Launched a year ago in London, the FP&A Club has seen major developments in Europe and the Middle East. Larysa Melnychuk, founder of the London club, recently spoke with gtnews about the progress the club has made over the past year, and where it is headed in 2014.
The goal of the FP&A Club was to create both an inspirational and educational forum for FP&A professionals in the financial centre of Europe. In many cases, Melnychuk observed companies using “old, inflexible models” and working under a traditional budgeting culture that made the planning and forecasting process lacking in analytics, long in time, expensive and inefficient.
However, FP&A is gradually becoming more influential and strategic than before. Melnychuk noted that industry leaders are treating the FP&A function as an important element of organizational competitive advantage. “FP&A processes, systems, people and business culture are changing to become more flexible and dynamic to significantly improve decision-making process in organizations,” she said. “In order to recognize the best practices in financial planning and analysis by learning from each other and through thought leaders, we created the FP&A Club—a place where we can meet, network and hear from our industry thought leaders.
Although Melnychuk was certain from the start that the project would be successful, the results exceeded expectations. In the last 12 months, the group has held 10 successful FP&A events and opened clubs in Kiev, Moscow and Dubai. March and April 2014 will see the opening of two more clubs in Stockholm, Sweden and Geneva, Switzerland.
Discussions at the clubs vary. Frequent subjects include:
- Latest FP&A trends
- Quality of business forecasting
- Implementation of rolling forecast
- Beyond budgeting philosophy
- FP&A systems
- FP&A business culture.
Recognizing diversity and the global aspect of the FP&A community, the club also decided to start a series of highly-focused and practical FP&A webinars.
In September 2013, the club created the London FP&A Advisory Board, which consists of 10 senior FP&A executives from different industries and backgrounds. “Through professional debate and discussion, at the London FP&A Advisory Board we recognize and communicate best practices in FP&A,” said Melnychuk. The next Advisory Board meeting, which takes place on 6 February, will focus on FP&A systems.
Through Melnychuk’s extensive travels, she is seeing a lot of enthusiasm and interest in FP&A innovations around the globe. “Though, there are obviously some country-specific features in any territory, the big FP&A trends are global and irreversible. Together, we need to build more flexible and dynamic FP&A processes that are run by strategic and influential FP&A professionals, true business partners and leaders in developing collaborative planning and forecasting routines,” she said.
Looking forward, Melnychuk believes that the new generation of FP&A systems, advances in business intelligence and big data technologies, and the emergence of a new generation of FP&A professionals will allow FP&A departments to implement quick, multidimensional and highly analytical processes. She see traditional “budgeting” management models giving way to ones that recognise the importance of rolling forecasts , scenario analysis, and on-demand planning processes, with more companies starting to look at risk-adjusted planning processes and methods of reducing non-value adding activities in FP&A.
This article originally appeared on gtnews.