Rocket Money

Rocket Money modernizes financial reporting with dbt Cloud

How Rocket Money transformed financial processes and cross-functional collaboration with a dbt-powered Quote-to-Cash system

Rocket Money
Modernized system passed SOX audit with zero deficiencies
Reduced time spent on monthly close
Implemented 3,000 tests to ensure data quality

Data-driven digital finance

Founded in 2015 Rocket Money has gained rapid recognition for its personal finance app. Through an array of features such as budgeting, spending tracking, bill negotiation, and subscription cancellation, Rocket Money allows its users to precisely control their spending.

Like many other financial organizations, Rocket Money’s business model leans heavily on reliable data and analytics, with processes such as revenue recognition, cash forecasting, and monthly close depending on high-quality data.

The need for a quote-to-cash system

The Rocket Money team quickly found that as the business expanded, keeping track of high-volume information wasn’t a simple task. The company has many different revenue streams and works with several different payment providers, which led to the requirement of a single system to serve as a source of truth to combine these disparate data sources.

Amber Oar, Staff Analytics Engineer, and her team quickly realized that if the business was to marshal the data needed to keep decision-makers up-to-date with the latest information, it needed a single source of truth for financial reporting - one that was GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) compliant and easy to audit.

“We didn’t want different metrics being calculated in different ways by different teams when they’re all supposed to be the same thing,” explained Amber. “Whenever we are calculating revenue for a given month for our company, we want to make sure everyone is pulling it the same way and ending up with the same number.”

The team needed a quote-to-cash system to help them ensure their financial data was as accurate—and accessible—as possible. To comply with GAAP, the new system needed to track users and transactions through the entire accounting lifecycle, from purchase orders and invoices to revenue, cash, and accounts receivable.

Mapping complex revenue streams

Given the business’s complex financial workflow, the Rocket Money team knew they needed support from specialized data tools. They singled out dbt Cloud to support the new system.

“The previous process was very time consuming. We needed a system that would allow us to scale and also quickly close the financials each month.” said Amber.

One of the first challenges was mapping Rockey Money’s complex web of revenue streams. This was a time-consuming task that stretched across multiple teams, which included product, engineering, and accounting all needing to coordinate efforts.

Fortunately, dbt Cloud significantly assisted the team in managing this complexity. The tool’s modular architecture allowed them to reduce masses of complex financial logic into more manageable, maintainable layers. By breaking down intricate processes and data flows into simpler components, the team could more efficiently manage and update their financial systems.

Building trust with rigorous testing

One of the cornerstones of any financial system is reliability; when cash is on the line, you don’t just need accurate numbers, you need to be able to prove they are accurate. The Rocket Money team ensures data quality with a rigorous testing scheme.

Before introducing the quote-to-cash system, a lot of this testing was conducted by the finance and accounting team. As the product scaled, the team realized that this would not be sustainable long term. Now, it runs 3,000 tests (that test both quote-to-cash and other production data models) daily, which include business logic and accounting logic checks to ensure that everything is operating as expected.

These tests create accountability for the data produced by the new system and allow for easy collaboration across teams. This comprehensive testing gives the Rocket Money team confidence that upstream changes will not cause unintended regressions.

Guaranteeing compliance with auditability

In 2021, Rocket Money was acquired by a publicly traded company. Now that the business was part of a publicly traded company, the company’s accounts needed to be consistently easy to audit. This means having not just clear data but also solid lineage and documentation.

dbt Cloud set up the team for scaling success by supplying access to auto-generated documentation and audit logging. In addition, data diffs, a tool that compares datasets, furthered auditability.

“We wanted to make sure that we had an audit-worthy system that could pass any audit even before we needed it,” said Amber.

This careful planning paid off when Rocket Money underwent its first SOX audit—an annual requirement under the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

“We passed with zero deficiencies,” smiled Amber. “That's great. This system is exactly the kind of thing auditors look at during SOX audits.”

Streamlining financial processes

Introducing an automated system sped up the team’s month-end close tasks and provided a single source of truth to power the business’ enterprise reporting.

“Introducing dbt and the Quote-to-Cash process has made close a lot less stressful because we have a testing suite that runs every single day,” explained Amber. “If there is a bug that is going to impact our accounting team, we know immediately, and we're working with the development team to fix it before the month closes.”

The extra visibility has also improved communication between teams. Rocket Money’s engineering team is now more aware of the accounting impacts of their decisions—such as releasing products at the very end of the month. The product team can confidently assess the impacts of experiments because the system supports production of key financial KPIs at the granularity of a purchase.

Driving impact across Rocket Money

Introducing the dbt Cloud-powered quote-to-cash system has transformed Rocket Money’s financial processes and unlocked cross-team alignment.

"Now the accounting team feels like they're shipping like the larger product and engineering team,” said Amber. “They're aware of changes before they are made that may impact the revenue streams."

Looking ahead, the team is building on the scalable foundation to implement advanced analytics across the business as changes are made to existing revenue streams and new ones are rolled out.

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