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Financial Planning & Analysis

Financial Planning & Analysis @ GitLab

What is purpose of FP&A @ GitLab?

  1. Facilitate execution of GitLab's strategy
  2. Ensure our investor narrative aligns with operating strategy
  3. Bring predictability to Gitlab
  4. Ensure financial and operational goals of GitLab are defined, documented and achieved
  5. Evangelize awareness of strategy and each departments role in achieving it
  6. Ensure sound data-driven decision support

How GitLab’s FP&A plans to get there….

  1. Manage the budget and planning processes for GitLab's operating plan
  2. Build and maintain a long-term financial model that projects performance into the future
  3. Define business drivers and KPIs in our operating and long-term models in collaboration with the business and measure efficacy of the business plan.
  4. Own the rolling forecast process and provide real-time information on how departments are performing relative to forecast. Improve forecasts.
  5. Provide insights on the business drivers to constantly look for opportunities to improve performance
    • Process Improvements
    • Analytics
    • Education

GitLab's Operating Plan and Forecasting Process

Definitions

Operating Plan

Purpose: GitLab's operating plan is a guideline to understand how much capital it needs and how the capital will be consumed. The operating plan helps GitLab answer questions like "how fast can we hire and when?"

What: The operating plan is a three statement (Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Statement of Cashflow), non-GAAP bottoms-up plan that spans the current fiscal year. The revenue is driven off the GitLab revenue model and the expense part of the plan is at the headcount and vendor level.

Governance: The operating plan is approved by the board of directors every year.

Actuals

What: Actuals are results that have been reported or exist in a system that is designated as a single source of truth for the item that is being measured. Each month accounting closes the month and financial results are recorded in our ERP system and are published in our financial statements. These actuals are compared to the operating plan.

Monthly Forecast

Purpose: In a dynamic high-growth business, GitLab's needs may change through the year and we need to be able to predict what is going to happen.

What: Forecast is a dynamic assessment based on current expectations of financial performance. The FP&A team will publish a monthly forecast for revenue driven by key metrics and expenses driven by headcount and vendors. A monthly forecast does not extend the forecast period. For example in March 2020, the forecast will span from February 2020 to January 2021 with February actuals and March 2020 to January 2021 forecast - this will be called the (1+11) forecast. A monthly forecast will not be formally compared to actuals in variance.

Governance: The monthly forecast is approved by VP Finance and reviewed with CFO.

Quarterly Forecast (Rolling four quarters)

Purpose: In a dynamic high-growth business, GitLab's needs may change through the year and we need a guidepost to hold business leaders accountable. We plan our expenses at a high level (e-group) and we expect this group to make prioritizations and trade-offs while remaining accountable against the plan parameters. By formally reforecasting quarterly, we can quickly evaluate and incorporate new initiatives into our forecasting model. That being said, we do follow an annual plan to set our goals and measurement for our top-level targets of revenue, profitability and expense management.

What: Forecast is a dynamic assessment based on current expectations of financial performance. The (3+9), (6+6) an (9+3) quarterly forecasts include revenue driven by key metrics and expenses driven by headcount and vendors. On the quarterly forecast another quarter will be added to the end of the forecast period so that we have a valid rolling four quarters. For example in May of 2020 we will forecast from Feb 2020 to April 2021 adding FY22-Q1 with FY21-Q1 (Feb 2020-Apr 2020) as actuals. The team may go out farther to the end of the next fiscal year.

Governance: The quarterly rolling forecast is approved by the eGroup and CEO and reviewed with the board of directors. eGroup will be held accountable to the quarterly rolling forecast for expenses. For revenue the company will always be held accountable to Plan.

Target

What: Target is a goal or objective that may be higher or lower than the Plan or Forecast. Targets are typically used in conjunction with setting OKRs, compensation plans or other performance objectives. Governance: A target that relates to IACV is usually agreed upon by the DRI of the target and VP Finance or CFO. Other targets are part of OKRs and reviewed by the CEO.

Baseline

What: Baseline is a measurement of actual expense or revenue that relates to a certain point in time (i..e month, quarter or year). We use baselines to measure progress of improvement against actual results. The progress can be stated in monthly, quarterly or annualized terms.

