One of the reasons today’s fastest-growing, most innovative businesses use modern FP&A technology is because it promotes company-wide (or xP&A) collaboration. That means projects that have long been considered finance-only responsibilities, such as financial consolidation, can now be a team sport within which department leaders across the business participate. The result is a holistic financial picture of your business that includes key data from all departments.
But achieving a collaborative finance function can be difficult. That’s because FP&A often lacks the necessary time, direction, or clarity around KPIs to build the cross-functional relationships required to improve forecasting and reporting. So what should be a team effort becomes a finance exercise, and when numbers change, it becomes finance’s fault. In the end, we lose credibility as a business partner.
Make your data everyone’s data
So how do you get other departments to collaborate with finance? Start by empowering your business partners with more ownership and accountability in the data and your process. For example, many businesses still do most of their forecasting and planning with spreadsheets. Not only is this wildly inefficient (not to mention more likely to include errors), but it keeps all the information bottled up on one person’s screen until they’re ready to share.
We all have seen an Excel spreadsheet named finalV2 or Final V3, only to find out our business partners are using FinalV6. This is a leading cause of number mismatch. Using modern finance tools, a finance team can collect and report on the numbers without needing to send and receive Excel spreadsheets. Everyone is on the same version and making the changes together. This just makes the business partners a part of the overall process, not part of the problem.
The more you can modernize your process and increase visibility into KPIs across the company, the more others will think of “our numbers” instead of “finance’s numbers.” When you create a single source of truth and share it, collaborators will be able to move past arguing about the numbers and start working together to decide on next steps.
Self-service collaborative reporting
At the same time, automation and dashboards for self-service collaborative reporting can vastly reduce the amount of transactional work the finance team has to accomplish each day. This frees up our time for both increased collaboration and providing the strategic, high-level analysis that helps move the company forward.
A single source of truth
In summary, collaboration is easier when you stop relying on static spreadsheets and on-premises legacy planning applications. Start by getting everyone working with one trusted set of numbers via cloud planning software. When you trust the numbers, you can spend your time on analysis and providing insights to your stakeholders. When your partners in other departments take more ownership of the data, everybody wins. With a single source of truth and engaged stakeholders, you are on the road to a modern, strategic approach to planning.