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From Our CFO to Yours

Why Historical Data and Forecasts Are Broken

Before joining Allovue, my entire career was spent in the world of accounting and finance, poring over data night and day to analyze financial statements, budgets and forecasts.  I wanted to ensure the right decisions were made for stakeholders through well informed modeling and data analysis.

The role of the Chief Financial Officer is twofold: interpreting data and using it to make informed decisions to achieve the organization’s goals. But as I’ve learned in my career, historical “static” data isn’t always the best way to plan for the future. Priorities shift, and that means plans and projections change throughout the year.

Technology is about to make all this data crunching easier – but first, let’s look at the problem up close so we can truly appreciate just how hard we’ve made it on ourselves until now.

Image of the Balance dashboard

Financial Technology in K-12

Every day, K-12 districts create thousands, even millions, of new data points. This data can help you better understand your district and where it’s headed. Most accounting systems provide only one viewpoint of that data, and when you try to “dig deeper” within the accounting system and focus on where you’re headed, all those complexities can make you lose sight of your end goals. Worse, all this data is trapped within account codes and insider jargon that only accounting pros can understand, which makes open discussions across departments about financial data nearly impossible.

With millions of data points, it’s easy to get so ingrained in the details that you can’t pull yourself back to see the big picture.

As finance directors, we often invest hours into creating our budgets and forecasts, and we’re so relieved when they’re complete that to change them feels both annoying and disheartening. Yet, how often do we reflect back on some of the decisions we made and wonder, “Where do resources need to shift?” or “Am I looking at this the right way?”   class

Now there’s a new way for you to make better decisions with that same data, and save yourself time (and sanity) in the process.

We call it Balance.

The Benefits of Balance

Image of the Balance dashboard

Imagine that all your financial data is imported into a system that takes your volumes of account codes and transforms them into layman’s terms. Sure, we take the time to memorize those codes, but do your grant managers and principals? With all the complexity of funding restrictions, any measures that reduce errors in compliance will be a win for your district.

Now, imagine being able to aggregate and disaggregate your data with a simple search function that allows you to see how that data measures against enrollment, achievement, or other nonfinancial metrics.

Balance organizes, displays, and makes sense of your data in ways that your old accounting tools can’t, and it saves you and your budget managers hours of manual work in the process. Our platform delivers a user-friendly experience and dynamic reporting.

But the real beauty of a smart financial technology solution is how it helps you access information about which you would otherwise say, “It’s just not worth the amount of time it would take to create that report.” Now, time isn’t a factor.

One Balance user recently told us: “I cannot tell you how happy I am with Balance! Like we said in our training, we are usually two months behind in getting our transaction reports. Once they are received, it takes approximately 2 hours to reconcile and update my MEP report. Yesterday, I updated the report and it took me 5 minutes! Plus, it’s in real time.”

The Future of EdFinTech

I joined Allovue because I believe our products will springboard school systems into the future of financial technology, helping financial directors in education more efficient and effective. With Balance, education decision-makers have user-friendly, up-to-date financial data, analysis tools, and support at their fingertips.

Educating the future of our world is no easy task. In fact, it might be the hardest and most important challenge there is – and Allovue wants to help make your job easier. We know you need in-the-moment feedback from your data so you can not only balance your budget, but also make informed decisions for students.

At Allovue, we believe that student success is the bottom line.

About the Author

Image of Craig Vaughan

Craig Vaughan is the Chief Financial Officer for Allovue, Inc. Prior to joining Allovue, Craig spent the majority of his career at PwC working in their Technology Assurance practice, with clients ranging in size from large global publicly traded companies to high-growth startups. Craig is an undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

March 23, 2016