Mechanics of the Operating Plan:

Operating Plan Diagram

alt text

Planning process @ GitLab

Annual Planning Steps (WIP)

Annual Planning Important Dates (TBD - 2020 shown)


Monthly Close Process and Variance Meeting (WIP)

GitLab’s FP&A team will participate in a rigorous monthly close process. The close process has clear deadlines to best support our accounting team, key dates to deliver information to the EVPs / department heads, analyze the performance of our budgets and forecasts against actuals, update our internal forecasts and eventually update our investor guidance to prepare for the quarterly earnings call. Our philosophy is to compare our forecasts to results so that we can constantly improve our forecasting methodologies and approaches to hold ourselves accountable. Additionally, this process drives accountability to the business owners of the budget.

Monthly FP&A Close Process

COMING

Quarterly Forecast (To be updated)
Quarterly Important Dates (To be updated)
Monthly Important Dates (to be updated)

Variance Meeting with CFO

Each month after the financials have been published, GitLab reviews all aspects of the business including Corporate Metrics, Bookings, Revenue, Gross Margins, Expenses, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow. The goal of this review is to do a comprehensive review so that finance leadership has a pulse on the business and the financials.

The variance analysis will compare department budgets with actual results and examine any material differences between budgeted and actual costs. Additionally, the actuals for expenses will be compared to the quarterly rolling forecast. The expenses are reviewed at the divisional department level, allowing GitLab to measure progress in meeting its Plan (Q1-Q4) or rolling forecast (Q2-Q4). The team also evaluates the accuracy of forecasts, and operating model.

Variance Deck details

To be Updated

Variance Analysis

The study of differences between budgetary and expected cost. At GitLab, different measures of materiality thresholds are measured during the variance analysis process, including the Monthly Finance Planning Meeting. During the variance analysis processs the GitLab FP&A team analyzes and isolates any variance in question to the lowest level possible. The team reviews detailed items in order to identify the root cause of the variance. This could include transaction date, cost center, vendor, location, department or additional low level details.

At GitLab, analysts begin the variance analysis process with trended data to understand if there is a recognizable pattern. This helps determine if the variance was caused by incremental change or driven by one particular event and helps identify the root path quickly.

The FP&A team takes the following into consideration while evaluating variances in relation to materiality thresholds:

Types of Threshold

Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) does not provide definitive guidance in distinguishing material information from immaterial information. Therefore, GitLab uses a percentage based approach for defining materiality thresholds and can be found below. The Plan vs Actuals vs Forecast Sisense dashboard provides the data for the threshold analysis via a color coded legend.

Revenue Thresholds

The total is inclusive of all Revenue activities including subscription, professional services, swag shop and other revenue streams.

Cost of Goods Sold Total Threshold

The total is inclusive of all COGS activities including Customer Support, Professional Services, and other allocation expenses.

Operating Expense Total Threshold

The totals are exclusive of the sum of operating expenses. Each operating expense line item (i.e. Sales, Marketing, R&D, G&A) should be measured on a line item basis

Individual GL Accounts
Logging Threshold Differences
  1. As part of closing tasks, Financial Analyst will create issue for Threshold Analysis for the current month.
  2. Finance Business Partners will need to enter expenses that have exceeded thresholds within the created issue.
  3. Finance Business Partners will also need to add commentary to expenses that did exceed our thresholds as well.
  4. Once issue is completed, Financial Analyst will apply Threshold Analysis label to each completed issue. This will help us keep track of all our threshold analysis issues through the months.

Variance Meeting with EVPs

Additionally, each finance business partner will run a meeting with the VP of Finance and the EVP to review the past month. The information should be presented as timely as possible. Given the accounting close is 10 days, the team is asked to use pre-close numbers for the review to increase the speed of information. During the meeting, the Finance Business Partners will review GitLab results in addition to a detailed overview. Each division can expect to review the following during the monthly meetings:

  1. Company results
    • Bookings IACV, TCV
    • Spending OpEx vs Plan
  2. Divisional level review including an executive summary with relevant insights and watchpoints
    • Last month vs plan/rolling forecast
    • Projection for the current quarter
  3. Detailed variance details that helps the EVP understand the financial picture of their expenses
  4. Discuss upcoming changes to financial processes that EVPs need to be aware of
  5. Discuss upcoming changes to help Finance Business Partner update the rolling forecast
  6. Review next 4 quarters vs Plan for the Division and for each department on the quarter

Process

Following the month-end close, the Finance Business Partners will create a variance deck and distribute department income statements to the related budget owners and the e-group members. Each department is then responsible for comparing these reports, which contain actual costs, to the budget. Departments, with guidance from the Finance Business Partners, should analyze their data and if necessary, discuss items of interest and take appropriate action. Any questions regarding the cost data should be discussed with the Finance Business Partner.

