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How to Create a Flexible, Agile FP&A Function

May 31, 2022
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Just as content is king in the world of marketing, when it comes to financial decision-making, data is everything. Unfortunately, many of today’s small and medium-sized businesses are making choices based on tools that lack the sophistication to provide accurate, up-to-the-minute information. If you want to outsell the competition, then upgrading your financial planning and analysis (FP&A) efforts is of the utmost importance. The good news is that modern FP&A software can make it easier to identify customer needs and get your products and services to market faster, all while adapting to a constantly evolving business climate.

Data Isn’t Enough

Clearly, data is an essential tool for businesses looking to navigate everything from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic to evolving economic conditions and setbacks. However, having accurate streams of information coming into your company isn’t enough. If you want to succeed and grow, you need ways of turning large volumes of raw data into information you can act on to achieve the desired results on your timetable. Unfortunately, many companies are still using spreadsheets and other less-efficient manual tools for planning. For truly effective forecasting, businesses and financial departments need to find new ways of assembling and analyzing data.

The Need for Accurate Forecasting

It’s no secret that accurate forecasting is essential in today’s complex economy. In fact, according to a recent survey by Centage FP&A Trends, 61 percent of respondents said budgeting and forecasting was their top priority. Moreover, 80 percent of CFOs anticipated increasing the amount of time spent on advanced analytic technologies and tools for predictive insights. The goal is to find ways of identifying market conditions before the situation changes on the ground.Speaking of evolving circumstances, the last few years have resulted in unprecedented change for businesses of all sizes. In particular, COVID has caused supply chain disruptions and staffing issues that impact a company’s ability to perform and lead to challenges that current tools can’t quite meet. Accurate forecasting models must be able to adjust to these concerns in real time while helping companies develop useful production and operational strategies.

Moving Past Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are all too common in the world of business planning. In fact 31 percent of companies still use this outdated tool for all their planning, while 43 percent rely on spreadsheet-generated information around three quarters of the time. Not only are spreadsheets an insufficient tool for forecasting, but they also make it easier for data to be lost or changed in the shuffle. As a result, companies are forced to make decisions with information that’s less than accurate or behind the times. If you want the agility needed to adjust to changes quickly, moving beyond stale spreadsheets is of vital importance.

The Future of Forecasting is Modern FP&A Software

A fast-changing business landscape means that forecasting is a top priority for small and medium-sized businesses. In fact, Centage’s survey revealed that improved reporting was the No. 1 priority for 70 percent of respondents, with timeliness of data coming in a close second (57 percent). In light of these findings, it’s clear that spreadsheets must be replaced by more sophisticated, nimble forecasting applications that integrate with existing financial systems with ease.Here are some of the many benefits companies enjoy when they choose a modern FP&A software over outdated forecasting options:

  • Increased shareholder value
  • Superior organizational awareness
  • Better ability to achieve operational and financial goals
  • Superior resource allocation
  • Easier coordination of projects, programs, and initiatives

The good news is Centage has developed a tool to help companies generate the flexible, agile FP&A data they need to achieve their long-term goals.

Get to Know Planning Maestro

A modern FP&A software solution, Planning Maestro, was created from the ground up with a goal of helping a wide range of organizations achieve forecasting success. Recognizing that forecasting success and financial achievement go hand in hand, Planning Maestro offers ways for companies to turn strategy into action while adjusting to changing circumstances quickly and gracefully. As a bonus, the system offers alerts so you know when there are deviations from expected results along with what-if analysis of various scenarios. The goal is to help your business react to market changes on a dime, while taking smart risks and capitalizing on opportunities that come your way.Additionally, this state-of-the-art tool allows for easy collaboration and cooperation. By uniting multiple business disciplines and units, you enable your company to achieve goals faster and more effectively. Planning Maestro also integrates seamlessly with other applications in your arsenal. Use this FP&A software in conjunction with operational and staffing apps and enjoy the advantage of having all your data in one place.Ready to discover the benefits of Planning Maestro by Centage for yourself? Visit our website to learn more about the sophisticated FP&A function enjoyed by more than 10,000 users worldwide.

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