How Rocket Money achieved SOX compliance with zero deficiencies with Datafold

Passing your first SOX audit is a milestone, and one that Rocket Money recently achieved with zero deficiencies. But how did they turn a complicated financial tracking system into an efficient and user-friendly process that met stringent audit standards? The challenge was significant: simplifying their intricate Quote-to-Cash (Q2C) process, ensuring data integrity, and making it accessible for users of varying technical abilities across the team. Using dbt and Datafold Cloud’s data diffing capabilities, Rocket Money was able to transform their financial processes.

Rocket Money is a financial wellness company. The personal finance app utilizes AI to enable users to manage their personal finances and improve their financial health. A Series D startup, Rocket Money has raised $83.9 million with a user base that has doubled from one million to two million users since November 2020. The company analyzes $40 billion in monthly transaction volume.
https://www.rocketmoney.com/
Data team size
13+
Total Employees
200+
Implementation Partner
Data Stack
Datafold
dbt
Google BigQuery
Looker
We needed a product that would easily allow [the accounting team] to see the differences between the development environment and production, and be able to sign off that that changes what they expect...Datafold allows us to do this.
Amber Oar
Staff Analytics Engineer
0
Deficiencies in first SOX audit
Ready to learn more?

Passing your first SOX audit is a milestone, and one that Rocket Money recently achieved with zero deficiencies. But how did they turn a complicated financial tracking system into an efficient and user-friendly process that met stringent audit standards? The challenge was significant: simplifying their intricate Quote-to-Cash (Q2C) process, ensuring data integrity, and making it accessible for users of varying technical abilities across the team. Using dbt and Datafold's data diffing capabilities, Rocket Money was able to transform their financial processes. 

Rocket Money

Rocket Money is a comprehensive financial management service designed to simplify personal finance. Their more than 5 million members use a suite of tools that include automatic identification and management of subscriptions and bills, providing users with insights into their spending across various accounts. Rocket Money also offers a bill negotiation service to help lower expenses. Users can also track their net worth by linking all their assets and debts, offering a complete financial overview. The platform encourages smart saving habits through automated savings options and provides free credit score tracking.

The challenge: A new data transformation system that survives audits 

Rocket Money’s primary challenge lay in simplifying their complicated financial tracking process, ensuring data integrity, and making it accessible for the accounting team during close. 

Their existing system was complicated, especially for their accounting team, due to the intricate nature of its Quote-to-Cash (Q2C) process. The Q2C system involved multiple stages from purchase orders to payment. This complexity arose from tracking a wide array of financial activities, such as invoice generation, revenue recognition, and managing accounts receivable. Each of these stages had its own set of rules and data points, which needed to be meticulously monitored and reconciled in dbt. 

For the non-technical accounting team, navigating this Q2C process was challenging. They required a more intuitive and accessible way to manage, audit, and report financial data. The new transformation system for reporting these numbers had to be not only accurate and compliant, but also user-friendly for those without deep technical expertise. 

There was a pressing need for a solution that could provide clear, accurate, and easy-to-understand data insights. This was especially important because they were preparing for their first SOX audit, a verification of the financial statements of a company and the processes used in creating them, that all publicly traded US companies must complete.

The solution: Comprehensive testing through Datafold Data Diffs in CI

Datafold offered a way for Rocket Money to precisely compare data outputs between development and production stages of their dbt models for their Quote-to-Cash process. This function was more than just a useful feature; it eventually formed a key part of Rocket Money's strategy for SOX compliance. 

Whenever the data team would create and modify dbt models for their complex Quote-to-Cash process, these code changes would be run through Datafold’s data diffing in CI process. The data diff results would then be analyzed by the accounting team to verify that these changes to the data were acceptable and expected—allowing the data and accounting teams to work with greater transparency and efficiency.

