Planful Inc., the pioneer of financial performance management cloud software, today announced the availability of Predict: Projections, the latest addition to its Planful Predict suite of AI and ML applications, and a new experience for business users to update plans, forecasts, and budgets within the platform, reducing friction across the business. Announced at Planful Perform 2022, these innovations give finance and accounting professionals, and the broader business, groundbreaking new ways to improve the speed, accuracy, and interconnectedness of their budgets and forecasts.
Predict, introduced in 2021 with the release of Predict: Signals, is a Planful-developed proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) engine designed specifically for financial data. Predict: Projections significantly extends the suite’s capabilities and effectiveness by enabling users to quickly build accurate, AI-driven budgets and forecast scenarios.
Planful’s new business user experience brings together finance and non-finance users in a collaborative, one-stop experience. This enables budget managers to advance their insights into actuals and trends and allows finance users to up-level their insights into the business’ financial state. It also connects finance users with non-finance users in an AI-driven process to create more accurate forecasts in the shortest possible time.
“The office of the CFO is undergoing an historic digital transformation as we enter the Golden Age of CFO technology,” noted Sanjay Vyas, Chief Technical Officer of Planful. “Predict: Projections and the new experience for business users are ideal examples of how AI can enable finance professionals to reduce errors, increase forecast accuracy, and tighten collaboration both within and outside of the finance department, ultimately bringing a new level of visibility and accuracy into forecasts and budgets.”
Intelligent Financial Decision Making
Predict: Projections allows planners to create trusted forecasts that link plans to business outcomes without bias. It uses a proprietary mix of AI and machine learning algorithms to generate a forecast that reflects the inherent trends, seasonality, and other variables the Planful AI engine has learned from historical data.
Andrew Chatfield, Planful’s Chief Product Officer, noted “The majority of AI solutions are unable to handle the nuances of financial data, such as negative values, missing periods, and intersectional, calculated data. This is why we spent two years of R&D to build our own proprietary AI engine upon which the Predict suite of applications is built.”
A Human In The Loop (HITL) capability in Predict: Projections gives users the ability to leverage the AI-generated forecast or adjust the AI-generated projections to their preference when finalizing forecast numbers. A detailed, visual context around projected numbers and adjustments makes the AI generated values easily understandable to end users, enabling them to compare actuals, AI-generated projections, and adjusted projections to make more fast, informed decisions.
A Business User Experience Based on Smart Collaboration Improves Alignment
Planful’s reimagined business user experience is a major step forward in the preparation of accurate, actionable forecasts and budgets. By sharing smart templates with business teams, Finance can rapidly expedite the data gathering and aggregation process as well as minimize the need for data requests and repeated manual follow-ups. This allows everyone to focus more of their time on high-value analysis and less on menial, manual, and error-prone work.
Business users can use this new experience to work on budgets and plans knowing the context behind the numbers. The collaborative aspect of the new capability eliminates much of the friction caused when business users are forced to work with confusing or inaccurate data, which saves hours while increasing forecast accuracy.
“It’s more important than ever for the Office of the CFO to have access to accurate, data-driven forecasts,” said Doug Henschen, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research. “With this release, Planful is helping to lead the way in enabling business users across the organization to collaborate on forecast accuracy with modern AI/ML technology.”