Connecting FP&A with the Planful and Workiva Integration
If you attended this year's Host Analytics Perform, you could see that the future of finance is firmly in the cloud. And with good reason—today's FP&A teams have outgrown desktop spreadsheets. (Or, as Planful so aptly put it at the '80s-themed event, there was a time when traditional "spreadsheets were, like rad, but are now, like, really, really old.")
The Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) conference buzzed with best practices on how to work faster, smarter, and safer within cloud systems. Attendees learned how they can be more strategic, maximize ROI, and introduce artificial intelligence (AI) into the finance function, all due to advances in cloud technology.
Not only that, the cloud enables powerful integrations between complementary cloud platforms from providers like Planful and Workiva. You can find us both in the technology stacks of some of today's most agile organizations, helping streamline consolidation, planning, and reporting.
Connect planning and reporting in the cloud
As a strategic business partner, the finance function has to deliver accurate insights—fast. Speed is not often associated with accuracy, but that challenge becomes much easier with cloud financial close solutions. Cloud software radically improves upon what was possible with traditional office software.
In keeping with Planfuls' theme of going back in time, let's take a look at another antiquated financial practice. Consider how couples once paid household bills from a joint account. Thirty years ago, one spouse would write out a check and log the amount in a handwritten checkbook ledger. Only one person could write in the ledger at a time, and if someone forgot to log a payment, the other might have a false impression of how much was in the bank. After computers arrived, they could type each payment into a spreadsheet that would calculate their balance. Today, they can use an app, the web, a physical ATM, or bank branch to make a withdrawal—maybe even at the same time—and watch the balance update automatically.
In today's fast-paced office of finance, teams also no longer need to wait. With solutions like Planful, accounting and finance teams can collaborate together in real time on tasks that include:
- Budget forecasting
- Complex consolidations
All of that data can flow straight into the Workiva platform for connected reporting across FP&A teams, accounting, investor relations, or even internal auditors. With Workiva, you can take structured data from sources—including Planful—and add context and commentary for information-rich reports and presentations. Finance can deliver the full story to the board, investors, and regulators like never before.
Another advantage of using the cloud for your financial close process: teams can connect sensitive data across reports in a secure, centralized environment instead of passing multiple versions back and forth via shared drives or email. The benefits include:
- Version control
- Reduced risk of error
- Data accuracy
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About the Author
Dominick Fatibene, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Workiva, works exclusively with controllership and financial planning and analysis (FP&A) organizations to identify and support simplified internal financial reporting approaches that reduce risk and drive efficiency. Prior to joining Workiva in 2018, Dominick spent seven years at General Electric, holding various positions across finance, including operational finance, global and operational controllership, internal audit, and corporate FP&A. Dominick has been involved in all aspects of finance, including entity and segment accounting, consolidation, strategic planning, earnings, investor, and board reporting. Dominick was a member of GE’s prestigious leadership programs, including the financial management program and corporate audit staff.