Corporate Planner, the tool for corporate performance management, has made the enterprise more future-proof.
Hans Joachim Menger
Deputy Manager and Head of Administration
- Cost centre planning
- Variance analyses
A system for transparency
Corporate performance management at the German Red Cross subsidiary Volunta
Volunta is the voluntary services provider for the German Red Cross in the federal state of Hesse and for other German Red Cross branches. As a German Red Cross subsidiary, it is part of the largest humanitarian organisation in the world and receives grant funding from the German federal government. In order to account in detail for the usage of these financial resources, Volunta has introduced a corporate performance management system.
As a charitable provider, Volunta arranges organised voluntary work placements for young adults, such as the Voluntary Social Year, the Voluntary Ecological Year, Federal Voluntary Service and Voluntary Service of All Generations, as well as International Youth Volunteering schemes. In addition, Volunta offers opportunities to get involved in voluntary work combined with school exchanges, work experience and au-pairing. All this began as the German Red Cross department for the arrangement and administration of the Voluntary Social Year. Interest in the organised Voluntary Social Year and Voluntary Ecological Year programmes was growing continuously and spreading to the International Youth Voluntary Services and the “world-wards” programme. With the introduction of Federal Voluntary Service, the offer was extended to address the target group of “senior” volunteers (over 27 years old).
“Our organisation had reached a size (turnover) and diversity which called for a more detailed analysis of the financial data,” Hans Joachim Menger, Deputy Manager and Head of Administration at Deutsches Rotes Kreuz in Hessen Volunta gGmbH in Wiesbaden, Germany, says of the point of departure.
Being dependent on subsidies from the German Federal Ministry of Families, the Elderly, Women and the Young and from the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the charitable provider had to deliver reliable figures. It was particularly important to be able to allocate the costs on a causal basis for a fair distribution of the overheads to the individual areas. Budget-actual comparisons of these values also needed to be implemented quickly and adapted according to immediate requirements.
Quite apart from the question of source and allocation of funds, the managers also required valid and transparent business information as the basis for management by objectives. The management staff were to have access to data by means of which the achievement of business objectives could be monitored and opportunities and threats identified.
In order to achieve these objectives as soon as possible, the Head of Administration drew up an implementation concept which also included the introduction of appropriate software solutions.
In addition to the software for corporate performance management, a solution for financial accounting was to be implemented at the same time. Once the proposals had been checked and approved by the auditor, the manager agreed to the nature and extent of the planned project. The software support would be an integrated solution of FiBuNet as the financial accounting system and Corporate Planner as the corporate performance management software.
A small project team consisting of financial accountants, the corporate performance management staff committee and Mr Menger as Head of Administration was responsible for implementing the content and the practical requirements. At Volunta there are two distinct areas in corporate performance management: operational management and strategic management. The two areas are closely interconnected, so there is a lot of cooperation between the Accounts department and the Corporate Performance Management staff committee. With two software tools being introduced at the same time, the IT department was on board right from the start and always up to date. The employees at Volunta received training as soon as possible to make sure that they could all perform their tasks in the software without any trouble straight away after implementation. One of the specifications was that every posting at Volunta should be made with reference to a cost centre and a cost unit, thus ensuring two different views of the data at all times.
During the roll-out, Ulrich Friggemann, Managing Director of CCS Controlling Consulting & Services in Michelstadt, Hesse, and Solution Partner of Corporate Planning, was on hand with assistance and advice.
“It is quite exceptional that we receive so many different subsidies, and we must therefore prepare many detailed statements of how they are all used. For this, we need an accurate allocation of the costs and revenues to cost centres and cost units,” emphasises Hans Joachim Menger. This is where the Corporate Planner solution has made work a lot easier, since the evaluations by cost centre and by cost unit are extremely straightforward and the usage statements are much easier to produce. The professional and detailed display of the required figures and the associated transparency inspires confidence when external audits take place.
The budget holders can make budget-actual comparisons and forecasts, calculate financial performance indicators, and keep an eye on liquidity directly within the system. In reporting, monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements are produced routinely. With the web client CP-Web, the previously defined user groups can view their reports independently and unassisted. The management staff greatly appreciate having their figures permanently accessible without having to rely on the Accounts department.
“Staff without a commercial background now think more numerically. There is much more transparency as to how costs and revenues are broken down,” project leader Menger explains, pleased with a “side effect” of the software application. But first and foremost, the company benefits from there being fewer errors in the figures as a result of the new software solution, and the quick and direct way of working for all concerned means that more time remains for other tasks. “Corporate Planner, the tool for corporate performance management, has made the enterprise more future-proof,” Hans Joachim Menger sums up the advantages for the company and its staff.