FP&A Leaders: If You Aren’t Investing in Technology, How is Your Business Being Impacted?

Financial professionals think of business investments in a relatively straight forward fashion: When will I get a return on this investment? Is the investment worth it? Do I have the budget?

In today’s business landscape, it’s crucial to also ask this additional question:

HOW CAN I ENSURE WE GET THE MOST VALUE OUT OF OUR INVESTMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY?

Quite often, final decisions on technology investments are deferred to our IT partners who tend to ask questions like this. Do we have the right resources to support the requested application? Do we have the hardware bandwidth? How can we pay for this? These questions can lead to unintended consequences, and here’s why:

Ideally your IT department is your business partner, not the absolute decision maker on technology questions. They should assist you in making decisions, not make them for you based on bandwidth, infrastructure and resource concerns. Does this work with our server? Does this technology work with our networks? Keep in mind the pace of change in technology suggests that in a few years, none of that will matter. Reports say that by next year, 83% of all enterprise workloads will be based in the Cloud.

YOUR FP&A EXPERTISE DRIVES UNDERSTANDING

A strong FP&A group l acts as a trusted advisor and true partner with the business. They understand your business processes and can speak to them using a “finance lens.” They add insight and understanding by asking these essential questions:

  • What are the risks in the proposed process and solution? What are the rewards?
  • What controls do we need to put in place to make the process successful?
  • What data do we need to analyze the process?
  • How can I create a process flow that will allow me to get real-time data and empower my team and business partners to make efficient and sound decisions?

Your team’s business acumen and financial baseline can be leveraged with finance applications and other technology to enable them to help your organization thrive in our new environment.

Here are questions to answer to help you understand if your are getting the most out of your FP&A team and technology investment:

  1. Is the data useful and readily accessible? Use applications that allow you to easily visualize the data; ensure the data provides insights that will allow your team to be strategic in their analytics and decision making. Ensure your team has the ability to explore hypothetical scenarios (acquisitions, commercial forecast changes, re-organizations etc.) to plan accordingly.
  2. Are findings communicated effectively? The soft skills of clearly communicating complex information are more valuable now than ever before. Investors want reports to look like “this,” your CEO/CFO needs to see it like “that,” and the internal management team needs it like “this.” Data visualization tools can build the bridge from the very technical to the “key takeaways” in an instant.
  3. Is your FP&A team spending more time generating ways to increase your bottom line? By utilizing the right tools and solutions, you can generate reports faster and more accurately. This would open a world of opportunities for your team and shift their focus from data gathering and manipulation to strategic analytics and proactive forward-looking decision making.

Businesses that don’t adopt and evolve get left behind. Take the time to understand where your FP&A team and technology stand. If they aren’t where you need them to be find the right resources to get you there. FP&A is too essential to the success of modern business to leave things to chance. It really is now or never.


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