How Imagen Dental Partners Used Customized Budget Templates To Align the Business on Success | Gaylord Miller
Gaylord Miller: I'm Gaylord Miller, Senior Director of FP& A at Imagen Dental Partners. I was with Host for about five years then I went away for about eight months and Shaneel didn't like that so I came right back. Oh, I'm in control. So this is me. Yes. I was Planful. Fun conference destinations. I think what I enjoyed the most was probably Memphis. We stayed at the Gaylord, which was really fun, but it's a really cool resort. So a little bit about Imagen Dental Partners. We are a partnership organization. So we partner with highly successful, very technology advanced dentists. And what that means is that these people are really successful. They're the ones that when you go to the dental conferences, they're up there speaking, they're tremendously... Just they're bright, they're technology forward. And in our industry, what typically happens, is that a larger company would come PE- backed and buy out their practice. They'd become an employee. It's an exit strategy for them. And these dentists, they're young, they're early in their careers. They don't have an interest in that. So we built a model that says, keep 40% of your practice, get ownership shares Imagen, grow your practice, get paid on your growth, and have an exit strategy for when you want it. So what it has presented for us is this unique opportunity for these very, very smart, successful people, where we are stepping to help them run their business. And it becomes, I think for us, a challenge as to how much we reach in there. They are completely clinically autonomous. We have nothing to say about how you run your practice. So there's a very fine line between," Hey, we noticed your labor costs a little bit high." And," But this is how many people I need and want to run my business and that's what I want to pay them." Versus saying," Well, you signed up to generate a set amount of profit so we talk about those metrics as well." So, that's Imagen Dental Partners. We're going to talk about two things today. We're going to talk about business alignment and then we're going to talk about a little bit about budgeting. And this session's a little bit different because we're actually not going to get into the application. This is not a how to in the application, right? This is your application's up and running and now you're trying to engage the company, right? FP& A has selected this product. FP& A has done the implementation. You've done all the work and everybody has all these legacy systems that they're reporting out of. Everybody has their own way to get to their own set of numbers. And only in the process you go into meetings and well, I have my numbers and your numbers are different and why, and it causes frustration. So this is really about bringing organizational alignment together. And I'm glad we have sort of this size group. I'm very informal speakers so interruptions are great. I think there's a lot of brain power in this room that has way more answers than I've been able to come up with. But it's pretty much walking through you some of the things that I've hit upon through my two, one Host, one Planful, experience about getting that company aligned, getting buy in, and how when you get to that monthly business review, there's not this" my number's different than yours" and XX is getting frustrated, people's faces are turning red and nobody wants to believe any numbers because no two numbers are the same. So that was really the challenge that somebody asked me to get up here and talk about. So we are going to talk about beginning with the end in mind. We're going to talk about establishing Planful as the source of truth, right? All of these systems out there, somehow let's get to one and let's get aligned and say whatever we think this is the number that we as a company are going to base our decisions and actions on. Right? And then we're going to talk about staying with the process. So beginning with the end in mind, establishing Planful as a source root, that is what you do when you start this process. You want to be able to say," We use Planful. These are our numbers. This is what we, as a company, have aligned behind. We budget in this application. We forecast in this application. We report our actuals in here. This is it for us." We're going to talk about C- suite buy- in and sponsorship and why that's important and how that works. We'll talk about eliminating inaudible financials, which I've just alluded to, empowering your stakeholders, and who are those stakeholders. Right? The executive team, operations folks, departmental leaders, budget owners, accounting team. And then we'll talk about stay with the process, right? How can we be timely and accurate with our numbers? And that's, I think probably a pull and push for all of us, right? We want to be out there quickly. We don't want to be reporting prior month 45 days later. But if we're rushing through that process and we're revising numbers that harms our credibility. We'll talk about consistency in what we present and how we present it. And then the company language. So to begin with the end in mind, and you guys can all read it. Again, this is from Steven Covey. So start with the clear understanding of your destination. So let's understand what we're trying to accomplish before we start. It means where you're going so that you better understand where you are now and the steps you need to take to get there. So, as we talk about these again, accuracy before speed, and it's a tough balance. But in both of my implementations, people are willing to wait an extra week, if when they got the numbers they were right. So one of the things we've done to that end is we publish a financial calendar and we say, this is when we're going to deliver. And