By Steve Morlidge, Business Forecasting thought leader, author of "Future Ready: How to Master Business Forecasting" and "The Little Book of Beyond Budgeting"
The London financial planning and analysis (FP&A) board recently held its first meeting of 2016, at which Steve Morlidge offered his insights on some of the challenges faced by practitioners in making sense of data and communicating it within organisations, and his ideas on how these shortcomings can be overcome. They will provide the basis for a forthcoming book ‘Present Sense’; a companion volume to his book on business forecasting ‘Future Ready’ which was published in 2012.
A few decades ago everything seemed so straightforward. When it came to planning and controlling businesses annual budgets were the only show in town. Managing performance simply consisted of comparing financial outcomes to these budgets on a periodic basis and using variance analysis to understand where and how deviations in performance had come about, to help the business ‘get back on track’. In this simple world of plan, actual and variance, simple presentational devices such as tables displaying columns of numbers sufficed.