Financial Planning

Financial Planning Definition

Financial planning enables a business to determine how it will afford to achieve its objectives and strategic goals. A business typically sets a vision and objectives, and then immediately creates a financial plan to support those goals. The financial plan describes all of the resources and activities that the company will require—and the expected timeframes—for achieving these objectives.

Financial planning is crucial to organizational success because it compliments the business plan as a whole, confirming that set objectives are financially achievable.

The financial planning process includes multiple tasks, including:

  • Confirming the vision and objectives of the business
  • Assessing the business environment and company priorities
  • Identifying which resources the business needs to achieve its objectives
  • Assigning costs business costs centers included in the plan
  • Quantifying the amount of equipment, labor, materials, and other resources needed
  • Creating and setting a budget
  • Identifying any issues and risks with the budget
  • Establishing the time period of the plan or planning horizon, either short-term (typically 12 months) or long-term (2 to 5 years)
  • Preparing a full financial plan summarizing all key investments, budgets and departmental costs

Generally, the financial partner role includes three areas:

  • Strategic financial management;
  • Determining financial management objectives; and
  • Managing the planning cycle itself.
  • Connecting business partners and teams to financial plan

What Is Financial Planning?

Financial planning is the process of assessing the current financial situation of a business to identify future financial goals and how to achieve them. The financial plan itself is a document that serves as a roadmap for a company’s financial growth. It reflects the current status of the business, what progress they intend to make, and how they intend to make it.

Financial plans include budgets, but the terms are not interchangeable. Budgets are just one piece of a financial business plan, which should also include other important information that contribute to a complete picture of a business’ financial health, such as detailed, itemized breakdowns of company assets; typical expenditures; and forecasts of income, cash flow, and revenue.

Typically, business financial plans also focus on specific growth goals and other long-term objectives, as well as potential obstacles to achieving those objectives. A detailed financial planning checklist can identify overlooked opportunities and highlight possible risks that will affect the growth plan.

The comprehensive financial planning process in business is designed to determine how to most effectively use the company’s financial resources to support the objectives of the organization, both short- and long-range, by accurately forecasting future financial results. Financial planning processes are both analytical and informative, balancing the use of data and metrics to predict the future as well as institutional knowledge in departments and teams.

What is Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A)?

Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is a group within a company’s finance organization that supports the health of the organization by engaging in several types of activities: budgeting, integrated financial planning, modeling, and forecasting; decision support via reporting on management and performance; and various special projects. FP&A solutions link corporate strategy and execution, enhancing the ability of the finance department to manage performance.

FP&A professionals provide senior management with forecasts of the company’s operating performance and profit and loss for each upcoming quarter and year. These forecasts allow leadership to assess investments and strategic plans for effectiveness and progress. They also enable improved communication between external stakeholders and management.

To map out future goals and plans and evaluate the company’s progress toward achieving its goals, corporate FP&A professionals analyze the company’s operational aspects both quantitatively and qualitatively. FP&A analysts review past company performance, consider business and economic trends, and identify risks and possible obstacles, all to more effectively forecast future financial results for a company.

In contrast to accountants, who are tasked with accurate recordkeeping, consolidations and reporting, financial analysts must analyze and evaluate the totality of a company’s financial activities and map out the financial future of the business. FP&A professionals manage a broad range of financial scenarios and plans, including capital expenditures, expenses, financial statements, income, investments, and taxes.

Budgeting, planning, modeling, and forecasting

The primary responsibility of FP&A is to anchor the company, unite the business and translate plans to actionable & informed results. . So, what is financial planning and analysis, and how does it look in practice?

Senior management creates and drives the strategic plan in a top-down way, setting net income and revenue goals, core strategic initiatives, and other high-level business targets for the company’s next 2 to 10 years. FP&A’s corporate performance management aim is to develop the financial plan needed to achieve the strategic plan created by management.

In the past, financial planning and analysis teams developed annual budgets that remained mostly static and updated annually. However, whether in tandem with a traditional budget or as a replacement altogether, modern FP&A teams are increasingly developing rolling forecasts to cope with stale static budgets. Other important tasks of FP&A teams that are related to the budgeting, planning, and forecasting process include:

  • Creating, maintaining, and updating detailed forecasts and financial models of future business operations
  • Comparing budgets and forecasts to historical results, and conducting variance analysis to illustrate to management how actual performance and the rolling forecast or budget compare, suggesting ways to improve future performance
  • Assessing expansion and growth opportunities based on forecasts and other projections
  • Mapping out capital expenditures and investments, and other growth plans
  • Generating long-term financial forecasts in the three- to five-year range

Decision support and reporting

FP&A reports variances and forecasts, naturally. However, the team also advises management using that data, offering support on decisions concerning performance improvement, risk minimization, or risk benefit analysis of new opportunities from outside and within the company.

