Plansmith Blog

Sue West

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When in Doubt, Peel the Onion

Posted by Sue West on 9/8/21 8:58 AM

Although we develop software to mathematically convert ideas into measurable outcomes, we have always viewed Plansmith as an education company. Not education as in ‘a + b = c,’ but in the way relationships and behaviors drive a financial outcome. This year, we are introducing a new educational solution called Budget Playbook. This online tool connects vision with purpose and execution to help you reach your budget targets. At Plansmith, we use Budget Playbook to dive into the relationship between ideation and plan execution to foster communication and drive better results.

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Planning: Many Aspects, One Purpose

Posted by Sue West on 7/7/21 3:32 PM

I’m often asked, “What are the differences between a plan, a budget, forecasting, reforecasting, what-ifs, and stress testing?” Although some of the actions are similar and often intermingled in conversation, it’s their purpose that defines them. If you’re a client, most even involve similar keystrokes using your Plansmith software navigation; yet each plays a unique role within your organization’s total planning process. Let’s discuss.

Budget

To start, everyone’s familiar with a budget, but let’s make sure we see it for what it really is. A budget is a prediction or forecast of a financial position at a set time in the future, typically one year. A budget represents a desired financial outcome and requires consent by your board of directors. Most often a Budget is primarily thought of as cost allocations, but when combined with the ideas regarding new business you will often hear it referred to as a Plan. Once approved, the Budget Plan never changes. It is ‘set in stone’ for the duration of your selected time period.

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Looking Forward to 2021: Happy New Year

Posted by Sue West on 12/28/20 10:17 AM

Quick, what pops into your mind when I say, Budget? Oh… I hear a lot of groans, but nothing specific. When I hear Budget, I feel the same way. Now, I know as the president of a planning software company, I shouldn’t have that reaction, but I am human. Even with the best tools, the fact remains that all businesses struggle with the same issue: balance. How do you maintain balance between growth and earnings given the costs associated with obtaining new business?

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3 Activities to Start ASAP This Fall

Posted by Sue West on 9/14/20 1:23 PM

Oh, Autumn. The changing of the leaves, the crispness of the morning air... and the crunching of numbers?

Yep. We're bankers. It's what we do. And fall, it's the perfect time for some of our favorite - and most crucial - banking activities.

Here are the 3 game-changing activities Plansmith recommends starting as early as possible in the fall:

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Planning In Crisis Conditions

Posted by Sue West on 3/23/20 8:42 AM

The world is turned upside down and inside out as we confront the unexpected challenge of a pandemic. None of us has been here before and confusion is rampant. Yet, as business leaders expected to carry on for the survival of our companies, the World War II expression, Keep Calm and Carry On, seems applicable today.

At Plansmith, we communicate with hundreds of financial institutions like yours across the country who are affected by this crisis. We understand that you face even greater challenges ahead as you try to adapt. We know you have to assess the financial impact of lost wages, increased unemployment, low interest rates and a fragile economy and we ask ourselves, “How can we help?”

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Influential Women in Business 2018

Posted by Sue West on 12/7/18 1:50 PM

Having tried my best to avoid ‘labels’ of all types, I seldom bring attention to achievements that are gender associated. However, the good work of others is something that should always be recognized. Male or female, it is always important to acknowledge role models that inspire.

In recognition of their hard work and dedication, Plansmith would like to congratulate this year’s 2018 Influential Women In Business Honorees, including our client, Jean Theis, EVP and COO of Andigo CU.

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On Thanksgiving...

Posted by Sue West on 11/15/18 9:49 AM

For those of you who are fans of the sitcom Seinfeld, George Costanza would break down this word into its two components: thanks and giving.

How many times in our daily lives do we say “thanks"? A lot! It’s our common, casual, and pretty standard way to end each email, text, and verbal conversation. I’m not saying that it isn’t heartfelt. I’m just saying that this time of year - and this particular holiday - give us a chance to pause and appreciate each other. And, maybe more importantly, pay more attention when someone offers us a thank you.

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Client Success Stories: Those Who Inspire Us

Posted by Sue West on 9/14/18 2:04 PM

Too often when we’re asked why we do what we do, we naturally default to talking about ourselves.

The truth is, it’s the people we work with every day that inspire us to do what we do.

Our clients make their own success. Their ambition, discipline, commitment, and transparency bind every person throughout their organization to a common goal. There are so many of these success stories, we wanted to highlight several noted in recent banking publications.

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Bipartisan Banking: It's About Time

Posted by Sue West on 4/25/18 12:05 PM

I have been in the banking industry since 1979, and on March 22, 2018 I received a copy of something that I never thought I would see that made me say out loud, “It’s about time!”

It was a letter to Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation. The content of that letter was to express strong support for bill S. 2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. What surprised me was that it was signed by the presidents and CEOs of 4 financial trade associations, comprised of both banks and credit unions.

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There is No Secret Sauce

Posted by Sue West on 12/27/17 10:32 AM

We all like to start the new year with aspirations to renew, realign, and regain control of our world.

I don’t know about you, but those words just get me pumped.

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