Numerous industry polls highlight the continued frustration of FD's, CFO's, CEO's and business owners regarding their organisation's inability to adequately understand current business performance and put in place adequate action plans to help them to deliver their strategic objectives. Instead of being business focused, too much time is spent on process re-engineering, data cleansing and trying to understand new technology. Recruiting for FP&A staff is highlighted as being the most challenging of all finance roles to recruitment for.
In most situations, businesses attempt to address this issue by buying in expertise from the external market, without first understanding the challenges being faced by their existing team(s). For example, is your existing FP&A function banging it's head against an organisation that does not have the prerequisite cultural buy in or have the necessary alignment to the corporate strategy plan? (For more thoughts around the challenges that FP&A faces, click here).
Furthermore, FP&A failings are sometimes addressed by the purchase of more/new software. Time is wasted getting to grips with these new technologies, wasting precious time and drifting further away from the business front line. However, polls by providers of EPM software highlight that software already owned by companies is often not being used properly, adding to data processing times and ignoring their value-add analytical tools. For example, many business using Hyperion Planning (PLN) only use its aggregation functionality, ignoring its multi-scenario, multi-assumption forecast modelling capability.
FP&A capability build and recruitment
Many businesses hire in new full time senior staff with the expectation that they will arrive with the necessary skills to solve their current problems or lead their finance function through step changes in organisational growth. The unfortunate reality is that the transition rarely proceeds as smoothly and effectively as hoped.
A good BAU practitioner is not necessarily going to be the agent of change that you are hoping for, and vise versa. Unfortunately, once staff have been recruited into full time employment, making additional changes further down the line can be a costly and disruptive process.
'Best in class' and 'best practice' theories are useful when creating a baseline upon which to build an FP&A capability, but what businesses need when building an operationally relevant function is clear, practical advice that focuses on solving real world problems. Commercial experience is vitally important, ensuring that any current changes made take into account longer term business requirements.
Instead, business should first look to expert advice to help re-build the operational and strategic foundations of their existing FP&A function and re-connect it to their operational teams. Only then, once the current issues have been resolved and re-tested should businesses proceed with the recruitment of new senior staff (if still required).
Sonar are well placed to partner you in the re-build and transformation of your FP&A capability. Click here to contact us and arrange a meeting.