As many of us get caught up in the intrigue and suspense created by the characters and storylines of “Game of Thrones,” it leads me to think about how annual budgets, forecasts, and plans are also full of intrigue, anticipation, and unexpected findings and results.
Just as in Westeros, where different houses strive to control the continent, financial planning at an enterprise level often comes with an interesting storyline. It may not reach the level of deception and intrigue seen on HBO Sunday nights, but there is a lot to be analyzed.
Primarily we have the office of the CFO, and specifically, the financial planning and analysis team. Their job is to manage everyone through the plans, collect the information at hand, provide analysis and guidance, and make the results of their plans and forecasts relevant enough to set the direction of the company.
However, this process is often disrupted, as most enterprises face departments, geographies, business units, and other groups that are completely disjointed when it comes to providing the results of the plan. What’s key is that finance owns the plan. But as we know, a kingdom is only as strong as those who follow and “bend the knee” to finance.
One challenge enterprises face is integrating their financial plans. In previous blogs of this series, my colleague Brian Kalish has written about dynamic planning and the benefits it brings, such as agile modeling and a single united financial platform.
The next step is to provide integrated financial planning across the enterprise. Integrated financial planning entails bringing together all elements of the organization as relevant contributors and stakeholders in the plan. Too often, departments work in silos: the marketing team has their budgets and tracks their possible spend; IT tracks equipment purchases and perhaps associated depreciation; sales and operations go through typical S&OP challenges. Finance needs to bring all these silos of data into one version of the plan that everyone can adhere to and see the big picture.
Other challenges include disparate sets of data, the need to integrate plans by massaging them offline in spreadsheets, dueling timing schedules among groups, and conflicting vested interests. Today’s technology can help you overcome these and other challenges.
In the next few blogs, I’ll talk about how dynamic planning leverages in-memory databases, visualization, and singular financial platforms, and most importantly, how it enhances the role of finance and the CFO.
To initially address these problems, dynamic planning gives the CFO the tools to bring credibility to the finance organization. The CFO can stand tall, and through these modern tools, bring everyone together by combining all the different budgets and forecasts into a singular set of results. No longer are financial analysts required to sit around and massage data to make it look a certain way. No longer does finance need to send spreadsheets and wait in hopes of correctly populated templates. No longer will finance fear losing credibility through presentations in which the numbers they present differ from some other presentation. No longer will finance report on yesterday’s results and effectively state the obvious.
Today, with the latest in finance technologies powered by dynamic planning, finance can rise and help drive the enterprise to forward. It’s time for finance to roar like the dragons they can be and make a fiscal difference! To learn more about how this is possible, stay tuned for my next set of articles, and read this white paper on Dynamic Planning.
Brian is Founder and Principal at Kalish Consulting. He is Former Executive Director – Global FP&A Practice at AFP. He has over 20 years of experience in Finance, FP&A, Treasury and Investor Relations. He previously held a number of treasury and finance positions with the FHLB, Washington Mutual/JP Morgan, NRUCFC, Fifth Third and Fannie Mae. He has spoken all over the world to audiences both large and small hosting FP&A Roundtable meetings in North America, Europe, Asia and soon South America. Brian attended Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, GA for his undergraduate studies in Business and the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech for his graduate work. In 2014, Brian was awarded the Global Certified Corporate FP&A Professional designation.