FinanceOS is the latest product from Datarails. An operating system for finance departments, FinanceOS allows users to consolidate data from across the entirety of a company, connecting all sources of financial information and streamlining previously onerous processes like generating reports, analyses and forecasts.
In the same sense that Microsoft Windows and macOS transformed the experience of personal computing in the 1980s and 90s — by offering users easy access to the tools they needed to work and play digitally — FinanceOS has the potential to transform the work of financial planning and analysis. It’s a tool that can free FP&A professionals and leadership teams from the laborious work of wrangling financial data and allow them to get to the heart of what they do: making informed strategic decisions using actionable financial insights.
Further enriching the FinanceOS experience, Datarails has recently introduced an AI-powered conversational tool called FP&A Genius. This cutting-edge feature promises to revolutionize the way businesses interact with financial data, by transforming complex analytics into accessible, user-friendly dialogue.
Datarails believes that FinanceOS represents a revolution in financial software because the problem that FinanceOS addresses is no smaller than an industry standard — and an entire ecosystem — of disconnected data.
The Problems of Pandas
It’s common knowledge that Ailuropoda melanoleuca, the giant panda, subsists almost entirely on a diet of bamboo.
It’s less commonly understood that, as members of the order Carnivora, pandas are poorly suited to digesting the primary component of bamboo: cellulose. As such, an adult panda must spend 12 to 16 hours a day eating, consuming upwards of 20 pounds of bamboo each day to sustain itself.
In this sense, pandas represent an unfortunately apt parallel to dysfunctional finance departments, where FP&A professionals may spend their days preoccupied with the exhausting task of ingesting and digesting massive quantities of disorganized data, often for very meager returns.
“In the current ecosystem, finance people are wasted resources that are rarely able to fully realize their strategic potential in their businesses because they’re so busy wrangling data,” Sloane Kolt, head of Datarails Labs, said. “It’s incredibly transformative if you can actually have finance people doing the work that they’re there for — instead of the non-value added work they spend so much time on now,” Kolt said.
A self-described “recovering finance person,” Kolt understands firsthand the problems associated with being an FP&A professional. It’s one of the reasons she joined Datarails, both to address the prevalent problem of disconnected data and to simply get away from the morass of data that her FP&A roles entailed working through.
“Data was everywhere; I was completely preoccupied with data,” Kolt said. “I was pulling it from this system and that system, reconciling back and forth — and I found all that really frustrating because I wanted to be a real strategic part of the business.”
Seeing the Forest Through the Trees
It’s this ubiquitous sense of frustration that Datarails’ FinanceOS is intended to alleviate. By offering seamless integration with accounting, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, marketing, sales and HR software tech stacks, FinanceOS can provide both a single source of truth and a working environment from which financial analysts can approach their critically important work.
“Especially in times like this, with a lot of uncertainty with regards to macroeconomics, finance performance is one of the main things that a company’s leadership team needs in order to steer the boat in rough seas,” VP of Product Gil Rozen said.
Rozen is an experienced leader with a 15-year history of building data platforms and custom data solutions. He relishes opportunities to structure and model data — and to generate value for customers by doing so. As the former CEO of a data services consultancy, Rozen is acutely aware of the sometimes titanic efforts that finance professionals and company leadership undertake to do things like gather and present internal data. Like Kolt, he joined Datarails in large part to address many of the chronic problems facing companies with regard to financial data.
“In my role as a CEO, I had two needs,” Rozen said. “I needed to be able to see my finance data clearly to make decisions, and I needed to report my finance data as an entity that was one of two dozen entities that reported to a global CFO in Europe. I witnessed the amount of effort that my finance team was pulling to get those numbers, to align them and to be able to report on them afterwards. And the level of effort that was tied to generating internal reporting for the CFO was enormous.”
To address this gap, Rozen and his team have developed components of FinanceOS like Report Builder — a customized report creator mechanism that addresses gaps in traditional business intelligence and reporting tools and lets FP&A professionals generate reports with a handful of clicks. They introduced tools that made standard financial reporting tasks — such as generating waterfall charts — effortless. With FinanceOS, Rozen noted, repetitive tasks like reporting month’s end financial date can be made simple and straightforward processes.
And by employing Datarails’ patented technology for consolidating and storing all Excel-based data on a cloud-based centralized database, FinanceOS allows finance teams to continue to work in the industry’s most common tool as they are doing or keep financial models, synced with the unified database assuring real-time automation, complete version control, and dashboarding.
Empowering Leaders to Improve their Companies
FinanceOS counts more than finance professionals as its beneficiaries. It also allows finance teams to better understand and inform the decisions of CFOs and CEOs as they model strategy with regard to a company’s finances.
“We want to help the CEO and CFO look at their business and detect the underlying drivers for their company’s performance,” Rozen said. “We help them find answers quickly and easily so they can come prepared to board meetings with the right information under their arm. We want to help our users become strategic advisors shaping their company’s financial decisions.”
Ultimately, the value proposition of FinanceOS is no less than transforming the financial strategy of a company for the better, turning dysfunction into function, turning bamboo into superfood, so to speak, and creating a new industry standard system in which financial professionals work.
“FinanceOS allows finance people to connect to any data source; blend, prepare and wrangle that data the way they need; model their business cycle into that data; and present that data to their organization” Rozen said. “And we believe that if we have done our job properly and built this product properly, FinanceOS is going to be the place where finance people are going to spend most of their day.”