What is it like to sit at the table with the CFO? Just ask Meeting Planner Melissa McGowen. Her team helps manage budgetary compliance and meeting spend for Allegis Group, an international staffing and services company. Melissa’s team works directly with the presidents and CFO’s of the eight operating companies that fall under Allegis Group.
“We’re in the Finance world, which is very unique for meeting planners,” she explains. “We have a lot of pressure being able to talk about our budgets and what we’re spending, really being the guiders for the CFO’s and presidents. We need to be able to show them the value of our team.”
Moving from Excel to Financial Excellence
Like many meeting planners, Melissa’s team originally tracked meeting spend using Excel. Painstaking, line-by-line audits took days to complete. “We kept having leaders and CFO’s reach out to ask what our budget spend was. We were having to ramble through Excel documents to figure it out,” she explains.
Since Allegis Group was already using Cvent, Melissa’s team suggested adopting new Cvent technology to better capture spend and provide accurate reports. After attending Cvent CONNECT in 2014, it became clear that Cvent’s Budget Module was the answer. Working with a dedicated financial analyst, the team created a Meetings Dashboard to accurately capture the budgets of all 732 events in 2017. “It was scary, but it’s the best thing we’ve ever done,” she says.
Building a Better Tech Stack
Melissa’s team didn’t stop there. They built over 300 registration sites through Cvent’s Event Management platform in 2017, and used a Concur integration to help the Travel team. The added time savings have benefited both departments. “We have a great relationship with our Travel team by using Cvent. It makes it a very seamless process,” Melissa adds.
Getting the Attention of the C-Suite
Adding more Cvent technology to Allegis Group’s tech stack has elevated the team’s position with executive stakeholders. They even caught an impressive $70,000 mistake using Cvent, which only furthered expanded their visibility within Allegis Group. “Every personality for every stakeholder is different,” explains Melissa. "If needed, you can go right back into Cvent and pull the report. It takes five minutes, but to them, you look like a hero."
Most importantly, Melissa and her team have found a voice within the organization that speaks to the success of meetings and events. “We’ve been able to have a lot of presence with the stakeholders, especially CFO’s and presidents,” she explains. “Being in my role, never did I think I’d be sitting in a room with the CFO. I’m able to show him what I’ve created with the financial dashboard and what else I want to bring to the table.”
Want to hear Melissa’s story in her own words? Check out the Allegis Group Customer Success Story on our website.