End-of-year planning? End the madness

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For many FP&A teams, the year-end brings more than renewed anticipation for resolutions and fresh starts. It brings a sense of dread. This is especially true for finance teams whose annual enterprise planning and budgeting process includes double-digit revisions to manual, Excel®-based budget templates.

While different departments manage specific areas within the company-wide process, the FP&A team generally assumes ownership of the majority of year-end responsibilities—diligently working overtime with disparate tools, complex spreadsheet matrices, and limited technological architecture.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. This planning season, rather than being stuck tabbing through complicated spreadsheets late into the evening, you could be stuck in season two of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” Because that’s not a bad problem to have.

In fact, the Anaplan for Finance solution can not only help you wrap up your organization’s planning season quicker than ever before, but it can also provide three organizational reasons that make ending the madness of planning seasons an easy decision.

An FP&A planning solution to save us all

What exactly turns the end-of-year planning process into a headache-inducing hassle? For starters, FP&A teams often find themselves bogged down checking (and rechecking) information, merging incongruent spreadsheets, and reconciling sales, marketing, HR, and operational plans against their standing data. This is where a multidimensional and agile planning technology like the Anaplan platform begins to spread its wings as a true FP&A power player.

By using Anaplan’s cloud-native platform, organizations can seamlessly integrate data from different sources to centrally manage and comprehensively report on various business elements. The ability to quickly adjust plans and budgets in a single location can not only dramatically shorten budgeting and planning cycles, but can also enable strategic decision-making and reduce the risks of human or formulaic errors.

And while planning season will ultimately come to a close, the pressure on FP&A teams to continuously adjust plans, increase productivity, and drive better business performance will always remain an ongoing strategic focus. Below are three additional reasons why a versatile planning platform is today’s must-have technology to support the finance function during year-end planning—and the duration of the entire fiscal year:

  • Improve efficiency. In an age where volatility, digital disruption, and economic uncertainty hover around the corners of every market, FP&A teams need to streamline processes and improve productivity. This means balancing cost-reducing measures with strategic initiatives like decision-making support throughout the organization. Accomplishing this requires a flexible, multidimensional solution that integrates high volumes of disparate data. Finance teams can then quickly manipulate data in response to evolving market conditions, strategic business priorities, and fluid organizational structures.
  • Fortify organizational collaboration. Spreadsheets and legacy solutions inherently prevent dynamic and efficient collaboration. In fact, it’s this silo-based, combo platter of architecture that requires budgets to undergo so many revisions. It also contributes to general misalignment between departmental plans and triggers consolidated bottom-up plans that seldom pair up with top-down expectations at first pass. How can you break the cycle? Through the use of shared technology and data, which allow different business functions to evaluate, share, and adjust plans in real time—and with a common language.
  • Drive accurate, aligned, and agile planning. A fast-moving marketplace doesn’t stop just because it is planning season. Technology that supports driver-based budgeting, like the Anaplan platform, helps overcome organizational disconnects, converting previously disjointed planning, budgeting, and reforecasting methodologies into quick, nimble processes. Enterprises that can adjust quickly to changes—and are able to reforecast more frequently—maintain more insightful views into their future business performance. A driver-based approach also eliminates monotonous spreadsheet maintenance, meaning FP&A teams have immediate access to the ideal data they need for business partnerships.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not—and we’d love to prove it to you. Contact us to learn more about how the Anaplan platform can help you breeze through this year’s planning season.

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