Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World

Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World

It’s encouraging to find fewer articles on how FP&A can deal with fallout from the pandemic. Themes are shifting to planning for the future, keeping employees happy, and, in a welcome yet boring return to some level of normalcy, taxes. There’s even talk about adding things to the CFO’s plate, like tracking corporate goals on broader environmental and social issues. The one constant, however, is the continuing uncertainty around everything from global economic direction to, well, taxes. At the center of it all is FP&A.

Here are a few expert opinions we’ve found helpful in the past week, and we hope you do, too.

What the Experts are Saying on FP&A

Deloitte / WSJ: Anticipate, Test ‘What If’ Scenarios With Analytics

Executives expect change and uncertainty to continue. But they’re also using 2020 as a guide for dealing with tomorrow’s uncertainty. Scenario planning, modeling, and what-if analysis are all critical tools for helping teams think through and prepare for possibilities before they happen. They also put FP&A in direct collaboration with the business as you evaluate your potential reactions. “(T)hese tools and techniques can help organizations consider a broad array of possible risks they might otherwise miss, then plan and exercise their responses.”

CFO: The CFO of 2030

A recent CFO panel discussed how the next decade will change their role. Key predictions included the need to better understand and utilize increasing mountains of data, becoming closer partners with the business, and embracing the changing workplace and worker. They also expect another black swan event to happen, but say CFOs who understood their data were able to better manage their pandemic response. “(D)ata-literate CFOs were the ones who were ready for this crisis. They will be the CFOs who can best navigate the next inevitable one.”

CFO Dive: ESG to transform CFO role

The coronavirus pandemic added to the momentum behind calls for corporate reform and action on environmental, social, and governance issues, or ESG. It’s pushing organizations to report on more than just financials, and the Big Four accounting firms recently agreed upon a set of standard ESG metrics. But it also puts more pressure on CFOs to start tracking and reporting on these metrics. “(The) CFOs’ role will be transformed as they become responsible for reporting on far more than just financials.”

Financial Management: Using financial forecasts to set compensation

Many compensation plans revolve around goals the pandemic may have rendered unreachable. FP&A can take the lead on realigning compensation metrics with achievable goals such as customer retention, cross selling, and relationship building with current, and even past, customers. FP&A can also help find less expensive incentives, such as increased PTO, promotions, and flexible work situations. But remember to keep employees informed of your plans. “The organizations that prioritize transparent communication are those that can most effectively retain key players during down times.”

Stay Tuned for More Useful FP&A Content

We’ll be continuing this weekly update with links related to how FP&A and CFO’s are leading their organizations through the continuing recovery. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please engage with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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HR Transformation: Better HR, better people, better business

HR Transformation: Better HR, better people, better business

At Planful, when we talk with our customers about finance transformation we hear clear goals and talk of compressing cycle times and raising the financial IQ in every corner of the business. But when we listen to Human Resources leaders talk about transformation of their domain, the outcomes usually aren’t as defined. 

Why is that? Let’s dig into HR transformation and uncover why it matters and how to take your team from being seen as a service desk (Payroll questions? New employee onboarding tasks?) to a strategic advisor to the business. 

Transform HR into a Strategic Asset

When teams talk about transformation, it’s usually in the context of digitization. While that’s critical for speed and efficiency these days, that’s not enough of an end goal to rally support from the c-suite. The CFO especially wants to know the costs and the benefits of any transformation initiative. For Sales, Marketing, Operations, and other revenue- or cost-driving teams, it’s easy to quantify an investment. Add 2 new sales reps, increase revenue by X. Automate a production process, cut costs by Y. The ROI calculation is easy.

But for HR, it’s hard to quantify the benefits of our more strategic initiatives. 

I’ve been in HR for over a decade, and I’ve worked with Finance again and again, partnering to get their support to invest in HR initiatives like company culture, adding programs to harness and cultivate promising talent, expanding coaching and training capabilities, or enhancing employee wellbeing. 