Marketing Specific Monthly Variance Analysis

In partnership with Marketing Operations and Accounting, we set out to improve the timing and accuracy of budget vs. actuals tracking for marketing programs opex and to provide data driven insights to these teams during the close process by BD3 at the beginning of a new monthly accounting period.

The utilization of campaign finance tagging for marketing program spend enables month-end reconciliation of expense actuals, prepaids, and accruals at the budget line item level. The components of this analysis are as follows:

  1. Actuals:
    • Prepaids provided by accounting on BD2 in a new monthly accounting period, grouped by campaign finance tag
    • Transactional ledger detail of expenses grouped by campaign finance tag. This can be pulled using the Marketing Campaigns Tagging Dashboard in Sisense, or an income statement in NetSuite.
  2. Budget totals:
    • Using the Marketing_Non-HC_R4QF_FY21 budget document, join the datasets based on campaign finance tagging to pull the relevant line items from the budget.

Once these components are in place, a comparison showing the difference between budget vs. actuals may indicate the need for an accrual or indicate a budget overage. The finance business partner can then take appropriate action with the accounting team or the business to resolve. The basic structure of this analysis should resemble the following:

Campaign Finance Tag A: Expense B: Prepaid (GL Acct# 1150) C: Total (A+B) D: Budget line item E: Variance (D-C = Potential Accrual/Overage)
ISOdate_CampaignShortName $000's $000's $000's $000's $000's

Making Changes to the Plan to Optimize for Growth

Our Plan is intended to ensure that the Company has sufficiently considered what is required to support the Company's financial goals. The Plan ensures that there is accountability across all divisions that can be measured. The Plan is not intended to represent a cap on what we can invest in support of maximizing the growth of the Company. We encourage our team members to actively seek opportunities that will help us grow faster. Those growth initiatives will be evaluated, as follows:

  1. If the investment will allow us to exceed our IACV plan by at least an equal amount in the current year we will do it. The e-group will be informed of the increased spend and anticipated impact.
  2. If the increased spend will allow us to exceed our IACV targets next year then we will quantify the impact and raise our financial guidance for the following year. The e-group will review these investments and will, in some cases, request board approval for relief against current year planning targets.
  3. If we need to exceed spend to achieve our current plan we should review as an e-group and inform the board. We won't necessarily get plan relief unless there are extenuating circumstances but we will do what is right for the business.

Out of Budget Business Case

In the event an organization is asking to spend money outside either the Annual Plan or Quarterly Forecast, you should develop a business case showcasing what the spend is for and how Gitlab can benefit from spending it.

This business case should be completed in conjunction with your Finance Business Partner (FBP) to articulate the financial impact of the request. Below are a few examples of the question you should be trying to answer:

Together with your FBP , this analysis should be presented to your leader for approval.

Investor and Board Communication

Throughout the year the Executive Business Partner team puts together a calendar of events for board members and other events associated with planning. Those events can be found in the GitLab Board Calendar sheet.

Monthly Update

Monthly Investor Update


Each month we send to our investors an update no later than the 10th day following the end of the month. For further reference see our blog post.

Format

  1. Thanks
  2. Asks
  3. Key Metrics
  4. Lowlights
  5. Highlights
  6. Expectations (next month)

Process

  1. On the 1st day of the month, the FinOps lead prepares a draft of the previous months investor update in a google document and posts in the #investor-update slack channel.
  2. On the same day the draft is added to the #investor update slack channel, the FinOps lead will @mention e-group members with asks for topics related to the investor update agenda.
  3. The e-group members will have no later than the 9th of each month to review and add input.
  4. No later than the 10th of each month the will CEO send the update to the investor mailing list.
  5. Once the investor update is sent to the investor mailing list, the FinOps lead will add the current investor update to the #investor-update slack channel, along with highlight commentary on GitLab's operating metrics.

