Some businesses refer to financial planning and analysis as ‘the budget process’ or ‘forecasting’.

Others use it as a decision-making platform. But the best performing businesses use FP&A to drive business outcomes

Those high performing organisations do more than just predict desirable results – they develop rigorous, well-conceived plans to manifest those results. 

Ask yourself these questions

Do we live in easy, predictable times?

No. Clearly not. But does your FP&A approach reflect this reality? Or is it still geared towards a steady, foreseeable pattern and therefore struggling just to keep up?

Is our FP&A process translating strategy into actionable plans?

Are your planning and analysis activities providing a road map to guide you to the performance level required to achieve your goals? Or are they just creating a benchmark against which to measure progress?

Does our FP&A activity provide the story behind the numbers?

Does it support the use of narratives to capture the reasons behind key variances in outcomes? Is it flexible enough to enable drill-down, drill-across and roll-up capability to explore the influences and impacts of the numbers? Does it give users access to the insights they need to drive profitable decision making for the business? Or are we producing a static set of data with no background information and context and expecting the rest of the business to get on board without a full understanding?

Does our FP&A process identify what drives success for the business and develop measures for those drivers?

Is our process challenging itself and interrogating the underlying reasons for performance? Are we then capturing and tracking these KPIs to inform our future planning? Or are we accepting results on face value and moving forward without additional analysis?

And finally

Were the tools we use for FP&A sufficient for the challenges that arose from the Covid-19 crisis? Will they provide adequate support during likely ongoing volatility?

When disruption hits, the best FP&A functions are able to pinpoint the reasons behind the disruption to their operations and identify the ongoing impact for the business. They have tools at their disposal to present and share insight to other functions, enabling stronger decision making across the organisation. 

Rather than using external conditions as an excuse for not hitting targets, they drive action to succeed despite volatility. In the best performing companies, FP&A teams are driving profitable decision making. Are you? 

Read more about the requirements for profitable decision making and how Planning Analytics can equip your business with the tools you need:

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.

If your team is ready to join the top FP&A functions, get in touch today to discover exactly how valuable Planning Analytics could be to you.

Simon Bradshaw

I have worked in finance and business systems development since 2001 and am an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. In 2016 I became a founding member of Spitfire Analytics, a consultancy specialising in IBM Planning Analytics. We are committed to building long-term relationships across all industries. I focus on my CPD through CIMA and IBM badges, ensuring I am always abreast of best practice and developments within the industry.


Working with Spitfire Analytics has resulted in the Finance Team becoming an integral part of the business. We are now able to provide analysis and strategic advice on the future direction of the business, rather than spending our time poring over endless spreadsheets.

- Lee Boyle, Finance Director (Engineering), NG Bailey

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