Today’s financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams are increasingly being tasked with using data-driven insights to help their businesses plan for long-term financial success, but survey data reveals that modern FP&A professionals only spend a quarter of their time performing the forward-thinking analysis that’s expected of them—and technology restraints are a big part of the problem.
The survey—a joint effort between the Association for Financial Professionals and research firm APQC—polled more than 430 FP&A professionals from various industries around the world. Respondents reported spending only 25% of their time performing value-added analysis, with the remaining three-quarters spent either gathering data (42%) or administering processes (33%).
Additionally, when asked about the most pressing challenges holding back their FP&A efforts, inadequate systems and tools was the most frequent survey response, with 61% of finance leaders identifying that as their department’s most glaring problem.
Process Automation with Modern FP&A Software
There’s no denying the connection between technology and process efficiency for FP&A teams. In order to properly analyze key metrics and uncover meaningful insights without spending hours on data consolidation, FP&A leaders need on-the-fly access to reliable, up-to-date numbers—which is difficult to achieve without the right tools for the job.
If finance professionals are stuck collecting source system data manually and then manipulating that data using offline spreadsheets, it’s easy to understand why they’re not spending as much time actually analyzing what those numbers are telling them. After all, there are only so many hours in a day—and finance professionals know better than anyone how time consuming, error prone and cumbersome manual data entries can be.
That’s why process automation is so important for modern FP&A teams. It frees up valuable time for strategic planning, but it also enables finance leaders to eliminate data silos across the entire organization. With a holistic view of company-wide data at their fingertips—thanks to automated processes and workflow—FP&A teams can focus on identifying opportunities for growth using more advanced analysis methods such as:
- Regular reforecasting based on real-time market conditions
- “What-if” scenario modeling
- Ad hoc reporting on key business drivers
As strategic business partners, FP&A teams will always be expected to deliver actionable insights quickly and to maintain agile planning processes for long-term financial success. But with the right process automation tools in place, finance leaders don’t have to spend their days chasing down data. Instead, they can hone in on what that data really means—and use that insight to lead their companies forward with confidence.
Learn more about how process automation can give you back the time you need to plan for the future of your business.