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What does ‘world-class’ FP&A look like? – An end-user’s perspective

With an increased need to forecast and plan scenarios, it’s useful to re-evaluate what ‘world-class’ FP&A looks like – this requires an understanding of how successful organizations use and implement FP&A systems and processes as well as an end-user’s perspective. 

By looking at what those top performers are doing with their FP&A we can learn the true benefits of Cloud-based FP&A and how it can support organizations in delivering their strategy, and other organizations can learn why FP&A is determining success in these organizations.

Understanding what an end-user wants from FP&A software in external forums like Reddit, in combination with what successful financial teams are doing as surveyed by FP&A Trends Group, can provide a clear picture of what world-class FP&A looks like – keep reading to find out.

FP&A Trends – What do world-class FP&A teams do?

‘FP&A Trends Group’ interviewed 25 top-performing organizations and captured how they have used FP&A to remain resilient through disruptions and plan their way to success. 

Notably, the report finds that these FP&A teams had a 50/50 ratio between operational data and financial data, intending to move to an 80/20 split in favor of operational data. This demonstrates the value of integrated data for FP&A, and why the office of the CFO must be the strategic driver of an organization.

Technology is defining the future of FP&A teams, as the report finds that successful teams would invariably utilize capabilities like AI automation to improve collaboration, enhance the analysis of data, and remove the obstacle of manual data tasks.

The report also highlights the need to leverage ‘business partnering to deliver a ‘finance-first culture’. The most important skill required of a finance team is collaboration and communication with key stakeholders and decision-makers, but also with other departments such as HR and projects.

The single source of truth that integrated data provides means finance teams and other key functions can align on and communicate a strategy for success, enabling a finance-forward but data-driven culture

Click to read FP&A product brochure gated

What do end-users want from world-class FP&A?

Reddit, and other community forum boards, are a place where finance teams express themselves outside the confines of work and look to affirm their experiences with people in similar positions. 

In one recent thread, an FP&A user asked ‘What does world-class FP&A look like?’ which started an interesting discussion among end-users of the software.

One user suggested that FP&A requires:

“ -  Clean data that’s organized, managed, and agreed upon by all

  • Solid relationships with Accounting and Business Partners
  • utilization of an ERP/Planning systems
  • a monthly close that takes less than a week
  • standardized reporting
  • embraced automation and new methods of analysis
  • FP&A is viewed as a thought partner by their business partners and brought into the fold on their operation
  • program to train junior members on teams to get exposure to rest of company and develop skills”

This concurs with much of what FP&A Trends highlights in their report: business partnering with key functions like HR, use of automation, and software that breed productivity.

This end-user also highlights something key for today’s financial function: clear plans for talent development and retention, something proving even more key as many teams jostle with shortages of qualified accountants.

Adding to this discussion, another end-user highlights the value of a single ERP suite or provider for ‘world-class’ FP&A: “Data is integrated in one brand of ERP or various ERPs that are setup appropriately to do consolidation in 1 day as part of the, less than one week, month end”

Similarly, one Redditor argues the case for a single, unified system: “A software ecosystem that includes everything for Ops, Management, ERP (accounting, taxes, etc.), Forecasting (ST, MT, LT ranges), IT & physical asset management, enterprise risk management, and other areas needed for the business.”

In the thread, one comment points to the importance of a productive user experience: “Don’t forget to add not having to work weekends or horrible hours!” This shows that legacy systems that cannot meet demand without increased workloads can lead to unhappy end-users who are overworked and likely prone to error.

Indeed, an FP&A solution that does not prioritize productivity, accuracy, nor the end-user’s time is not a successful one.

How Unit4 can support world-class FP&A

At Unit4, our award-winning FP&A software can support the demands for ‘world-class’ FP&A, by providing an unrivaled user experience, harnessing the ‘triple-value’ of combined HR, finance, and project data, and utilizing AI to empower your people to be more productive.

Our connected FP&A solution enables you to automate and streamline your finance workflows, from data collection, management, and consolidation, to reporting and forecasting. The Cloud-powered solution provides near real-time, reliable, and relevant financial insights that help you drive performance improvement and business growth.

This includes processes for forecasting, reporting, and data analysis itself, with dashboards and advanced reporting capabilities, allowing the Office of the CFO and finance teams to manage their data load optimally, and more – including:

  • Connecting and unifying all your finance data sources in one place
  • Eliminating manual tasks and errors through increased, transparency
  • Creating dynamic reports and dashboards that show the most important metrics and KPIs
  • Performing advanced analysis and scenario planning with powerful modeling and simulation capabilities
  • Collaborating and communicating effectively with your stakeholders using interactive visualizations and annotations
  • Leveraging best practices and industry standards with pre-built templates and frameworks

To learn how Unit4 FP&A can work for you visit our dedicated product page, or talk to sales and get a demo, today!

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