Covid has changed the world and the finance function has had to change with it.
For most, financial planning, budgeting and forecasting have become somewhat challenging (an understatement, if ever there was one – Ed). Customer behaviour has changed, market predictions continuously evolve, nervousness surrounding customers’ and suppliers’ viability and a potential for further lock downs to name but a few. Stir in some uncertainty caused by Brexit, labour and material shortages along with global shipping delays and we can see why finance teams are on-edge.
No longer can the FP&A team take the trusty steed that is last year’s actuals and add 5% (not that you’d do that of course, would you? – Ed). To regain control and a sense of comfort, organisations have resorted to reforecasting far more frequently. This has added great strain on all functions involved in planning, particularly finance. Those with sophisticated planning systems that already use driver-based planning and what-if analysis modelling are at an advantage, but what about those without that luxury. Of course, our old favourite Excel came to the rescue (what would we do without it – Ed) always filling the territory where our systems haven’t yet or won’t tread.
But attempting sophisticated planning in Excel comes with a cost. Data collection issues, confusion over version control, lack of robustness and reliability in the spreadsheets, time consuming data comparability, limited collaboration and inefficient data distribution all rear their ugly head. As result, we’ve seen a huge shift by organisations of all sizes toward dedicated planning systems as incessant reforecasting becomes the norm.
If this all sounds familiar to you, then maybe we can help.
We’ve worked with many of the best planning solution vendors out there – those designed for complex global organisations with integrated cross-functional planning requirements right through to single entity solutions.
Take LucaNet as an example. Their user-friendly software is ideal for small to mid-sized organisations looking to take control of their planning process. LucaNet includes:
- operational planning aspects such as sales, project and HR planning that automatically calculate the effects on the income statement, balance sheet, cash flow and KPIs;
- the capacity to generate multiple forecast and what-if scenarios quickly and efficiently from existing plans (see Fig 1) and then compare them to one another using flexible views;
- interactive forecast wizards (see Fig 2) that allow you to quickly create detailed plans for multiple time periods; and
- data connectors that take information from upstream systems as a basis, such as financial accounting, HR, and CRM systems.
In addition, LucaNet has some excellent reporting, financial planning and analysis features
- Preconfigured reports that can easily be adapted to your company’s specific requirements
- Central management cockpit that summarises all relevant KPIs
- Automated calculation of predefined and customisable KPIs
- Drill down functionality for greater transparency
- Full Excel integration, including pivot tables
- Open interfaces (e.g. XMLA, ODBO, MDX) for integration into existing reporting and analysis environments such as Power BI