Arteria is a Software-as-a-Service technology startup with a goal of becoming a global leader in enterprise digital documentation. Arteria selected Jirav’s FP&A solution to streamline and automate its financial budgeting, forecasting, and reporting processes. With Jirav, Arteria successfully accelerated the financial planning cycle from 2 weeks to less than a day, enabled 24-month rolling forecasts and scenario modeling, and increased organizational confidence in financial reporting.
Arteria’s challenges around financial planning were not unlike those of every fast-growing company: they needed to keep a tight handle on cash flow to ensure sufficient runway for growth.
Arteria Chief Financial Officer John Wallace recalled dealing with this challenge shortly after joining the tech startup. “Arteria’s forecast cycle was highly manual and really painful,” Wallace said. “As our numbers changed through the close process, the trickle-down effort to update complex GAAP calculations and Excel models distracted from the more important job–making sure we understood how strategic decisions impacted our cash flow.”
After 15 years at Deloitte implementing FP&A solutions for Fortune 100 clients, Wallace was well versed in the capabilities of enterprise-grade FP&A solutions--and also knew that as a small company, Arteria would require a different kind of solution. “As a startup, we don’t have time or money to spend on an elaborate custom solution. We must look at every decision through the lens of ‘Where do I want to invest? How does this help us grow and scale?’” said Wallace. “For the finance organization that means we eliminate, simplify, standardize, automate or outsource work.”
Before Jirav, forecasting cycles took about two weeks. We scrambled to lock the forecast before the board meeting. Now with Jirav, I’ll complete the base forecast in hours (including closing books and revenue recognition), and I am able to model sensitivity scenarios and develop mitigation plans.
Since implementing Jirav, Arteria has dramatically accelerated its financial planning cycle from 2 weeks to less than a day. Wallace said: “We now leverage Jirav to automate and analyze budget, forecast, and actuals.”
Jirav has automated the perennial problem of time-consuming updates: “Our bookkeeper can add an account or book a late entry. I don’t have worry about errors or downstream problems: any changes automatically show up in Jirav.”
Jirav also eliminated much of the manual entry associated with generating the baseline forecast, running sensitivity analysis and locking the forecast. “Jirav offers an integrated P&L, balance sheet and cash flow model. I tweak the fundamental drivers of the business, and in a few short seconds I can generate financials all the way to a cash flow.”
Why does that matter? Wallace explains the cascade effect: “When our sales team updates a key deal in CRM with the latest client plans, that touches our broader hiring plans, changes working capital, impacts third-party covenants, and modifies our cash runway. I don’t have time to mess around with spreadsheets for days to understand that impact. I need to know the implications, so we can take action immediately.”
Using Jirav’s out-of-the-box SaaS Revenue Recognition features, Arteria has simplified onerous IFRS compliance calculations for both actuals and forecasts. “As the contracts are updated, I don’t have to worry about some gremlin Excel formula in cell AA666 going crazy,” said Wallace. “I know the calculation is correct, and can validate results in seconds.”
Arteria’s financial reporting is now both standardized and automated. Jirav’s intuitive report writer provides a simple, out-of-the-box cash flow statement that actually works, and Jirav’s KPI library provides standardized, consistent formulas. “You can tell Jirav thought about how financial professionals use reports. In other tools, every statement is a separate report… and you spend 20 minutes assembling a package of reports and schedules. And everytime you make a small change, you repeat that process. The ‘Report Package’ feature in Jirav is brilliant. The time I save generating reports is time I can spend on higher value activities such as sensitivity analysis.”
Wallace is happy that Jirav has automated an otherwise painful process, and enabled longer-term planning. “As we project out 12, 24, or even 36 months, how do we have a conversation about strategic choices without understanding the financials? When we live in a resource-constrained world, we have to make resource-constrained choices. So during strategic conversations with our Executive Team, we model those scenarios, and factually articulate impacts right down to covenants and cash runway. That’s really powerful stuff.”
An unexpected benefit of Jirav is that Arteria now can demonstrate financial capabilities and planning that would be typical of a larger, more mature organization. That provides a great experience for Arteria’s business partners. “I may not have a cast of thousands supporting me, but ‘me and my stuffed giraffe’ [compliments of Jirav] will outperform a ‘spreadsheet army’ any day of the week.”