It’s a struggle because business leaders can’t instantly see the value in these moves, which supports the view (at some companies) that employee training, career progression and wellness leads to long term employee retention, but may not translate into improved productivity or revenue. I didn’t have the time to focus on HR strategy because I was constantly in a reactive mode. I was stuck focusing only on HR issues while the CEO and CFO were focused on growth, costs, and ROI. I wasn’t speaking their language. 

The primary goal of HR transformation, then, needs to be elevating HR to be recognized as a strategic asset for the business. But to do so, you, as an HR leader, need to speak the language of Finance. That is, costs, benefits, and ROI. 

Speed and Efficiency are Key… and Quantifiable

When you’re in a reactive, fire-fighting mode, it’s natural to become subservient to the business. It doesn’t matter if you’re in HR or any other role. If you don’t have the time to rise above the tactical noise, you’re left to just react. The business needs 3 manager roles filled, so you set off to fill them. There’s no time to think about building career tracks, improving employee experience, optimizing your span of control.

Efficiency, and the resulting agility, gets you out of reactive mode and gives you time to think. Specifically, you want to digitize paper-based processes, automate simple but manual processes, and get ahead of the busy work that sucks up your time. It also accelerates cycle times, so recruiting for a new role can start in 3 days instead of 3 weeks, for example. Speed is a tangible benefit, and both Finance and the business can see the value in that. Efficiency comes from HR transformation. But transformation drives so much more than just efficiency. 

Digitization Drives Intelligence

Begin by collecting your HRIS, compensation, benefits, and other HR systems’ data into a single place for planning and budgeting. From there, you can easily break down the business silos to incorporate operational, financial, and other business data. 

Automating these data integrations removes the friction of manual data collection. Better yet, it opens up whole new worlds of analysis, scenario planning, and reporting based on accurate, instant, and comprehensive data. You’re no longer limited to just HR data stuck in a disconnected spreadsheet. Instead, it increases the accuracy of your numbers and gives perspective to your work in the context of strategic company priorities.

Now you’ve armed yourself with more complete information to weave a better story for Finance as you explain your needs, detail the costs and benefits, and show the expected business outcomes. You’re empowered to put a tangible value on an unfilled role, show the budget impact of termination and severance versus coaching, or explain the cost disparities between recruiting for a new role or promoting from within. 

For Finance, the real value of your insights is the lack of surprises, and crystal clear visibility into how the investment in a strategic workforce translates to the company’s financial performance. When you have complete and accurate data, and real-time, collaborative planning tools, then you’ll be able to prepare Finance for different scenarios and different costs well before they happen. 

Better HR, Better People, Better Business

Hopefully now you’re sold on HR transformation because it gives you more time and more intelligence to finally become a strategic asset to your company. Finance is coming around because they see the value in understanding HR’s needs in the language of costs, benefits, and ROI. But wait, there’s more!

When you have the time to take a strategic view of HR, and Finance understands the justification for investing in HR and people, you’ll then — finally — have the power to build an organization that’s much more attractive to top talent. You’ll be able to invest in programs that keep top performers from leaving, that build fulfilling careers, and that create an inclusive culture that enhances your employee experience. 

There’s been a lot of research on the ingredients companies need to add to help their people, and their business, shine. Google points to effective managers, Accenture says to address fundamental needs, PwC worked with University of Southern California to identify what makes people their best selves

Transformation gives you the time to investigate those types of strategic moves, and to get Finance and the c-suite to support them based on real benefits. So what are you waiting for? Find out how Planful can help transform HR and workforce planning into a strategic asset to the business. Connect with Planful this week at HR Tech—schedule a meeting with us here. 

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How the Boston Red Sox Modernized Finance with Planful: Tim Zue, Boston Red Sox CFO, on the Being Planful Podcast

How the Boston Red Sox Modernized Finance with Planful: Tim Zue, Boston Red Sox CFO, on the Being Planful Podcast

Our third episode of Being Planful featured Tim Zue, Executive Vice President / Chief Financial Officer for the Boston Red Sox. This professional baseball team, which formed in 1908, is one of the winningest teams in the sport, and has won nine World Series championships. But, just like any business, they faced the common Finance challenges of gathering data, generating reports, and juggling spreadsheets. That is, until they modernized Finance and moved to Planful.

