There is a significant gap between where financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is today and where it wants to be. But a new survey by AFP suggests a path forward to closing that gap.
According to the 2016 AFP FP&A Benchmarking Survey, FP&A functions can achieve greater efficiencies by investing in FP&A systems. The survey of 255 FP&A practitioners found that the more companies spend on technology, the less time they need to spend on routine tasks.
Among the survey findings:
- FP&A functions at companies with larger technology budgets spend less time on grunt work and more time on real analysis. FP&A staff spent an average of 384 FTE days performing routine tasks in companies that dedicate less than 10 percent of their budget to technology. In contrast, companies that spent between 10 to 20 percent on systems cut that number by more than half. Companies that spent 20 to 49 percent reduced that number to just over 62 days.
- Predictive analytics is a functionality many of today’s FP&A teams see as the next big step forward. Though only 18 percent of companies are fully enabled to use predictive analytics today, half of survey respondents expect their organizations to have such capability in the future.
- Nearly a third (29 percent) of survey respondents have access to integrated data across enterprise sources, as well as some external data, and they run both historic analysis as well as predictive algorithms. The majority of survey respondents believe that for their companies to be competitive, they will need access to real-time structured and unstructured data.
As FP&A departments close the gap between today’s traditional function and a more robust analytics group of the future, nearly 50 percent have switched to forward-looking forecasting techniques like driver-based modeling and rolling forecasting.
“Greater investment in technology liberates FP&A staff to do what they were hired to do, and what their organizations need them to do; namely, conduct robust analysis and forecasting to better inform their company’s strategic decisions,” said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of AFP.
To read the highlights and full report, go to: www.afponline.org/FPASurvey.