It’s a great time to be in finance. And yes, I really believe this to be true.
Before you click away, hear me out. Now, depending on your specific situation—or even your current to-do list—I fully understand that my bold declaration may not ring true for you. In fact, you may think I’m downright delusional.
Chances are, you don’t even own a road map anymore. If you do, it’s likely living out the years buried in the glove box of your car, never to be unfolded again.
Of course, GPS has largely put paper maps out of business—and for obvious reasons. Among other benefits, GPS provides real-time information—and can even offer forward-looking guidance for a new and better route when there is roadwork or a traffic delay ahead.
A similar dynamic is at play when it comes to FP&A forecasting. Most companies base their long-range forecasts on static planning processes, rather than more relevant, dynamic plans that reflect the complexities of the business. Relying on a forecast that doesn’t enable continuous monitoring of company performance, instead of upgrading to the GPS of FP&A—the rolling forecast—is like using an old-school road map to guide you on a cross-country trip.
Forget things that go bump in the night. For financial professionals, it’s reporting errors that are the stuff of nightmares. You carefully compile data and crunch formulas, only to find a typo has thrown your findings off. Or a department head has tweaked a formula in one of the team’s many spreadsheets, radically shifting the reports. Or—just as bad—you spend hours double- and triple-checking everything, and all that wasted time means you give short shrift to the actual analysis.
Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to rethink how you prevent reporting errors. These five steps will keep mistakes from weaseling their way into your presentation slides.
What’s your New Year’s resolution? Join a health club? Start eating better? Read more books?
Yes, we know: Asking people about their resolutions might be considered impolite. But when we recently conducted an informal survey of our customer community about what finance resolutions they’re setting for 2017, they were more than happy to share their goals.
The responses ranged across the board, but a few clear trends did emerge. So without further ado, here’s what we learned.
There’s more pressure than ever for finance teams to deliver accurate, updated forecasts. But increased volatility in the economy and business landscape can make that especially challenging. So what do you do when unforeseen factors disrupt your numbers? Don’t panic.
Here are three proven ways you can get back on track.
Set aside the product coming out of your finance and accounting department for a minute and think about the process: How much time do team members waste chasing down late information? Or double-checking spreadsheets to make sure they sum properly? Or frantically slogging through data to meet a deadline—without a second to spare for deeper analysis?
Some companies are transforming how their finance team works—by slashing waste and maximizing efficiencies. In other words, they’re applying lean principles, an approach that many associate more with the auto industry or manufacturing plants than FP&A. But it turns out that lean has been widely and successfully introduced in non-manufacturing environments for years.
Whether finance leaders are presenting to the board or to the C-suite, stakes are high. Yet too often the finance team pulls together presentations with outdated tools, which ensures results will be stale, sloppy, or downright wrong.
And whether it’s an annual presentation or a one-off ask, a giant audience or a small gathering, having the wrong info glowing on the slide is a surefire way to look like a novice, no matter how much time your team has poured into the data.
Ready to put those lousy presentations to bed? Here are three main reasons finance leaders flop when standing at the front of the room—and how you can make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
Adaptive Insights founder and chairman Rob Hull headed down to Orlando, Florida, recently to host a panel at the annual conference of the Association for Finance Professionals (AFP). His very timely topic was “The three technology shifts that are changing the role of FP&A.” The subject appears to be a top-of-mind issue among finance professionals: The session attracted a standing-room only crowd.
Love them or hate them, KPIs are the backbone of your business.
KPIs, or key performance indicators, can help you understand if your company is on the right track for success—and if it’s not, where to focus your attention. No matter what it measures, the aim of any KPI is to bring about improvement.
In addition, today’s finance leaders want to spend more time thinking about frameworks for measuring results in the form of KPIs and using these KPIs to guide course correction to drive business performance.
Disruption is one of today’s most popular buzzwords, and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2017. No matter how long companies have been in business, many claim that their technology, platform, or business will completely disrupt whatever industry it’s in.
But while those organizations may have a disruptive mindset, they don’t necessarily have a growth mindset. They focus on earnings and short-term numbers instead of long-term growth and value creation. And they use the same tried-and-true business processes that companies have used for decades—processes that will hamstring their growth while the competition leapfrogs ahead.