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Conosco uses Mosaic to optimize client service profitability

“Mosaic has allowed us to do the annual and quarterly budgeting process far more efficiently than we could ever do before. It allows us to snapshot our budget and compare to previous budgets and forecasts far more easily and frequently. That’s a big win.”

Max Mlinaric
Co-founder and CEO, Conosco

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About Conosco

Co-founded in 2002 by Max Mlinaric, who continues to lead as the CEO, Conosco is a managed services and IT services provider specializing in full-spectrum infrastructure and security solutions tailored for small to mid-market enterprises. In addition to delivering managed services to help businesses with their day-to-day IT needs, Conosco also provides strategic advice, roadmap design, and roadmap execution.

The Challenge

When spreadsheets just don’t cut it

Prior to Mosaic, Conosco always had clear visibility into historical numbers thanks to their accounting system, NetSuite. But they never had a great look into forward-looking budgets and forecasts because they were confined to error-prone spreadsheets that introduced confusion and delays to the process. Max notes, “With Excel, one thing changes under the hood, and suddenly you realize that your forecast is wrong.

The reliance on spreadsheets was something Conosco wanted to move away from, aiming instead to invest in an FP&A platform that could provide more structure, automation, and scale. “It was all about how do we look forward?”

The tipping point came with headcount planning, particularly during the annual employee compensation review and merit increase cycle. Their existing HRIS system lacked employee forecasting capabilities, prompting the need for a solution that could handle sophisticated compensation modeling and provide insights into the individual components driving total employee spend. For example, they needed to be able to model new hires and departures, headcount trajectory, and profitability and margins by team.

“Looking at employee spend at a total level wasn’t good enough because it doesn’t give insights into the individual levers that drive those totals,” says Max.

After evaluating several FP&A software tools, including some that still leaned heavily on a spreadsheet UI, Conosco chose Mosaic for its platform-based approach without the dependency on spreadsheets.

“Fundamentally, the Excel plug-in approach is exactly what we didn’t want. It makes spreadsheets powerful and more useful, but one of the main criteria we were trying to achieve was getting rid of spreadsheets, not making them more integral to our planning process. We really liked Mosaic’s approach, and so far it’s done well for us.”

Max MlinaricCo-founder and CEO, Conosco

The Solution

Putting the right FP&A foundation in place

The introduction of Mosaic first acted as a catalyst for Conosco to streamline and organize their source data, establishing a trusted data foundation for more detailed and reliable modeling and analysis. “Mosaic was a forcing function to get our source data into a clean and organized format so that we could then start doing the analysis that we wanted to do.”

With that solid foundation in place, Conosco got to work transitioning their most important FP&A use cases to Mosaic. Here’s what they’re doing.

Performance Metrics Tracking — they use Mosaic as the real-time source of truth for many of their most important financial and operational business metrics, including daily monitoring of revenue and margin by delivery team, head office overhead expenses, headcount by team, vendor and travel spend by department, and critical P&L metrics like revenue, gross margin, OPEX, and net income.

Annual and Quarterly Budgeting — they use Mosaic to establish a new annual and quarterly budgeting cadence, first creating an official company-wide budget at the start of the year, and then formally refreshing it in four quarterly budget updates throughout the year.

Monthly Forecasting — they create new forecast scenarios every month and update each forecast based on daily and weekly changes in business activity. They then compare those forecasts against the annual and quarterly budgets for performance tracking and BvA analysis.

Headcount Planning — one of their most important use cases, they build highly detailed models for all the various payroll costs (salaries, benefits, taxes, fixed and variable costs, etc.) across teams and regions, and instantly analyze how those changes flow through to margins and net income.

Travel & Entertainment Forecasting — with many of their personnel regularly traveling between the UK and South Africa for client visits, they track and forecast Travel & Entertainment expenses and regularly compare actual spend to budget to make sure they’re tracking towards targets.

Department-level BvA Analysis — they regularly run BvA reports to monitor actual spend versus budget by team and by department, including both revenue-generating teams and non-revenue overhead departments like finance, service desk, sales, and marketing. They analyze metrics like margin, fixed and variable costs, vendor spend like software, and their impact on operating margin and profitability.

The Impact

Unparalleled financial agility in a fast-moving world

The efficiency gains the Conosco team has achieved with Mosaic have been transformative to their financial operations. And they’re just getting started.

“Mosaic has, without a doubt, made our FP&A processes more rigorous and more efficient”

Max and his team are now able to complete the budgeting cycle in far less time than before, and without the headaches and risks of the stale and unreliable data that plagued the process in the past. The ability to quickly update quarterly budgets and monthly forecasts lets them better align their targets to what’s actually happening in the market day-to-day. And that helps them hit those targets with more accuracy and predictability.

“Mosaic has allowed us to do the annual and quarterly budgeting process far more efficiently than we could ever do before. It allows us to snapshot our budget and compare to previous budgets and forecasts far more easily and frequently. That’s a big win.”

Max MlinaricCo-founder and CEO, Conosco

As a managed services company, the vast majority of Conosco’s cost structure and operating model is driven by its people. Mosaic’s Headcount Planner gives them the modeling flexibility to make sure that headcount plans are aligned to revenue projections and back-office teams are properly staffed, all while being ready to make adjustments at a moment’s notice if conditions change. It also gives them greater control over how the various components of people spend flow to the P&L and impact the bottom line.

“Mosaic’s Headcount Planner has allowed us to model all of our payroll related costs and the variability of the costs across different teams and geographies with the level of granularity we need.”

Finally, Conosco’s Finance team relies exclusively on Mosaic for all month-end reporting, ensuring the board, executives, and department leaders have reliable and timely access to the insights they need to guide the company to its goals.

What’s next

Max is looking to spread the power of Mosaic out to the rest of the business. They’re in the process of fully integrating the tool into their core weekly metrics meetings and monthly business reviews.

Max is committed to running a data-driven company and expects the same from his leadership team. He knows Mosaic will bring more financial and operational transparency to these meetings and raise the level of discussion and debate, both of which will help them make better decisions on how to lead the company to its next phase of growth and beyond.

“We’re getting to a place where we’ll be using Mosaic more broadly throughout the business. I’m a firm believer that data driven meetings are essential. Anecdotal updates from departments are not useful. Mosaic will help make this possible. This is what’s coming in the next few months.”

Good luck to Max and his team as they continue their journey, and cheers to their success!

About Conosco
Industry
Managed Services
Company Size
51-200

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