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What is FP&A Lite and how can it improve my Unit4 Financials system?

For users of Unit4 Financials by Coda, FP&A Lite puts self-service analytics at your fingertips, allowing you to discover and understand financial information through a single lens. We’ve written this article as a quick reference point for anyone new to the system so you can better understand what it is, how it works, and what it can do for you. 

At a glance: what is FP&A Lite? 

FP&A Lite is a strategic add-on for customers of Unit4 Financials by Coda. It’s a cloud-only product, so will only work for you if you’re already using Unit4 Financials by Coda in the cloud. It gives users the power to perform self-service analysis on financial profit & loss, balance sheet, and cash flow statements in a systemized, centralized environment, integrated directly with your financial data source. 

By placing on-demand analytics capabilities in the hands of ordinary finance team users, the solution simplifies complex data into meaningful insight to support better decision-making. In this way, FP&A Lite provides a valuable starting point on your journey to full financial planning and analytics capabilities. 

Bridging the analytics gap: what needs to change? 

Why do you need FP&A Lite? 

To answer this, it’s worth thinking about the tools and processes that finance teams generally turn to when they want to interrogate financial data. For existing Unit4 Financials users, the standard technique tends to involve that workhorse of the finance department, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. 

You have a query and want to delve into your P&L – or perhaps you want to build up a more detailed picture of your cash flow or gain a better understanding of your balance sheet position. In all likelihood, your workflow will involve using the Unit4 Financials by Coda Excel add-on to pull the relevant data out, enabling you (in theory) to slice, dice, interrogate, and generate the answers you need. 

Very quickly, however, the limitations of Excel will become obvious. Excel works well as a personal productivity tool. However, once you have multiple team members all involved in interrogating the data, adding input to spreadsheets - perhaps generating their own documents - you have inevitable issues with versioning control and absence of any or adequate visibility controls within the solution. It also has no ability to connect to the data that underlies other U4F functions. All of this results in a lack of trust, wasted time, and delays to decision making.

If you’ve ever experienced this kind of process, it’ll be clear to you that finance professionals need a more effective method for generating the answers to queries related to financial data. One that’s accurate, easy-to-use, and also easy-to-deploy. 

Click to read FP&A product brochure gated

And how does FP&A lite do this?

FP&A Lite removes the need for time-consuming, error-prone manual data extraction. In its place, you get a single, centralized location for analysis and reporting, integrated directly with the original financial data source. It allows you to access individual transactions in a single click, boosting confidence and saving time, and allows self-service analytics through dynamic graphical representations of data using reports and dashboards. All of which puts you back in control of information and lets you make decisions quickly and effectively.

So how does it work? Let’s say you are looking at your out of the box FP&A Lite P&L, Balance Sheet, or Cash Flow, focusing on an individual cost center via your FP&A Lite dashboard. You can use up to eight elements to facilitate the slice and dice analysis within the dashboard. When reviewing your data at a lower level and you want to investigate an individual figure, simply click on the value to drill directly through to Unit4 Financials by Coda to investigate the underlying individual transactions. 

What’s more, through a range of visualizations, you can see instantly how, for instance, revenue and expenses are split, and what makes up the individual items - right down to leaf level. You can also drag and drop to update the visualization as needed – whether that’s to change the context of the data, pivot effortlessly, interact and understand, and change and compare the actuals for different date ranges.   

Likewise, on Cash Flow, get key visualisations on what’s driving the cash. Use the icicle chart to drill through your group structure. Define and track your KPIs. Drill down to different elements within the income statement, analyse the P&L contribution for different periods and spot any unusual patterns occurring across the numbers. 

All system users can create their own dashboards for greater insights into organisational financial data. These can be shared as a public dashboard for increased collaboration and to support decision-making across the business.

FP&A Lite is therefore designed as an essential but easily deployable enhancement to your existing Unit4 Financials by Coda stack: an easy-to-implement bridge between legacy Excel-based workflows and full integrated planning capabilities. Best of all, FP&A Lite can be integrated into your existing Unit4 Financials setup in as little as five days.

Discover more 

FP&A Lite provides your finance team with a much-needed boost to their analysis and reporting toolkit, making it much easier to discover, flag up and make sense of the information behind your P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow statements. 

FP&A Lite also provides a valuable stepping stone towards the adoption of full financial planning and analysis capabilities. The planning, budgeting, and forecasting component of FP&A can be instantly switched on through the adoption of the full Unit4 Financials FP&A solution, as the next natural step in your digital transformation journey. 

Want to find out more about Unit4 FP&A Lite? For further information or to book an online demonstration, please get in touch with Unit4

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