In this episode, Tim explained how the Major League Baseball organization used Planful to accelerate their modernization efforts and strike out four of their biggest Finance challenges. He also covers how Planful has helped Finance reduce manual work, respond more quickly to the needs of the business, and be more effective in their financial planning, forecasting, and analysis. And, he shares some insight on how the team is planning their post-pandemic comeback. 

Here are a few highlights of this episode.

Modernizing a 110-Year-Old Organization

Every successful business has incorporated technology into their processes, and the Boston Red Sox are no different. But, they chose to accelerate their Finance modernization efforts starting a decade ago. In the past 10 years, the organization has moved from handwritten timesheets, manually signed paper invoices, and paper-based expense reports into a digitally-driven team. However, their core FP&A processes remained mostly manual and entirely in spreadsheets. That drove Tim and his team to rethink how Finance operated. 

“We had 50 to 100 different Excel templates that were emailed out or saved on network drives,” Tim explained. “As you can imagine, that was a process ripe for human error.”

But as the Red Sox started to modernize FP&A, they were faced with four key challenges to overcome: 

  1. Adoption: Users were reluctant to leave the familiarity of Excel.
  2. Security: They struggled to control access to sensitive spreadsheets and data within those spreadsheets. 
  3. Productivity: Finance was burdened with manual heavy-lifting of data collection, coordination, and reporting.
  4. Impact: Finance couldn’t easily run or revise what-if scenarios and forecasts.

Luckily, Planful helped Tim and team overcome all of these challenges, and more! 

An Excel-based Syntax in Planful

Excel has become the defacto Finance tool over the past few decades. But with manual spreadsheets scattered across the organization, Tim explained the frustration of keeping them current and tracking down the source of frequent errors. Adding to the frustration was the nearly 100 spreadsheets used by more than 50 departments, all connected to a primary spreadsheet. “If a link was broken, it was a nightmare to troubleshoot,” said Tim.

But, since Planful uses an Excel-based syntax and a familiar user interface, the transition away from spreadsheets was fast and easy—even across dozens of individual sheets. 

“People got up to speed very fast, and they embraced it right away,” Tim added. “Planful has the ability to have all of those different workbooks all in one system. They’re all under one roof. They’re all linked together so there’s no issue with error checking. And Planful provides easy template creation, maintenance, version control, and user adoption. It was really an easy transition.”

Easy Access Control with Planful

Protecting sensitive information is quite the challenge in spreadsheets. So the Red Sox built workarounds using password protection on entire sheets, individual tabs, and even departmental shared folders. But that presented new challenges in maintaining those passwords, sharing needed information within sheets, and changing access as individuals required or no longer needed certain access. 

“Planful allows us to manage permissions with the quick click of a button,” said Tim. “We can give different access to different people, or even just give read access to certain people.”

Tim also mentioned the various hierarchies across different departments, which impact the appropriate access levels. But Planful helped Tim’s team create role-based access controls, further easing the implementation and management of permissions. 

More Efficient Finance with Planful

The budgeting process was particularly challenging for the Red Sox finance team. It required business managers to provide the data manually, but it was then up to Finance to do all of the data entry and reporting. Worse yet, when managers asked for specific data or reports, Finance just didn’t have the bandwidth to respond. 

“When we got a request for a report, we asked them how important it was,” explained Tim. “It could take us hours to run an ad hoc report, so it didn’t happen very often.”

But Planful gave the entire organization self-service budget entry and reporting, which removed much of the burden from Finance. Managers can now enter and approve their budget submissions, but more importantly, can easily generate valuable reports to track progress.

“At the click of a button, they can get all the access to the information they need,” said Tim. “Being able to spot trends, being able to look at unexpected variances, being able to see around corners has really empowered our budget managers.”

