Santa gets his planning under control

In our blog, we show how Santa whipped his financial planning back into shape with Apliqo’s help.

Last year, we reported on Santa’s planning problems, the changes in the Christmas business and the new challenges facing the presents industry. We discovered that Santa needs our help. That is why we visited Santa Claus in his office at the North Pole and scrutinized his financial planning.

The result of our analysis was sobering: Santa Claus does not seem to understand anything at all about corporate planning. We took a detailed look at the following four aspects:

There was no planning concept in place

Every planning process stands or falls on the definition of a specific planning concept. The major planning areas should first be defined therein. In any case, these include the overall planning – i.e. the income statement, the balance sheet and cashflow – and for most companies also the operating sub-plans. The overall planning and sub-plans are then interconnected in such a way that everything is in harmony. At North Pole Santa Inc. the term integrated planning was still a foreign concept until then. The Apliqo experts had loads of work to do in this respect.

The KPIs were not correctly identified

By correctly identifying and applying the key performance indicators (KPIs), it is possible to overcome many challenges during the planning process. At North Pole Santa Inc. we came across a problem which we face at many companies: Santa and his team were focused on too many KPIs. Consequently, we had to start right at the beginning at the North Pole: in order to prioritize the KPIs, unlimited access to company data is required. North Pole Santa Inc. hasn’t had a central data source for decades, so it is of course difficult to calculate the different KPIs.

Santa underestimated the importance of exchange rates

There is virtually no other external influence that is harder to predict, and these exchange rates are subject to large fluctuations. In today’s highly globalized world, they therefore have a huge impact on a company’s course of business. Santa Claus has also been greatly affected by this for quite some time. His business has become more international since he has had various suppliers all over the world. Good corporate planning would be all the more important. In this way, Santa would be better able to assess the risks associated with exchange rate fluctuations and take appropriate measures at an early stage.

The workforce required was calculated incorrectly

The employees are at the heart of a company. As is the case for many organizations, staff costs also account for a large proportion of North Pole Santa Inc’s total operating expenses. Complex calculations would be required to efficiently plan the need for reindeer and Christmas elves every year. However, Santa has never heard anything about workforce planning. The master employee data is so incomplete that he cannot even remember how many reindeer and elves he actually employs. Our task was to implement integrated workforce planning and incorporate the calculations directly into the income statement.

On the path to success thanks to Apliqo

After comprehensively analyzing North Pole Santa Inc.’s planning processes, it soon became clear to us that Santa Claus needed help. In order to implement functional corporate planning as efficiently as possible, we opted for an Apliqo software solution which works according to predefined best-practice processes. The pre-built application used enables simple data management and a standardized and structured approach to prioritizing and applying the KPIs. The entire planning process is thus accelerated across all business units. Predefined workflow processes are also very user-friendly. This is particularly important because neither Santa Claus nor his elves have fully developed IT skills. The Apliqo solution is also capable of portraying complex variables like exchange rate fluctuations in a simple manner and performing detailed stress tests using the data acquired. Since the introduction of Apliqo, Santa Claus has been able to respond much better to unforeseeable events and to take decisions more quickly. We all benefit from the time gained: thanks to Apliqo, Santa can now once more focus on his main business of distributing presents.


Would you like to know more about financial planning and unified performance management?

Click HERE and join our free webinars.


More resources

Lower your data latency and improve your business decision-making

There’s a term in network technology called ‘latency’ which refers to the delay between the execution of a command and the instruction given by the user. You’ll hear it most often in the world of high-speed training where a slight increase in latency (to the effect of a couple of milliseconds) can have a drastic negative impact on speed and thus performance.

Read this article

How strong FP&A solutions improve data literacy

As most of us realise, there is useful data and not-so-useful data. And merely having it at your disposal doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re able to discern between these two camps. It’s often only in the processing phase where we dig into the data and look for insights that we discover whether the data we’ve collected can actually drive us forward, rather than remaining a red herring.

Read this article

5 common mistakes when building financial models

Critics of financial modelling will always tell you that there are simply too many moving parts and interdependencies within a company to arrive at an accurate prediction of the future. They’ll point to how easy it is to adjust an input assumption and completely change the entire scope of what the model outputs. And to a certain extent – they’re right.

Read this article

Unlocking a new operating model for finance

Much has been written about how changing tides, rapid disruption, and global trends impact the customer-facing side of business today.  You can open any business publication of your choice and hear stories of how technology has completely changed how they think about their offering and their messaging to the market. 

Read this article

The 10 commandments of FP&A

Here at Apliqo, the FP&A process is at the heart of what we do and so in this post, we thought we’d share our 10 commandments for what strong FP&A execution looks like. While somewhat tongue-in-cheek, there’s a lot to be gained from getting these things right. Now, without any further ado, onto the ten commandments.

Read this article
Ten commandments of FP&A