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## Financial Planning @ GitLab
At GitLab, we run a rolling 4 quarter forecast process. This means that we are always looking out a minimum of 12 months when projecting revenue and expenses, and we update those forecasts at least once per quarter. Things move quickly and our forecast needs to iterate quickly to keep up with the business. 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 budget parameters. By 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. We follow the cadence below in our planning process:
GitLab creates an annual Plan which establishes our financial objectives for the coming fiscal year and is used for measurement of the Company's ability to achieve goals. Things move quickly and our forecast needs to iterate quickly to keep up with the business. Accordingly, we run a rolling 4 quarter forecast process. This means that we are always looking out a minimum of 12 months when projecting revenue and expenses, and we update those forecasts at least once per quarter. 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 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. We follow the cadence below in our planning process:
**Note: During the last quarter of the year, GitLab runs a 5 quarter forecast that aligns with it's annual planning efforts.**
## 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 functions 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.
1. 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.
1. 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.
## Business Drivers
At GitLab, planning starts with long term goals. GitLab uses business drivers to forecast out long term goals by function. Business drivers are what drives GitLab’s operating model. By using function 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. GitLab’s business drivers can be found in the GitLab Financial Model under the tab `Business Drivers`, which link the Business Driver labels to the definitions in the respective handbook.
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