March 7, 2022
By Thibaut Antoniutti, FP&A Manager at Philip Morris International
Throughout different business cases and concrete examples, the panel of experts present the needed evolution of FP&A team, linked to new capabilities that will make FP&A teams “winning” ones in the evolving environment.
The proper integration of IT and Data into the finance framework is essential, but this should come with proper people collaboration for the FP&A team to fit and deliver recommendations to the business and deliver best in class solutions FP&A customers.
Constantly addressing evolving needs throughout the FP&A transformation journey will ensure the build of a winning team.
The evolution of the controlling / FP&A function at a large corporate (ie Takeda - presented by Carlos Castillo, Head of FP&A - Region Central, Southern & Eastern Europe) shows us the importance of defining (i) critical capabilities needed (ii) dimensions and (iii) properly segment top activities.
This stretched out the importance of having, of course, clear roles and responsibilities, and a clear framework to fit the vision and purpose of the company. But more important is the need to have people working as one team, embracing the vision and purpose of the company.
To that extent, it is interesting to see the results of the live poll shared during the session. In the below question, we can see the need of having different roles to build a successful team. (Figure 1)
The agile FP&A team has to deal with many tasks: strategic FP&A approach, fully integrated financial planning, strategy simulation, status control/workflow, Rolling Forecast, final reporting, storytelling. Many of these topics have been with us for a long time, but over the last few months, we have noticed that the frequency and complexity with which FP&A teams perform all of these tasks has increased dramatically.
The future of the FP&A function (as demonstrated by Michael Lengenfelder, Head of FP&A Product Management at Unit4) is further moving in the direction of a constant forecasting process and immediate reporting needs.
Connecting FP&A to the IT environment is about leveraging the strength that IT is bringing to the finance function. Should IT be part of Finance or working as a co-pilot? It depends on the decided structure but it’s highlighting out the importance of data governance with the key roles of data architects and data scientists needed to serve the future of FP&A function.
In a Post pandemic environment, the digitalisation of the FP&A competence model is essential as a need to be a business solving problem solution. In her presentation, Tanja Schlesinger, VP Business Intelligence OneSource at Deutsche Bahn Regio AG, clearly illustrates the strong appetite to embrace new technology to give a competitive advantage to the business and not simply make standalone digital improvements.
It’s key to address all the pain points, stress the critical role of data scientists, and avoid working in silos.
Transformation of the function, integration of different capabilities and other specifics needs converge to one main component naming the people collaboration.
In that sense, the poll results below really show the need of enhancing collaboration between roles/functions. (Figure 3)
Timothy Mhagama, Vice President Finance & CFO - Global TE Energy at TE Connectivity, mentioned that FP&A synergies can be achieved through the 3E:
Throughout this evolution of the function, the importance of People collaboration is even more important. To ensure the core capabilities required, it’s critical to address the barriers to achieving this evolution with ensuring proper alignment on:
Finally, the importance of having the right people in what we can call a new working hybrid environment resonates louder. Ulrike Porcher, Director Strategic Accounts Managed Solutions/Managed HR Services Lead at Robert Half highlighted (based on a large internal survey) the correlation between external targets and internal driven implementations. Results of the studies clearly show the trend for the future in terms of role need and expectation from People (flexibility, coaching, employee collaboration as a must-have).
In a nutshell, the transformation of the FP&A function is critical in a future continuously evolving environment. To achieve your company’s vision and deliver results, it is essential to build adequate winning FP&A teams.
To do so, it is critical to understand the value creation model of the function, having the right capabilities, the proper integration of IT and Data into the finance framework.
Despite a properly designed framework and clearly defined roles and responsibilities, some bumps in the road are inevitable. To fight these points and deliver recommendations to the business and deliver best in class solutions to FP&A customers, having the proper people collaboration is essential.
Shaping the FP&A future is a constant journey of capabilities and people evolution to fit the purpose of the company as shown in the poll results below (Figure 4).
Shaping the FP&A Future with a multi-disciplinary FP&A team with proper integration of IT and Data into the finance framework is essential.
Constantly addressing evolving needs and building the right capabilities throughout the FP&A transformation journey will ensure the build of a Winning Team.
Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of any companies that the author has been and is working for.
March 7, 2022
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