A united front: how connected planning benefits finance professionals

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Digital disruption, changes to regulation, and macroeconomic volatility are part and parcel of our business day. With that in mind, it has never been more important for finance leaders to understand the business climate in which they operate. To make that happen, we need reliable, forward-looking insights—and we need them fast and on a continuous basis.

To understand how prepared retail banks are for a more connected future, Anaplan, in partnership with FTRemark, surveyed 50 banking executives on their experiences. The resulting report, “Joining the dots: How connected planning will transform banking,” reveals an incredibly patchy picture when it comes to planning, with considerable work still to be done in terms of connecting plans across the whole business.

As Anaplan’s head of finance solutions, I read “Joining the dots” with one question in mind: How can connected planning help finance leaders? Here are my three main takeaways from the report:

Address regulatory headaches. Finance professionals grapple with a seemingly never-ending conveyor belt of new capital and liquidity regulations.

FATCA, the United States’ law on tax compliance, and Basel III, with its beefed-up capital requirements, are currently testing industry professionals. The survey accurately reflects this picture, revealing that banks are finding it hard to develop the necessary scenario-based planning to respond to changing capital and liquidity regulations. Indeed, 74 percent of respondents rate it a significant challenge.

And the result? Increased fragmentation and disconnected systems, making integrated planning a nearly impossible task. Yet despite this picture, 58 percent of survey respondents said that they have not put digital measures in place to comply with financial services regulations in their planning process.

Flexible end-to-end modeling that is fully auditable offers a genuine solution to this situation while also reducing potential operational risk.

Anticipate what lies ahead. From my experience with hundreds of clients, I know that scenario-based planning is crucial. Finance professionals need to understand the myriad of potential situations that lie in our path and adjust our course accordingly. In the report, 42 percent of those surveyed cite inaccurate or untimely data as the biggest challenge for developing scenario-based modeling. Meanwhile, improving forward-looking planning was rated a top priority by 54 percent of respondents (click to tweet).

Legacy tools, siloed business processes, and challenges in handling large sets of external drivers all impose severe limitations on scenario-planning capabilities. Two out of three (66 percent) of respondents described their finance and risk architecture as “somewhat siloed” or “very siloed.”

Cloud-based connected planning can bring data, people, and plans together. Thankfully, the report shows how seriously businesses take this issue: 79 percent of respondents see improving integration across functions as a priority.

Shape the future with connected planning. The survey results clearly highlight the importance of action-oriented connected planning and its relevance to finance professionals. Respondents said budgeting is the process that would benefit most from cross-departmental planning, scoring a 5.5 out of a possible 6 (6 being the most beneficial).

Almost a third (30 percent) of respondents see finance and accounting as the main beneficiaries of cross-business planning. The benefits of such a solution are clear: Cross-business planning not only improves compliance and organizational efficiency, but also allows finance and business managers to make smarter business-focused decisions.

Uniting finance, risk, and regulatory data in one platform for planning, forecasting, and reporting is the reality that businesses need to work toward. (Click to tweet).

Those are my key takeaways from “Joining the dots: How connected planning will transform banking.” As a finance professional, do you agree or disagree? Please download the report and share your reactions in the comments.

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Joining the dots: how connected planning will transform banking

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