What-Ifs in Minutes Not Days with Planful

Every business has uncertainty and relies on assumptions, and the Red Sox are no exception. But with Finance running on spreadsheets, it just wasn’t feasible to revise their what-if scenarios or adjust forecasts frequently. It was just too “cumbersome, error prone, and time intensive,” as Tim put it, so they only updated forecasts twice per year. 

Now, with Planful, Tim and team can easily set up multiple what-if scenarios, quickly adjust assumptions, and easily compare results. It’s enabled better and faster decision making for the entire business as conditions change or new information becomes available. Planful has even enabled the team to instantly compare actuals versus forecasts and budgets. 

“The actual results feed into the forecast so we have immediate visibility to do the variance analysis,” said Tim. “Literally what used to take us days now just takes us minutes.” 

The speed has helped the Red Sox move from semi-annual forecasts, to quarterly, and now to monthly. 

Red Sox Hit a Planful Homerun

In the podcast, Tim also dives into some of the deeper benefits they’re realizing with Planful. These include the minimal IT involvement with the Planful cloud platform, and the easy remote access for users to engage with the platform from anywhere. Tim also expressed his delight with the online and phone support offered by Planful customer service. And, he specifically mentioned the Planful product team and how they incorporate customer needs into new Planful features. 

“Probably one of the most important things that we value from the partnership is the idea that they’re always constantly improving the product,” concluded Tim. “Their development team is proactively seeking to make product improvements every day.”

Subscribe to Being Planful

To hear all about Tim’s journey to modernize Finance at the Boston Red Sox, listen to episode #3 of Being Planful

This new podcast series explores the benefits of adopting a “Planful” mindset by inviting your FP&A peers, analysts, industry experts, and more, to share their experiences and insights. Podcasting also lets us stay socially-distant while giving you a more flexible way to learn about Continuous Planning, whether it’s watching it on your phone, listening during your morning run, or tuning-in whenever it’s convenient.
If you’d like to subscribe, click on your podcast platform of choice (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify), or just search for “Planful” wherever you listen. I’ll be releasing new episodes often, so be sure to subscribe. And, if you have any comments, questions, or think you’d make a great guest, send me an email at beingplanful@planful.com.

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Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World

Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World

CFOs are becoming c-suite heroes for their pandemic response, as FP&A has been thrust into the spotlight of constant scenario planning and forecasting. Uncertainty, of course, remains the name of the game, and a pile of new surveys shows that most CFOs expect that to continue. On the bright side, they also expect 2021 salaries to increase (albeit slightly), and remote work to continue driving productivity gains.

Here are a few expert opinions we’ve found helpful in the past week, and we hope you do, too.

What the Experts are Saying on FP&A

CFO: CFOs to the Rescue

Many CFOs stepped up to face the multitude of challenges companies experienced during the pandemic. A recent survey indicates increases in FP&A productivity during remote work, the acceleration of automation efforts, and constant financial modeling and scenario planning all added up to further burnish the CFO image. Whether they can maintain that position, however, depends on how well they can provide predictability amid ongoing uncertainty. “Looking ahead, the CFO is well-positioned to lead the way as an enterprise value creator.”

WSJ: Companies Face Uncertain Health Costs as Employees Defer Treatments

Healthcare benefits are a major component of every company’s employee budget. The past 4 years have seen a 6 to 7% annual increase to this line item, and while 2020 benefit costs are expected to increase at a slightly lower rate, many are forecasting costs to rise by more than 8% in 2021. That’s coupled with uncertainty on health-related costs as employees’ altered habits make it difficult to predict how these costs might shift. “People are deferring many routine medical treatments during the coronavirus pandemic, creating unexpected savings for some employers, while making it harder for companies to forecast health-benefit costs in the year ahead.”

CFO: Is Remote Work Working?

When asked about their plans back in March, three-quarters of CFOs said they expected to move at least 5% of workers to permanently remote roles. Now, after living with it for several months, they’re expecting that share to be much higher. Behind the shift, it seems, is that CFOs were initially wary of a productivity drop. But those concerns are quickly fading, and some have even seen productivity increase as much as 15%. “The CFOs in most organizations want to make sure they get the best return they can per dollar spent on employees.”

