FP&A Trends Survey 2023: Define the future of FP&A
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By Asif Masani, FP&A Manager at Coursera
At the recent FP&A Trends Webinar, senior finance professionals from diverse backgrounds and experience shared their views on the subject of Skills of the Future and How to Build Best-in-Class FP&A Teams.
This article explores the following insights from the speakers' presentations:
We started our discussion by looking at the 7 FP&A roles (Figure 1):
At the webinar, Alistair Gurney, Group FP&A Director, Unit4., walked us through a few key challenges in building winning FP&A Teams:
The key skills to overcome challenges and build effective FP&A teams include:
● Great Business Partnering relationships underpinned by reliable information
● Business-friendly processes
● Improvement in reporting facts and narratives and
● Leveraging more data
Valerie Martin, Director of Finance at Autodesk, shared her experience in finance soft skills optimisation.
Things are changing rapidly on
Middle management today has the tools to self-serve and find insights. More information is available, and decisions are made quickly on the spot.
FP&A is being pulled into different types of decision-making. In some of these areas, finance is not used to doing traditional finance. These are the topics that the Board of Directors are interested in. For Example, ESG sustainability, diversity, human capital, risk management etc.
From the above future of work trends on work. Diversity is at the top of the mind. This brings in a competitive edge as everybody has different perspectives and opinions. Working in a diverse environment requires a lot of focus on soft skills.
Let's look at three different lenses: Culture Change, Manage Current and Emerging team skillsets and Adapt Finance Leadership Style and structure.
Next, let's look at some tips and tricks that Valarie experienced in her role at Autodesk.
1. Culture Change
Key Questions: Deciding what behaviours you want to drive? Do we work in finance in different silos, or do we work on projects across multiple teams and functions? How do we look at business results?
2. Manage Current and Emerging team skillsets
Key Questions: Do we look at the What versus the How? How do we drive our mindset change? It's not working harder but focusing more on different things with different lenses. How do we bring EQ or emotional intelligence and related soft skills to the ground? And how do we drive that in our teams?
3. Adapt Finance Leadership Style and structure
Key Questions: How do we drive accountability, not only in our teams but across the board in the organisation? How do you build trust? How do we bring the importance of each role? All of us can have an impact, driving decisions and making FP&A as one of the most important people in the room.
Breaking down silos. Focussing on accountability based on a project versus a team. Creating psychological safety with our teams where you encourage risk-taking, celebrate mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
Saurabh Jain spoke during the next part of the webinar. VP Business Performance Controlling at Siemens Healthineers shared the following insights from his experience.
In many organisations, FP&A is mainly driving and reporting. However, there is very little insight sharing. Lack of collaboration, lack of engagement, lack of focus on critical priorities, and not being able to drive Business Partnering are common FP&A challenges.
Looking at a couple of real-life examples, Saurabh re-emphasised the following principles of storytelling.
With a conscious effort, data could be turned into insight for further use in decision-making.
The key takeaways from the session are:
We would like to thank our global sponsor, Unit4, for their great support with this FP&A Trends Webinar.
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