A New Way for FP&A: Accelerating Change With the Cloud

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Guest blog by John Dunican, Partner, CFO Advisory Services, Armanino LLP

Only 40% of finance executives rated their financial planning and analysis (FP&A) capabilities as effective, according to a recent APQC survey. Many finance teams still utilize Excel spreadsheets as their traditional tool of choice, even though spreadsheets lack collaboration, controls, and the ability to deliver timely insights. And with increased pressure on the finance team to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of FP&A systems, tools like Excel buckle under the weight of those growing demands. It’s no surprise finance executives find their FP&A systems ineffective when their tools can’t keep up with today’s business needs.

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Real-time performance data is essential to keep business leaders informed and to make timely decisions. An agile FP&A function enables businesses to standardize many historically manual processes, improve collaboration in the financial planning practice, establish easy-to-understand dashboards, and streamline reporting across the entire organization. Transforming your FP&A function into a well-oiled machine can make significant differences when it comes to strategically planning for future growth, while also giving leaders across all departments improved visibility and understanding of business performance. Cloud technology can accelerate that change.

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Transitioning to new solutions can sound painful and time-consuming. It’s never easy to change a longstanding process or update a system or tool you know well. But as many of today’s best-performing finance teams have found, the benefits of finance in the cloud dramatically outweigh the costs. Proper planning and best practices can tremendously reduce the complexity of transitioning. Moreover, once a scalable, best-in-class planning system is in place, FP&A will become an invaluable strategic element of the company growth process.

One of the biggest benefits of transitioning to a cloud-based corporate performance management (CPM) solution is a single source of truth across the company. It is not feasible to regularly spend time manually exporting and consolidating data when the focus should be on growing the business and ensuring the company’s success. With a single source of the truth and visibility into a company’s real-time information, reports, and dashboards, finance teams can produce current data with increased speed and accuracy. When dashboards and reports can be easily customized and securely shared, finance can meet each stakeholder’s needs without disrupting daily workflows.

“With a re-engineered, automated FP&A reporting process, what used to take weeks using Excel spreadsheets can be achieved in a matter of minutes,” Carl Schleutermann, of Armanino’s CFO Advisory Services team, comments in A Roadmap for FP&A Transformation: Adding True Value to the Business. “If the board wants to understand the impact of a potential change, staff can show that immediately.”

Whether your goal is streamlined and automated budgeting, collaborative planning, integration of data from disparate systems, one-button quarterly forecasts, or efficient what-if analysis and revenue planning, a cloud CPM system is the solution to drive success. Utilizing a best-in-class FP&A system significantly cuts the time it takes to pull reports, and drill-down reporting options make it much easier to slice up the data in various ways to ensure your team always gets the most accurate and updated data for whatever they need.

Learn more about how to deliver error-free reports and watch this webinar on “Tips to Reduce the Burden of Reports and Accelerate Time to Decision.” You’ll learn actionable insights on how to transform your FP&A function into a best-in-class system.

John Dunican, partner and head of CFO Advisory Services at Armanino, has more than 30 years of financial, operations, and consulting experience with public and private companies. He has extensive management, financial, and operational experience in the technology, manufacturing, and distribution industries. His professional background includes expertise in all financial functions, process re-engineering, information systems, SEC and investor reporting, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, and cost-reduction.

Armanino, an Adaptive Solutions Provider and Adaptive Insights Partner of the Year 2014, provides expert FP&A consulting, process re-engineering, and Adaptive Insights implementation, integration, configuration and training services.

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