One primary piece of this the FP&A team typically generates is the monthly budget versus actual variance comparison. This report explanations of variances; analysis of historical financials; an updated version of the forecast with opportunities and risks related to the current stage of plan; and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Ideally, this report or analysis offers leadership information sufficient to identify ways to meet specific goals or optimize performance, and answer imminent questions of stakeholders. However, the true goal of the budget vs. actual report should be to inform the business around gaps or opportunities that inform the future.

Other ongoing pieces of the FP&A team’s reporting and decision support role include:

  • Using key financial ratios such as the current ratio, debt to equity ratio, and interest coverage ratio to gauge the overall financial health of the business
  • Identifying which company products, product lines, or services generate the most net profit
  • Determining which products, product lines, or services have the highest and lowest profit margins—separate from total profit
  • Assessing and evaluating each department’s cost-efficiency in light of the percentage of total company financial resources it consumes
  • Collaborating with departments to prepare and consolidate budgets into a single corporate budget
  • Preparing other internal reports in support of decision making for executive leadership

Special projects

Inevitably, the FP&A team works on special projects, depending on the size and needs of the business. For example:

Capital allocation. How much of the organization’s capital should be spent, and on what? Based on factors such as return on investment (ROI) and comparisons with increased stock dividends, different possible investments, and other ways the business could utilize its cash flow, are the company’s current investments and assets the best use of excess working capital?

Market research. What are the sizes and contours of a given market in which the organization may have a competitive advantage? Who are its laggards and leaders, and what potential opportunities does it hold for the company?

M&A. Which potential buy-side support, acquisition targets, integration, and divestiture opportunities exist for the company?

Process optimization. How can the company improve problems of process and workflow inefficiency? How can tools and technology in use by the business speak to and work with each other more effectively?

Ultimately, the FP&A team provides upper management with advice and analysis concerning how to best deploy the organization’s financial resources for optimal growth and increased profitability, while avoiding serious financial risk.

What is Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis?

Corporate financial planning is the process of determining what a company’s financial needs and goals for the future are, and how best to achieve them. Corporate financial planning considers the individual circumstances of the company as well as its broader economic context to determine which activities and investments would be most advantageous and appropriate. Generally, because short-term market trends are more predictable, short-term corporate financial planning involves less uncertainty and more readily adaptable financial plans.

Balanced corporate financial planning should elucidate how the company can achieve its goals and priorities while upholding its values. A financial plan for a corporation achieves at least two aims.

First, it forces management to think about the company’s prospects for business success objectively by basing their analysis on company finances. It also gives lenders and investors a good reason to invest into the business performance, by showing the growth and profit projections. Unrealistic or unbalanced financial plans or plans that understate profits tell investors to reconsider their investment or evaluation.

As a basic matter, three financial statements form the core of a corporate financial plan: income statement, statement of cash flow, and balance sheet. These statements clarify how much profit the business earns, and how much cash actually comes in, compared to the income reflected in accounts receivables. They also detail the relationships between corporate liabilities, corporate assets, and owner equity.

What is the Financial Planning Process?

The financial planning process results in the development of a financial plan, a financial forecast, or both. There are several well-understood steps in this process, and they often come out of sequence, depending on the deliverable or project at hand. However, it’s often simplest to think about these as steps in financial planning as financial planning tips, all of which are parts of a larger, flexible financial planning process.

With that in mind, these key components of financial planning for businesses are, in a sense, a set of best practices for your financial planning checklist.

Forecast revenue

Project revenue or sales for the next three years in a spreadsheet, or even better, in Planful. You’ll track numbers at least monthly in year one, and quarterly in years two and three.

Ideally you want to include sections that track unit sales, pricing, units times price to calculate sales, unit costs, and units times unit cost to calculate COGS or cost of goods sold, also called direct costs. Calculate gross margin, which is sales less cost of sales, and it’s a useful number for considering a new line of business or a new product expansion.

Budget expenses

Here you want to determine the actual cost of making the revenue you have forecasted. Differentiate between fixed costs such as payroll and rent and variable costs such as most promotional and advertising expenses. Lower fixed costs mean less risk; higher fixed costs may signal a need for reduced risk tolerance.

Remember, this is not accountancy, but a forecast, so you will have to estimate things such as taxes and interest. Use run rates or average assumptions whenever possible, and estimate taxes by multiplying estimated profits by estimated tax percentage rate. Then estimate interest by multiplying estimated debts balance by estimated interest rate.

