FloQast Announces Flux Workflow, Adding Automation, Transparency to the Flux Process
Mar 25, 2021 | By John Siegel
Today, FloQast announced the release of a highly anticipated feature to the FloQast Flux module, one designed to save Flux users time while also ensuring transparency and accuracy during the critical flux analysis process.
For busy finance and accounting teams, it is often a challenge to find time to conduct a thorough fluctuation analysis after the month-end close. Building the report itself while tracking down explanations requires a high level of coordination, resulting in a flawed process.
With today’s release, Flux Workflow helps busy teams by automating the time-consuming process of building a flux report based on ERP data. Flux Workflow improves collaboration for teams during the flux process. Assignments hold team members accountable to make sure explanations are provided for any material amount, while review notes help guide the process along. With real-time data in the report, teams can now overlay the flux process with the month-end close so the team is thinking about material explanations as they are completing their reconciliations. The end result is an easy-to-digest report for the CFO to use as a starting point for board prep.
The process of building Flux Workflow has taken months and involved numerous teams here at FloQast, as well as a few awesome FloQast customers who served as beta testers and whose feedback was invaluable. To get a better sense of what the process was like, I spoke with Flux Workflow’s Product lead, Sanjay Advani, about what the process was like, how FloQast’s former accountants aided in its development, and, ultimately, how Flux Workflow impacts Flux users.
What is Flux Workflow, and how does it help users?
SA: We’re really excited to launch a new workflow solution to FloQast Flux. This release has brought the product to a new level in terms of automation, collaboration, and controls. We’ve added the ability to auto-assign explanations and deadlines to the appropriate preparers and reviewers for any of the accounts and/or groups they are fluxing each month.
Furthermore, we now offer customizable materiality threshold settings for every single account or group in a flux report. Our customers now have total flexibility in setting any level of controls on their flux process so that they can fine-tune exactly what they want to be explained and when. It offers complete customization.
How does Flux Workflow improve the flux analysis process for users?
SA: This bundle of new features addresses many different pain points we’ve been hearing about from our customer base. The most obvious one that comes to mind is alleviating the time-intensive burden of manually having to assign the fluctuations out to the various team members to explain during the flux analysis process. This is a process that could take hours alone, and then think about the fact that so many customers have to do that every month! Workflow has automation built-in not only to detect which accounts require an explanation from period-to-period, but we’ll automatically assign the fluctuation to the appropriate team member — along with a generated alert to notify them of a new assignment.
Another problem we know our customers face is ensuring accuracy. It’s hard to do manually because of the lack of controls and guardrails. The auto-assigning feature helps make sure fluctuations don’t go unexplained. On top of that, the integration into our Reconciliations module will automatically detect balance changes as they arise, so if the fluctuation amount ever changes after it’s been explained, we’ll monitor for those occurrences and automatically reassign that to the team member so that they can go in and again explain that fluctuation. We’re really proud of our automation features; they make Flux a true set-it and forget-it solution so our customers can take the administrative tedium off their plates and focus on what’s important.
How closely did you and the Product team work with existing FloQast users on this?
SA: Oh, very closely. We always take a very consultative approach to building new features and products here. I don’t mean to say that we just ask our customers what we should build and then we go build it. We really step into their shoes to understand what they have to do for their business, and where in their process they are having frustrations or issues. Only after having these conversations did we truly understand the pain, and that’s when we started talking about solutions. We love our customers because they continually allow us to pick their brains, offer great feedback on our solution ideas, and then take time out of their day to help us test them. Particularly for our Assignments feature, we had a great group of beta testers that really helped us out.
FloQast prides itself on being built by accountants, for accountants. How does having that access to accounting experts help you as a product manager?
SA: Oh, this release would have been IMPOSSIBLE to pull off without the help of our in-house accounting experts. I’ve talked about how helpful and collaborative our customers have been, but they’re busy people that can’t necessarily be at our beck and call every time we have a question. That’s where we really leaned heavily on our war chest of former accountants, auditors, and even FloQast users from their prior companies. For this project, we assembled a great cross-functional group of those folks that heavily shaped the features and functionality you see in this release.
What was the collaboration like with the Hydra team?
I can honestly say that working with the Hydra team has been one of the best experiences I’ve had here at FloQast. They’ve built the Flux tool from its very inception to what you see today with this latest workflow launch. We have two core engineers, Alvin and Dianne, who put their blood, sweat, and tears into building the product and this project in particular. Like any large software development project, you’re going to have some hiccups along the way, but Alvin and Dianne, along with our QA engineer, David, continually tackled and resolved every setback with passion, dedication, and competence.
Also, have you noticed how gorgeous the Flux Analysis report looks now? Our designer, Jessica, has joined our team and has done such a fantastic job of redesigning the Flux Analysis report so that it harbors much more functionality, but remains very simple to use — and again, it just looks great!
In addition to building a great product, you also have to make sure it runs smoothly and with an ever-changing technical environment, Luke, our dev ops engineer, has really helped us stabilize the tool and keeps it running great.
It takes a lot of different types of folks in various roles to bring a project like this to market, and it takes great leadership to get those different personalities and skill sets on the same page and aligned. That’s where we have our Engineering Manager, Dylan, steering the ship. Dylan manages the team with an artful management style, a highly technical aptitude, and a customer-focused mindset. He is such a valuable partner in aligning our development efforts with our overarching objectives of solving customer problems.
I can’t speak highly enough about how easy it is to work with Hydra. Everyone has been so dedicated to this project and its success. Nobody on this team ever “phones it in” and you get everyone’s best, every day. As a product manager, they’ve been a dream to work with.