this year, because Imagen is new, we started in 2020, our first practice affiliation was late in the year 2020. My financial candidate is built with a lot of generosity, right? So I have an extra four days for accounting to close. I have an extra two reviews in there for FP& A to go through the financials and we publish the calendar to the executive team and we review it with them and we say," Here's where we made and here's where we miss." So we hold ourselves accountable. So we're very transparent in what we do. And then to get to that monthly business review and to have it be meaningful means a lot of work has to go in before, right? So it's not just producing the reports, which Planful is really good at, I mean I have everything built in collections. The first time we ran reports, my boss, he said," So after accounting closes, how soon are you going to have data ready for me?" And the way we've built our tenant, I update from our accounting system every 10 minutes. Full load, prior two months. So I said to him," I don't know, somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes after." He's like," What?" I'm like," That is what we can do and we will do." So we can get stuff out really quickly, but then what happens is that as we look at the P& Ls and accounting sort of gets out of their head and starts looking at how things are from the outside, we end up going back in and making changes. So that's one of the reasons that our financial calendar is as generous as it is. Because accounting goes through a close and then we look at P& Ls and we say," Oh, this didn't get in." And they're like,"Well, we booked every invoice we got." Well, clearly something didn't come in and now we need to go make an accrual to redo some numbers. So these are some of the reasons that I'm very generous on the timeline and we take our time getting to good numbers. And that also means that in preparation for those meetings, I'm giving people advanced looks at their numbers, right? We don't want to come in and be surprising everybody of the conversation. So all the department owners, they get their P&Ls and it's built into the schedule. A week ahead of the meeting, you get your numbers. It's built into the schedule 48 hours before the meeting, the reports go out to the executive team. So there's prereading, they have time to go through the numbers, and people aren't being surprised. Why do we want to do that? Because everybody in inaudible people want and need to look good. You don't want to throw anybody under the bus, right? The more people get around a common cause and a common direction, the more willing they're to buy into your system. So here you have Planful that's providing all these numbers and you're giving people good advanced notice of," This is what we're going to talk about. Here are your numbers. Here are the variance explanations you can do." So one of the great things that we did with our application is not even that I tied directly to Acumatica for every 10 minutes upload. It also ties all the way down to the invoice. So now our variance analysis gets really easy, because it's a double click on the report and every single number goes through the roll up to the account, to the invoice, and we can see exactly what's in there. So when you see those monthly anomalies, it's not," What's in there? What did we miss?" It's click, click, click, click, and there you are." Oh, we got this invoice. I see two months worth of dates in it. So we have a catch up, we have a timing issue," and that's what we talk about. It's very, very powerful. The monthly review meeting. When I was at Vixxo, which is where I used Planful Host Analytics, we sort of had a very soft month end close. We kind of close and everybody kind of accepted these were the results. And one of the things that my boss and I did is we set a very structured monthly business review meeting. So we said," Really, you just came in and slammed the door on me?" She was very surprised that it slammed which is the reason I said that. But we formalized the meeting and we got the executive committee to commit that two days a month that we were not going to travel. They were all going to be around for a collection of executive level meetings, of which, we started those two days with the monthly business review, the financials, and then they did ops meetings following. So it was a very hard deliverable date for the FP& A team. It took us a little while to get really good at it but we did and holding yourself accountable to the organization that way is really, really powerful. Asking for," Hey, we want to be able to deliver financials and have people review and discuss the financials," scary moment. But to get to where Planful's that accepted source of truth, where everybody sits in the room, looks at the same numbers and discusses them, you need to get there. And I alluded to this before, sometimes those meetings they devolve into," Well, it's an accrual. Well, we deferred that cost," and you'd see the executive team getting red in the face because this is not an accounting conversation. This needs to be about the business. You need to keep the accounting talk out of it. Right? It's one of those arts I think that we learn as we grow in our FP& A careers where we learn to speak to our audience. So when you're working with the accounting team, yes, there's accruals and referrals and reversals. And then as you get to department manager, it's timing and variances. And then as you get to executive team, it's what's driving those operational variances you want to talk about. And finally the support of your internal customers. This is really funny because I tried to look at this stuff on my screen and there's a little box that blocks... There we go. Okay. Knowing who to speak to, how and when, in those meetings, really critical. Something