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‘FP&A Trends’ highlight how top performers utilize Cloud FP&A to build resilience, strategy, and collaboration

‘FP&A Trends’ recently conducted research – interviewing 25 top performers globally in financial planning and analysis (FP&A) – which captured why many organizations are looking to the Cloud to build resilient systems through an integrated FP&A solution.

By looking at those organizations that have navigated uncertainty and ongoing global disruption, by investing in digital transformation, we can learn the true benefits of Cloud-based FP&A and how it can support organizations in delivering their strategy.

Join us as we explore the top highlights from the report, and what it means for your financial teams.

Strategy is defining the future of FP&A

Thanks to the Cloud, FP&A teams can function more strategically. Automation can reduce manual data consolidation times and increase the productivity of current accounting professionals.

With time freed up, finance teams can place more focus on the value-adding analysis of existing data, allowing forecasts to be holistic and better inform strategy. This can also increase the efficiency of current accounting talent, providing a solution to the global shortage of qualified accounting talent.

The report also finds that FP&A teams have moved from dealing mostly with financial data to a near 50/50 split between financial and operational data, with a view that this could move to an 80/20 split in favor of operational data.

Technological adoption provides already-stretched financial teams with more capacity to create detailed reports that can inform decision-making at the highest levels of an organization. 

The modern FP&A function can guide business leadership, helping to drive more intelligent strategy and providing a pipeline of strategic talent for the leadership of the future.

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The impact of technology on FP&A teams

Technology will begin to define FP&A as a function, the report defines this with three major themes:

  • Collaboration – technology is being used to make FP&A teams more cohesive and more integrated with other business functions and departments.
  • Analysis – predictive and prescriptive analytics, with support from AI, are being deployed to enhance the quality of insight available to decision-makers.
  • Automation – tools that reduce the time spent on lower-value tasks will lead to greater focus on informing strategy with detailed and far-reaching forecasts and reports.

Importantly, modern FP&A talent has modern expectations of the tools an organization will provide them. Just as it’s now commonplace to use the Cloud in domestic applications (whether that’s social media or online streaming) a modern FP&A function will suffer without a modern tech stack to support day-to-day workflows.

Leveraging “business partnering” to deliver a finance-first culture

What’s clear is that integration with the Cloud, and other important corporate functions such as HR or procurement - what the report terms “business partnering” - is key for the financial function to become strategic.

“Business partnering” will therefore be a critical part of the future of FP&A and the wider operational strategy of an organization.

The report makes clear the most important skill required of a finance team is collaboration and communication with key stakeholders and decision-makers. The report uses the term “emotional intelligence” to define this key factor of success, which can affect the soft skills sought after in new talent.

Finance teams must leverage the insight a modern tech stack provides to communicate financial data effectively and influence corporate strategy. By empowering finance teams with modern tech, they can create a finance-first culture where strategic goals are shaped by how each team affects an organization's bottom line.

With the single source of truth that an integrated FP&A and ERP solution provides, finance teams can generate organizational resilience by ensuring corporate strategy, as well as day-to-day tasks, are driven by financial insight.

A future-focused talent management model must be adopted

With a global shortage of qualified accountants, hiring the talent you need externally is likely to be difficult, not to mention expensive. The report makes clear that investment should be focused on current talent, and building relationships that can withstand the test of time.

FP&A Trends’ survey proposes on-the-job training and mentorship can be effective. However, this approach doesn’t just mean throwing people in the deep end. Instead, a modern talent management model can provide support to current finance teams.

By consolidating performance management into the Cloud, managers, and employees have the data at their fingertips and can recall it quickly when necessary. With better-informed management and talent, teams can have more transparent conversations and feel more supported, which is a key requirement of modern talent.

At Unit4 we have seen a growing trend towards our FP&A customer base moving to the Cloud, with 30% having made that move. In the wider Enterprise Performance Management market, 45% of organizations are now in the Cloud.

Similarly, a Cloud-based HR solution can provide more clarity and transparency when it comes to total rewards and compensation packages. Employees need transparency on packages, how they compare to the competition, and clear reporting on how packages are adapting to changing circumstances in industry and society.

More than anything else, hiring and upskilling your team must be done with the future in mind, so that turbulent times can be navigated by professionals who wish to stay the course, rather than leave when things get difficult. This requires a tech-driven organization that can put people at its center.

How Unit4 can leverage a modern FP&A function to build organizational resilience

Unit4’s integrated ERP solution with FP&A can provide your organization with the finance-forward model required to drive organizational growth and resilience. 

With Unit4’s ERP suite, you can integrate HCM into the Cloud as well using similar digital capabilities to put people back at the center of operations – it all starts with digital transformation.

To discover more, you can check out our dedicated FP&A product pages or book a demo and see what our solution can do for your organization. 

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