Every business has a corporate financial planning process. However, the scope and efficacy of those financial plans can vary greatly from business to business based on a wide range of factors. The perfection of your corporate financial planning is about having strong principles and adopting new tools that give you the power to optimize your plan for greater effectiveness and efficiency.
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the larger financial planning themes you should consider for your business from top to bottom.
- Corporate financial planning can benefit from connectedness among your short-, mid- and long-term plans.
- Consider available FP&A solutions that can enhance your data integration, forecasting and budgeting with greater detail and accuracy.
- Give your financial reporting and planning proper context by knowing the business story that drives the numbers.
- Create opportunities for collaboration on financial planning between decision makers and the teams that administer it through operations.
- Continually monitor for ways to evolve your plan as your company grows and business dynamics change.
Connect Your Short-, Mid- and Long-Term Corporate Financial Planning
Your current financial planning for your business likely incorporates three different levels of budgeting and forecasting: short-term, mid-term and long-term. For corporate FP&A teams, connecting and understanding the relationships between these three levels of planning is key for fine-tuning your process. While these planning phases may focus on different metrics and periods, it's important to understand how they relate and inform each other.
Short-term decisions should always consider how it advances or deters your business's long-term visions. Conversely, you should allow space for your short- and mid-term data to help inform the long-term planning for your organization. Companies can struggle to connect the three phases of their financial planning because of the siloed nature of traditional planning processes and latency in their data reporting.
The more you can connect the dots between your short- and long-term goals, the more resilient and effective your business's financial plan will be. This also leads to another method for perfecting your corporate financial planning process: integration of FP&A solutions.
Integrate FP&A Solutions for Better Financial Forecasting
Perhaps the biggest challenge corporations face when improving their financial planning is adopting the FP&A solutions that provide more beneficial datasets, which leads to more informed planning. FP&A software solutions can enhance your planning process in several essential ways, regardless of the size of your company:
- Reduce the delays in generating basic financial and operational date reports thanks to APIs and other tech features that allow systems to speak to each other.
- Tap into operational datasets that give your financial data and forecasting better context.
- Improve short-term financial planning by seeing current figures that allow you to make better daily, weekly and quarterly decisions about using resources.
- Give your FP&A team more time to focus on strategic planning rather than data entry and administrative tasks.
- Improve transparency between financial reporting and future planning decisions.
Know the Business Story That Drives Your Budget and Finance Decisions
Acquiring FP&A software to enhance the utility of your financial planning process will widen your options for understanding the story behind the numbers. You will have access to information that does a better job of blending the financial reporting with critical context from business operation data.
The context from your business story is effectively the "why" behind all the different figures, ratios, KPIs and other metrics you use to evaluate the current state of your company. The "why" can often be found through correlating different datasets and being able to find trends or patterns. You can better adjust expectations to reflect reality more closely through this process. In other words, you'll know when a deviation in your budget or other forecasting represents a single-event anomaly versus when it is part of a larger systemic issue within your business operation.
Don't Be Afraid To Adjust Your Plan When the KPIs Say So
Having great swaths of financial and institutional information won't help you during various planning levels unless you are willing to act upon it. Some CFOs and FP&A teams fall quiet when it comes to the strategy side of financial planning because their focus has traditionally been on data compilation.
Improve Communication of Financial Planning to Key Employees and Teams
The financial planning process for businesses can sometimes struggle with having an open dialogue between the decision makers (e.g., the C-suite and board) and the key employees, managers and others who will implement their plan. Similar to how your different planning periods need to inform each other, so do your decisions and the people who administer them. You need to create opportunities for your various departments to provide input on the financial plan to better understand how choices will impact your teams' operations on the ground.
Source: Revive Land Group
Think About How Your Corporate Financial Planning Process Will Evolve Over Time
The corporate financial planning process is not a static experience. Your job only begins once you establish an initial framework of reports, forecasts and budgets for various time intervals. Beyond this base planning process, you must consider how your plan will evolve over time. Regardless of your company's size and stage of growth, you and your finance leaders need to keep an eye on the future for new angles, metrics and ideas to further perfect your plan.
Remember, the purpose of gathering financial and operational data (and creating a corresponding plan) is to evaluate how your business is doing and to set goals for its improvement. Some signals that it may be time for new additions or evolutions to your corporate financial plan include:
- You have new sources of revenue.
- Expansion or contraction of capital allocation or other operations (e.g., hiring, new locations, etc.).
- Awareness of new influences on your business operations (e.g., competitors, broader market conditions, etc.).
Meet With a Vena Representative About Our FP&A Solutions
Vena is committed to helping businesses Plan To Grow™. Our intelligent solutions help companies across many industries optimize their financial planning processes. The design of our software compliments FP&A teams in their use of Excel with data integrations, automation of workflow tasks and the ability to scale as your company grows.