I just said a little bit of. So I want to encourage people to, if you don't have those processes in place, find a way to take that good step. And when we started that at Imagen we started a very small meeting. We started with the CFO, my boss, myself, the president, the CEO. That's it. We did not bring in the whole team. And then last month's meeting, the CEO actually looked at us and said," This content is now good enough and strong enough and consistent enough that I want to invite the whole SLT to all these meetings for the rest of the year." So we scheduled 12 months of advance and all we did was go back and we added the entire executive team to those meetings. So I know starting next month, I have the whole audience and that'll be a whole other learning process for us, but we'll go through that. And importantly, I think, and this has been especially true for us that Imagen, we are so young. I mean our first partnership was in September of 2020 and we're at 41 today. So in February had one on the 22nd, one on the 23rd, one on the 24th. And what that has sort of forced the discipline on us of my team of saying we are not going to do that. So we are not going to try to get all this operational data in Planful right now. We are a financial reporting application and we are going to stop because we need to be successful at that before we do anything else. So that, saying no, that was... Everybody," Can you get this in there? Can you do this?" No, we need to be rock solid where we are and we're not right now. So knowing where you're going also means that you know when to say no. He wrote it. So truly influential executive sponsors and this is tough, right? I was fortunate in that I started at this company and they asked me to choose and implement a system. I chose Planful and my boss turned out to be our executive sponsor. It is so easy to underestimate all of the things they do behind the scenes, right? So when you get that executive sponsor and they're involved and they see and understand the process, and now he doesn't want to understand what I need to do to code a report, but he needs to understand the lift that it takes to get something done. So when executive team makes a change in our business model, they need to understand exactly how that ripples through all of our systems and all of our applications. And they make what in their head is a really simple change, but I built the application to address the business model you gave me at the beginning, and now you made this change and I have to go break 25% of it to address what you just did. So that executive sponsor who works behind the scenes aligning the organization, driving consensus, being your champion in those conversations that you're not in, really, really important and important to get that person engaged from the beginning all the way through the process. So I mean, as I'm here this week emailing my boss saying," We're on time with the financials. We're going to have the review. We're not going to be late," just so that he knows and it's not 24 hours before I'm saying I'm not ready. So he can be pacing the executive team right now saying we're on track. The books are closed. We're good with the numbers. We'll be on track with the meeting and we have a monthly board meeting that follows that. So it's all of these things that him being comfortable and understanding where we are, or whoever your executive sponsor is, being able to be aligned on those things. So be engaged with that person. Stakeholders. What are your stakeholders? Who are your stakeholders, right? Anybody that can affect or is affected by the organization. It's a really broad group of people. It's easy to think about stakeholders being those people that are right in front of you right now but there are a bunch of them. And so much of what we do, especially in finance, approaches them. So we are a private company that means that there are people on our board, not on our board who have invested pretty heavily in our company. These people are stakeholders. I don't have a reporting obligation to any of them. They're my stakeholders. They would like to know, how was my investment doing? And while we don't give them a lot of detail on a monthly basis, they have a vested interest, obviously, literally, in what we're doing. So being conscious of not only the C- suite but their department leaders that are producing budgets and own their budgets, some of them in more mature companies, their bonuses are partly depend upon making their departmental budgets, be those expense or revenue or both. So these people are deep, deep stakeholders in what it is we're doing. Operations group, whatever they look like. And I call it the operations group because typically operations have a different set of metrics, KPIs, and a different system they read data out of. So this is one of the places, and I'll give you a live example for us. We have one doctor of our 41 practices who likes to see his gross revenue, which is the full list price of every service he performed in a month. And then he's got like a 40% discount in his adjustments plan to get his net income. He's the only one that does it, but I have to be aware of that's how he like to see his data so when I produce his P& L it looks the way he needs to see it. This guy's a key stakeholder for us. He's one of our very first partners. He's got a unique need. We got to address it. And then, obviously, the accounting team with us, particularly Acumatica, does not have a reporting engine. So I've built reports in Planful for accounting team to help them through close. They run their collections, they run their reports. They're all line level detail by GL account, very different than we use. But again, they're a stakeholder, right? And what's interesting is a lot of times when I sit in executive review meeting, I'm