Interactive Planning Systems' Package Now Testing at 3 Institutions

Interactive Planning Systems, an Atlanta-based software company, said that three banks are testing its new budget forecasting and reporting product, Budget Synergizer.

The ten users are First Commerce Bank, a $100 million-asset institution in Commerce, Ga.; Chattahoochee Bank, a $250 million bank in Atlanta; and First Financial Bank, a $3.3 billion thrift based in Stevens Point, Wis.

Once the tests are completed, Budget Synergizer will be introduced at a set of banks with assets of $10 billion to $50 billion, said Jerry Weiner, chairman and chief executive officer of Interactive Planning.

Budget Synergizer is designed to allow budgeting by department or business entity as well as for multiyear periods.

Forecasts for the User

The package is one of 16 Interactive Planning products for personal computers. The company says it has sold them to more than 4,000 financial institutions around the world.

Unlike Lotus and similar PC-based products, Budget Synergizer performs calculations and forecasts for the user.

"Lotus is like a blank sheet of paper, whereas the Budget Synergizer has budgeting features built in. You don't have to create methodologies," said Roy Cartee, the chief accounting officer at First Commerce Bank.

Shelly Burnett, accounting officer at the Atlanta bank, indicated that Budget Synergizer also eliminates the need for different cost centers to submit identically formatted budget worksheets.

"With Lotus, if one department added a single line to its calculations, it would throw the whole process of measuring consolidated activity out of kilter," she said. "As a consolidation tool, Budget Synergizer is able to read different kinds of information for us."

In addition, the software offers up to nine combinations of growth and interest rate cases for multiple budget scenarios, along with flexible definition options. A reporting function enables bankers to customize their own reports for any number of uses.

Tailor-Made Options

Mr. Cartee of First Commerce anticipates using the reporting capability to provide information for bank board members as well as managers.

"Many of our managers are oriented more toward customer service than number crunching," he said. "The reporting feature enables us to tailor information directly to them."

Budget Synergizer also eliminates the need to manually key in new financial data. Instead, information from a bank's mainframe can be downloaded directly into the system.

At this stage of development, Budget Synergizer can store up to three years' prior activity, enabling a banker to do historical comparisons and analyses.

Ms. Sullivan is a freelance writer based in New York.

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