Project cash flow

Project cash flow, or dollars moving in and out of the business, in this statement is based partly on balance sheet items, sales forecasts, and reasonable assumptions.

An existing company should have historical documents to base these forecasts on, such as balance sheets and profit and loss statements from years past. A new business which lacks these historical financial statements can project a cash-flow statement broken down month by month.

Remember to choose a realistic ratio for how many of your invoices will be paid in cash, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and so on when compiling a cash-flow projection so you are not reliant on collecting 100 percent to pay your expenses. Some financial planning platforms build these formulas to make these projections simpler.

Project income

The income projection is the company’s pro forma profit and loss statement or P&L, which offers detailed business forecasts for the coming three years. To project income, use expense projections, sales forecasts, and cash flow statement numbers. Sales minus cost of sales equals gross margin. Gross margin minus expenses, interest, and taxes equals net profit.

Compile assets and liabilities

To deal with assets and liabilities that project the net worth of your business at the end of the fiscal year but are not in the profit and loss statement you need a projected balance sheet. Some of these, such as startup assets, are obvious and affect just one part of the process. However, others are less apparent.

For example, although the profit and loss reflects interest, it does not reflect repayment of principle. This means that loans and inventory register only as assets, but only up until you pay for them.

Cope with this by compiling a complete list of assets, equipment, real estate, and an estimate month by month of inventory if the business has it, accounts receivable (money owed to the company), and cash the business will have on hand. Then compile a complete list of liabilities and debts, including outstanding loans.

Conduct breakeven analysis

The breakeven point is when the expenses of the business match volumes or revenue. Undertake this analysis using the three-year income projection. Overall revenue will exceed overall expenses, including interest, within this period of time if the business is viable. Potential investors must engage in this critical analysis to ensure they are investing in a healthy business that is fast-growing and maintains reasonable profit.

Put the plan to work

Many companies work hard to create a financial plan for small business, only to ignore it as soon as it has been created. Placing all of the focus on creating the plan is a major error, because it is a powerful management tool. It is a better practice to compare actual numbers in the profit and loss statement with projections in the financial plan once a month, and use that data to revise future projections.

Compare statements over time

Undertake a financial statement analysis to compare specific items and entire financial statements over time—even the statements of the business to those of other companies. Conduct a ratio analysis to determine the prevailing industry ratios for profitability analysis, liquidity analysis, and debt. Measure the business both against its past performance and other similar businesses by comparing these standard ratios. You can also use the business plans from similar companies as financial plan examples.

Pitch with past plans

Include past financial plans as supplementary documentation of the business’s financial history as the organization applies for a loan or works to attract investment.

Use financial planning software

Obviously, this is a tremendous amount of dynamic information and calculation, making financial planning software a good option for many teams assembling a business plan’s financial section. These digital financial planning tools also enable visual financial projections such as bar graphs and pie charts.

What Should Financial Planning Include?

All business financial plans should include: a profit and loss statement; a cash flow statement; a balance sheet; a sales forecast; a personnel plan; business ratios; and a break-even analysis.

Profit and loss statement

The profit and loss statement is a financial statement that goes by several names, including P&L, income statement, and pro forma income statement. By any name, the profit and loss statement is essentially an explanation of how the business either made a profit or incurred a loss over a specific time period—typically three-months. The table lists all revenue streams and expenses, along with the total net profit or loss.

Depending on the type and structure of the business, there are different formats for profit and loss statements. However, in general, include in the profit and loss statement:

  • Revenue or sales
  • Cost of sale or cost of goods sold (COGS), although services companies may not have COGS
  • Gross margin, which is revenue less COGS

Revenue, COGS, and gross margin are at the heart of how most businesses make money.

The P&L should also include operating expenses, those expenses that are not directly associated with making a sale but that are associated with running the business. These are the fixed costs that fluctuations in business really don’t affect, such as utilities, rent, and insurance.

The P&L statement should also include operating income:

  • Gross Margin – Operating Expenses = Operating Income

Typically, operating income is equivalent to EBITDA: earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization—although this depends on how the organization classifies expenses. Another way to think about operating income is the amount in profit before tax and interest but after operational costs.

The net income is the bottom line of the business, found at the end of the profit and loss statement. It represents going back to EBITDA and going a few steps further, subtracting expenses for interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization to find net income:

  • Operating Income – Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization Expenses = Net Income

Cash flow statement

Just as critical as the P&L, the cash flow statement is typically a per-month explanation of how much cash the business brings in, pays out, and the ending cash balance. This detailed map of how much cash is in play, where it originates and goes to, and the cash flow schedule itself, is essential to any healthy, functional business.