the only finance or accounting person in there. And so if anything's wrong with the numbers, inaudible looks right at me and he complains about what's going on, and I'm thinking," That's accounting. That's not me." But for so much of an organization, accounting and finance, it's one group. They don't think of us separately. So making sure that you're close and tight with those people is super important. Somebody mentioned while I was in another session earlier asking people what they need. It's really easy for the executive team. I remember what I interviewed for the job at Imagen, the president is sitting there and he looked at me and he said... Because they did not have financials, I got there six months after they started. President looked at me and said," How would you build a P& L?" I said," So if you and I are going to sit here talking about how to build P& L, we're having the wrong conversation. I'm not the right person for the job." Table stakes. If I can't do that, I shouldn't be here. So for the executive team, it's the three statements of financials, balance sheet, cashflow, P& L. It's easy, right? But then you get on to department leaders and now they need to see things differently. And you need to think about what they're seeing, because if as you guys have departments like we do, everybody has different drivers of cost in that department. So everybody's going to have different areas of focus and emphasis. And explanations, right? These are the same people that when they come into that business review every month, they're going to need to be able to say confidently, calmly quickly," Here's what driving my department costs." And this is one of the things that I think is interesting, because in my experience, a win for finance has been when we sit in that meeting and we don't say anything. That means that we have helped, coached, supported each of those leaders to where they can all talk to their financials with confidence. Everybody in the room knows that finance did this stuff. But as we sit there and don't say anything and everybody's able to go through their stuff, they feel good about themselves. And again, in those behind the scenes conversations, they're going to be saying your name about this is why I'm good with my financials. FP& A got them to me. They were early. I saw them. I understood them. It's a great meeting when finance and accounting sits in there and says nothing. So it's one of those times where less is more and less is truly more in that meeting. I'm finally asking people how we can help. I think this is one of the places that we can get in trouble with Planful. It is such an easy application for us to administer, right? One of the reasons that I chose it was because I don't need IT support for this application. I don't need Planful support for this application. I call inaudible all the time because I love her, but I don't need to call her to say,"How does this work?" But at the same time, right then you need to find a way to give other organizations, other stakeholders in your organization, ownership of this application. What is the report you need? How can I make your access earlier? So two sessions where I went to dashboards, I just spent the last 45 minutes building my first set of dashboards. I'm going to launch them when I go home. But it's about now a landing page for all of these people, with the metrics they care about, that's easy for them to consume and understand. And I'm guessing it's going to ramp up my Planful adoption by a factor of about five. Because now you can log in, you can look, you can drill, you can answer your questions, and it's not a table of numbers you're looking at. It's living data that you can drill into right now, again, all the way down to the... So for my people and culture team, they need to see that Kelly Services invoice. What did I pay this month? Indeed, LinkedIn, what are we paying for all these services? Because like everybody right now, finding people is hard and it's expensive. So we are aware of a budget in recruiting, but they need to be able to answer that question. What is going on? Where did we spend the money? So asking how we can help. Don't just build it because from a finance perspective it sounds good and sounds like fun. Get out there, sit with them one on one, how can I help? What do you need to see? What are your pressing questions? And you can build to their answers because Planful lets you build to their questions, in ways that when we first built reports... So we send our dentist monthly and quarterly reports at the end of every period. And we built these gorgeous, beautiful decks that we sent them and they were all built from a finance perspective. And the first time we tried to walk a dentist through them, their eyes glazed over in about two minutes. They were like," I have no idea what you're talking about." And some of them got frustrated. Some of them got angry because they handed us their financials and now we're talking to them. They're all cash basis. All of a sudden we're accrual. They're just frustrated. So we did two things. We got our top six together and we did a four hour focus group. How do you need to see this stuff? How do you think about it? To find out, not a great surprise, show me pictures. Show me colors and pictures, numbers don't make any sense to me. Couple of them, yeah, they want all the numbers at the back of the deck. And then a couple of them that were more frustrated. I would spend 30 minutes a week on the phone and we'd go through two pages at a time. And after about six weeks," Oh, I got it. This stuff makes sense." But again, it's meeting them where we were. Simple example, right? We built a P& L, of course, we put net revenue on there because everybody cares about net revenue. In a dentist world, it's production. It's what I produce my own two