Optimising financial processes

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Is Transformation Changing the Role of FP&A?

An article by Sabrinthia Donnelly and an interview with Brian Kalish got me thinking. 

The ‘need for speed’ increased during the pandemic. It shone a blinding light on the deficiencies in processes and technology infrastructures. A lack of data visibility and poorly optimized processes are part of the problem . . .

Effective finance transformation starts with WHY (business outcomes) and WHAT (end-to-end processes) before we get to HOW (technologies).

I do, however, understand the fascination with the idea of whether artificial intelligence will eventually obliterate many of the functions we know and love today, not least FP&A. That rhymes – could be a song in that!

If the role of the FP&A team is to provide data, metrics, and insights to inform major decisions there is clearly change in progress.

Business leaders want better visibility of markets, customers and operations, faster reactions and better ability to predict and accelerate financial and customer outcomes.

This is the essence of “data driven decision making”.

FP&A exists to solve problems and answer questions. It’s that simple.

Given this role, FP&A professionals should not worry about extinction anytime soon.

As a Stanford professor once told me “attempting to AI your way out of a problem you don’t understand” is the definition of madness!

However, the acceleration of data driven decision making, supported in part by AI and other disciplines, will result in the distribution of decision support roles, such as FP&A, out to the business, both close to the customers and into core Global Business Services delivery units.

Many of the key decisions now are about how to optimise our processes, so we can drive greater effectiveness and repeatability into the business, which will itself deliver better financial outcomes. If you want to learn more about effective strategies for end-to-end process optimisation and transformation, you should check out this guide.

If you have bad processes and you bring in a new system, you’re left with bad processes operating faster”.

Speed is of the essence.

But there are no silver bullets.

The key questions are only, “what business outcomes are we aiming for”, “how do we optimise our end-to-end processes to achieve them” and “what decisions, and thus what data, do we need to support the journey”?

FP&A experts are well positioned to facilitate this business transformation to the new world.

There will be changes of emphasis but finance, data, process, analysis and business partnering skills remain front and center.

You can read the source article and access the podcast here . . .

Thanks for reading . . .