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McKinsey: FP&A Team Should Be Acting As “Sentinels” For Recovery and Resilience

Times are changing the way processes are run in organizations. Today, companies need a new approach to financial planning and performance management, one that informs rapid realignment of plans and actions and ensures organizational resilience.

The role of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is heightened in times of crisis, but some companies are finding that—just when they really need them—they lack the accelerated analytics, business insights, and digitally driven solutions FP&A teams can provide.

The contributions required from FP&A during this time include the ability to quickly clarify for business leaders the underlying drivers of the business, help them identify specific actions and initiatives required to manage through the imme­­di­ate crisis, and, led by a focused plan-ahead team, anticipate actions for recovery. The ultimate way to do so is by adopting an FP&A platform that meets these needs and more.

Changing times call for changing needs

Financial-planning teams will inevitably begin to establish a range of new capabilities within the finance function—for instance, rapid planning and forecasting, cross-functional collaborations, and dynamic dashboards, KPIs, and triggers. In the next normal, companies should consider ways to build on these capabilities and embed them into day-to-day forecasting and performance-management processes.

McKinsey recently suggested that finance departments may want to shift permanently to shorter planning cycles, more frequent review of KPIs, or the use of zero-based budgeting models.

Changing needs call for new support systems

The types of dashboards, nerve centers, and spend-control towers being developed to track finances during COVID-19 could be repurposed post-crisis to vault the company into its period of recovery. So, investing in such systems can be seen as a long term investment by the organization. If the organization is looking for a quick win, DataRails offers an FP&A solution with a monthly payment framework.

Finance organizations can and therefore should further empower members of the financial-planning and analysis (FP&A) team to, as suggest by McKinsey, act as “sentinels” for recovery and resilience. The best way to do so is by arming them with a finance platform that automates consolidation work and gives them a leg up in analysis.

For those finance functions and FP&A teams that have not explored automation and other time-saving technologies, the crisis may be a jumping off point to do so—freeing up members of the financial-planning team to serve as strategy partners and value managers rather than report generators.

The time to invest in your infrastructure is now

This is the time to map out your process, identify risks, opportunities, and potential breakdown points. Create factual content that you can use to inform senior management of challenges including problems like time inefficiencies and inaccuracies. Address them now by adopting novel technologies and reap the benefits well into the future.

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