Most firms know financial planning is essential for commercial success, so the time and money committed to these plans – and the data and reports that underpin them – is unsurprising. However, these are not always well invested.
Too often the resources expended on planning reflect the challenges of the process rather than the depth of the plan: Finance departments struggle to draw together from multiple data sources and resolve complex adjustments, conflicts and errors. Moreover, it is not just the efficiency of the process that suffers, but the robustness of the resulting plans. This undermines the role finance is increasingly asked to play as a strategic partner to the business, with responsibilities that expand far outside its traditional scope.
To better understand the challenges facing these departments, Accountagility surveyed 200 chief financial officers and finance directors about their planning and processes.
The findings show well-recognised weaknesses in existing solutions, significant challenges and concerns about processes, and frustrations with the e ort and complexity involved.
This paper argues that the continued reliance on spreadsheets is actually a symptom of the inadequacy of many alternative solutions. This undermines the financial planning process, with the consequences found in the costs, effort and integrity of the planning process and resulting plans.