The past year showed enterprises just how robust their business plans really were, and how well their planning technology investments performed amidst a series of new and previously unknown challenges to their business. Many enterprises stepped-up to the challenge, and performed well, others less so. What is clear, is both leaders and laggards have woken-up to the importance of investing in transformative digital planning solutions which can deliver the vital agility needed by business in times of crisis. The ability to plan, adapt, change, and keep on changing vital business plans as new scenarios unfold, has enabled enterprises to both survive and thrive.
Amidst seismic change, never seen on such a scale in a generation, the office of finance has stepped-in to be more strategic than ever before and embraced the transformative power of integrated Financial Planning & Analytics (FP&A), to integrate strategic planning, business planning and forecasting with enterprise operations planning and forecasting. This trend is given authority in the latest report from FP&A Trends recognising a new wave of FP&A leaders influencing organisational culture, bringing in a combination of analytics and soft skills to influence decision-making.
These winning ingredients empower the office of finance, with the vital insights, analysis and strategic advice to enable their C-Suite leaders, increasingly delivered via Digital Boardrooms, to boost profits and growth, plan successfully for multiple financial scenarios, and of course, avoid risk.
The office of finance is going to be called upon by C-suite, to validate business plans, budgets, and forecasts, and help enterprise leaders consistently understand what’s really going on. Forecasting, forecasting again, and then double-checking and verifying that forecast will become the mantra, as budgets, planning and busines models, continue to remain fluid. Integrated FP&A holds the key to unlocking these insights, as business leaders aim to be agile enough to pivot important plans and take the big decisions, to stay resilient AND relevant for whatever comes next.
This is all underpinned by the accelerated relentless digital transformation of the enterprise and the office of finance. Investment in integrated FP&A, delivered over cloud-based digital platforms can drive growth and business value within a short time period, rapidly enable new operating efficiencies, and deliver a genuine and fast return on investment.
Today, finance leaders are focused on rebuilding revenue, customer strategies and scenario planning as they look to build back stronger. Digital transformation with integrated FP&A will empower the office of finance to change the game and help enterprise leaders not just plan for success but spark their business imagination about what can be achieved in the years ahead.
The office of finance today is in pole position to lead acceleration of the digital enterprise. In early June, we hosted our annual Board Day, including expert speakers from the likes of Astra Zeneca, PwC UK, PANGAIA and many more leaders from their respective sectors, all coming together to share learnings from the past year on how to analyze, plan, adapt and succeed, and spark better decision-making to avoid disruption.
Over the past year at Board, that’s precisely what we’ve been helping customers achieve, as they’ve faced some of the biggest business challenges of a generation. Today’s challenge for enterprise leaders has now moved on to how do they manage and plan for disruption all the time?
Experience tells us that it’s the progressive enterprises who have embraced this mindset, who are the ones who have set themselves up for decision-making success, based on latest data and insights, and then put agile and transformational plans in place so they can continue to move forward.
The digital enterprise is accelerating at pace. Aligning digital services with business outcomes as economic and market conditions continue to shift will remain a constant priority. Enterprises’ ability to design and deliver scenario-based and agile plans and budgets will hold the keys to success in this business environment.
It is in this business landscape, where office of finance professionals are quietly taking on a more strategic and crucial role than ever before. If last year was all about reducing the cost of operations, whilst this continues to remain a priority for finance leaders this year, so does the ability to fund growth, through new technology and business models. The digital enterprise is accelerating, but so is the digital finance function. Finance leaders have also moved on from last year and are focused on what matters both now and in the future. They recognise the importance of investing in valuable finance technology, including data and analytics insights, delivered via Cloud-based decision-making platforms, and then hiring and developing digital skills to reshape and future-proof roles across the office of finance function.
No longer satisfied to report on the past, the office of finance is setting itself up as the centre of the most important fuel for the digital age – the data, analytics, insights, and intelligence which can drive their business forward and take a leading role in boldly co-creating the future of the digital enterprise in a data-driven world.
About the author
Gavin Fallon is the General Manager for Northern Europe, Middle East, India and Africa at Board International. Gavin is responsible for driving the businesses strategy in these regions, working with the teams across the organisation to ensure success. With more than 20 years’ experience, Gavin has spent the last 19 years at Board International working in roles including Head of Services & Consulting and Product Director. Prior to joining Board International he worked as a consultant for SDG Business Consultants. With his passion and experience, Gavin is widely considered an expert in the application of Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) across sales and operations.