What if you had a team member who always asked for more work (the more repetitive, the better) and then provided data and reports on time, with a high degree of accuracy? What if this team member also made it easier to create accurate forecasts and budgets? Best of all, this high-performer isn’t after your job. Pretty unlikely? Not if this team member’s name is “Technology.”
With the right tools, FP&A can transform from back-office function to a strategic function that bridges operational and strategic planning processes. Unfortunately, finance technology is a major issue for most organizations. Case in point: according to a recent survey of FP&A leaders from across the globe, 40% of companies have only basic or very basic reporting and analytic tools.
Even though FP&A technology offers vast advantages, companies are not poised for change. Fifty percent (50%) of companies are mindful of technology but seldom upgrade, and another 28% are not looking or unlikely to upgrade. And, while FP&A technology is now more cost-effective than ever, 38% of the survey respondents found it difficult to justify investing in FP&A compared to marketing and sales activities, which offer more immediate, measurable results.
Why FP&A Technology Matters: Finance Thought Leaders Weigh In
There are endless ways that technology can help FP&A. In addition to automating low-value tasks, the right tool can provide higher quality data to aid in strategic company decisions. So, what’s the holdup? FP&A visionaries share insights on what they look for finance technology and how they justify its expense.
A Team Member That Looks Good Wearing Many Hats[bctt tweet=”It has never been so easy to automate, delegate and eliminate entire swaths of finance work.” username=”prophix”]
David Worrell, Founding Partner of Fuse Financial Partners, LLC, understands the challenges of small business with limited resources. “When business owners have to cover the roles of CEO, CFO and Controller, they rarely find a good balance between driving accurate reporting and implementing change based on that reporting,” he says. “In that environment, it’s critical to slash unnecessary processes, be willing to sacrifice a certain level of detail, and automate as much accounting and reporting as possible.”
Worrell sees technology advances in the FP&A space as good news. “Fortunately, today’s accounting packages are making it easy to automate all aspects of data collection and reporting,” he says. “Robust third-party apps that live in the cloud can transform tasks like time collection, payroll, job costing, inventory controls, HR and, of course, the B.I. reporting to pull it all together … It has never been so easy to automate, delegate and eliminate entire swaths of finance work.”
A Team Member That Knows “All the Good Stuff”[bctt tweet=”Financial services C-suite should invest in technology … just like an investment portfolio, it will grow in value over time.” username=”prophix”]
April Rudin, President/Founder of the Rudin Group, believes that investment in FP&A technology pays off. “Finance professionals need to understand that investing in technology can be a revenue generator, not an expense item,” she said. “Investing in technology that will bring them better data quality and availability will give them insights into the clients wants, and needs and help build a business with future clients.”
As an example, Rudin says, “Investing in platforms and analytics that can help finance professionals better understand the behaviors, and preferences of their clients will help to assure their future growth. They can customize their offerings by segment and target client demographics with greater precision.”
In summary, Rudin says, “Financial services C-suite should invest in technology as an investment … just like an investment portfolio, it will grow in value over time.”
Technology + FP&A Make A Great Team
Adding technology to the team can take FP&A to a more strategic level. The right technology can reduce the time employees spend on low-value tasks, increase the quality of the data, and empower FP&A professionals to provide strategic value to the decision making process.
Read the Defining the Evolution of FP&A: Benchmarks, Challenge & Opportunities survey to learn about more perceptions which are inhibiting company investments in FP&A as well as how stunted technological adoption is limited the strategic value of FP&A.