The cash flow statement assists management in understanding the difference between the company’s actual cash position and the reported income on the profit and loss statement. It is just as important to clearly lay this information out for investors and lenders in the cash flow statement to raise funds.

Some businesses might be profitable but still lack the cash to pay expenses and continue to operate. Others might have the cash on hand to stay open even if they are unprofitable—cash flow break-even is vital to future company scale.. Therefore, the cash flow statement is important to understand.

There are two methods of accounting in the cash flow statement—the indirect method and the direct method. Which you select can affect how the cash flow statement and profit and loss statement compare, and accrual accounting might better reflect actual cash flow than cash accounting for many businesses.

Balance sheet

The balance sheet is a picture of the financial position of the business at a specific point in time. It reflects how much cash and equity is on hand, how much is in receivables, and how the business owes vendors and other debtors.

A balance sheet should include:

  • Assets: Cash, inventory, accounts receivable, etc.
  • Liabilities: Debt, loan repayments, accounts payable, etc.
  • Equity: Owners’ equity, investors’ shares, stock proceeds, retained earnings, etc.

Ideally, as the name suggests, the balance sheet items should balance out. Total assets on one side should always equal total liabilities plus total equity.

  • Assets = Liabilities + Equity

Sales forecast

The sales forecast is the FP&A team’s forecast or projections for a set period of what they think will generate revenue. Particularly if a business is seeking investment from investors or lenders, the sales forecast is among the fundamentals of financial planning, and should be part of a dynamic, ongoing process.

The sales or revenue number in the profit and loss statement and the sales forecast should be consistent. In fact, many types of financial planning software automatically connect these projects. Develop, organize, and segment an individualized sales forecast to meet the needs of a specific business.

Personnel plan

The personnel plan identifies the resourced structure and positions needed to run the company operations. How important the personnel plan is depends in large part on the company.

A sole proprietor doesn’t need much of a personnel plan. A large company with high labor costs requires a detailed personnel plan and should invest the necessary time in determining how personnel impacts the business.

A complete personnel plan should describe the expertise, training, and market or product knowledge of each member of the management team. Some businesses might find listing entire departments as a better tactic for the personnel plan.

Business ratios and break-even analysis

To calculate standard business ratios, all that is required are the profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet. Common profitability ratios and liquidity ratios include the gross margin, return on investment (ROI), and debt-to-equity ratios.

The break-even analysis determines how much revenue a business needs to cover all of its expenses, or break even. To assess the break-even point for the business, find the contribution margin—those are the costs necessary to generate revenue.

For management to get an accurate sense of how high revenue must be for the company to stay profitable, they must subtract those contribution margin costs as well as fixed costs from the profit to find that break-even point. For example, most businesses have some labor costs as well as things like insurance and rent—those are fixed costs. Then there might be contribution costs per sale, such as costs per meal prepared in a restaurant or costs per package shipped or outfit sold in a store. A functional business has to cover them all and generate additional profit to break-even.

What are the Steps in Financial Planning?

There are many routes toward creating a solid financial plan. A well-designed financial business plan thoroughly clarifies business goals in financial context and helps a company plan for the future. Although there is no one correct way to engage in financial planning, understanding some basic steps in financial planning can make the process easier.

Review your strategic plan

The strategic plan of the business is usually where comprehensive financial planning services start. If the business lacks such a plan, it’s time to develop one.

As management reviews the plan, they should consider several questions for the coming year:

  • Will we want or need to expand?
  • Will we need to hire talent/staff?
  • Will we need more equipment?
  • What about additional new resources?
  • Are there any other plans that we have in mind this year that will require resources?
  • How will these plans impact cash flow?
  • Will we need financing? If so, how much? Can we revise our plans? Should we?

Fully assess the financial impact of all spending on major projects over the next 12 months.

Develop financial projections

Develop financial projections based on anticipated income and anticipated expenses. Sales forecasts are the basis for anticipated income, while things like costs for supplies, labor, and other overhead form the basis for anticipated expenses. Typically these financial projections will be monthly, but weekly projections may be better for businesses focused on cash optimization.

To make a financial projection, the business will compare project costs from the strategic plan to these anticipated costs and expenses. In other words, the team will look at the costs of doing business as normal plus the costs of adding in the projects, keeping in mind that sales will not always convert to cash immediately.

To create a financial projection, management often also must refer to a projected profit and loss or income statement and a projected balance sheet which it may need to develop in tandem with the financial projection. To assist the team in evaluating the impact of each possible scenario, it can be useful to include various outcomes—optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic—for the projections.

