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This is how Profoto reduced the time for a forecast from 3 months to 3 weeks

About the customer

For an international company that stands for high quality and innovation, it's especially important that everything works as intended.


With offices from Tokyo to New York, heading towards a billion-dollar turnover, and a stock exchange listing, Profoto stands out as a shining example of an organization that has leveraged the power of data to become more efficient, flexible, and profitable. Amanda Åström serves as the Head of Investor Relations and Finance Business Partner at Profoto. She played a significant role in the stock exchange listing and has had a major influence on the company's business intelligence solution.

Beyond Budgeting, Management by Objectives, and OKR

In a changing world where conditions are constantly shifting, it's crucial for an organization to have robust strategies to handle these changes. From pandemics to AI, companies must always know where they are headed and how to get there. To achieve this, Profoto works with Beyond Budgeting, Management by Objectives, and OKR. They set goals at the company level, which are then broken down for each individual

The approach of Beyond Budgeting combined with INSIKT is what enables Profoto to focus on the most crucial aspects - developing the best products in the market and enhancing its growth. Through INSIKT, Profoto can easily review its goals each quarter and ensure they can plan to achieve them. Even in the actual budget, flexibility is required.

Previously, the budgeting process took 3-4 months. By the time it was completed a quarter had already passed but the project was still planned to be executed in 12 months. However, when they eventually executed it, they did it because it was planned, without questioning the actual purpose and objective of the project and whether it was still relevant.

Now, a lot of time is saved in the planning process. The time to get started is much shorter because there is less time between forecasts. Additionally, data entry is facilitated as one only needs to input adjustments without having to start from scratch. Profoto has also streamlined the actual data input. Now, values are entered only for main products. Accessories and add-ons are linked to the main product and automatically derive their values based on past outcomes. This also saves a lot of time and effort.

Beyond Budgeting

Beyond Budgeting involves going from conventional budgeting processes to ultimately streamline governance across an organization. By abandoning traditional budgeting methods, Beyond Budgeting aims to create a more decentralized organization and an adaptable set of management processes.

Flexibility is key

That's why the decision was made in favor of INSIKT. Profoto needed a flexible tool that allowed changes and reassessments as time progressed. They achieve this through two different perspectives. First, from the bottom-up, where every salesperson in the entire organization is involved, providing a forecast for their customers and the quantity they expect to sell to each customer. Then, the cost controllers come in, creating a profit and loss budget and planning all departmental expenses. After this, they review the figures from the opposite perspective - top-down. Here, the focus shifts to whether planned values lead to the company achieving its financial goals. If not, they simply adjust the forecast to meet these objectives.

The importance of flexibility became very clear during the pandemic when, in the second quarter, they suddenly lost about 60% of their sales. They needed to readjust in the midst of a forecasting process. They created a cost-saving program with objectives and approaches and incorporated it into the budget. This allowed them to effectively monitor the results. As a result, they achieved a profitable EBIT within just two quarters.

"That's what's so cool. Over 100 people contribute their expertise to each budget."

Amanda Åström 
Head of Investor Relations & Finance Business Partner

A circle of learnings

Working in this way fits Profoto perfectly. Each cost center receives its budget, which they have created themselves, and can easily compare planned values with outcomes, creating more knowledge and a more accurate budget for the next time.

"That's what's so cool about it. Over 100 people contribute their expertise to every budget. I, as the process manager, almost don't need to do anything," says Amanda with a twinkle in her eye.

Instead, Amanda's task becomes ensuring that the activities performed are indeed profitable.

When we've interviewed to appoint new Business Controllers, we've often been asked, 'But don't you set the budget for the organization? Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?' It's very satisfying to be able to answer that their task will simply be to ensure that what everyone else has input is profitable and that, consequently, the plan is actually being followed.


Amanda's 5 Advantages of Beyond Budgeting

  1. It's incredibly agile. For a company with many challenges and moving parts, it's perfect to keep up.
  2. It fosters engagement by involving more people in the planning process.
  3. Cost awareness increases as responsibility is distributed throughout the organization.
  4. Work becomes more efficient through delegated responsibility - both for planning and follow-up work.
  5. It becomes easier to get quick indicators of profitability and then take action if something goes wrong