Preparing Your Data to Create CIF Files (Start Here)

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Welcome to Planning Maestro! Planning Maestro enables you to build comprehensive budgets and forecasts, analyze business performance, and run what-if scenarios to plan for your company’s success.

To begin budgeting, forecasting, and analyzing data in Planning Maestro, you need to export data from your accounting system (General Ledger system or ERP system), change it into CIF (Centage Integration Format) files, and upload it to Planning Maestro.


This QuickStart Guide shows you what data you need to extract from your GL system (in other words, the data output) you need to generate CIF Files to get your company's data into Planning Maestro.

Info.png Please Note:
After you use this document to export data from your GL system, see Creating CIF Files to find out:

  • How to format the data into CIF Files.
  • How to upload the CIF Files to Planning Maestro.

Table of Contents

Base Structures and Dimensions

Account Numbers



Custom Base Structures

Account Transactions

Account Summary

Send Output Files to Centage

Base Structures and Dimensions

In Planning Maestro, Base Structures are the building blocks of your company: your Account Numbers, Currencies, Offices, Departments, Cost Centers, and anything else you want to budget for. You use Base Structures to build the Dimensions of your budget.

Info.png Please Note: Each Base Structure has Members, or parts and pieces. For example, your Account Number Base Structure will have account numbers as its Members.

When you create a data output from your accounting system, define what Base Structures you want to budget for – in other words, how you want to slice and dice your data.

You must have at least:

  • Account Number – One Account Number Base Structure that contains all your account numbers.
  • Version – One Version Base Structure that contains all your Versions (scenarios of data, including your Actuals). 
  • Currency – We also recommend creating a Currency Base Structure that contains all currencies in which your company does business.
  • Custom – Beyond these three Base Structures, you may have as many Base Structures as you need, depending on how you want to structure your data. Many companies have Department, Company, Unit, Project, Fund, Cost Center, or Program Base Structures.

output Icon 2980182Output 

Define the set of Base Structures (beyond the base three) that would like to see as part of your Planning Maestro structure. 


Base Structure Members

Account Number

Start with your Account Number Base Structure by providing a Chart of Accounts (COA) that details the account number, description and a status indicating whether it’s an active or inactive account. The chart of accounts exported by a GL/ERP should contain all necessary fields.

Confirm the generated file resembles the example below. 


The header names and any additional columns within the file are irrelevant to the CIF process. In the above example, the only fields that matter are: 

  • glm_acc– Account Number 
  • glm_desc – Description 
  • glm_Inactive – Status 
  • Blank/N = Active 
  • Y = Inactive 

output Icon 2980182Output 

Chart of accounts file. 


Create your Version Base Structure by starting with the first Member, a single Version called Actuals that shows the data is coming from your GL/ERP. If your accounting system contains other budgetary Versions, you can add those Versions as extra Members of this file.


output Icon 2980182Output

A list of the Versions (scenarios of data) you want to use in your budget.


Your Currency Base Structure should detail the currencies the company operates in. For example, if your company is based in the United States and operates on Dollars, make the first Base Structure Members US Dollars. Then, list all other currencies in which your company does business.  

output Icon 2980182Output 

An Excel sheet like the example below. 


Custom Base Structures

After creating your Account Number, Version, and Currency Base Structures, create other custom Base Structures (Department, Project, Location, Region, etc.) you want to use to slice and dice data. 

output Icon 2980182Output 

An Excel sheet like the example below. 

Example.png Example: This Excel sheet lists a company’s departments.


Account Transactions

Generate a file of your Account Transactions (if your GL system supports this type of export. If not, export an Account Summary file – see the next section).

Account Transactions provide the greatest amount of detail for Planning Maestro. If your GL/ERP supports exporting transactions data with all the Base Structures, create an output file detailing these.

output Icon 2980182Output 

A detailed transactions file that lists only the relevant data on each row without any additional formatting or totals calculation, like the example below (this screenshot is also attached to this Help Hub article - scroll to the bottom of the page).


Info.png Please Note:

  • Please note if the account number in the file is a concatenation (combination) of multiple entities. If it is, provide the breakdown of how to extract the values for the separate entities. 
  • If there are multiple date columns, please note which is the valid transaction date. 

Account Summary

If your GL system can only provide a summary of your accounts, generate an output file for Account Summary.

Some GL/ERP systems only provide summarized values per account for all Base Structures. If your GL system does not provide Account Transactions, create an Account Summary file. This file will provide less detail in Planning Maestro.

output Icon 2980182 Output 

A summarized file that lists only the relevant data on each row without any additional formatting or totals calculation, like the example below. 

 The difference between this example and the one from the Account Transactions above is that each Account Code only appears once with the summarized value and the Date column has been replaced by the more generic Year and Period.


Send the Output Files to Centage

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Send the output files you created to Centage:

  • Account Numbers
  • Versions
  • Currencies
  • Custom Base Structures
  • Account Transactions or Account Summary

Then, review Creating CIF Files to see how this output data is formatted into CIF (Centage Integration Format) Files to upload to Planning Maestro.

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