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FP&A Lite - Self-service financial management and analytics

Unit4’s add-on, FP&A Lite, enables you to perform ad-hoc, self-service analysis on your profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statements in a central, secure, and connected environment. All tightly integrated with your financial data source to boost trust and agility in analysis and decision-making. 

Read on to discover the benefits of this easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy analytics solution for your finance function and the wider business. 

Reduced reliance on Excel 

The go-to analysis tool for many organizations is Microsoft Excel. So, for instance, if you are a Unit4 Financials by Coda user and you want to interrogate your underlying financial data, the old way of doing things tends to involve using the Excel add-in to connect to the solution, pulling the data out, and then applying Excel’s filters, pivot tables, formulas, diagrammatic representations, and other tools. 

Analyzing data in Excel can be time-consuming and prone to errors, which can have major consequences for decision-making and financial health. 

Financial analysis is a collaborative process involving multiple team members. Excel was not designed for multiple users working on the same data simultaneously, which can lead to versioning issues and errors in financial analysis. 

FP&A Lite delivers an effective and efficient alternative to this critical business challenge. Instead of manually extracting data into Excel, the solution provides a single, fully integrated platform for analysis. FP&A Lite reports directly on actual and budget data from your Unit4 Financials by Coda system, and seamless drill-through to underlying transactions is standard. 

Click to read FP&A product brochure gated

Enabling self-service analysis 

Gartner defines self-service analytics as a form of business intelligence (BI) in which users are “enabled and encouraged to perform queries and generate reports on their own, with nominal IT support.”

Data democratization enables finance and business professionals to analyze data without statistical knowledge. This approach provides instant answers and insight into business trends, boosting productivity and agility

Outdated systems, especially those using spreadsheets, can hinder self-service. Moving data is slow and prone to errors, and only team members skilled in Excel can analyze it effectively.

FP&A Lite opens the door to self-service analysis. Self-explanatory dashboards give you an instant and varied view of what’s happening across your profit and loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statements. Alongside this, a choice of various dynamic, interactive visualizations supports native drill-through to the underlying transaction data to truly gain an understanding of outliers and data behavior. 

This makes it easier to make sense of information, spot trends, generate reports, and make informed decisions without IT intervention or logging in/out of multiple systems.

A single source of truth 

One of the core benefits of Unit4 Financials by Coda is its “no compromise” approach to financial management. We’re talking about true, trusted, and integrated financial visibility. 

Moving data to other apps for analysis can erode the concept of a single source of truth. Version control issues can arise, making it difficult to determine whose version of the truth you are looking at.

FP&A Lite extends Unit4’s approach to financial management into the sphere of financial analytics. By giving you a single, fully integrated platform for analysis and reporting, you can always be confident that you are dealing with trustworthy, error-free data viewed through a single lens. You can finally trust the numbers and confidently apply them to your decision-making. 

Supporting robust governance 

Who exactly owns this report? Who made these changes, and when? 

Spreadsheet-based analysis and reporting lack accountability, causing headaches for those responsible for internal compliance. It's easy to make mistakes and hard to track changes.

The beauty of being able to carry out analysis and reporting natively within Unit4 Financials by Coda is that you can bypass all of those Excel-related headaches. In their place, you get the full benefit of Unit 4’s governance frameworks controlling user data access rights (e.g., single sign-on and ‘need to know’ access restrictions). 

FP&A Lite also allows you to make a distinction between storytellers who can create new public and private dashboards and edit or delete existing dashboards and analytics users who can view public dashboards and create, edit, or delete private dashboards. 

Plug and play 

Financial analysis can provide valuable insights, but the prospect of overhauling data architecture and adding to your tech stack can be daunting, especially during budget constraints.

There’s also the learning curve aspect to consider. The last thing you need is to invest significantly in FP&A only to find that the new solution is too complex or counter-intuitive for ordinary business users to put to work day-to-day. 

The ‘plug and play’ nature of FP&A Lite speaks directly to all of these concerns. The solution is deliberately pared down to focus on what matters most to finance teams: being able to drill down and draw workable insights from your financial statements and the data that underpins them. Native integration with your existing Unit4 Financials by Coda system means you can be up and running with FP&A Lite in as little as five days. 

So far as the user experience goes, the emphasis is on self-explanatory, easy-to-access reporting and analysis. It’s about building on your existing tech investments without reinventing the wheel and without a massive outlay in cash and time. 

Supporting your digital transformation journey 

We know that ambitions are high within finance departments. According to PwC, 53% of CFOs say they plan to accelerate digital transformation this year by exploring initiatives such as data analytics, AI, automation, and cloud solutions. 

But how do you reach your end goal - which may ultimately include capabilities such as predictive models and scenario analysis capabilities - from a standing start? Stasis can easily set in when change seems too big or expensive to contemplate. 

It can be useful to approach digital transformation in bite-sized, consumable chunks, focusing on the areas that will have an immediate impact before looking at more ambitious projects later. This is a further area where FP&A Lite really comes into its own. 

FP&A Lite is only the first step on your journey. As we’ve seen, the emphasis of FP&A Lite is on analysis and reporting linked to core financials. It’s an easily deployable solution that gets your people used to drilling into the data and generating answers on-demand in a user-friendly way. 

Final thoughts

Post-implementation, the next logical step is to consider boosting your planning capabilities with Unit4’s more comprehensive FP&A solution. Therefore, the solution becomes a useful first step in building a data-driven culture and a bridge between legacy processes and next-gen planning and analytics capabilities. Upgrading to the full FP&A solution is easy and straightforward. Planning, budgeting, forecasting, scenario analysis, and more capabilities can simply be “switched on.”

Want to learn more about FP&A Lite? Book a demo here, or take a look at our earlier article, What is FP&A Lite and how can it improve my Unit4 Financials by Coda system?

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