For years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my high-intensity interval training (HIIT). The hour-long boot camps promise a sense of accomplishment with a tangible, measureable outcome in the end. And yet my logical mind is on a roller coaster when I’m in these high-intensity workouts: Have I picked the best set of tools and techniques to achieve my workout goal, am I doing it right, and the biggest question – will it work?
Going through an annual planning cycle is no different. There’s a mix of high cardio interspersed with cool-down times. While it might be long and arduous, understanding the key elements will help you execute a successful cycle that will yield the desired outcome.
Here are four ways to flex your finance muscle and create successful, sustainable planning cycle.
1. Take a holistic approach.
Knowing the latest and greatest techniques to achieve your goal is a good starting point. Knowing what do best-in-class companies do and how do they do it? Remember that the financial planning process should be a holistic one. It should include improved forecasting, streamlined reporting, and informed decision-making, just like effective training should include a balanced diet, disciplined schedule, and systematic workout.
2. Cut the fat and focus.
Identify which metrics will have the biggest impact on your business and lead to more accurate results. Just like HIIT workouts, some areas might be more difficult than others when it comes to finding measurable KPIs to focus on. They require longer and more focused training to get into shape. Identify these target areas, and then set small, incremental goals to meet as you progress over time.
3. Measure the impact.
Lastly, no exercise is complete without a tangible outcome that can be measured and monitored. If you correctly identify the business impacts, you will be able to continually measure them and establish a benchmark on which to continually improve upon.
4. Tailor your training.
Following the wrong process can be a futile exercise. After countless months and hours, you’ll find yourself frustrated because all your hard work did not yield the result you were looking for. The same goes for annual planning. Before you begin, warm up by ensuring you have the right plan and people in place. Then, adjust your training as you progress to ensure you optimize your results.
Join us on Wednesday, July 15, to strengthen your FP&A muscles and learn how you can maximize the impact of your financial planning and analysis process. Hear from finance leaders at NetSuite, Active Interest Media, and Carlson Management Consulting, and learn how you can get your plan in shape for the summer!