"With Corporate Planner, the entire budgeting and reporting process has become extremely user-friendly and efficient."
Head of Corporate Performance Management
Knowing what matters – Parameterised planning at Psychiatrische Dienste Aargau AG
The employees at Psychiatrische Dienste Aargau AG (PDAG) in Switzerland know exactly what matters when they examine, treat and care for people of all age groups with all kinds of mental illness: reliability and precision. The hospital management has the same expectations of its corporate performance management with regard to planning. Here, it is primarily a question of transparency and the awareness of the cost and revenue-driving factors in the running of the hospital. The calculations for the cost and revenue plan should be easy to follow. With the use of Corporate Planner, this expectation is fulfilled.
For the internal customers, the team led by Remy Gasser, Head of Corporate Performance Management, exercises the same degree of care and attention as the doctors and nurses do for the PDAG patients. As the point of contact for enquiries regarding analysis, cost accounting and budgeting, the corporate performance management staff produce detailed reports and deliver figures on which management decisions are based. These data must be reliable and traceable.
“We were looking for a software application for budgeting because we wanted to raise the standard of the budgeting process. We had previously been using the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet application as a planning tool. However, this was imprecise and out of date. It was clear that we needed a software solution which was not too closely tied to a particular structure, as there are quite a few special cases,” Remy Gasser says of the point of departure.
He found this flexibility in the CP-Suite module Corporate Planner. The typical CP tree structures can be adjusted according to immediate requirements. At the same time, there is no need to start from scratch, as business management models and interrelationships are already in place.
For the Swiss-certified accountancy and corporate performance management experts, the main objectives of introducing a new planning solution were to increase the traceability and the availability of the data. In particular, information about the driving factors, and a parameterised plan which could be drawn up and adjusted in just a few quick moves, were right at the top of the wish list. “This would enable scenarios and forecasts to be produced. The import of the actual values from our ERP system Microsoft Navision was another objective besides reporting,” Remy Gasser adds. Apart from that, responsibility for the planning was to be spread over several shoulders. The situation at the time, when only a few employees could create and edit the Excel budget file, was to be avoided in future.
A reliable partner
The “Finances and IT” department was faced with the organisational challenge of setting up the software solution without having members of staff with many years of experience. That is why the Head of Corporate Performance Management was looking for a partner who would be able to support him on a long-term basis, as well as for the appropriate software solution. The required partner was found in Pricewaterhouse-Coopers AG in Zurich. PWC won the project team over, not only with the advantages of the CP-Suite, but also by demonstrating that the new solution would fulfil the specifications. In the implementation and the depiction of the structures in Corporate Planner, the corporate performance management experts focused particularly on the parameters for the running of the hospital. Many different cost drivers must be taken into account in the ongoing planning processes. These different parameters arising for the hospital from internal and external requirements have to be reconciled meaningfully and in the correct order. In the introduction of the Corporate Planner software, this demanded a high degree of business administration and technical knowledge from all project members. Now that there is a common underlying theme in the form of CP tree structures, and thanks to integrated planning tools, the PDAG staff can calculate scenarios and prognoses easily and reliably. Changes to these can be recorded in the software in just a few quick moves, and alternative planning scenarios and forecasts calculated.
The corporate performance management staff make the results available to their internal customer, the management, in the form of reports and analyses. Departmental staff are also provided with informative reports on the driving factors for their day-to-day work. Each employee only receives the information which is relevant to his or her specific area of responsibility. What‘s more, there is a means of giving qualified feedback. The values in the plan are thus traceable for everyone, available in full, and form a sound basis for subsequent variance analyses. Depending on the situation and type of enquiry, the budget can be presented directly in the software during a meeting or, as the case may be, the management accounting specialists send the reports and analyses by email or print them out for the area managers.
Confidence in the figures
“Through the use of Corporate Planner, the entire budgeting and reporting process has become extremely user-friendly and efficient. The individual planning steps are made transparent and traceable, and recipient-oriented reports can be created with very little effort. We certainly save time preparing the budget, and can now create scenarios in a very straightforward manner,” Remy Gasser sums up the improvements which have been achieved. The planning scenarios, reports and analyses created in Corporate Planner are met with a high level of acceptance because they are easy to follow. The employees and the management at PDAG have more confidence in the figures. And that is what matters to Mr Gasser and his team.
The Psychiatrische Dienste Aargau AG (PDAG) examines, treats and cares for people of all age groups with all kinds of mental illness. A made-to-measure in-patient and out-patient service guarantees the type of treatment which is appropriate for each of the patients, their illnesses and their personal circumstances.
There are around 1,000 people in over 40 professions working for PDAG. Doctors (psychiatrists), nursing staff and other professionals also go there for training. In September 2011, PDAG was appointed as the Academic Teaching Hospital of the University of Zurich.