Relevant Locations for Investor Update Process

Revenue Model & Metrics Tab within the Financial Model

1: Sales Metrics 2019 Monthly Metrics

2: Sisense

3: Metrics Report (SFDC)

4: All Pipeline Report (SFDC)

5: Late Stage Report (SFDC)

6: Orders Processed Report (SFDC)

7: Revenue Spreadsheet sent from Controller

8: Cash Flow Forecast (Accounting Will Send Over – typically within the 4th of the Month)

9: Pingdom

10: LTV for Metrics

11: BambooHR

12: Zendesk

13: Snowflake

14: Sales Pipeline Analysis

Once Metrics & Financial Model Are Completed for Investor Update Process


Budgeting @ GitLab

GitLab uses several different methods to budget specific revenue and expenses. During the Rolling 4 Quarter Forecast planning process GitLab may use one of the following methods to allocate revenue or expenses.

Spreading

Recording activities based on the percentages across a certain time period. This can either be on a percentage spread or an amount spread

One Time Adjustments

Recording activities based on a one time basis across a certain time period. These activities are geared toward, but not limited to, marketing expenses.

Headcount Growth (+/-)

Recording activities based on headcount growth across a certain time period.


Expense Controls and Improving Efficiency

  1. The primary mechanism to ensure efficient spend of company assets is the Procure to Pay process, and specifically completion of the vendor and contract approval workflow prior to authorization. The procurement team or your finance business partner can assist with questions related to this process.

  2. The second mechanism is the budget vs actual review to determine reasons for variances vs plan.

Vendor and Contracts Approvals Tracking for Marketing Programs Spend

  1. The Marketing FP&A team maintains a status document containing the finance issues submitted by the marketing organization for approvals.
  2. This dynamic list contains links to the issues, start dates, budgeted amount, approval status (y/n), and other pertinent details such as department. The list is kept current with updates on a weekly basis.
  3. Please contact the Finance Business Partner for Marketing with questions concerning this information. ***

Campaign Finance Tag Verification Process


The Finance Business Partner for Marketing will review transactions within the general ledger accounts for marketing program expense (6100’s) on a weekly basis to ensure that campaign tags are present. An exception report will be delivered to the Marketing Operations team either validating that all tags are present, or pointing out those transactions where the tag is missing. Marketing Operations will then work with the Marketing team to add back the missing tags.

A live dashboard to assist in identifying these transactions can be found in Sisense, but it is not linked here due to the sensitive nature of this data. The weekly desktop procedures for this process are as follows:

  1. Monday morning- the financial analyst will use the Sisense dashboard to pull transactions from the 6100 Marketing account without campaign tags. This data will be transferred to a Google Spreadsheet and the link will be shared in the ongoing issue.
  2. Wednesday- the Marketing Operations team will update the Google doc with the appropriate tags
  3. Friday- the Accounting team will will work through the new tags and get them appropriately accounted for

Long-term model

GitLab maintains a financial model and communicates high level financials five years out.

Integrated Financial Model

GitLab's integrated financial model is synonymous to its operating plan, but the integrated financial model is based soley on business drivers. The integrated financial model dynamcially answers questions like “What are our limits in comparison to the total addressable market?” and provides "What-if" scenarios. The integrated financial model also helps set the long term profitablity goals. GitLab has established business drivers in each function of the business and continues to refine them to ensure its tracking accordingly. The integrated financial model can also be considered a top-down plan.

Forecasting Growth Using a Growth Persistence Model

Scale Venture Partners developed a Growth Persistence Model based on research on private and public software companies. The Persistence Model shows that ARR growth rates typically decline year over year, with each year’s growth being, on average 85% to that of the preceding year. We use this methodology to set our growth targets.

Business Drivers (also known as Gearing Ratios)

At GitLab, planning starts with long term goals. GitLab uses business drivers to forecast out long term goals by division. By using division specific business drivers that tie into the long term goals, GitLab is able to quickly and dynamically shift priorities based on external or internal changes.

Business drivers are the key inputs and activities that drive the operational and financial results of a business. Business Drivers cited by CFI

Long Term Profitability Targets

Our long term profitability target for EBITA (Earnings Before Interest Taxes and Amortization) is 20% of revenue. Other financial planning targets are described in the divisional area (e.g. sales, marketing, development, etc.) in this handbook. We plan to achieve our long term profitability target as our revenue growth rate approaches 30%. The long term target for operating expenses as a percentage of revenue for G&A is 10%.
The long term target for R&D spend is 20%. We expect it to take longer to reach the long term target compared to typical companies as we plan as we expect to continue to invest in R&D to drive higher than average growth. We have a large TAM at $49B and believe that high sustained growth rates will allow us to capture a larger percentage of market share compared to our competitors.

