We looked last week at how to take the required steps to move from coping to collaboration. The end result is a readily accessible single version of the truth; a range of potential scenarios to hand; a shared view of the direction of travel the organisation is taking and an active dialogue in place. This all leads to wider understanding across the business and more productive engagement in the overall plan, with everyone pulling together on the same path to profitable decision making.
From this position, new possibilities start to open up.
You can transition away from a reactive position to a proactive approach as you have the capability to expose risk before it can have an impact on the business. Flipped to the other side, you can also start to identify more opportunities as your team’s capacity is released for more valuable analysis rather than just scrabbling to complete monthly tasks.
Planning becomes more purposeful. Because it is possible to project and track the performance of a coherent set of initiatives across multiple time horizons, criteria can be set to determine activity across short-, medium- and long-term timeframes.
Expand the role of FP&A
Once a collaborative, cross-business approach is in place, your FP&A team have a fundamental role to play. Whereas they were previously a siloed group, chained to spreadsheets and struggling to deliver the basics each month, they can now become fully integrated within the wider business.
Moving away from a reliance on spreadsheets also opens up the FP&A role into something more creative and consultative. Questions can start to be asked and modelling put in place for a range of scenarios, allowing your company to explore more avenues that may have previously seemed unavailable.
Your FP&A team remain the gatekeepers of the overall plan – someone has to have ownership over the numbers – but they can now step into a position of facilitating the engagement other business units have with it. With everyone becoming more fluent in what the numbers mean, FP&A are responsible for putting those numbers (and their context) into the hands of non-finance professionals who are then in a position to make better-informed decisions.
Creating and cultivating these cross-business relationships requires an expanded understanding of the organisation. Rather than just ‘knowing the numbers’ your team need to develop awareness of other people’s positions and levels of comprehension in order to fulfil their ‘storytelling’ role of sharing the information in a manner that’s both useful and engaging.
Reach your destination
Completing your journey to profitable decision making and reaching a point where your FP&A activity is proactive, insight-driven and integrated across your wider business is more accessible than you might realise. It doesn’t take an enterprise solution to equip your team with the tools required to reach this position – the foundations of a strong system for your FP&A activities can be achieved within the capability of Planning Analytics on Demand.