A new survey from the Association for Financial Professionals reveals that FP&A teams are experiencing heightened reporting and analytics requirements, with nearly one in three teams producing a reforecast report every day.
The survey—which polled more than 600 FP&A practitioners around the world—examines how finance teams are adjusting to the COVID-19 crisis and its effect on their day-to-day operations. In addition to daily reforecasting, 65% of survey respondents cited “increased internal reporting cycles” when asked about the other activities FP&A teams are involved in, while 70% said “running business continuity exercises to play out difficult scenarios.” These activities are leading to an elevated role for FP&A leaders, as 58% reported that they’re working more closely with senior executives at their organizations.
With market conditions evolving as quickly as they are today, FP&A leaders are being called upon to deliver reliable financial insights that will help key stakeholders make strategic, well-informed business decisions. But with more at stake and less room for error, this rising demand for accurate, data-driven reporting also exposes some pain points for FP&A teams: What can be done to make reporting more efficient? How can leadership be empowered with the most up-to-date data available? How can changing business conditions be accounted for and factored into forecasts?
The answers to these questions start with leveraging the right technology. Integrated planning tools, for example, allow FP&A teams to automate data consolidation from all their disparate source systems for a real-time view of company-wide financial performance. That way, forecasts and templates update automatically when financial inputs change—ultimately reducing manual effort, maximizing efficiency and ensuring data integrity throughout the strategic planning process.
Planning tools also enable agile scenario modeling, which is a critical process during periods of frequent change. With their latest actuals always available for reporting, FP&A teams can test their current plans against a variety of future business scenarios and help leaders better understand how the choices they make today will impact the bottom line tomorrow.
Their workloads might be a little heavier, but with the right tools at their disposal, finance leaders can look ahead with confidence as they help their businesses navigate the road ahead.