The fourth meeting of the Boston FP&A Board was held on March 26, 2019. The meeting was held at the offices of Robert Half and was sponsored by not only Robert Half but also SAP. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Integrated FP&A.
Key Factors for FP&A Integration
The first issue addressed during the meeting was key factors for FP&A integration. The issue was addressed by the participants during the introductory phase of the meeting. During this phase participants provided their names, positions, and a one word answer to the following question: what is the one key factor for FP&A integration?
Over 30 answers were given and here are the top 5 answers:
Biggest Obstacles to FP&A Integration
The second issue addressed during the meeting was obstacles to FP&A integration. This issue was presented by Larysa Melnychuk. Larysa, through her work in this area, provided the attendees with the following obstacles:
- Data & Technology
- Strategic Goal
- Competing Priorities
- Systems Challenges
- Lack of Alignment
Integration Implementation among the Attendees
The third issue addressed during the meeting was the number of integration implementations.
When speaking of integrations the focus was on 3 areas: Strategic Planning, FP&A, and Operational Planning/Forecasting. Larysa addressed this issue by asking the attendees about integration within their companies. Here are the answers to Larysa’s questions:
- 9 people indicated an integration between Strategic Planning and FP&A.
- 12 people indicated an integration between FP&A and Operational Planning/Forecasting.
- 1 person indicated a linkage among Strategic Planning, FP&A, and Operational Planning/Forecasting.
Comments from Guest Speaker
The meeting shifted from Larysa to Bhanu Suryadevara. Bhanu is the Senior Director of FP&A at Philips and served as the meeting’s guest speaker. As guest speaker Bhanu provided a number of takeaways from his presentation which addressed how Integrated FP&A is being incorporated at his company and here are the takeaways:
- Integrated Planning is a social experiment.
- Movement from Strategic to Operational Plans.
- The foundation is Target Setting and Alignment.
- The time period is current plus 3 years.
- Drivers and Targets are set up-front.
- Non-Controllable items are moved to the end.
- The key enablers are: Leadership/Behavior; Goal Setting Models; Integration of Sales, Operations, and Financial Inputs; Keep Internal Shifts to Late Stage; Tooling to Track Versions and Sources; Adaptability.
After Bhanu’s presentation the attendees were asked to organize themselves into groups. The purpose of this organization was to give the attendees an opportunity to discuss among themselves answers to 4 questions about Integrated FP&A. The 4 questions were
- What are the key steps in the implementation of Integrated FP&A?
- What are the cultural and people aspects of Integrated FP&A?
- What are the systems and analytic aspects of Integrated FP&A?
- What are the processes aspects of Integrated FP&A?
The attendees met in 4 groups. Group 1 focused on the first question, Group 2 focused on the second question, Group 3 focused on the third question, and Group 4 focused on the fourth question. Here are the answers that each group provided for the questions asked of them.
Keys Steps in the Implementation of Integrated FP&A (Question 1)
- Top-down mandate
- Common thread
Cultural and People Aspects of Integrated FP&A (Question 2)
- The future versus the past
- Motivation of people
- Culture of business partnering
- The role of finance
Systems and Analytics Aspects of Integrated FP&A (Question 3)
- Look at the whole drivers
- Key drivers
- What to achieve
- System identification
- Flexible, scalable, master data
- Go beyond traditional planning
- Connect FP&A analytics to actuals
Processes Aspects of Integrated FP&A (Question 4)
- Leadership buy-in
- Common denominators
- Manage the length of the process
- Change management
Integrated FP&A has been, is, and will be an important part of the FP&A landscape. This landscape will be shaped by people involved in FP&A Board meetings. In regard to shaping the landscape of Integrated FP&A from the Boston FP&A Board meeting the work of the attendees, speakers, and sponsors is greatly appreciated.