Automation is personal for the team at Causal. Just talk to Tim Nowacki, who drives business operations and integrations at the three-year-old, all-in-one business planning platform.
Nowacki, like most of the financial planning and analysis (FP&A) startup’s team, earned his keep in finance and analyst roles. He’s done the manual, energy-consuming work required to provide budgets, forecasts, and recommendations for four years prior to joining Causal.
Causal’s product enables customers to create live, cloud-based, financial models, and present them with interactive dashboards. As a byproduct, it means freeing up finance teams from doing manual work with CSVs, enabling them to become truly strategic business partners.
Key to Causal’s vision to enable teams to be as strategic as possible is to give them data and insights they need to make and communicate key recommendations. That means unifying payroll, financial, and CRM data in one platform:
Headcount planning is often the biggest expense for most SMBs and software companies, and payroll and employee data lives in HR systems. Being able to see historical pay rates and forecast future expansion is essential to financial planning.
Historical forecasts and granular transaction data lives in a company’s accounting system — which could range from an SMB-focused Quickbooks or Xero, to an ERP like Workday Financial or Netsuite.
Deal flows and associated values, living in CRMs, allow companies to forecast future revenue and upsell potentials.
Nowacki sums up what that looks for teams that use Causal, ”FP&A done well looks like up to date CRM data flowing into your forecast, HR data informing headcount plans tie in, and accounting data providing historical records. That’s the Holy Grail.”
Competitive Angle: the FP&A Legacy Gap
The value of offering dozens of integrations isn’t just in quality of data, however. It’s in ensuring that customers can realize that value as quickly as possible.
After all, legacy FP&A tools require a hefty set-up. According to Nowacki, companies often pay “a consultant tens to hundreds of thousands dollars to come in and implement this system for you.” Causal wants its product to be a lot easier, and more self-serve, than the legacy competition.
After building in-house integrations with QuickBooks and Xero, the Causal team knew that if it wanted to expand its integrations, it needed a scalable solution that offered deep access to financial data. That’s how it found Merge.