Carta

How Carta cut their data aggregation and manual calculation times by 80%

With
Janelle Waters
,
Strategic Finance Senior Manager
at
Carta
Carta
Janelle Waters
Janelle Waters
Strategic Finance Senior Manager
Number of employees
1,001-5,000
Used by
Finance team
Headquarters
San Francisco, US
Industry
Fintech
Use cases
  • Budgeting & Reporting
  • Headcount planning
  • Revenue Forecasting and Reporting
Implementation time
12 weeks
Integrations with
NetSuite, Workday, Google Sheets

Carta (formerly eShares, Inc.), was founded in 2012 and is a San Francisco, California-based technology company that helps customers manage their cap tables, valuations, investments, and equity plans. The company serves customers in Latin America, Europe and Asia, with offices in Brazil and Singapore.

Carta has more than doubled in size over the last two years and now counts over 1,800 employees. The company also doubled in size and revenue.

As of March 2021, the company was reportedly tracking over $800 billion in company equity, and had facilitated nearly $1 billion in secondary-market sales. Its customers include Intercom, Coinbase, Classpass, Tilray, and Affirm.

Carta’s rise to the next level of maturity

Carta's rapid growth created the need for a robust business planning solution. The company tried numerous solutions from spreadsheets to other known EPM software.

Constant changes and reorganizations meant that they were not able to model what they wanted with their existing solution and had to revert to spreadsheets for planning and analysis.“We weren't able to cut data to look at the business in the way we truly needed, so we reverted back to Excel." 

“We weren't able to cut data to look at the business in the way we truly needed, so we reverted back to Excel." 

Janelle Waters, Strategic Finance Senior Manager at Carta

Carta wanted to scale the company with enterprise-grade solutions by investing in its team and infrastructure. The company wanted a planning tool agile enough to pivot data to extract maximum insight.

Carta also wanted to be able to plan from both an operational and financial perspective. The company’s current structure meant managing two different P&Ls. Leveraging Pigment’s capabilities, driving financial and operational plans in a connected way, means real-time analytics between the two. Driving plans from the top down, bottom up with visibility to variance and collaboration between all stakeholders.

Carta's core team didn't want to pick between externally reporting P&L and having a more operational view of their business. Also, the company valued the partnership with the Pigment internal team over a third party to help with implementation as they experienced with their former EPM implementation.

Achieving flexibility through in-depth data segmentation

Carta has several business units, many products and services all spanning over 28,000 customers. This ranges from investor services to Carta X, which makes them a transaction-based company with large amounts of customer data to handle and to measure against.

Carta’s main pain point was being unable to look at the business in a customized way. The company structure doesn’t always map teams perfectly to a P&L and granularity and data segmentation were pressing needs. 

Carta needed a planning solution that would offer meaningful impact and a custom set of measures to evaluate success.

Based on the need for agility and flexibility, Carta chose Pigment.

"The biggest thing for us was to be able to look at the business in all the different ways that we want to. And at the same time, forecast our P&L in a way that makes sense." 

Janelle Waters, Strategic Finance Senior Manager at Carta

Executing team buy-in and the Pigment implementation

One of Carta's critical missions before implementation was to win team buy-in for transitioning out of spreadsheets.

“We needed something new that the team knew they could be faster than in Excel."

Janelle Waters, Strategic Finance Senior Manager at Carta

The company started by training five out of eight team members on how to use Pigment. One highly technical team member immediately became a Pigment power user. The remaining team members quickly learned how to model in Pigment despite having no prior SQL experience.

Pigment’s modern interface and supportive community helped get all team members involved and engaged. The team empowered junior employees to dream up new ideas, and they went on to create templates automating reports for execs and business partners so they would never have to repeat any manual work again.

Together with Pigment expert modelers, the team started building two workstreams: one for the FP&A team and one for the Revenue team. They uploaded all customer data and rebuilt their entire suite of ARR metrics.

By splitting the work into two workstreams, the company achieved more than ever before. In less than two months, Carta had rebuilt complete financial models in Pigment and successfully trained the team.

“We’ve been super impressed by the Pigment team. They are knowledgeable and helpful and we enjoy all our interactions with them. We loved talking to the product team, working with our expert modelers and our customer success manager was amazing at project management. They really made sure we were set up for success by keeping both workflows on the same page."

Janelle Waters, Strategic Finance Senior Manager at Carta

How Carta consolidated business planning into a singular platform

After mastering implementation and training, Carta's main focus was consolidation of all existing data.

The company used the Google Sheets connector to sync all vendor data, to directly import data fed into monthly forecast calculations. 

At present, all actuals are synced from NetSuite. To make things even easier, the team has saved searches in NetSuite to auto-populate vendor actuals and exchange rates. Additionally, all workforce data is pulled from Workday to feed the Workforce Planning application used by their people team and managers.

The team has built a board to review data integrity and ensure that they’re loading the data and mapping it correctly.

This expanded quickly from P&L reporting and budgeting to boards for their ARR metrics and workforce planning, as the team grew extremely eager to use Pigment

Carta now has access to the P&L per country, allowing teams to slice and dice data in any way they want. Enhanced benefits include superior version control and multiple screenshots of data.

Finally, the sleek and functional data visualization has convinced Carta to designate Pigment the BI tool of choice for all financial metrics, replacing Looker as the most accurate view of the business.

“Senior execs have picked up very quickly and enjoy how they can look at data in different ways. Our CFO checks our Pigment dashboards on a regular basis." 

Janelle Waters, Strategic Finance Senior Manager at Carta

To report on ARR metrics, teams were able to pull 30,000 rows of customers data going back to 2015.

“We’ve saved a ton of time on our customer and ARR metrics, it used to take a full day for someone on the team to add rows to a spreadsheets, calculate net retention, etc. and now it’s all automated! It’s a huge time saver." 

Janelle Waters, Strategic Finance Senior Manager at Carta

On the workforce planning use case, Carta has set up efficient workflows to give teams access to current and near term headcount, with the ability to review headcount (FTE level) and approve salary envelopes every quarter. By having all data updated in real-time from Workday, the company is able to run continuous planning with a 12-month rolling forecast.

Conclusion

By using Pigment, Carta has been able to:

  • Cut the time dedicated to data aggregation and manual calculations by 80% using Pigment connectors and building templates reports that update automatically.
  • Add more granularity to business analysis and look at data in the most optimal way
  • Give fast and accurate answers to stakeholders
  • Reduce planning cycles and enable stakeholders to make better decisions 

What’s next?

Carta has already transformed its business planning in key scenarios including P&L and Headcount. And it won't stop there.

The company is currently evaluating its Salesforce CRM data as the next potential candidate for a Pigment makeover. The team would also like to implement additional planning use cases in Pigment, including Sales Capacity Planning.

Carta aims to add another 30 users consisting of directors and cost center managers. In this context, the team has found access rights very helpful for role-based permissions that still encourage cross-functional collaboration.

Carta’s top 3 benefits of using Pigment

  • Time savings from automation
  • Vast time to insights improvement
  • Ability to analyze at lowest to highest level

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