The Finance and Planning and Analysis (FP&A) team is responsible for understanding the costs of keeping a business running from day one. They are vital to the lifeline of any organization as the Office of Finance constantly keeps track of financial performance and helps maintain a positive and healthy cash flow. However, as any business expands or downsizes, it is important to rethink and re-evaluate how the organization is operating, starting from the Office of Finance.
Every company desire to have a successful FP&A team that can predict their success and future-proof the business, but where do we begin? While carrying out the CEO’s vision and head strategy, the CFO and their FP&A team may have a different culture and unique values to drive and execute the vision. Here are 4 strategies to consider when building a finance team to spearhead growth in your company.
The Power of Collaboration
Today, finance professionals are no longer confined to their traditional roles of only bookkeeping, accounting, and tax. They play a vital role in the planning and execution of business strategies and the collaboration with other business departments.
Finance teams must develop a rapport with other business functions and so communication is key to making accurate business decisions. With this, the Office of Finance must work together with managers and executives from other departments to increase accountability for annual budgets and forecasts. To produce precise financial data, business intelligence and data analytical tools can help finance teams maintain good data quality and centralize it so that each department can access consistent financial reports in real-time.
Moreover, collaboration can encourage new ways of thinking. Solving problems together can introduce new innovative ideas. As each business department has different perspectives, their thoughts and opinion can provide other viewpoints on a finance issue. Encourage your finance professionals to continuously collaborate and discover solutions that solve organizational challenges and find new areas of opportunities.
Never Miss an Innovative Opportunity
An agile team will be able to respond quickly without missing a beat. This can mean the difference between capturing an opportunity and missing it. Keeping pace with the constant changes in the market environment is a challenge that confronts every business. Successful organizations remain relevant by being adaptive and innovative in their response to new challenges.
Finance teams are no exception. If anything, the Office of Finance’s ability to be flexible and think creatively is more critical than ever before since a large part of its role is to plan and develop business strategies. Additionally, the finance team touches on every aspect of your business, so they need to be aware and reactive to what other departments are doing.
- Be willing to try new innovative approaches and technology to improve efficiencies, problem-solving, and decision-making
- Ability to detect trends, risks, and shifts in the current business environment
- Research and develop new products or services to help drive business growth
To truly excel, companies need to be up to date with finance planning solution features such as Forecasting and Scenario Planning to pivot business plans at any given time. With these functions, the Office of Finance can now quickly and decisively predict future financial outcomes and scenarios for projects and the company at any time. If your finance team is still using an outdated system in the ever-changing business environment, you risk losing out on business opportunities.
Rely on Automation and Insights, Not Only Intuition
To be innovative and creative, FP&A teams need data-driven insights. With the influx of data and information in the Office of Finance, the challenge is often allocating adequate time for your team to focus on high-level tasks. According to a survey by APQC, finance professionals allocate 75% of their time to manual data collection and processing. Rather than performing data analysis, Finance teams are left with verifying and merging data from different systems because they do not have the right finance processes to manage, schedule, and automate tedious and repetitive tasks.
Let us look at how automated software solutions and tools can support your finance team by improving data quality, performing better analysis, and recommending more strategies. Consider how automation can leverage these tasks across your finance team:
Ensure consistency and confidence in your data with automatic data entry and source system integration features. Don’t wait for a manual merge to analyze and review your data. Let the automated system control and monitor against predefined business parameters exceptions such as budget variances or other performance factors that are key to your business model.
Automation can be daunting at first as organizations may feel like giving up control of finance processes as individuals may not trust it yet. Most individuals find comfort in performing the tasks they are familiar with and used to doing. But that should not prevent a business from updating its processes and workflows.
Regulate key business functions while still in control of your processes. Using software solutions can keep track of where there may be anomalies and data that goes out of bounds. Finance teams now have data-informed insights into the progress of each department, allowing C-suite executives to achieve accurate strategies. Take time to evaluate your team’s skillset and familiarize yourself with software solutions through demo sessions and trial periods to see whether it is the right fit for your team.
Embrace Personal Development and Learning
Develop your team in skills and performance. The added benefit is that you are directly investing back into your company as you develop new top talent internally. Here are some opportunities to consider when investing in your FP&A team:
Mentorship & Leadership
Develop innovators and leaders within the organization. Mentorship opportunities allow your current leadership to get acquainted with new hires and spot talent out of the pool. Combined with their expertise and years of experience, your leadership can mentor and provide helpful insight into opportunities for internal staff to grow into their role and even career advice. From a coffee chat to networking events, individuals can connect with others from different teams. Offering mentorship doesn’t need to take up time, but it can be extremely valuable in the long run.
Training & Enablement
Allow your FP&A team to develop new skills and upgrade their knowledge to match and even compete with the current job market. Acquiring new skills enables your team to explore new approaches to business challenges. Support employees with personal development courses and training to retain your top talent and thrive in their role. By understanding the potential of your talent, organizations can explore the idea of designing specific courses for internal employees.
Conclusion: Put in the Effort to Develop Your FP&A Team
A successful FP&A team is not something that you can build overnight. It requires work and effort to grow a team, including the right tools and resources to collaborate, innovate and develop themselves as well-respected finance professionals. Besides financial acumen, Finance professionals must possess great interpersonal soft skills to liaison between the finance department and the business stakeholders. As the business’ trusted advisors, they must be able to provide risk assessments for better decision-making. With a strong FP&A team, your entire company will be one step closer to succeeding in faster growth and new attracting investors.
ProLytics Consulting Group is a business and technology consulting firm that specializes in areas of Enterprise Performance Management and Financial Business Intelligence and Analytics. With decades of successful implementation experience, ProLytics understand and value that each company is unique. We are committed to working closely with each customer to to deliver value added technology solutions that solves their one-of-a-kind challenges.