Whether you are an existing customer who wants to take your PlanGuru knowledge to another level, or you have just started evaluating the product, PGU is the best place to start your learning process. We start with the basics and gradually build until we have covered nearly every aspect of PlanGuru capabilities. All classes will be recorded and accessible on our website if you cannot attend class*** or you would like to review any portion of it.
For Businesses using PlanGuru internally
Small businesses that have never engaged in a meaningful budgeting/ forecasting/ performance measurement process frequently don’t know where to begin. As we are explaining how to use the product, we will delve into the nuances of these different exercises to help you avoid the pitfalls that are common when building any analysis that will actually drive better decisions.
For Accountants/Business Consultants helping clients with PlanGuru
Many accountants and business consultants still view budgeting/forecasting/planning as a niche service for a select group of clients. We will completely dispel this myth and explain how you can reach an untapped reservoir of opportunity in your existing client base and have a huge competitive advantage over your peers in client acquisition. We will demonstrate how PlanGuru shifts the cost dynamic so that you can profitability offer a budgeting and forecasting process (with monthly reviews) for most of your clients. We will also provide you with marketing materials to help you convey these concepts to your clients.
See the Accountants/Business Advisors tab above for more information that specifically pertains to you and read about the Financial Forecasting Analyst concept.
All graduates will receive a diploma and an electronic PGU icon that can be displayed on your website. Seven (7) hours of CPE credit can be issued to any CPA or your international equivalent if your country accepts NASBA credits.
CPE Credits: 7 hours
Subject Area: Finance, Management Advisory Services, Software (Specialized Knowledge & Applications)
Course Level: Intermediate
Instructional Method: Group Internet Based
Advanced Preparation: None
** Case studies can be substituted with real business/ client engagements which will enable you to continue conducting business while earning your certification.
*** See graduation requirements.
Requests for refunds must be received in writing via email to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the start of the third class session in the semester in which you are registered for.
For any refund, complaint, or program cancellation related inquiries, please contact Tom Murray at (914) 368-7944 .
PlanGuru is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.learningmarket.org
3 Week January ’17 Course
Tuesday, January 17 at 12pm – 2pm ET
Tuesday, January 24 at 12pm – 2pm ET
Wednesday, January 31 at 12pm – 2pm ET
All Classes will be held via GotoMeeting. You will receive a link to join the class once you register for the semester
Each class period will be broken down as follows in chronological order:
90 minute lecture (required)
30 minute question and answer period (optional)
Course Overview & Description:
PGU is delivered to your office via live GoToWebinar sessions that will enable you to actively participate in the sessions to maximize your learning experience. The goal of PGU is to help you develop a strong understanding of the PlanGuru application and its uses. After the completion of this course, you will be able to identify opportunities to better serve your clients through the use of PlanGuru and the concepts demonstrated here.
1.) You must have a licensed subscription of PlanGuru w/ Analytics or Excel Reporting Add-in
2.) Attend a PlanGuru Overview Webinar
Attending all 3 (2 hr) classes is required in order to graduate.
1.) Set-up and Import – Understanding how to efficiently setup PlanGuru analyses is one of the keys to profitably delivering these services to your clients. With a mastery of our setup tools and import Wizards, you can have a model up and running in minutes.
b. Time parameters
c. Analysis Structure
i. Adding additional classes
ii. Subtotal grouping
iii. Supporting Schedules
d. Creating an Analysis from scratch
i. Basic Forecasting methods
e. QuickBooks Import Overview
i. Initial import
ii. Actual results
f. Excel Import
i. Preparing the data for import
ii. Initial import
iii. Actual Results
g. Making changes to structure
2.) Forecasting Methods Deep Dive – Our forecasting tools take much of the heavy lifting out of accurately forecasting your clients’ financials. Knowing what tools are available and in what situation to apply them will help you efficiently build a dynamic forecasting model for your clients.
b. 5 Core Methods
c. Link to Excel (and its main uses)
i. Advanced Modeling Techniques
iii. Excel Loop
f. Non-Financical Deep dive
3.) Multi- Analysis/ Consolidation – For clients with multiple locations, business lines or legal entities, our consolidation tool is of critical importance. Understanding the best practices for building your clients’ organization structure and consolidations will save time without sacrificing your clients’ granular forecasting objectives.
b. Running Consolidation Utility
c. System Recalculations
d. With Account #’s
4.) Reporting & Presentation – Many times, a set of forecasted financial statements are just one of many reporting and presentation requirements. Understanding PlanGuru’s reporting tools will help you efficiently deliver the reports, charts and dashboards that your client needs to evaluate performance and make better decisions.
b. Budget vs. Actual Reports
c. Comment & Ratio Reports
d. Custom Reporting through PlanGuru’s Advanced Reporting Add-In
5.) Ongoing Processes – Building your clients’ forecasts in PlanGuru is the first step but, in order to get the most out of this exercise, you and your clients should view this as an on-going process. Understanding how to maintain and roll forward your clients’ analysis files allows you to efficiently leverage PlanGuru on a recurring basis for maximum results.
b. Rolling Analysis Forward to Next Year
c. Maintaining your Chart of Accounts in PlanGuru
6.) Finding/ Selling/ Delivering – Having a solid understanding of PlanGuru will open up new opportunities for you and your practice. Whether it’s selling additional services to your current clients or using this platform to attract new ones, PlanGuru will give your firm a competitive advantage.
b. What is the Best Way to Introduce/ Sell this Service
c. Developing an Ongoing Process.
