July 12, 2016
Empowering Your Financial Planning & Analysis Organization
Posted by Armanino Financial Advisory Team
As the business environment becomes increasingly complex, organizations need their financial planning & analysis (FP&A) resources to focus on analysis and strategic development, rather than the distribution of canned financial reports and budget templates. At the same time, managers in every level of the organization must have access to key financial and performance indicators to make informed decisions.
Most traditional FP&A tools fail to fulfill those requirements. Excel requires manual distribution from a single source, document control, and is prone to “breaking”. Database systems are generally too complex for end-users to access directly. Older systems may not be fully integrated, creating additional manual work for the finance staff to assimilate information from other systems.
With emerging cloud-based solutions, however, budget managers are empowered to access their financial reports and budgets directly through intuitive, online interfaces. Easy-to-use reporting tools like drag and drop report builders, dashboard tools, and 24/7 availability, meet end-users informational needs, without assistance from finance. This simple change can transform these same end-users into organizational ambassadors for the finance department.
Sarah Luttman, Manager of FP&A at nonprofit Room to Read, says that “Room to Read’s operations managers have the best line of sight into what’s happening in the field, and how we can plan for our future program growth. Partnership between the operations managers and the finance managers is the key to developing an effective budget, and shared tools and resources make that happen.”
Initially, there can be some reluctance from the finance team to relinquish “control” of elements of the budget process. Analysts feel that end-users will find the systems too complex or will not understand the intricacies of budgeting. But, according to Nancy Enloe, Director of Marketing at WebAssign, “Using the Adaptive Insights system is intuitive and it’s a real time saver for me to have easy access to more detailed information to help me manage my department’s budget.” The process of budgeting should be a natural progression from the organizational duties managers already assume. Providing them with accessible information and an intuitive tool is the piece of the puzzle most organizations tend to be missing.
By empowering end-users, financial planning & analysis resources are free to add value to the organization through analysis and strategy development. This allows the planning process to evolve into a more strategic exercise, focusing on drivers, opportunities, and outcomes rather than formula errors and document control. Ultimately, this dissemination of information enables an organization to quickly shift its view towards the horizon instead the review mirror.
Find out more about financial planning & analysis tools like Adaptive Insights to benefit your finance organization.
Armanino’s Financial Advisory blog is your source for thought leadership around cloud ERP and accounting solutions and integrations. Supported by the Cloud Accounting Institute and numerous experts in cloud, finance, reporting, integration, compliance, and technology, Armanino’s Financial Advisory blog features must-read content on what’s happening in the finance industry, case studies, white papers, and much more.