The art of finance: How Arts Centre Melbourne realised its transformation goals

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Finance transformation. Data-driven Finance leaders. “Future-ready” Finance 

These are just some of the terms used more often to describe how businesses are adapting their Finance functions to cope with the rapidly changing economic landscape. Although these terms aren’t new, they reflect the growing expectation that Finance professionals must step-up and move beyond score-keeping. 

More organisations are relying on their Finance teams to inform both strategic and tactical decisions. This need for Finance professionals to shift towards becoming forward-looking business partneralso means a shift away from just analysing past performance, to focus on insights that can shape the future. 

What does this shift mean for Finance teams? 

This brings us to some common challenges that many organisations face when trying to transform their finance functions: 

  • Analysing large data sets in a timely manner  
  • Extracting quality data for effective corporate performance management 
  • Higher transparency and visibility across multiple business functions (data sets) 

PwC recently identified that flexible and adaptive processes, near real-time reporting, and predictive analytics are needed for any forward-thinking Finance team. This demonstrates the need for a corporate performance management (CPM) solution that leverages software to transform data into actionable insights that inform business strategic decisions. 

Arts Centre Melbourne collaboration 

We worked with Arts Centre Melbourne (ACM) to implement a high-quality solution which aggregated multiple systems and data sets to enable insights and metrics across all of its business functions in near real-time. 

Finance Director, James Lockyer had a vision for his team’s contribution to ACM that went well beyond business-as-usual. While respecting the fundamentals, the team were open to strategic thinking and engaged with great technology to bring their vision to life, securing an industry-leading future, said CALUMO CEO, Dominic Parsons. 

Strong fiscal management is important for all organisations; however, optimising systems and processes was vital for ACM’s finance transformation journey. A key focus of the project was to improve planning and forecasting capabilities. 

Some of the challenges faced by ACM included: 

  • Complex business drivers 
  • Diverse commercial activities (food & beverage, carpark, conferences, entertainment spaces 
  • Inter-connected operational environments 
  • Multiple data sources including event management, transactional, financial, rostering and payroll systems  
  • External factors such as pedestrian activity and weather conditions 

CALUMO’s powerful tools enable ACM’s business managers to access critical performance data in any setting using any device, helping drive timely and informed decisions. 

Our partnership success 

“Connecting our data sources together through CALUMO has enabled us to draw upon our events calendar and pipeline, as well as our resourcing models and audience attendance trends, to rapidly provide updated forecasts and undertake ‘what-if’ scenario analysis for comparison. This functionality has never been more useful than during the incredible uncertainty resulting from COVID-19,” — Victorian Arts Centre Trust Annual Report, 2019-2020.

In the process ACM has: 

  • Enabled faster, low cost, and trustworthy reporting  
  • Improved reporting on past and upcoming venue utilisation and events profile, with metrics relating to attendance, labour-intensity, arts precinct activity and ancillary spending of visitors 
  • Allowed trends and lead-indicators to be more easily identified to help respond to changing circumstances 
  • Substantially increased employee engagement 

“Year-on-year improvements have been recorded, and notably, the team’s assessment in relation to enablement through effective systems has more than doubled over the past year,” said Arts Centre Melbourne Finance Director, James Lockyer. 

To learn more about how CALUMO helped ACM optimise its finance function, refer to the priority project (page 71) of the Victorian Arts Centre Trust Annual Report 2019 – 2020. 

To find out how CALUMO can help kickstart your finance transformation journey, or to find out more about what we do, contact us on +61 2 8985 7777  or info@calumo.com.