Division Long Term Target
Cost of Sales 15% of Revenue
R&D 20% of Revenue
Marketing 12.5% of Revenue
Sales 22.5% of Revenue
G&A 10% of Revenue
Total 80% of Revenue

FY20 Financial Planning Goals

Division FY20 Expense Target
Customer Support 10% of ARR
Customer Solutions 80% of PS Recognized Revenue
Engineering 70% of IACV
Sales 75% of IACV
Marketing 45% of IACV
G&A 10% of Total Operating Expense

Where to find our Models?

  1. GitLab Financial Model: Google Drive – FP&A » Models » GitLab Financial Model
  2. Revenue Model: Google Drive – FP&A » Models » Revenue Model
  3. Capacity Model(s): Google Drive – FP&A » [FBP - Function Owner Folder, i.e S&M] » Planning » Capacity Model
  4. Rolling 4 Quarter Forecast sheets: Google Drive – FP&A» Planning » [Current Fiscal Year] » [Current Fiscal Year] Plan » [Quarter-Year thru Quarter-Year]]
  5. Rolling 4 Quarter Forecast Feed sheets for Program Spend & Team: Google Drive – FP&A» Planning » Financial Model » Feed Sheet
  6. Budgets vs. Actuals: Google Drive – FP&A» [FBP - Function Owner Folder, i.e S&M]» Budget vs. Actuals » [Current Fiscal Year] » Dashboard File

How To Add A New Department into Models

  1. Create new departments in each of the R4QF spreadsheets (Programs & People) feed
  2. Make sure the new department is rolled up into [Department] tab onto both of the feeds. Right now, you would need to add ’New Department’A5:AF! to the [Department] tab because currently it’s only referring to current departments
  3. Add new department to Headcount rollup
  4. Make sure the new department is in the Compensation, Base Salary, Benefits, and T&E tabs of the Capacity model
  5. The New Department needs to be added to the Account Based Department Budgets tab
  6. Ping Financial Analyst in order for the new department to be added in the Allocation Accounts tab and Department Post Allocated Budgets tab in GitLab Financial Model
  7. Everything else should flow through after that

For new department approvals and more detail on the process, please reach out on the #fpanda channel in Slack for desktop procedures.

FP&A Team Responsibilities

Manager, Financial Planning & Analysis

Responsibilities
  1. Coordinates Monthly Investor Update
  2. Coordinates Rolling 4 Quarter Process
  3. Coordinates Annual Planning Process
  4. Ensures GitLab's financial model and forecast is accurate
  5. Partners with Business Operations to ensure Financial Systems & Integration Roadmap
  6. Develops data processes in partnership with the Data team
  7. Responsible for financial and mechanical integrity of the operating model and street model

Performance Indicators

Budget, Forecast Creation Cycle Time

Measures the number of days from Rolling Forecast Kickoff to Quarterly Board Meeting. The time period is quarterly. The target is 30 days.

Team Morale Score

Measures the team morale by using the tool Lead Honeslty. The time period is monthly, but will use a weekly average based on weekly 1:1s. The target is 9 on a scale from 1-10.

Position Description

Finance Business Partner

Responsibilities
  1. Reviews BvsA Analysis with e-group member (or designee)
  2. Responsible for leading the Rolling 4Q forecast process
  3. Building integrated financial model with gearing ratios for business.
  4. Coordinates Monthly KPI and OKR prep
  5. Maintain and develop KPI definitions for divisional business units
  6. Develops and maintains cost and efficiency benchmarking
  7. Develops and maintains Unit economic analysis
  8. Partners with division leaders to ensure financial and key metric forecast accuracy of supported division
  9. Provides Adhoc Analysis to supported division leaders
  10. Helps business group negotiate Vendor Contracts
  11. Develops and maintains compensation modeling

Performance Indicators

Number of days to release variance analysis to business leaders

Measures the number of days from month end close to release variance analysis to business leaders. The target is five business days.

Plan vs Actual

Measures the percentage deviation between the actual costs and the planned costs over the same time period. The time period may be monthly, quarterly, or yearly. The target deviation percentage is +/- 1.5%.

