Financial Planning and Analysis teams have the difficult responsibility of holistically understanding their organization’s financial position, the impact of nearly any scenario, and constant questions and changes driven by executives. It sounds complicated, but it’s even more complicated than it sounds.
FP&A teams receive data from every single area of the organization. Revenue, expenses, assets, liabilities, acquisition targets, banks, vendors, customers, regulators, and many other areas must all be pulled together and analyzed. Historical data needs to be reported, and businesses want a picture of what could happen based on different business scenarios.
If every team would come together and agree on a simple way to pass data back and forth between the groups, FP&A teams would be thrilled, but they don’t. FP&A teams get data from other teams via spreadsheets, emails, reports, database access, and sometimes even phone calls. All of that data needs to be cleansed, normalized, and consolidated just to begin the FP&A process. Saying FP&A processes are time-consuming is an understatement.
Once the data is consolidated, teams are expected to build dozens of reports, perform complex analyses and forecasts, and answer whatever is the crazy question or scenario of the day. For example, they may ask, “How will a pandemic affect revenues?”
Many FP&A teams have FPM/CPM solutions, and some attempt to do it all in Excel. Because the world of FP&A is constantly changing, teams need to be nimble. Old processes will be obsolete, and new processes are developed under the gun.
FP&A teams must stay on top of data and automation technologies to be as efficient as possible. Too many FP&A teams are reliant on cumbersome technologies for their primary function and Excel for everything else. If you would like to discuss your process and look for ways to upskill your teams and automate your processes and reporting, we would be happy to discuss how other FP&A teams are leveling up.