By Christian FOURNIER, author of “Watch your FP&A processes”, “FP&A analytics and Simpson’s Paradox”, “Globalisation – adapter l’organisation de son entreprise face à la mondialisation”
Finance and FP&A communities are regularly traversed by theoretical and generally hot discussions concerning few topics that are at the heart of FP&A processes. Analytics systems, business partnering and budget are currently among of the main one.
Although this definitively permits to improve the FP&A impact and profile, we may be missing several aspects in those “vertical” discussions. Obviously, this is (more or less) relevant depending on company and market size and profile but still, it should be more present in the community discussions/thinking.
How many of us, when we are asked to a meeting with someone from FP&A, have rolled our eyes, thrown the head back and done a neck roll to relax the shoulders? Why do we have this over whelming feeling of dread when it comes to meeting with that team?
So what can be done to change the perception of the FP&A practitioners?
Less than a quarter of a Financial Analyst’s time is spent with high value-add analysis - this is a finding of a survey run by SAP*. Although the survey is 5 years old, it’s still relevant, the percentage may even have shrunk further as the amount of data to be analysed and reported on keeps increasing.
It’s not to discredit Financial Analysts – in fact, they are among the hardest working people I’ve ever met in my career so far, including being a Financial Analyst myself. It’s just that the odds are stacked against them.
Randall Bolten, longtime Silicon Valley CFO, author of "Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You” and adjunct professor at U.C. Berkeley Extension
Data visualization – or graphing, to use a more plebeian synonym – is one of the hottest buzzwords in FP&A today… right up there with “big data” and “predictive analytics”. It can certainly be an immensely powerful tool for helping your audience grasp your most important points. And it’s getting more powerful – in addition to good old Excel’s already-lengthy list of graphing capabilities, there’s an increasing number of excellent data visualization software products.
By Stefan Spiegel, CFO SBB Cargo AG, former Head Controlling of Retail Division of Swiss Post 2017
In the period from 2001 to 2006, the Retail division of Swiss Post transformed itself from a public service company into a business-driven sales organization. Crucial drivers of change were, on the one hand, the adaptation of the steering systems up to the final implementation of a "Beyond Budgeting" philosophy and, on the other hand, a humanistic attitude of management and finance department against all employees. The success was amazing: The division succeeded in increasing the sales of new retail products from 0 to over 400 million CHF, optimizing the bottom line by more than 100 million CHF or more than 5 percentage points and becoming the first state-owned company in Switzerland to win the EFQM- Award for Business Excellence.