We often get questions about the best way to handle employee/staffing related forecasting in PlanGuru. While our recommended solution will vary based on each customer's individual requirements, these methods can be broken down into several high level approaches. The goal of this article is to present some of these approaches.
Before I discuss each approach it makes sense to document some of the common considerations that customers have when forecasting this critical area. Then I'll share the approaches that are commonly used and provide links to separate detailed articles that discuss each method in greater detail.
Factors/Questions to Consider:
1. Individual Employee vs. Headcount base approach - The first question to ponder is whether you plan to budget/forecast personnel related costs by each individual employee, or would you prefer to use more of a "headcount" based approach. Some customers who have groups of similarly compensated employees are able to classify their employees into a "headcount pools", while others have a disparate employee base where these type of classifications aren't appropriate.
2. How many employees do you need to plan for? With a given set of requirements the optimal approach may vary based on the number of employees you're planning for.
3. Personnel related planning objectives - What statistics/metrics besides employee salaries are you looking to track and evaluate? For some customers simply knowing the salary for the employee pool or individual employee is enough, others need to track additional information such as billing rates, utilization and department allocation %s.
4. Will employee costs be spread over multiple divisions? - Another key factor to think about is related to the setup of your company in PlanGuru. If your forecast only includes one analysis, then this simplifies things. On the other hand if your PlanGuru company contains multiple analysis files then this will also impact your desired approach.
A. Forecast using PlanGuru's Payroll Utility
PlanGuru's supporting schedules are an easy way to forecast by employee or groups of employees and their related costs. The benefit of this approach is its simplicity.
B. Forecast by employee using PlanGuru's Non-Financial Data:
The Non-Financial Data tab can be used to load a roster of employees and key drivers that you're interested in tracking. This approach is great when you want to budget by employee and track and report off other key employee-related statistics such as billing rates, utilization and/or allocation %s. This approach can also be helpful if you need to spread individual employees costs across multiple departments.
C. Forecast by Headcount pool using PlanGuru's Non-Financial Data:
If you'd prefer to forecast your personnel expenses using "headcount buckets" the non-financials is the way to go. Using this approach personnel related costs will be driven by the headcount assigned to each bucket and its respective pay level. The benefit of this approach is the low setup and maintenance, and the ability to quickly perform "what if" scenario analysis.
D. Use PlanGuru's Link to Excel feature:
For those who have a large employee roster and want to forecast by each individual's salary, the "Link to Excel" approach is a great option. When using this approach, detailed personnel related information will be stored in an Excel worksheet, and summary level information will be linked to PlanGuru through our live Link to Excel forecast method. The benefit of this approach is that your existing personnel related Excel schedules can be leveraged, with summary level information linked to PlanGuru.
You may find that your optimal solution is a combination of several approaches listed above. Each approach is not mutually exclusive, but rather an attempt to demonstrate a concept that can be adapted to best suit your individual requirements. If you have more questions on any of these approaches or how to best implement them please log a support ticket.