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A Finance Team’s Roadmap to Intelligent Planning in 2019

February 26, 2019
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In any organization, finance teams are in a unique position. They hold the keys to a vast amount of data, and they have an overarching view of the organization as a whole. They use these two pieces to analyze the financial health of the organization and plan for the financial needs of the company.However, the Office of Finance has the potential to contribute so much more. By leveraging intelligent planning – combining business budgeting, financial forecasting, and financial reporting & data analysis to drive strategic decisions – the Office of Finance has the ability to elevate its role. With modern tools and tactics, finance teams can play a crucial role in business growth and powerful decision-making.This roadmap offers the key steps the CFO and his team need in order to effectively adopt intelligent planning in 2019.

Increase Automation and Frequency

Ask any finance team what they need more of in the day, and they are likely to tell you “Time.” Many tasks, like gathering, analyzing, interpreting and reporting on critical financial data that can change daily, are highly manual and sometimes tedious, leaving the Office of Finance with little time to deep-dive into financial analysis. And because the data takes time to compile and review, it is rarely up-to-date.Finance, however, is beginning to reap the benefits of organizational digital transformation. The automated integration of broad data sets along with the tools that can quickly analyze the most recent financial data means that finance teams are free to engage in more strategic and value-added work.


Modern businesses face pressures from all sides. To stay competitive, companies must find ways to cut costs, drive efficiency, and adapt to the changing needs and demands of their customers. Disruptors may enter the same space. CFOs need information available, now, to guide the organization to swiftly capitalize on new opportunities.Combined data from across the organization, visibility into the organization’s financial health , and deep analysis within a single view make it easier for the CFO to answer tough questions from the rest of the C-suite, and to do so at a moment’s notice. With the right tools that enable intelligent planning, finance teams can quickly run scenarios to uncover paths to growth.

Embrace Digital Transformation

The CFO is now at the heart of digital transformation, with eight in ten CFOs now spearheading transformation efforts. That should come as no surprise – transformation initiatives are meant to adopt new technologies and modernize business processes and few departments i can benefit as much as the Office of Finance from modernized business tools.As finance teams move away from cumbersome spreadsheets and embrace the technical capabilities of today’s tools, their visibility into the company’s financial position and the impact of risky decisions becomes more clear. The right tools allow teams to test and analyze multiple potential outcomes and understand the risks and benefits of decisions, based on a broad base of cross-functional data.

Encourage Collaboration

There was a time when, in some companies, the budget cycle was a battle between departments for a limited set of resources. Departmental budgets became land grabs, and siloed teams were pitted against one another, with the finance function stuck in the middle. But in today’s fast-paced business world, companies must move together with a unified set of goals if they are to survive and prosper.The finance team, once again, finds themselves at the epicenter of the business. But instead of being mediators, they are the facilitators of collaboration. With intelligent planning tools and initiatives, corporate goals are linked to operational activities. At the same time, enterprise-wide data is brought together for analysis, and the analysis of the information can be shared back out to leaders in customized dashboards. This 360-degree view of the organization, whittled down to relevant information by department or group, enables line-of-business leaders to make valuable, data-driven decisions.

Analyze More Data, Faster

Pulling together massive amounts of cross-functional data and analyzing it quickly has been enjoyed only  in the halls of big enterprises. Only the largest organizations could afford the technical, computing and finance resources to effectively and accurately analyze large, disparate data sets.Technical advancements, brought together in digital transformation initiatives, have changed that. Sophisticated analytics and reporting tools are readily available to organizations of all sizes, while cloud-based applications mean companies have access to affordable processing and the latest financial analysis features. This alleviates concerns over storage, processing power, server costs and even IT overhead, making the benefits of business intelligence available to small and medium-sized businesses.Intelligent planning is important to organizations, regardless of size. \

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