hands. They don't know what revenue is. So all of our financial statements now say production. We don't have revenue anywhere in our lexicon anymore because we need to meet our customers, our stakeholders where they are. So giving up ownership of the application, counterintuitive, but not from an administrative perspective, but from a user perspective. Absolutely. Finally, it's a process. So we don't think about winning at the end. We don't think about what we want to achieve. We think about what do we need to do right now. What do I need to build in Planful for this next step? Like me, I figured out I need to build dashboards so people can log on landing page, pretty dashboard with your stuff right there in front of you. Can drill into it, see how everything is doing. So when we first put in Planful, FP& A team was new to Planful. Everybody got all excited. They're playing with the tool and everybody's getting different answers from everything they do. And they're like," Planful is broken." I'm like Planful is never broken. I promise you the system doesn't have a brain. It only has what we gave it and it does what we ask it to do every single time. So if that answer's not what you were expecting, you either didn't give good information or we asked the wrong question. It's been four months, I think they're finally accepting that Planful is... The answer gave you is the question you asked it. Not right or wrong, it's just it is what it is. And beauty of the system? It does what you ask it every single time. Weakness of the system? it does what you ask it every single time. So stay with the process. Being consistent. I touched this a little bit earlier. Once we established a format for our reports, we haven't changed them. It's so easy to do these things and Planful to go," This will be easier. People talk like this." Hold on a second, don't change it every month. Let them get used to this is where I find my data. The fourth line down is always my net production. The sixth line down is always my compensation expense. The first column's actual, the second column's budget. Simple stuff that we take for granted in FP& A, actually isn't simple for non FP& A people. It'll be like me trying to be a dentist. I don't know and you don't want me to. But just the simplicity of the first four or five times they see it's the same, it's very reassuring to people. So do not underestimate being stable to build that familiarity, to build that confidence, to let people get used to what it is we're doing. So it's what information is there, how it's presented, being consistent every single time, and then the communication. We touched on this. When are reports available? What's the financial reporting calendar? We publish it. Everybody can see it. We measure ourselves against it. And then this last slide I put in. I think most of us have encountered in our careers, one person who seems to be their whole goal in life to go find what they can disagree and disprove in your reports. So everybody in the meeting goes," The number's wrong. We don't believe the reports. We're done." Get really close to that person, as hard as it is. So I built a new report for this person's team at my organization. And before I did anything with it, I sent it to him and I asked him and only him," Please review it. I'll put 30 minutes on the calendar for you and I to get together and talk about it," to get his buy- in before I publish it, before I shared it with anybody else. Gave him a feeling of empowerment. It also gave him ownership of the report so that when it went out to his team and it said we've added a new report and this is the content, he owned what was in there because he looked at it, he reviewed it, he modified it to what he wanted to be so now he's invested. He just became a key stakeholder in that report. So as difficult as it is sometimes, to go to that person's office who's been busy throwing you under the bus at every opportunity they've had and make that person a business partner, it's tremendously, tremendously powerful. There's our financial reporting calendar. That's what we publish. The greens we've hit, the reds we've missed. You'll notice I'm pretty consistently missing my EBITDA flash. It's mostly because my boss does not sign off on that until the last possible minute and never allows me to publish it. So every month we sit in the meeting, it comes up, the CEO looks at that and says," Why don't we get an EBITDA flash?" And I give him the same answer every time, we are working on being more consistent and more timely with that number because I'm not going to say," Because my boss won't publish the number." And a lot of times it doesn't change between when I'm ready and the end. He just will not get comfortable until the last possible minute. So it's published for the whole year and I update it as we go. Had a lot of reds in March, we had a lot of affiliations, a lot of new practices. Threw us for loop. What is nice is that although we've missed some of the dates in the middle, the reviews, we hit the management review, we hit the board review so that's kind of always a win for us. Actionable budgets. We'll talk about this a little bit more quickly. So many times it's you build a budget, it becomes this static thing that, I mean literally, nine months after you're done, right? So you build a budget. It gets approved in November. You get to the next October, you're into next year's budgets and you're still reporting against a number that's 17 months old. It's not even good anymore. So the challenge for us was, especially with Imagen, we started the year with 29 practices. We had a plan to partner with another 36 practices. Didn't know who they were, where they were coming from, what region, where they roll up, just this massive unknown number that suddenly had to become this dynamic budget that