Successful companies know that having a strong FP&A department in place can help guide them in their strategic business decisions. Innovations in FP&A solutions have allowed businesses to improve their forecasting and budgeting processes, giving executive management access to tools designed to provide insight and clarity into their financial circumstances.
Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) teams play a crucial role in companies by performing budgeting, forecasting, and analysis that support major corporate decisions of the CFO, CEO, and the Board of Directors. Such analysis allows executives to identify potential issues with cash flow and develop expectations for future revenues and expenses. This information can help senior management make quick choices when faced with rising costs or decreased revenue.
Top 10 FP&A Solutions
A number of FP&A software solutions have been developed to help companies improve the information provided by their finance team. Today’s top ten solutions include:
DataRails is an FP&A solution designed to help FP&A departments move away from Excel-based processes and provide driver-based insights into all aspects of the business. They offer two versions: cloud-based and Excel-driven. The solution is easy to implement without the assistance of an IT department.
Board business intelligence software consists of an integrated platform that streamlines performance management and advanced analytics into a single place. It contains a comprehensive set of modules, including predictive analytics, dashboards and reporting, data discovery, scorecards, and simulation tests.
Anaplan is an FP&A platform ideal for large enterprises with a strong IT team. It includes industry-specific solutions, including:
- Planning and forecasting
- Sales forecasting
- Financial consolidation
- Strategic financial planning
This solution does require a large-scale integration, but once in place, it connects teams, systems, and insights across the entire company.
Workday is an enterprise planning software (ERP) that helps businesses improve their planning, modeling, budgeting, and forecasting. Workday offers major companies flexible, scalable financial planning, analytics, and sophisticated modeling for any size business.
Planful is a cloud-based financial planning and analysis software platform that focuses on continuous planning. Planful captures financial results at a consolidated level for all entities of an organization and makes it simple for teams to speed up financial planning and reporting.
Solver is a Microsoft cloud-based data warehousing and corporate performance management system. The application provides a host of features, such as data visualization, an activity dashboard, asset management, and data import/export. It is a unified platform that allows managers to easily allocate budgets, analyze spending, and perform what-if analyses.
Vena provides a comprehensive planning platform that includes modules for:
- Financial planning and analysis
- Integrated business planning
- Financial reporting
- Regulatory compliance reporting
- Financial close management
It focuses on assisting businesses of any size with overall growth.
Jedox provides companies with an automated planning process solution that can be used in the cloud, on-premise, or as a combination of both. It operates on the Microsoft Azure platform, allowing it to be highly compatible with Microsoft solutions, such as Excel, Power BI, and Dynamics 365. It also has an Excel add-in that can be used for KPI reporting, budgeting, and forecasting directly within Excel.
Jirav is an all-in-one, cloud-based financial planning and analysis tool that helps small and midsize businesses forecast revenue and obtain sales insights. Finance teams may connect to numerous data sources and visualize revenue statements, cash flow, and expenses using graphs.
Mosaic brings people, planning, and projects together in one place. It enables teams to collaborate in a unified, cross-functional platform that combines information from ERP, CRM, HRIS, and billing systems.
The Corporate Finance Institute offers a Financial Analysis course for individuals interested in learning how to conduct horizontal and vertical analysis, as well as ratio analysis, to develop an understanding of a company’s financial standing. Upon completion of the course, students can perform industry benchmarking and assess an organization’s competitive advantages and management team.
The rise of new technology for FP&A solutions has also led to further strategies for enhancing analysis. These include:
Continuous accounting involves utilizing automation, control, and period-end tasks within day-to-day activities, allowing the accounting calendar to more closely mirror the business. It emphasizes real-time processing and regular analysis.
Rather than waiting for the conclusion of a month or quarter to perform forecasting for the business, increased forecasting can be used in tandem with continuous accounting. The FP&A department can develop a weekly – or even daily – approach to forecasting that can allow executives to make strategic business decisions quickly. This is especially helpful in cases where there may be changes in revenue that need to be addressed immediately, or when expenses overshadow cash collections from customers.
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