Moving Beyond Budgets at HOLT CAT

Presented By:

Gretchen Stepke & Susan Nufer

Session Abstract:

In the second half of 2008, the world economy took a significant downturn. As typically happens, capital spending was one of the first things cut. While facing this tremendous uncertainty, the senior leaders of HOLT CAT (currently the largest Caterpillar dealer in North America) had major decisions to make about their 2009 budget.

This case study explains why HOLT CAT chose to eliminate budgeting in 2009 and adopt the Beyond Budgeting principles. It describes how and why that decision was made as well as what has happened since then. Come and learn what happens when you stop budgeting as well as what you do instead.

Learning Objectives:

In this session you will learn…

  • why most budgeting processes are an exercise in minimizing expectations rather than planning for outstanding results.
  • how an alternative approach can lead to far better outcomes than anyone dreamed possible.
  • how finance can use transparency and trust drive greater accountability and higher than expected results.
  • how a real company has eliminated budgets and continued to successfully operate in changing economic conditions.

About the Facilitator:

Gretchen Stepke is the Director of Business Systems for Holt CAT.  Over the last seventeen years, she has worked to provide new system technology and process improvements for the Holt CAT Finance department as well as their internal and external customers.  In addition, Gretchen implemented and manages the system framework and organization that is responsible for reporting and tracking corporate performance.  She is a member of the Beyond Budgeting Roundtable and worked with others in her organization to move from the yearly traditional budget agony to a process of benchmarking, performance reporting and forward looking models.

She holds Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Systems Management and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Susan Nufer is the Controller-Dealership Operations for HOLT CAT and has held this position since 2010. She has been employed at HOLT CAT for 16 years, progressing in various positions from Business Analyst, Accounting Manager, and Assistant Controller to her current position. She has participated in many process improvement initiatives and has played a key role in structuring the accounting staff into a lean, efficient, and best in class department to meet the needs of operations and HOLT CAT stakeholders. Susan was part of a team to bring in a performance management system to allow for flexible and dynamic reporting needs for forecasting and financial statements that were formerly accomplished using excel spreadsheets.  In 2014, Susan took over the machine sales invoicing department and has been working to streamline processes and develop staff to ensure timely, accurate invoicing along with legendary customer service for HOLT’s sales teams and external customers.

Susan has a BBA in Accounting from Texas State University and holds a Certified Public Accounting license