as we get to the middle of the year, will need to be talked about, are we ahead or behind on our cadence of acquisitions? Are they bigger or smaller than we thought? Are they performing better or worse? How's our cohort of previous existing practices doing? So we have this unusual budget that I've never seen before, where I actually change our budget every single time we have a new practice affiliation. I go in there and I take away from the TBD practices in the budget and put in new practice budget and my boss gets frustrated because the budget changed again. And I'm like," This is the process you agreed to." We were going to track how we were doing against what we said we do and this is what it is. We just have this massively unknown piece. Been with organizations where there's top down direction on budgets. That pretty much comes to FP& A, FP& A creates a company budget, and then all year you only hear from operators and department owners," That's not my budget. I didn't do it." Get people involved. And this is one of those places where I think as FP& A you push back when people want to have a top down budget. Yes. People get involved in their budget. Department leaders create a budget that inaudible. Somebody says," Oh we need another three points of EBITDA. Go make it happen." But if people have been involved with the process enough, if they've had that opportunity to sit in front of the executive team and present their budget," These are investments for my team. These are the people I need to hire. These are the things I want to do," and they understand in a conversation that they got to argue for it and the decision was made. People are used to not winning every decision, but being involved in the process is key. So again, just like we do with the financial calendar, a formal budget process. We have a kickoff meeting where everybody's on the phone and the CEO says," Welcome to budgets 2023. Gaylord's going to take you through the process, but I want to say here are my expectations. We're going to deliver our budget on time for the board on this date, we are going to improve our bottom line 10 percentage points. We are going to reduce costs 300 base points." So that there's context and people understand that there's accountability and understanding in the process. They have to have an opportunity in that process. And we have very simple PowerPoint decks. They're very consistent where department leaders, operations, they come in, they sit in front of the executive team. We do it over three days. Everybody sits there. They get an hour and a half to talk to the executive team about what they want and they hear some of the decisions being made. And then sometimes, the executive team looks on the rolled up budgets and makes other decisions, which is fine. Then at the end of the process, you got to send out to people what their budget is. I think it's one of the steps that I have missed the times of my career. But once the budgets are approved, PDF them and send them to every budget owner. They have their budget. It's a PDF file. It can never change. Look at your budget, it's there. As Imagen has learned and grown, one of the things that has been a challenge for us is that we are learning what we're reporting on on metrics. We're learning what we want to do. So this is one of the areas where throughout this year, as people are using external systems to report numbers, I don't want all that data in Planful. It's a bunch of operational data. But they're willing to go pull out that data, and then they're willing to put it either, give me a spreadsheet so I upload it to Planful and DLR, or they report on it manually somewhere else. So this year it's all about rethinking our budget templates. I'm thinking about how do we build a template that reflects the business? Because I think that is one of the strong points of Planful, that you can rebuild those templates every year as the business moves and changes. It's not that you're handed this thing and it never changes. So last year we talked about," Oh, we're going to add a hygienist. We're going to add associate dentist." Well, this year we're talking about, we're going to add clear liners or we're going to add this other service. So now on my revenue build up, I have all these different lines in Planful. So as the reporting comes out, we can report on all the lines that you said you're going to budget against and now you can report actuals against those numbers. So having Planful be a living, breathing thing that reflects the organization, the change in the growth in the organization, I think is key to the budgets being actionable budgets. Here's what we said, specifics. I love sublines and I love notes. Because again, when you get nine months, 10 months into the year and everybody's thinking about everything else and you're asking them," Why did you budget this in October?" Nobody can remember. But if you put in your sublines, you put it in your notes, or you attached your backup file, I don't even need to ask you. It's in there. So sublines, notes, attachments, very, very powerful. And by the way, I'm collecting that input on the templates from my operations team. So I got them in an Excel sheet, I just marked it up," What do you guys want to think about as you budget for next year?" And I'll go build it and plan for them. So when they go into budget, they'll see the template that looks exactly like we talked. So very, very powerful. Mentioned this briefly, our total revenue of existing business, our TBD, we just had this huge... It wasn't organic growth. It was, we are going to go to inorganically acquire practices. And somehow that's a big number for us. Our budget process, templates, timeline, a formal launch. And my budget can't... I don't have the sales budget calendar yet. That's a soon to do. But then one of the things