How to Execute Good FP&A Practices in a High-Tech World
Heading into 2020, Financial Executives International (FEI) created a list of the best practices in modern FP&A. The list included:
1. Push planning beyond finance
2. Keep data current and accurate
3. Keep KPIs relevant
4. Simplifying reporting with dashboards
5. Whatever you do, make planning easy
6. Don’t be afraid to embrace the future
The sixth best practice mentioned on the list is particularly important. Since the 1980s, spreadsheets have been the bread and butter of FP&A professionals. However, in contemporary finance, there is an abundance of technological resources never seen before. In order to maximize productivity, and data quality and efficiency, finance professionals need to learn how to use the new resources at their disposal. They must be committed to adhering to the best FP&A practices in the context of a uniquely high-tech corporate landscape.
Proper Technology Use & Integration
Integrating technological tools into FP&A does not simply mean replacing people with robots when it comes to deploying technology. To ensure that a finance organization makes the best use of technology, it is important to choose the right tool for the job as well as understand the limitations of the chosen technology. Some methods to achieve this are:
Establishing clear objectives of what the potential tools need to achieve
Documenting and reviewing the existing process flow
Discussing with the employees the challenges of existing processes and tools
Researching and discussing the pros and cons of potential tools, with peers as well as potential vendors
Viewing a demo of potential tool
Understand what the tool isn’t capable of
From the human factor perspective, it is important that employees are:
Educated about the benefits and limitations of the technology
Engaged in the development of the technology
The workforce is the biggest asset and cost of an organization. Alongside customers, the workforce is also the largest asset that an organization can use to build its image. Therefore, when implementing new technology and new ways of working, one should consider the human factor and deploy this asset to promote business growth. Through upskilling the workforce, the organization can generate a sense of growing together, and drive motivation as well as job satisfaction.
High Tech Solutions
FP&A Software is an invaluable high tech resource for financial professionals. A great way to integrate this tool is by choosing a software which allows you to continue using Excel spreadsheets. Excel is a universally well understood resource for finance professionals; it’s not going anywhere, as it has proved to be useful since the 1980s. It is for precisely this reason that organizations can benefit from FP&A software the most if they choose a software designed to complement spreadsheet usage.