In order to graduate, you will be required to attend all three classes and complete five case studies. However, it is an open ended engagement, the credits you receive for attending a class or completing a case study will never expire.
Each class will run for 90 minutes, with at least 30 minutes for questions afterwards. Your attendance will be documented by your answers to a series of poll questions that will appear on your screen during the first 90 minutes of each class. You must simply answer 80% of the poll questions to graduate, while attending each class.
New semesters start every two months. We recommend that you start with Week 1, attend each week until Week 3, do the correct case study each week, and be ready to review your work in class (unless it is a project for a real client). But you have an unlimited time period to take all three classes and complete the required case studies. Students will be allowed to start mid-semester and make up the missed classes by attending classes when they are offered again in the next semester.
If our class schedules simply will not work for you, please contact us and we will work out a game-plan that will meet your needs.
All case studies need to be approved in order to graduate.
These case studies will be assigned as homework to be completed in-between classes. A prepared PlanGuru case study will be provided and briefly explained at the end of each class. Relevant real client data can be substituted in order for you to continue conducting business while earning your certification. Each project will need to meet the varying requirements, so only a relevant client situation will qualify as a substitute for any given case study. In order to graduate, all five (5) case studies (or relevant client projects) must be approved by the PlanGuru Team.
Case Study Submissions
Please see below link to “PlanGuru University – Submitting your Assignments” Knowledge Base post. You must follow each step carefully when you submit your assignments.
Furthermore, the criteria for case studies are as follows:
All submissions must be PDF form. We require that you submit your assignments with the inclusion of the following presentation requirements:
– Multi-year view of all financial statements;
– Single-year view of income statement; and
– Assumption reports for all three financial statements
It is highly recommended that you submit each case study one week after its corresponding class session. This will avoid build-up at the end of the program, and furthermore, allow you to work on a case study while concepts are still fresh shortly following the class session.
Christian Wielage, CEO of PlanGuru, is the Professor of PlanGuru University.
Tom Murray is the Dean of PlanGuru University. He will answer any questions that you may have, track attendance records, approve the case studies and approve you for graduation.
Set yourself apart
In addition to 7 CPE credits, attending PlanGuru University will set you apart from other firms. We will provide you with a web badge to display your certification. Our Find a Pro Advisor page gives PGU certified graduates preferential treatment when small businesses are looking for help. We will also provide you with marketing materials that will help implement everything you learned by getting your clients excited about budgeting and planning.
Financial Forecasting Analyst
For firms that are truly ready to take your budgeting/ forecasting/ planning services to the next level, we encourage you to develop a dedicated Financial Forecasting Analyst within your firm that can bolt-on a completely new revenue stream with little incremental cost. With this newly educated analyst, you will have a tremendous competitive advantage against those firms who do not put the same level of emphasis on these critical yet neglected exercises.
Yes, there are thousands of CPAs using PlanGuru, unfortunately for many of our users, the product is being terribly underutilized in their firms. The siloed nature of most accounting firms makes those firms ineffective at selling budgeting/ forecasting services, because the technical expertise (and proper selling approach) is lacking within all the different silos. It will be the job of the Financial Forecasting Analyst to move among these different silos to identify the opportunities, assist with the selling process and do the heavy lifting from a technical standpoint.
While PlanGuru makes a basic project very easy, more complicated (higher fee) projects may require a deeper level of product expertise. Users who have simply “dipped their toe” into PlanGuru do not have the same vision as a PlanGuru expert who has time to “develop their chops”. Something that takes a PlanGuru novice 3 hours can take a power-user 30 minutes. This will significantly lower the cost of delivering these higher level services to your customers.
The most effective way to build this new revenue stream is to create a person or team whose performance is directly tied to doing more budgeting/ forecasting business. We will provide them with marketing materials and best practices for getting clients to buy-in to a budgeting/ forecasting process. We will also provide firm management with performance measurement ideas.
Taking on a new person may seem like a big leap, so you do not need to take it all at once. Take an existing employee and dedicate half of their time to this endeavor. However, it is important to track their activity and maintain a review process in which improvements can be made. That being said, we recommend any firm with an adequate existing customer base should make this a priority with a full-time hire.