Fast-track Strategic Finance: 5 Immediate Wins with Modern FP&A Software

Emily Mason | Senior Content Writer

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FP&A leaders…we get it. Time is in short supply, but business needs are multiplying.  You’re struggling against the rising tide of manual processes, outdated systems, and the fear of formula errors. 

If you could eliminate tedious FP&A processes, what would you like to do more of? And how much could the business save? After all, you know the hidden costs of wasted time better than anyone else.

As your business gets more complex, comprehensive financial planning software automates time-consuming steps and enables successful expense and workforce planning. It makes your FP&A team and workflows instantly more efficient. Ultimately, it gives you back the time to finally focus on bigger goals like faster scenario planning and functioning as strategic business partners to P&L owners. 

So, here are the top things you can finally turn your attention to once you’ve got a modern FP&A tool as your sidekick. 

Modern FP&A software + your finance team = big strategic gains

Here are 5 things your finance team can finally accomplish after choosing an FP&A tool.

1. Business partnership

With the automation and time-saving from FP&A software, you can become the ultimate support team for budget owners. This happens when you engage in a deeper conversation and find ways to optimize, save, and problem-solve, leveraging strategic finance principles. 

Finance teams have the unique ability to influence business strategy through cross-functional connections and insights. No other leader can see (and understand) the way each budget fits into the overall plan. Finance business partners can understand the dependencies between teams better than anyone else. 

For example, increased sales could put a strain on the professional services team, who need to onboard and support those new customers. Or, the decision to pause a territory expansion will change the workforce plan that was built to support that expansion. FP&A teams are the ones who can see these changes, prepare for different outcomes, and inform the executive team of their options to keep the business on track. 

2. Give stakeholders self-service access to their financial data

FP&A software help finance teams to ‘get out of the way’ and be less of a bottleneck for financial data. 

Stakeholders can log into the FP&A platform and check in with their progress vs. the plan to inform their spending decisions. They don’t need to rely on finance to find out what they spent on vendors in the last month. 

It’s not just about easing the workload for FP&A, although that’s a great bonus. The real benefit is democratizing data and creating a culture of transparency and accountability. Each department leader can become more aware of their financial and operational performance, which leads to a more productive relationship with finance. You’re not just the bad guy dishing out consequences for overspending. You are their secret weapon to understand the implications of their spending decisions and find ways to optimize and improve every quarter.

3. Work from a single source of truth

Imagine a finance process without stale data or endless computer folders for all 35+ versions of the plan! When your FP&A software automatically integrates actuals from your ERP, HRIS, or CRM into your plans, forecasts, and analyses, you can confidently send off reports to board members without needing to quadruple-check for accuracy. The single source of truth prevents errors from sneaking in at any step in the process.

“In Excel, there are so many manual calculations. Having Stratify, the system updates automatically for us, and all our information is in one place. Everyone can see the same accurate, real-time data together.”
Tina Lai, Finance Manager, Spotnana 

Read Spotnana’s Story

With tracked changes in your FP&A software, you can include stakeholders in a more efficient and collaborative budgeting process, without the fear of important data being lost or copied over. Ultimately, access controls and integrated data give you freedom from one of the biggest FP&A headaches and fears. 

4. Enable better decision-making

A survey from the Association of Finance Professionals (AFP) showed that “very or extremely effective” FP&A teams were “significantly more likely” to have automated reporting and data visualization tools, as well as driver-based planning.  

An FP&A tool uses reporting automation and scenario planning tools to help you be one of those effective, proactive FP&A teams. The fundamentals – like producing month-end reporting packages – take far too long without the help of modern finance planning software. You’re left without any time to dig into the reports and find the story behind the numbers that will illuminate the situations at hand. Blind decision-making becomes nearly unavoidable. 

Scenario planning (within minutes on short notice) and enhanced analytics help stakeholders make informed decisions quickly. The executive team will begin to lean on finance as an irreplaceable asset to guide strategy, not just as a necessary part of running the business. 

5. Build a connected business expense plan

FP&A software puts the dream of a single, integrated business plan within your reach. Instead of adjusting assumptions across disconnected expense, sales, and headcount models, a change in one will carry over to the others automatically. These connections will naturally sharpen your understanding of operational drivers across the business and show clear ways to streamline spending (plus any downstream effects). 

For example, with an FP&A software that excels in workforce planning, you can finally get one of your biggest expenses under control by aligning on workforce data. You can include all key budget owners and work in sync with HR, without confusion from different headcount definitions and disconnected data. 

Learn more: Strategic Workforce Planning: 5 Tips for FP&A Professionals

A seat at the leadership table 

Less time writing formulas, more time delivering insights. 

If the five benefits we just covered sound like a dream, then it’s probably time to investigate modern financial planning and analysis software to see how quickly it can make a difference in your everyday workflows. 

Your finance team may not be generating revenue in the strictest sense, but you understand the underrated ways to increase efficiency and prevent costly errors through effective financial planning and analysis. Modern FP&A software lays the foundation for faster data reconciliation, modeling, and reporting, so you can jump into deeper analysis and find ways to drive operational efficiency that will translate into higher profits.    

There’s so much potential for FP&A on the other side of manual modeling and hunting down errors.

Ready to take the next step? Compare your options and find the right fit. 

Last Updated:
March 20, 2024

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