Budgeting and Forecasting Transformation in Anaplan for Global Real Estate Planning

company overview

Cushman & Wakefield (CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. CWK is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 52,000 employees across 60 countries, recording $10.1 billion in revenue for the 2022 fiscal year. CWK’s goal is to reduce an organization’s total real estate cost with the shortest, clearest path to financial success by implementing strategies for developing, expanding, consolidating, or relocating facilities.

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Real Estate
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The Challenge

CWK planned for Adobe’s global real estate financial outlooks in multiple Excel-based worksheets, which lead to time-consuming aggregation efforts, limited reporting capabilities, manual currency reconciliation efforts, inability to compare budget changes, and a lack of what-if forecasting. The business lacked a defined budgeting processes, had no ability to compare historical budgets against actuals, no workflow mechanisms, and had limited ability to forecast future periods.

The lack of a centralized planning engine to automate imports and exports, prompt for role-based approvals, and handle currency conversions limited the ability of global planners to understand why budgets differed from forecasts. Planners and the operations department spent more time tracking down numbers than explaining differences.

The Results

After the implementation of the Anaplan-based Budgeting and Forecasting model, the planners and finance managers have more tools to create and compare budget forecasts for all planning cycles. The redesigned and streamlined processes within Anaplan provides many benefits, including:

• Anaplan is source-of-truth for budgeting at the property-level

• Budgeting is completed in local currency and conversion occurs automatically into USD prior to export

• Easy input of reason codes to explain budgeting discrepancies

• On-demand reporting provides the ability to select beginning and ending planning periods for comparisons of budgets, project counts, and changes by reason code

• Real-time reporting provides the ability to compare current and previous planning period comparisons of budgets, project counts, and changes by reason code

• Integrations with Yardi to provide monthly comparisons of planning period budgets to actuals

• The approval process is fully contained within Anaplan for Facilities Manager, Regional Facilities Manager, Global Operations Director, and SOMs

• Access privileges restrict access to relevant projects and properties for roles defined at the user level

The Solution

Anaplan was chosen as CWK’s budgeting and forecasting engine because it can easily incorporate property hierarchy

modifications, and new planning rules, and integrates directly to Adobe’s financial planning engine.

The final solution addressed CWK’s needs by:

• Maintaining five (5) years of budget history while allowing planners to budget up to three (3) years into the future

• Integrating historical data to allow for real-time comparison against selected planning periods

• Creating a four-level budget and forecast role-based approval process

• Utilizing cost drivers for planners to adjust budgeting assumptions

• Providing global planners the ability to create and model forecast scenarios prior to budgeting approvals

• Budgeting and forecasting across 4 Regions, 65 Business Units, 130 GL Codes, 23 Countries / Currencies, and a seven-level property hierarchy

• Creating dynamic and real-time reporting tools to evaluate budget and forecast variances

• Manually calculating OpEx, CapEx, and headcount budgets and their associated KPI measures

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