If you’re working in Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) teams, you know you have considerable influence on the strategies and successes of your organisation. FP&A professionals are tasked with looking at how the organisation is progressing, whether it is achieving its goals and how it can work with current and future economic and market trends to continue to be profitable in the future.
The FP&A function requires an overview and understanding of the complete business – everything from salary levels and profit margins to late payments and borrowing levels. According to the Corporate Finance Institute, there are ten key roles for an FP&A team.
Roles for FP&A Teams
- Evaluating if current assets and investments are appropriate
- Understanding overall financial health
- Looking at which products or services have the best margins
- Demonstrating which products generate the most profit
- Cost-efficiency for each department
- Detailed budgeting and forecasting
- Maintaining good financial models
- Supporting senior leaders with regular reporting
- Performing variance analysis
- Scenario planning – looking for opportunities for growth
Each of these tasks – and those that are related to them – carry significant responsibility. It’s easy to see the strategic influence that a good FP&A team can have on the organisation. And so it is fundamental to good decision making and to overall success.
What’s getting in the way of FP&A teams’ performance?
The very nature of FP&A work means that it’s reliant on access to the right data at the right time. That data comes from all areas of the company, and the team is often dealing with data that is inaccurate, out of date, or simply unavailable.
That means that any projections, forecasting and strategic planning are necessarily caveated: it’s only as good as the data that informs it.
So, the key things getting in the way of the transformative performance that FP&A teams are capable of are:
- Data accuracy and completeness
- Integrating data from multiple systems
- Data timeliness
- Ability to support faster decision making in times of change
- Accuracy and robustness of planning and forecasting
What do FP&A teams need to deliver?
In challenging times, FP&A teams are central to commercial success. It’s these teams that have to find efficiencies, look for better ways of doing things, pinpoint underperforming areas and find untapped opportunities.
They are charged to do this by the CFO and other senior leaders. And so they need support from those leaders to be able to do these jobs successfully. For us, this means:
Supporting adaptability – economies, markets and business priorities change quickly. There are lots of stakeholders to consider, and organisations must be agile and adaptable to succeed. Tech-savvy CFOs are already supporting their FP&A teams by investing in better ways to collect, manage, interrogate and report the data and insights needed to get ahead of the game and stay there.
Engaging with simplicity – FP&A activities don’t have to be complex. In fact, bringing simplicity into your team will speed up all those activities, helping to deliver better quality analysis, more accurate forecasting and real-time access to the data that matters.
Becoming a serious influencer – CFOs and FP&A teams are not ‘guarders of wealth’. They are the Chancellors of the organisation, driving innovative thinking, demonstrating clear opportunities and enabling faster decisions that bring your competitive edge. The more accurate the information, the more influence and significance you have.
What does the future look like?
It’s not the future – it’s today. Right now, you can access the real-time, accurate, high quality data you need to support analysis, forecasting and growth opportunities. Matching human intelligence with augmented intelligence, our QSF – Plan and Insight software sits alongside your existing software, centralising your data and giving your business a single source of truth – from your FP&A team to your sales division. It’s a catalyst for growth that you can’t afford to ignore, and you can start your journey today by contacting us.