Connecting Anaplan and Workiva to Transform FP&A
Anaplan CPX 2019 was hot, but conference Master of Ceremonies Ahmad Rashad and the rest of the presenters at the event kept things cool.
Amid record highs in San Francisco, Anaplan CPX speakers and attendees shared ideas on connected planning and future-proofing organizations. Anaplan executives described a vision of the not-so-distant future, when connected data can help financial planning and analysis teams deliver real-time insights that help their organizations outpace competitors.
That vision is one we share here at Workiva, which Anaplan named as its inaugural Technology Partner of the Year for a software integration that helps transform the financial close process. The integration allows Anaplan users to bring their planning data into the Workiva connected reporting platform to quickly build and update reports and presentations. It was inspirational to hear how private equity and real estate firm HQ Capital is already using both Anaplan and Workiva.
Connected, continuous planning and reporting in the cloud
If I had to choose a theme that stuck out to me from CPX, it would be the importance of collaborating across organizational divisions. In this case, it's not a future vision—real-time collaboration across finance and other departments is possible today.
In one session, Chris Stevenson of Anaplan and I discussed how traditional systems and software can break finance teams into silos. Colleagues in one silo might work on planning and forecasting. Others would handle internal or external reporting. Still others tackle the analysis. In every case, people are scrambling to collect and prepare data. Such a disconnected way of working can lead to duplicative tasks, inefficiencies, and inconsistencies in data and reports. Yet, those are challenges that FP&A teams often face.
Today's first movers and fast followers need a system that is more agile, so they can deliver insights more quickly.
In an integrated cloud environment, finance and accounting teams collect and prepare data in a centralized workspace that anyone with the right permissions can access for forecasting, planning, operations management, performance management, reporting, and the financial close process. Because everyone is pulling data from the same up-to-the-minute source, there is less risk of inconsistencies or errors in final reports.
Here's an example: Let's say an organization builds forecasts in Anaplan and builds reports on that information in Wdesk, the connected reporting solution from Workiva. An audit trail automatically captures revisions, so they are easy to track. When everyone is editing and commenting on the same report, there is transparency into every change, who made it, when, and why. In addition, data can be linked across connected documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, which makes updating that information across all instances practically effortless. No more clicking "find and replace" or updating hundreds of spreadsheet cells by hand.
It's like having time fall out of the sky and suddenly your calendar opens up. Tedious, manual tasks no longer take you away from the high-value planning and analysis that drives business decisions.
You can deliver trusted numbers faster and easier than ever before, thanks to connected planning and reporting—no sweat.