on there is when can the executive team expect to see roll ups and we have on there, right? Roll up round one, roll up round two, roll up round three, final. And that final is two weeks before the board deck is due so we have time to put together the board deck. And I email people when they're behind. So every week I sit down and say," Here are the budget deadlines." And people get emailed saying," Hey, the budget deadline for this week is this. Please have your stuff done," but this is how we do it. Oh, this is last year's budget timeline. So again, what's due, when's it due, who's doing it, and any comments and concerns that people need to have. It's published. Everybody gets a copy of it that has budget responsibilities. These are the deadlines we expect you to hit so we can hit our budget. And what's interesting about that is that my boss will come up and say," Where are we on the budget time? Are we ahead? Are we behind? Are people delivering?" And he will get involved in poking people because he doesn't want to work over Thanksgiving or Christmas either. He wants the budget done before that. And the way we get done before then is by everybody hitting these deadlines. So formal budget calendar, formal kickoff meeting, formal presentations, designated end date that everybody signed off on. So we talked about business alignment, begin with the end in mind, establishing Planful as your source of truth, how to stay in the process. Don't get out over your skis on that one. Sometimes going slow is just fine. Know when to say no. Distributed ownership of your budgets, reverse engineer to your outcomes, and dynamic budgeting. And that's what I have for today. Questions? Comments? People are good.
Speaker 2: I can make things inaudible. So out of all of the departments and the stakeholders that you set forward to bring on board, which of those departments probably was the most difficult to get the buy in?
Gaylord Miller: It's ops. Operations because they live in dental practice management systems where they can see every single insurance code for every single thing, every single dentist did in every given month. And we pay our dentist on collections on those processes and ops just lives in all of those reports. And the challenge for us with those reports is that there are probably, and I'm not exaggerating, 40 different DPMs systems out there. So we have 41 practices, about 30 of them share two of the systems, and at the other 11, it's one, two, one, two, and the systems are not consistent. So today I could not go out there and import all of that data in the Planful because each of those systems define things differently. And the most frustrating thing about dental practice management systems, they never close a period. Because if on the 31st a doctor does a procedure and they collect that money on the 10th of the next month from the insurance company, they have to post it again for that procedure so it never closes. So month actuals actually change post period closing. So those systems are, from finance perspective, they drive you crazy. They're like," This is not what you reported for production and collections last month." Well, doesn't change. It's open. Yes, ma'am.
Speaker 4: inaudible question. So you needed to inaudible report for CFO-
Gaylord Miller: So one of the things that we've done to address that is out of all those DPMs systems, we have the doctors run us PDF reports at the end of the month and send those to us. And if those tie are Planful, I don't care what changes in the future. We're an audited accounting team, I mean our financials, so we have our backup. So if at the end of the year the DPMs system say something different, when our auditors ask us where this number came from in Planful, this is it. We have this report that's run, has an SOP about how to run the report out of the dental practice system, and those are the numbers we book and report against.
Speaker 4: inaudible have to ask about data then Planful can go into-
Gaylord Miller: So you're absolutely correct. So our question is these systems spitting out information, is this data we can load to Planful? So dental practice management systems are a cake. Most of them do not produce CSV or Excel files. They only produce PDFs. We have a team of people in India that rekey that data into Excel and I DLR it into Planful.
Speaker 4: And they Planful people you have in India?
Gaylord Miller: No, they're just... They don't have to be because they're just putting in Excel for me.
Speaker 4: Oh, okay. inaudible.
Gaylord Miller: Yes, yes. Yes, ma'am?
Speaker 5: How many users do you have and do they go in make their own budget entries in your templates?
Gaylord Miller: Right now, I have... So four of our dentists are in on a regular basis. My team, so within the company, I probably have four or five other users that again started in 2020. So 2021 was our first... And we went live first quarter of last year. So this will be the first year that everybody will be getting in there and putting in their budgets. Yes. So I can say it, Planful has this facility that we don't talk about very much, but it's called offline planning. And the first day I was inaudible at a presentation offline planning where you can export a live template, email it to somebody, and if they're not a Planful user, they can key their numbers straight in there via Excel. They can link all of their files, email you back the template, and you reloaded it to Planful and you're done. It is amazing. But yes, if you just search through help for offline planning, a couple steps from you as an administrator or a user to be able, to email people an expense template or revenue template where they don't have to log in the Planful. They can just do it in Excel, attach their backup, email it back to you. You load it up and you're done. You're smiling.
