Finance and accounting team members nowadays seek more effective communication and clearly defined roles and responsibilities to be able to give their best in their functions.
This practice helps them collaborate well with non-finance colleagues and allows them to do their best work, which benefits the organisation as a whole along the way.
Financial performance management platform Planful, enumerated three key points to build an agile and collaborative FP&A function.
1. Invest in a modern, cloud-based tech solution
Effective FP&A teams invest in cloud-based financial performance management (FPM) technology to optimise workflows, including data preparation.
FPMs provide finance and accounting teams with a single source of truth to house financial data as this enables finance to safeguard financial information while non-finance budget managers can track their team’s performance and monitor spend.
An FPM solution also provides immediate access to trustworthy and accurate data. According to a survey by Planful, 94% of respondents trust their financial technology to provide accurate views into the health of their business and to drive strategic financial decision-making.
These platforms can also double as collaboration tools, allowing non-finance users the ability to work with FP&A to analyse important financial data for their team, resulting in an agile FP&A function that can work with non-finance teams to adjust budgets when needed or if market conditions shift.
2. Use automated data preparation
According to Planful's survey, 43% of respondents cited advances in automation as the top benefit.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are positively changing the way FP&A functions by lifting the burden off of overworked teams so that they can think creatively to help their organisations grow.
Some financial planning tools now even offer AI functionality that can spot anomalies in data sets no matter how large.
One of the big fears around AI is that it will replace the need for human workers within existing financial workflows.
AI provides FP&A leaders with a "gut check" to ensure their organisations are on the right track, as AI can’t replace the human element — financial and accounting processes and therefore there is still a need for a human hand to make strategic decisions for business growth.
3. Build strong partnerships across departments
Partnering with colleagues in other departments is a significant way to improve communication and combat team confusion, according to Planful.
One way to boost cross-functional relationships is to invite key stakeholders outside the finance team to weigh in on goals.
Working together on shared KPIs fosters conversation between both parties and encourages a mutual understanding: Finance learns about marketing’s priorities, and marketing can talk about success in a way that finance can more easily understand.
Strong inter-departmental relationships promote a sense of ownership of the outcomes for both teams.