The Brady Bunch is an American sitcom that aired from September 26, 1969, to March 8, 1974. The popular show revolved around a large blended family with very different personalities, of varying age and interests. Even though they were so diverse, they were a functioning family.
Just after the holidays, a group of us were chatting in the office about the annual planning process most companies would be in the process of wrapping up, and how arduous it is to get through that process each year. Much of the difficulty is due to the fact to the fact the key players are typically a motley crew of different people of varied personalities and interests unique to their particular department or business unit sometimes spanning numerous geographies. For example, Sales Management will build detailed revenue plans by reps, product/services, channels, and customers. Marketing departments will build programs and campaign budgets that support their larger objectives. Operational teams will put together costing models that predict items like personnel and material costs. Yet very few companies do a good job of linking all of the different plans into a unified Cross Departmental Financial Plan.
The bigger challenge is the people. Those working outside of finance view this process as a financial process and are simply not motivated to contribute to the plan in a dedicated way.
Cross Departmental Financial Planning essentially weaves people, data and planning processes together throughout an organization. It is made possible by making it a top priority within the organization, implementation of the right processes (see Financial Planning Whitepaper) and by leveraging unifying technologies such as Corporate Performance Management software (like Prophix) that connects people, processes and removes the complexity of siloed data. This collaboration provides greater relevance for CFOs, Controllers and Management compared to rudimentary planning which is typically limited to budgeting and is usually conducted in a Finance Department restrained by partial, expired, and/or error-ridden data.
Some benefits of Cross Departmental Financial Planning are:
- Better departmental alignment
- A comprehensive understanding of performance and profit drivers
- To better balance sales and operations planning for profitability
- To better answer “what if?” scenario
- Reduced business risk
- Faster more accurate planning
Funny thought… Not only was Alice (the Brady Bunch Housekeeper) the center square in the Brady Bunch opening sequence, she was also the cog in the wheel that collaborated with all of the family members to keep the family aligned, ready for tomorrow and functioning as The Brady Bunch.
You could look at CPM and Cross Departmental Financial Planning as Alice to your own “Planning Bunch”.