These three features made Datafold Cloud a "clutch product" for Rocket Money during this process:

Visual comparisons

Datafold’s data diffing integrated in the CI process allowed Rocket Money's data and accounting teams to visually compare data between different environments, such as development and production. Its integration in continuous integration (CI) allowed for a detailed, side-by-side comparison of development and production table outputs directly in the dbt PR. Using Datafold, the accounting team could quickly look at the data diff output to identify data differences and understand the impact of proposed dbt code changes, and spot and address any discrepancies before that code was merged into production.

Easy workflow integration

Datafold could be seamlessly integrated with Rocket Money’s many existing databases and version control systems. The team could verify that no unwanted changes were made (e.g. inserting thousands of primary keys) by integrating Datafold Cloud within their existing ticket tracking tool. Rocket Money ran comprehensive tests with every CI build each day, and only approved changes after checking the resulting data diffs. This process was critical for maintaining the integrity of financial records, especially in preparation for the SOX audit.

User-friendly interface

Datafold was designed to be intuitive and help bridge the gap between technical and non-technical users within companies. The accounting team, without deep technical expertise, could easily navigate and verify financial data changes within the Datafold Cloud UI—no need to dig through complex SQL code changes. This accessibility of financial data, presented through a clear and straightforward interface, significantly simplified the complex processes for all team members.

Rocket Money’s accounting team relied heavily on Datafold Cloud’s data diffs to validate changes. This process eliminated the need for them to delve into complex code; instead, they could focus on the clear, concise data diff presented by Datafold Cloud, making informed decisions and approvals. This approach not only simplified the validation process for the accounting team, but also fostered a culture of transparency and trust with the technical team. 

The result: Empowering accountants with a single source of truth

Datafold brought a new level of clarity and precision to Rocket Money's financial data management. It was a key player in making it possible for Rocket Money to meet stringent audit requirements efficiently, without disrupting their existing workflows.

Enhanced data management 

Datafold Cloud's integration significantly improved the accuracy and integrity of Rocket Money’s financial data. This was crucial in ensuring reliable reporting and compliance, particularly in the context of stringent financial regulations. One of the key features that contributed to this was what Amber Oar (Staff Analytics Engineer) called Datafold's ability to provide "beautiful diffs". These data diffs allowed the team to visually confirm that changes in their data occurred as expected, enhancing trust and reliability in their data management processes.

Successful SOX audit

Rocket Money passed its first SOX audit with zero deficiencies – in part from using Datafold Cloud to meticulously track and verify changes in their financial data. Datafold's technologies, especially the efficient data diffing capabilities embedded in their CI process, provided an unprecedented level of detail, automation, and clarity. This allowed Rocket Money to confidently demonstrate compliance with SOX regulations. This rigorous approach to data management not only satisfied audit requirements, but also established a new standard of financial integrity within the company.

Improved cross-team collaboration

Datafold’s implementation fostered improved communication and understanding between Rocket Money’s technical data teams and non-technical accounting teams. This resulted in a more cohesive approach to managing financial data, where engineers, accountants, and other stakeholders could make more informed decisions. Datafold’s user-friendly interface and clear data presentation helped bridge the gap between different team members, fostering better collaboration and understanding.

Streamlined financial close process 

The financial close process at Rocket Money became more efficient and less stressful with Datafold. The platform’s ability to detect and address discrepancies in real time played a key role in this improvement. This efficiency in the financial close process not only saved time but also reduced the potential for errors, contributing to a smoother end-of-month closing.

Single source of truth 

The use of Datafold at Rocket Money created a unified source of financial information. This unification streamlined queries and decision-making processes across the company. With clear and easily accessible financial insights, Rocket Money was able to make more accurate and timely decisions. This single source of truth became a cornerstone for their financial strategy and operations.

Achieving clarity with compliance

Clarity and compliance are two sides of the same coin. For Rocket Money, using Datafold data diffing in CI with dbt Cloud enabled clarity with financial processes, and helped their technical and accounting teams get on the same page. This led to improved cross-team communication, saved months of costly manual validation, and empowered self-serve decision-making. A new system focused on precise and automated data tracking thus helped ensure compliance with SOX audit requirements. 

If you want to learn more about Rocket Money’s journey with automated testing and Datafold, check out their full Coalesce 2023 presentation here.