CFO Dive: 1 in 3 employers to lower 2021 pay raises

Ongoing budget concerns means raises will be smaller next year. That’s what Willis Towers Watson found in a recent survey of employers. Non-executive employees are still projected to get a 2.6% increase in 2021, and 84% of companies expect to offer pay raises. “For many companies, reducing salary budgets, and in some cases, suspending pay raises, was the most viable option, as they balance remaining competitive with maintaining financial stability.”

Stay Tuned for More Useful FP&A Content

We’ll be continuing this weekly update with links related to how FP&A and CFO’s are leading their organizations through the continuing recovery. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please engage with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World

Being Planful: Helpful FP&A Resources to Navigate an Uncertain World

Our fickle reality continues to push and pull FP&A forecasts based on the latest data and outlooks, underscoring the need for an agile and flexible planning effort this year. To meet these needs, many CFOs reacted to the pandemic by investing in technology for Finance. One surprising outcome of this investment has been an optimistic business outlook. Those happy CFOs are viewing uncertainty as an opportunity, and have taken to reimagining their planning processes for the months ahead.

Here are a few expert opinions we’ve found helpful in the past week, and we hope you do, too.

What the Experts are Saying on FP&A

CFO Dive: CFO enthusiasm towards fintech investments unaffected by pandemic

CFOs have looked to finance technologies to solve pandemic-related issues. A recent survey found it’s also helped them prepare for a future of continued uncertainty. Nearly three-quarters of CFOs say finance software improves agility and remote work, but also accuracy and, more tangibly, cash flow. What’s missing, CFOs say, is artificial intelligence and machine learning that can replace manual tasks. Regardless, investments in FP&A tech seem to correlate with expected success. “Sixty-five percent of respondents who were enthusiastic towards adopting new technologies expect their company to grow over the next 12 months, while only 11% of respondents less enthusiastic about technology expect the same.”

PwC: Use disruption to rework the finance operating model 

For a change of pace, here’s a podcast episode that explores how Finance can find opportunities for improvement amidst disorder. Incorporating finance technologies into processes is a fast and effective way to rise above some of the commotion, but it also gives Finance more time to focus on the strategic aspects of the job. “Digitizing processes is where the most value can be unlocked.”

Financial Management: Making strategic planning relevant in an uncertain world

The traditional approach to planning becomes less effective as more uncertainty enters the picture. But having a realistic and resilient plan is critical for bringing focus to organizational efforts, especially in today’s climate. Resilience comes from planning for a wide range of potential scenarios, which provides agility as situations change. Being realistic might mean pulling back from 12- and 18-month plans to create shorter-term, but more credible plans. “Through a blended process of innovative thinking, rational planning, and realistic financial modelling, organizations can create a living strategy that adapts to change while staying true to the mission.”

CFO Dive: Outward-focused finance team essential

FP&A is always working to increase the financial IQ of the business, but it’s just as critical for that knowledge transfer to work both ways. The CFO of Siemens USA, Marsha Smith, takes that to heart, having pushed her team to understand contract terms, explore risk management, and even learn how to speak with customers. During the pandemic, that mindset kept her focused on customer and employee satisfaction in addition to financial metrics. “’If we manage to address satisfaction and product quality, our customers give us repeat orders,’ she said. ‘And if our employees are working the way we hope they’d work, we get projects and products out, on schedule and on quality.’”

CFO: Holiday Retail Sales Forecast to Rise 1% to 1.5%

Slowing job gains point to a longer recovery period than expected after the summer’s strong employment numbers. But while most CFOs are still optimistic about the next 12 months (see article above), a recent report expects 2020 holiday sales to be just marginally improved over last year. Retail sales, according to Deloitte, will increase by less than 1.5% year over year. One potential bright spot, according to the firm’s U.S. economic forecaster, could be that “reduced spending on pandemic-sensitive services such as restaurants and travel may help bolster retail holiday sales somewhat.”