Percentage Deviation= (actual expenses-planned expenses)/planned expenses * 100

Position Description - Engineering Specific

Position Description - Sales Specific

Financial Analyst

Responsibilities
  1. Reviews BvsA Analysis - G&A Division
  2. Partners with Recruiting on hiring plan
  3. Develops and maintains contract & renewal projections
  4. Develops and maintains monthly audit projects
  5. Develops and maintains planned vs actuals GitLab Team analysis
  6. Reviews BambooHR to ensure GitLab Team are in the correct divisions and departments

Performance Indicators

Time to compile variance analysis reporting

Measures the days from Accounting Close to distrubtion of Budgets vs Actuals to Finance Business Partners. The time period is monthly. The target is 1 day after Accounting close.

Time to complete investor update reporting

Measures the days from 1st of month to release of the investor update. The time period is monthly. The target is 1 day after Accounting close. The target is 5 days from 1st of the month.

Position Description

Data Analyst, Finance

Responsibilities
  1. Support the FP&A team in driving financial and operational initiatives by analyzing data and discovering insights
  2. Focus on financial and operational specific data
  3. Priorities will be set by the Financial and Operations Lead but will collaborate with and report into the Data Team
  4. Expand our data warehouse with clean data, ready for analysis
  5. Understand and document the full lifecycle of data from numerous sources and how to model it for easy analysis
  6. Build reports and dashboards to help teams identify opportunities and explain trends across data sources
  7. Follow and improve our processes for maintaining high quality data and reporting
  8. Implement the DataOps philosophy in everything you do
  9. Build upon and document our common data framework so that all data can be connected and analyzed

Performance Indicators

Adoption of Data Team BI Charts Throughout the Company

Measurements can be found under the Data Teams Performance Indicators

Position Description

Department Structure

Creating New Departments

Successfully creating new departments require that various company systems be updated to capture newly defined department structures. Once the need for a new department arises, follow these steps:

  1. Create an issue using the dept_change template.
  2. In the issue, add the appropriate team members from each department included in the checklist.
  3. Disclose the nature of the new department. Is the new department simply a name change, or there is a structural modification?
  4. Provide all detail necessary to ensure team members are assigned to the newly created departments.

Below is a table showing the structure of GitLab departments as they exist in BambooHR and netsuite. Please check out the Team Page to see our org chart.

Cost & Reporting Structure

At GitLab, the lowest level of tracking reporting structure starts with departments. For reporting and accounting purposes, departments are assigned both a cost center and a division. In certain cases, a department may span multiple cost centers based on GitLab's allocation methodology.

The cost center, divison, and department reporting structure can be found in the Data Team repo located below. In efforts to keep a single source of truth for organizational and reporting purposes, the Data Team maintains any changes implemented by the FP&A team as a result of an organizational change.

Cost & Reporting Structure

1. Cost Center

A grouping of departments within GitLab to which costs may be charged for accounting purposes.

2. Division

A grouping of departments in which specific activities are carried out within GitLab. Aligning specific departments to divisions ensure the proper operations and efficiency for supporting and creating value for GitLab's customers.

3. Department

An area of special expertise or responsibility within a GitLab division.

Allocation Methodology

GitLab allocates cost items based on consumption of resources or headcount. Below are the workflow and diagrams that illustrate how various cost items are allocated:

Workflow

Pre-Allocation P&Ls

The grid highlighted as Pre-Allocation P&Ls in the diagram below highlights what GitLab P&L structure would look like if there were no allocation methodology. The grid represents Cost Centers and Departments that fall within those Cost Centers. In order to support different dimensional P&Ls and ensure expenses are flowing to the proper Cost Center, GitLab applies an allocation methodology. Therefore, the Pre-Allocation P&Ls is meant to provide clarity and be a starting point to the allocation methodology process.

Allocation Methodology

The grid highlighted as Allocation Methodology in the diagram below highlights the specifc processes that occur in order to achieve proper expense allocations to their respective Cost Centers.

Step 1: Yellow Process

The allocation methodology is applied to the G&A Company Allocation department. Items that are recorded to the G&A Company Allocation department are software expenses and one off expenses. The software expenses are for software used by the entire company (examples include gmail and slack). At times one off expenses are also recorded to the G&A Company Allocation department (examples include Contribute, payroll service fees, etc).

