconsulting.com

And this will conclude our webinar.

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