Stay Tuned for More Useful FP&A Content

We’ll be continuing this weekly update with links related to how FP&A and CFO’s are leading their organizations through the continuing recovery. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please engage with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Dynamic Collaboration: Changing How FP&A Works

Dynamic Collaboration: Changing How FP&A Works

We update our products each month to ensure that our customers are always benefiting from the latest features. In each release we enhance existing capabilities, add new features, and make upgrades behind the scenes to improve speed and performance. But before these upgrades hit your application, we talk with customers and use that feedback in our planning, architecting, and development for months or quarters, sometimes longer. It’s this dedication to solving the challenges of FP&A that allows Planful to continue delivering visionary Continuous Planning solutions. 

Our recent Summer20 release is proof. It offers a redesigned Workforce Planning experience, improved speed and performance, and the industry-first Dynamic Collaboration. We’re laser focused on helping FP&A compress cycle times, raise the financial IQ in every corner of the business, and work collaboratively. Summer20 featured a bit of each.

There’s a lot for our customers to be excited about in this release, but let’s focus on Dynamic Collaboration and how this innovation will fundamentally change how FP&A works. Yes, it’s that big.

Usability is Everything 

What excites me about my role at Planful is, first and foremost, building a great team. We’ve brought together an amazing R&D team that continues to innovate alongside, and ahead of, our most passionate customers. With companies accelerating their digital transformation efforts in response to the pandemic, and with FP&A under pressure to change every model, plan, and forecast, Planful is giving our customers the tools they need to build a modern finance function. We were building collaborative features into Planful well before the pandemic, so our customers have been able to quickly transition to remote work and rework their planning efforts as they rebounded from the chaos. 

But just delivering the best technology is not good enough, in our opinion. More critically, we need to be sure our customers use those technologies. User experience is everything. Part of our mantra here is to only put usable, intuitive, and beautiful products in front of our customers. Our new Workforce Planning experience is a perfect example because it hits all three of those. 

Our moves to constantly improve the user experience aren’t just about aesthetics. It’s about usability, value, and even freedom. Freedom from drudgery, frustration, errors, tedious manual efforts, and even freedom from your desk. The freedom you get with consumer apps is what people expect at work. You can watch Netflix on your television as easily as your laptop or your phone, in your house or on the road, whenever you like. 

Technology has to be usable, above all, but then it must deliver value to your business. Which brings us back to Dynamic Collaboration.

Collaboration is Critical

We’re all still somewhat shocked by the fallout from COVID-19, and the ripple effects will be felt for years. But two immediate results of the pandemic were instantly felt: the move to remote work and the need to revise everything FP&A did prior to March 2020.

Companies that already had some level of digital transformation underway had an easier time transitioning to remote work. Cloud-based solutions and modern communications tools enabled people to work from their kitchen tables—all they needed was an internet connection. Work could still take place. FP&A that had already moved out of spreadsheets and email were somewhat prepared. Those who hadn’t were struggling. 

Throwing out playbooks and plans, however, caused FP&A specific pain. Planful customers, however, could quickly jump in, work together, and start revising plans. Usage of our platform skyrocketed during the first few months of the pandemic as teams revised plans again and again. The frequency at which companies needed to change accelerated rapidly, so the speed at which FP&A had to work increased in parallel. Those with modern tools managed to keep up and even thrive. Now they’ll never go back because the reality is clear: planning must be continuous.

Today, FP&A needs more of everything, especially information. Not just data, but information. The “why” behind the numbers and the story behind the decisions, in context, right now. 

That’s not collaboration, it’s Dynamic Collaboration.

FP&A as Storytellers

FP&A are storytellers. Their job is to understand and communicate the why behind the numbers. Helping them tell that story is something we’ve been working on for quite a while, and now it’s coming to fruition with Dynamic Collaboration. We expect this to be a groundbreaking new capability for FP&A, and the feedback we’ve gotten so far is that this is where FP&A is heading. 

The analogy I like to use for storytelling is, whatever you can do on a whiteboard, you should be able to do in Planful. As you tell the story in person and on a whiteboard, you point to other information, create connections, assign owners and tasks, add new information, list action items, and more. You create the story by pulling in all of the bits and pieces necessary for the listener to connect the dots as you go. 

