The 5th London FP&A Circle

January 25, 2018

On 25th January, the London FP&A Circle gathered for the fifth time to discuss what new challenges and trends are there in the FP&A field. In one room, 60 finance practitioners exchanged their expertise. They represented internationally acknowledged companies, such as Experian, Imperial Tobacco, Sony Pictures Television, Thomas Cook and many others. 

Agenda

  • A new era for FP&A
  • Latest trends in analytics, planning, modelling and systems
  • FP&A Maturity Models by the International FP&A Board (Analytics, Rolling Forecast, Business Partnering)
  • Conclusions and recommendations

At the meeting, the Circle generated several valuable ideas and identified top 5 FP&A Trends, about each of them you can learn more on our website:

1. Simplification

2. Driver-Based Planning

3. Data and Advanced Analytics

4. Integrated Planning

5. Strategic Business Partnering

To make it easier to identify the stage of the company's transformation the London FP&A Board developed three maturity models – on Analytics, Rolling Forecast and FP&A Business Partnering. All three of them were explained during the meeting.

The models can clarify some questions, but it is without any doubt that the implementation of new methods can be very challenging, especially when there are not enough investments in the field. To be successful in overcoming these challenges a company needs to be able to recognize them – always know your enemy, as the saying goes.

One of the main obstacles to the analytics transformation is traditional planning culture which has become an inseparable part of processes in many organisations. It takes companies a lot of time and effort to change their out-dated ways of dealing with FP&A. Finance professionals still regard Excel as the only suitable tool for planning. This blindness towards new technologies can cost companies time – and of course, money.

Devotion to the traditional culture may play its role in hindering the analytics transformation, but it is not the only factor. The Circle agreed that good analytics is impossible to imagine without proper quality data. That's why an increasing number of organisations is focusing on improving quality of their data. 

Although an FP&A professional deals mainly with numbers, he or she needs to have a versatile set of skills. As a result, recently a special term has been coined – FP&A talent, meaning that one should have specific traits of character to become a good FP&A professional.

Our Sponsors and Speakers

The 5th FP&A London Circle proved to be very productive. At the meeting, Hans GobinChris Whiddon and Maria Olsson shared their valuable insights with other finance practitioners. "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much" – Helen Keller liked to say on multiple occasions. Without any doubt, this quote is also applicable to the FP&A Trends events.

Many thanks to our global partners and sponsors Michael Page and Unit 4 Prevero for their continuous support for the London FP&A Circle.