Speaker 5: inaudible that too now because I don't want to have to redo all work of I'm currently inaudible-
Gaylord Miller: No. So you definitely don't want to do that.
Speaker 5: Keep going forward.
Gaylord Miller: And what I've done in the same vein of acquiring dental practices, I've developed a standard practice configuration. We know our average practice looks like$1. 8 million in production. Will look like$ 350, 000 in EBITDA, 6% in occupancy, 10% in labs and supplies. And I have a very standard configuration that I load up versions of with timing. And I think if your DCs are going to be consistent in size and performing the same set of services with the same cost structure, you can do something like that. And then it's pretty easy to shift it over time. Or if the configuration changes, then you have a very easy explanation for variance to budget. Because you can create an entity that's a budgeted DC, and when the real DC comes up, you put that in there and then it's really easy to compare the two. This what we budgeted for the new DC and this is what actually happened. And it's a very quick analysis. Anything else? Yes, ma'am.
Speaker 4: How long does it take for the stakeholders to kind of follow in love with Planful inaudible?
Gaylord Miller: So the dentist I have that uses Planful the most was actually our most troublesome dentist. He was the one that everybody just dreaded his calls every month. So I tested Planful access because it was already Planful. I gave them also Acumatica because when you drill into the invoice, it actually takes into Acumatica, our accounting system. So I had to make sure he had access to both and make sure the logins and the security worked. So I tested on these other nicer dentists first, before I finally got it to him. He has been my best adopter. Here we are two months after he has access and for this quarter's call with him, he actually, when we scheduled the call, he emailed us back and said," I log into plan for every couple weeks. I look at my financials. The deck you guys send out is pretty comprehensive. I'm actually really happy. If you guys don't need to have a call, I don't need to have a call." So in his case, eight weeks to manage his practice. For sort of supports at SGNA departments, that's really quick because they're straight expense budgets. So if you can show them their headcount, the benefit burden, their T& E, their adoption is really quick. Those operations groups, whether it's sales, manufacturing, those groups that have their own systems that run their own set of metrics, those are probably the ones that are the most difficult.
Speaker 4: Well, how long it take them?
Gaylord Miller: I think if you do a good job of bringing them on board at the beginning, right? So one of the things we did in the selection process is once we had sort of decided on Planful, we had our implementation consultant do a presentation for all of those groups and said, here's what the application is going to be able to do for you. It's not going to tell you what to do. We are going to talk to all of you about how you view your business and how you would like to view your business from a financial perspective. And we are going to build to your requirements. And in that case, that adoption is really quick. I mean, that's three reporting cycles and they're in. They're like," I asked for this, I see it, I got it. I'm good."
Speaker 4: Do you use actual inaudible Planful as well?
Gaylord Miller: Yes.
Speaker 4: So you need a... Basically, it's coming from your accounting system.
Gaylord Miller: I have an API to my accounting system that pulls in every single GL account and I do it every 10 minutes. 10 after the hour, 20 after the hour, 30 after the hour. So when accounting post an entry, they wait between 9 and 12 minutes and they run reports and everything's updated.
Speaker 4: So that API is part of Planful?
Gaylord Miller: Yes. Planful has a whole library of APIs for multitude of systems.
Speaker 4: Thank you.
Gaylord Miller: You're welcome. Good. Thanks everybody. I really enjoyed. Appreciated talking with you today.
Change is never easy. But when stakeholders see how they’ll ultimately benefit, they’re more likely to hop on board. Gaylord Miller, Senior Director of FP&A, will explain how Imagen Dental Partners, a collaborative community of dental practices, accelerated its adoption of Planful by starting with the end in mind and engaging users along the way. He’ll show how he used Planful’s easy customization of budgeting and forecasting templates to increase buy-in, intrigue and motivate stakeholders, and align the entire business around making Planful the company’s reporting standard.