For FP&A, the base story is budgets versus actuals. But that’s a one dimensional story. Anyone can see the variance, but why is there that variance? Why was our actual performance materially different than what we thought it was going to be? What conditions or decisions led to that variance? Who made those decisions? What other information did they have, or what missing information would have led to a better decision? 

Dynamic Collaboration adds rich conversations, in context and in real-time, to the numbers. It’s a new way of thinking for FP&A and it’s a powerful new capability that, after using it for a few days, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Searching through emails or scanning spreadsheet cells to find a comment is incredibly disruptive as you’re building your plan or forecast, and it’s also incredibly cumbersome when you need to reassemble the story. With Dynamic Collaboration, all of this information is available right in Planful. 

As Planful’s CTO I’m frequently asked by our CEO, Grant, about my budget numbers. With Dynamic Collaboration, Grant can tap a specific value, type his question right there, and tag me with an assignment. I’ll see the question in context with the numbers and be able to answer, right there. A week or month or year from now, when we wonder why we made a decision or why we spent less here or more there, we can go back and read that conversation for more color. 

Modern FP&A, of Course

Dynamic Collaboration captures the granular story behind numbers and decisions so FP&A can tell a better story. This new, easy to use feature is groundbreaking, not only for Planful, but for FP&A. It fundamentally changes the collaboration workflow, removes friction, and keeps everything in a single app and tied to the data in question. 

My team of developers, engineers, and technologists at Planful is constantly looking for ways to modernize how FP&A works. We’re thinking years ahead so our customers get access to innovative tools and technologies before they even realize they need them. Dynamic Collaboration is one such capability, and we are confident that it will change the way that FP&A works.

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Here are a few expert opinions we’ve found helpful in the past week, and we hope you do, too.

What the Experts are Saying on FP&A

Deloitte / WSJ: CFOs Evaluate Real Estate for Strategic Alignment

For months, CFOs have been looking at largely empty offices with open floor plans and wondering how those real estate assets will fit into their future plans. But now, as restrictions ease, CFOs are faced with the conflicting needs of working parents, at-risk employees, and managers who’ve seen productivity increase with remote work. They’re also facing the cost of retooling offices, providing protective supplies, upgrading HVAC systems, and more. “(F)or CFOs, planning for and provisioning of office space will likely become increasingly nuanced in a post-COVID-19 economy.”

CFO: What’s the Right Way to Return to the Workplace?

Looking at long-term goals is the best strategy as workers begin to return to the office. There will be short-term needs, obviously, but it’s important to recognize that your workplace will likely be permanently changed due to the pandemic. And don’t forget about customer and supplier expectations, since their reopening plans may differ from yours. On the bright side, this also could set the stage for an ultra-flexible business strategy. “The pandemic presents a rare opportunity for a broad range of organizations to pivot to new strategies.”

PYMNTS: CFOs Must Focus On Customers Amid Digital Shift

As the pandemic, wildfires, and more keep your FP&A eyes focused on cash, remind yourself not to lose sight of the customer, says the CFO of PayPal. Just as your business needs have changed radically over the past 9 months, so have the needs of customers. That should alter how you invest in not just sales, but also customer service, e-commerce, digital transformation, and more. “(CFOs) must take the long-term view while being mindful of the intersection and interdependencies between finance, operations and the customer experience.”

CFO: Digitally Innovate to Create Real Value

Digital transformation extends to every corner of the business, from the supply chain to sales. But that doesn’t mean you need to be an internet company to take advantage of transformation. COVID-19 disrupted every supply chain, for example, but those with digital agility and flexibility were able to quickly rebound and adjust. The point, according to this Accenture managing director, is to determine where transformation can help your business, and then quickly move to implement it. “(D)igital models can often act as an insurance policy for the business when it enters uncertain and/or challenging periods.”

Stay Tuned for More Useful FP&A Content

We’ll be continuing this weekly update with links related to how FP&A and CFO’s are leading their organizations through the continuing recovery. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please engage with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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