How to Start the Journey to Level Up your Financial Planning & Analytics Processes

Level Up your Financial Planning & Analytics Processes
Level Up your Financial Planning & Analytics Processes
Written by Heather L. Cole, April 25th, 2024

Let me tell you a story...

Once upon a time, there was a struggling named Excel Power User who dreamed of becoming a respected finance professional.

Every day they thought about nothing else but improved financial planning & analytics processes and how to stop data chasing.

But after a while, Excel Power User started to doubt if their improved planning process goals were just a daydream.

One day Excel Power User overheard  Mr. Broken Processes saying there was no way Excel User would ever gain the respect of executives!

Excel Power User was so mad they could barely see straight and resolved to succeed with improved planning processes no matter what it took!

Unfortunately, reality quickly set in for Excel Power User.

They were confronted by critical questions, including: how do I fix our budgeting and planning processes?

They also had to face the fact that everywhere they turned there were broken spreadsheets and data links.

Finally, they needed to get past the false belief that they would never have enough time.

But, despite all that, they were determined to connect the strategic plan with the planning and budgeting process.

Then, as if by chance, Excel Power User discovered the Evaluating your Planning Processes & Tools Program video , and things changed fast.

They discovered Steps to Review The Current Processes, Steps to Evaluate Planning and Budgeting Software, and how to get IT buy-in for their initiatives.

Before they knew it, Excel Power User had become a respected finance professional who understands the secrets of "How to Start the Journey to Level Up your Financial Planning & Analytics Processes”  so that it aligns with the strategy of the executive team and is viewed with significant importance.

So, if you view yourself as the “Excel Power User” in this story and would like to discover a faster path to success, we have a program for you.  After working in the budgeting and planning software space helping hundreds of clients evaluate your processes and tools to level up their planning, Heather Cole has created the Evaluating Your FPA Processes and Tools Program.  It’s a series of self-paced videos and checklists that help you look like a rockstar in your organization.    This program costs you nothing but your time and commitment to making a difference.

To access the Program just register here.

Not sure, and not ready to commit to a “program” no problem. 

Would it help to have a 20-minute call with someone who has walked in your shoes?  Someone who knows the challenges you face in initiating corporate change and the struggles you have to get the executives to understand the importance of having a robust, agile process.  You don’t have to go it alone!

So, click here to schedule a complimentary 20-minute FPA Next Steps call with one of our experts.

If you have questions, you can email us at

Check out all of Lodestar's upcoming events here.

Unlocking Efficiency and Innovation for Midmarket Companies with IBM Planning Analytics

Unlocking Efficiency and Innovation for Midmarket Companies with IBM Planning Analytics
Unlocking Efficiency and Innovation for Midmarket Companies with IBM Planning Analytics
Written by Heather L. Cole, September 8th, 2023

In today's fast-paced business landscape, midmarket companies face unique challenges when it comes to budgeting, forecasting, and planning (FP&A). Many of these organizations heavily rely on Microsoft Excel for their financial processes, a tool known for its flexibility and ease of use. However, this love affair with Excel often turns sour as businesses grow and evolve. The result? FP&A professionals find themselves trapped in a never-ending cycle of data chasing and error checking, leaving little time for strategic thinking and analysis.

So, what's the solution for midmarket companies looking to break free from the shackles of Excel and embrace advanced technology and AI for their FP&A processes? The answer lies in IBM Planning Analytics, a powerful tool that's more accessible than you might think.

Excel's Love-Hate Relationship

Excel is the backbone of many midmarket FP&A processes due to its simplicity and familiarity. It's a tool that can handle the uniqueness of each organization's financial data and calculations. However, as businesses grow and change, Excel's limitations become painfully evident. The time and effort spent on manual data entry, formula checks, and error corrections can be overwhelming.

Midmarket companies need a solution that retains Excel's flexibility while adding scalability and advanced forecasting capabilities. Enter IBM Planning Analytics, a game-changer for finance teams looking to adapt and thrive in today's competitive marketplace.

The IBM Planning Analytics Advantage

IBM Planning Analytics offers the best of both worlds: the familiarity of Excel and the power of advanced technology. It empowers finance teams to create dynamic and robust models that can adapt to the ever-changing business environment. The key to rapid success with IBM Planning Analytics is not relying on pre-built templates but engaging with knowledgeable consultants who understand both the technology and FP&A processes.

At Lodestar Solutions, we firmly believe in the proverb "teaching a man to fish." Our approach is to coach your team in using the technology effectively, ensuring that you become self-sufficient in leveraging IBM Planning Analytics. This means no more dependence on cookie-cutter solutions or struggling to fit your unique business needs into rigid templates.

Join Us for the Webinar: The Pain of Outgrowing Excel

Still skeptical about making the switch from Excel to IBM Planning Analytics? We invite you to join us on October 19th for our webinar, "The Pain of Outgrowing Excel: Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics." In this informative session, we'll delve deeper into the challenges midmarket companies face with Excel, explore how IBM Planning Analytics can revolutionize your FP&A processes, and showcase real-world success stories of organizations that have made the transition.

The Pain of Outgrowing Excel: Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics

Date: Thursday, October 19th, 2023
Time: 1:00 – 2:30 PM Eastern

The Pain of Outgrowing Excel Midmarket CFOs Discover Relief with IBM Planning Analytics

Why Should You Attend?

  1. Uncover the Hidden Costs of Excel: We'll shed light on the often underestimated costs associated with Excel, including the time, resources, and missed opportunities that could be better invested elsewhere.
  2. Discover the Power of IBM Planning Analytics: Learn how IBM Planning Analytics can transform your FP&A processes, reduce errors, enhance collaboration, and provide actionable insights for strategic decision-making.
  3. Realize that IBM Planning Analytics Is for You: Contrary to popular belief, IBM Planning Analytics can be deployed for as few as 10 users, making it accessible and cost-effective for midmarket companies.
  4. Embrace Flexibility and Scalability: Understand how IBM Planning Analytics offers the flexibility you love about Excel while adding scalability and advanced forecasting capabilities.


It's time for midmarket companies to break free from the constraints of Excel and embrace the future of FP&A with IBM Planning Analytics. Don't settle for one-size-fits-all solutions; your business is unique, and your financial planning tools should reflect that. Join us on October 19th to explore how you can regain control, reduce the pain of Excel, and unlock efficiency and innovation. It's a decision that can revolutionize your finance department and propel your organization toward success in the modern business landscape.

Check out another one of Lodestar's most recent blogs: Escaping the Budgeting Blues: Rolling Forecasts with IBM Planning Analytics.