While credit card processing fees are not allocated company wide, it is important to call out the distinction of applying credit card processing fees to Sales. GitLab does not consider credit card processing a cost to it's product or service. GitLab believes that its credit card processing fees are more appropriately classified as marketing and selling expense because these fees are related to the cash collection process for completing customer orders, which supports sales and marketing classification.

Note: One thing to note during the Yellow Process is the Infrastructure expenses are removed. Infrastructure is allocated during the next phase of the allocation cycle. Therefore no shared expenses will hit the Infrastructure P&L.

Step 2: Red Process

The allocation cycle for GitLab's SaaS offering GitLab.com starts. The Finance Business Parter for R&D maintains an allocation model to provide Accounting with an allocation breakout of expenses as well as a P&L based on allocation. The model can be found by searching My Drive > GitLab.com Model. The allocation for GitLab.com is broken out into two different methods.

  1. Free vs Paid Users
    • Infrastructure
    • 3rd Party Expenses [i.e. Hosting Services]
  2. Percentage of Revenue
    • Customer Support

These allocation breakouts will be documented in the GitLab.com model and will flow into the Post Allocation P&Ls. GitLab allocates these expenses to 3 Cost Centers

  1. Marketing - Free users
  2. R&D - Internal users
  3. Cost of Sales - Paid users
Step 3: Blue Process

The Blue Process, which encapsulates the Yellow and Red process, is meant to bring the full allocation cycle together before the Post Allocation P&Ls are rendered.

Post Allocation P&Ls

The grid highlighted as Pre-Allocation P&Ls in the diagram below highlights the final process during the allocation cycle. As a result, new P&Ls are generated to show the breakout of the Infrastructure team across Cost Centers as well as GitLab.com.

Diagram

alt text

Misc

Creating & Updating Models

If you create and/or update to a model that materially impacts it, please make sure to make a quick note of what you did in the ChangeLog. This is important because it keeps us on all the same page.

Note: At this time, GitLab use's the term Division to describe the makeup of its internal structure. In the future, the plan is to use the term Function to describe it's internal structure.

Updating Budget vs. Actuals


  1. Open file: FP&A > Templates > Corporate F&A > Open 'Budget vs. Actual' Blank File GSheet
    • Please note that Budget vs. Actuals for all departments already exist within the FP&A Shared Drive
  2. Open Netsuite and go to Budget vs. Actual report
    • Download the spreadsheet and copy & paste into the relevant month (e.g. For March 2019, paste into the March 2019 BvA Tab)
  3. Open Netsuite and go to 'Income Statement Detail with JE name data' report
    • Copy / paste spreadsheet into the relevant month (e.g. For March 2019, paste into the March 2019 Detail Tab)
  4. Once these spreadsheets are loaded in the spreadsheet, the numbers should auto-populate for the relevant months

How to work with us

On issues

Issues the FP&A team works on have the ~"FP&A" label. This applies to both the Finance and Analytics Issue Trackers. This will ensure that expectations are set accordingly and the work gets delievered in a timely and professional way.

The Analytics part of the FP&A team focuses on delivering project based works and at times will assist with ad-hoc analysis.

Async Status Updates

Since we are a remote company, we utilize a Slack plugin called Geekbot to coordinate various status updates. There is currently 1 status update configured in Geekbot:

Weekly Status Update

The Weekly Status Update is configured to run at noon on Fridays, and contains three questions:

  1. What progress was made on your deliverables this week? (MRs and Closed Issues are good for this)

    The goal with this question is to show off the work you did.

  2. What do you plan to work on next week? (think about what you'll be able to merge or close by the end of the week)

    Think about what the next most important thing is to work on, and think about what part of that you can accomplish in one week. If your priorities aren't clear, talk to your manager.

  3. Who will you need help from to accomplish your plan for next week? (tag specific individuals so they know ahead of time)

    This helps to ensure that the others on the team know you'll need their help and will surface any issues earlier.

Retrospectives

The FP&A Team holds a quarterly planning retrospective to discuss what went well and what didn't go well. The team will take action items away from the Retrospective to improve the planning process and overall efficiency at GitLab.

The FP&A Team uses GitLab's Engineering methodology to hold the Retrospectives, which are detailed on the Team Retrospectives page.

Team Tips

Tips - Rolling 4 Quarter Forecast

Note: During the last quarter of the year, GitLab runs a 5 quarter forecast that aligns with it's annual planning efforts.