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What Does Intelligent Planning Mean for Your Finance Team?

February 20, 2019
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It’s a fast-paced business world - especially today. Finance teams are faced with more than just creating and upholding the yearly budget – they want to, and are expected to, drive strategic, data-driven decisions that lead to opportunities for the organization.To accomplish this, the finance team needs to be able to balance strategy and execution. They must balance planning with agility. They must balance looking ahead with what’s happening today. And they must balance collecting data and analyzing it.To do this, CFOs and their teams must employ Intelligent Planning.

What is Intelligent Planning?

It’s the financial strategy that modern finance teams can employ to make data-driven decisions and quickly adapt to changing environments, while keeping the company on steady ground. With this innovative new strategy, businesses can formulate objectives that increase the bottom line, create value, keep up with digital advances and protect the business from competitive and other challenges.

The Three Pillars of Intelligent Planning

The Office of Finance is no stranger to the three pillars of Intelligent Planning. They have each been part of its function for years. What makes Intelligent Planning different is the way in which these elements are combined, and the potential results of each combination.

Budgeting  - Budgeting is a cornerstone of the financial team’s responsibilities. But the difference that it takes in Intelligent Planning is adopting real-time and on-going analysis of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against, tracking and optimizing performance against plan and pivoting quickly as risks and opportunities emerge.F

orecasting – another staple of the Office of Finance, forecasting takes on new possibilities with Intelligent Planning. Using instincts and assumptions to guide forecasting is a flawed approach to corporate performance management, as is using past performance as the indicator for future success. With Intelligent Planning, companies can guide their forecasting accurately and with confidence by leveraging a wide array of data points, trends, and assumption validators to make the most informed business decisions and predict the future health of the business.

Analytics – CFOs and their teams have leveraged financial analysis tools for years. The biggest challenge has been integrating data sources and structuring the data into a meaningful way to gain insights. With the amount of data increasing at an exponential rate inside most companies, most businesses are drowning in a sea of data to data to analyze and correlate. Technology and big data innovations are moving at rapid pace bringing automation and rich capabilities typically reserved for large enterprises to small and medium sized businesses.

The Four Benefits of Intelligent Planning for your Finance Team

With these pillars of Intelligent Planning working in concert, finance teams can utilize past and present information to better predict the future financial health and position of the organization. As a result, companies and finance teams benefit in four significant ways:

Data-Driven Outcomes

Intelligent Planning gives companies the agility to confidently make decisions, faster, even when those decisions veer from the company’s fiscal plan.

Increased Capabilities and Capacity

Using traditional finance tools, integrative planning increases the burden on the finance team as the tools themselves may complicate the process. However, Intelligent Planning tools like Planning Maestro are designed to bring together budgeting, forecasting, data analysis and business intelligence and provide options for task automation. Instead of slowing the team down, these tools free them up for advanced finance tasks like scenario planning and strategic contributions to decision making.

Organizational Collaboration

Financial planning and analysis shouldn’t be done in a vacuum. For planning to be accurate and agile, it must take into account data from across the organization, then share the analysis out to the rest of the company in easy to digest, customized presentations, like dashboards. This clears the way for efficient collaboration and empowers leaders across the organization to make important decisions, quickly and with minimal risk.

Bigger Contributions

When finance teams can effectively collect a broad set of data, integrate it for analysis, share it across the organization, and use it to inform strategic decisions, it makes the team a pivotal part of the organization’s growth.

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