Future of FP&A on Display at Host Analytics Perform
Host Analytics Perform 2018 was held in Dallas, May 21–24. The event was filled with keynotes, mascots (named Tick and Tie), and product demos, but Perform 2018 was really about one thing: people passionate about planning and budgeting.
There was a lot of information packed into just a few days. Here are our top three takeaways from Host Analytics Perform 2018.
1. The future of FP&A starts with three Cs
Continuous. Connected. Collaborative. Those were the words you heard over and over from everyone at Perform 2018—and the attendees took notice. Here are a few examples of the three Cs in action:
- Continuous: FP&A is constantly evolving, finding more ways to automate processes in a never-ending cycle of planning, analysis, and reporting.
- Connected: Host Analytics CEO Dave Kellogg challenged finance professionals to take continuous reporting one step further by extending realized benefits into various parts of the organization.
- Collaborative: The office of the CFO is expected to provide insight for the whole company, leveraging the same technology can bridge team and department lines.
2. FP&A success is measured differently than other business functions
“How do you measure success?” was a common question throughout the conference. While most business leaders rely on tangible financial metrics for success (e.g., profitable growth, higher ROA), it was surprising to hear how many FP&A managers measure success by the commitment and engagement levels of internal business partners.
As a result, many speakers in breakout sessions and keynotes encouraged finance to build better partnerships across the organization.
How can FP&A claim a more strategic role? Several tips were shared at the conference:
- Tailor reports to what the business unit cares about. Many companies will maintain a standard template for internal reporting to cost center managers, but each cost center cares about different things. Whether it is more relevant metrics or a different slice of the data, FP&A should cater reports to what the business cares about.
- Don’t overload your partners with reports. FP&A should set up a regular cadence to review what reports are being used by the business and what reports are tossed aside. Taking it one step further, FP&A needs to understand how each business unit uses the report. Consider not only what is important to that unit, but ask how else are they using the reports. Are they sharing them with leadership? Do they use it to set objectives? A little work up front can save time on random requests down the road.
- Make FP&A more visible to the business. Having a seat at every table in every meeting is unrealistic. But the more FP&A extends itself to the business, the more likely it is that business unit managers will reach back to pull them into strategic conversations. It doesn’t just need to be in the boardroom, as technology like Host Analytics MyPlan can serve as a valuable extension for various business partners.
3. A brighter future is closer than you think
One of the opening keynotes showed off an impressive close process from the fictional Brighter Future Company. The presentation demonstrated how technology automates multiple steps of the process and made closing the books and reporting look easy.
This wasn't some grand vision of the future, however. This is happening now. Companies are moving toward a more automated financial close and reporting process. Cloud technology has catapulted FP&A to provide better insights and analytics to the business. It is one thing to flash an impressive tech stack, but it is a whole different thing to have an integrated end-to-end solution designed for FP&A. With an integrated approach, organizations can streamline the process, improve accuracy, and reduce their costs in data collection, financial consolidation, reporting, and disclosure.
Transforming the last mile of finance
As event sponsor and technology partner, Workiva works with Host Analytics to provide even greater value for FP&A in transforming the final mile of finance.
With the ability to integrate data directly from Host Analytics into the Workiva reporting platform, organizations can streamline the financial close, consolidation, reporting, and disclosure process. The combined solution provides capabilities that are unmatched in the market.
To find out more about this exciting partnership and how you can transform the last mile of finance, download this white paper from Host Analytics and Workiva.