Finance’s advice may be essential to developing financial projections. However, ensure that leadership and anyone who will be seeking financing and explaining the plan to investors and lenders understands the projections and how they fit into the plan.

Arrange financing, plan for growth and contingencies

Determine the financing needs of the business using the financial projections. Well-prepared projections presented to financial stakeholders in advance of deadlines are always more reassuring.

How will the business grow in the coming year? Turn to the FP&A team to make smart investment and growth decisions.

Keep emergency sources of money on hand in case business finances suddenly pivot.. Maintaining credit or a cash reserve are possibilities. Keep laser focus on cash management and optimization.


Financial planning is a dynamic process. Compare projections to actual results throughout the year to see if they are accurate or require adjustments. Monitoring assists businesses in spotting financial problems before they are out of control, and ultimately in identifying smarter growth opportunities.

Consult and use tools

For some businesses, expert help in the form of financial planning services may be necessary to create a financial plan. For many others, the right financial planning software and other financial planning tools are critical to the job.

Why is Financial Planning Important?

A financial business plan has two main purposes. A business needs a financial plan that proves the business will grow, scale, and provide shareholder value over the long term.. Ensuring growth, scale and consistent shareholder value is vital to all stakeholders in the business. . Similarly, the financial plan proves to lenders and banks that the business will be able to repay any loans.

Just as critically, though, a financial forecast benefits leadership. A realistic projection of how the business is likely to perform prepares management and staff. A financial plan is a guide to running a healthy business and should be considered a living document.

There are several other reasons why financial planning is important to a business:


Be realistic when developing a financial business plan, make sure your forecast or plan mirrors business reality. However, if you can demonstrate that your financial plan is realistic in a step-by-step way, your financial forecast will be credible. For example, if you break down your figures into components or channels to provide more detailed estimates, you may be able to reassure lenders, investors, and leadership more.

Balancing the balance sheet

Balance sheet optimization is one of the powerful benefits of financial planning. Identifying and assessing all business assets and liabilities and planning in advance how and when to pay all taxes, salaries, expenses, overheads, and miscellaneous costs is part of this process. Another strategy is to divide the business into functions or departments and prioritize them to better identify which important and urgent investment areas.

Long-term visibility

Efficient, comprehensive financial planning gives businesses improved long-term visibility into fund allocation. Analysis of how funds are deployed within a business can positively affect productivity and revenue and offer deeper insight into the health of the business. This kind of visibility also empowers more insightful decision making.

Strategic marketing

No business has endless money to burn on marketing, and a well-designed financial plan helps identify which marketing strategies are most productive for that particular business. Business marketing strategies frame tasks for a company, from planning to execution and implementation.

The marketing team may well be experts across the board when it comes to marketing channels and strategies. However, only actions that generate more business in measurable ways should be planned for the company. Ultimately, finance partnership with the business assesses whether the metrics in the reports justify ongoing marketing campaigns, so for every strategy the team formulates for business, they should highlight the ratio of expense and profits.

Monitoring assets (In’s) and liabilities(Out’s)

The financial team protects the stability of the business by routinely monitoring its assets and liabilities and the ratio of liabilities and assets. This ongoing activity provides insight into needed improvements and actionable ways to decrease liabilities and increase assets.

Measuring profit and loss

The finance team compiles financial planning reports to support evaluation of organizational profits and loss. These reports also showcase the net profits and their main causes, assisting management in evaluating which strategies worked best for the business.

What are Financial Planning Benefits?

It is easier for businesses that focus on financial planning to grow their revenues at a quicker pace than it is for companies that lack an efficient financial planning process. Corporate financial planning offers decision making support in the form of forecasts or budgets. It assists businesses in managing costs and building revenues by highlighting where they should focus resources for optimal effectiveness. Impactful financial management nurtures more growth by freeing up more funds for expanding operations, marketing, and product development.

As a broader matter, strategic business planning develops tasks and determines who will be responsible for delivering those tasks in a timely way, thus determining the company’s direction. Financial planning aligns to the strategic plan which then translates to actionable outcomes and measurable results.

The financial plan projects the revenues the team thinks will result from implementing the strategies and the expenses taking those actions will require. Senior management, operations, and marketing personnel are all deeply involved in strategic financial planning, and finance is focused on developing deep business partnerships, connecting the business and tracking the results.
Here are some of the specific benefits of financial planning:


The starting point for the financial plan as a whole is what the company aims to achieve in the coming quarter, year, three years, five years, and longer. This is because it is essential to establish that a real need for the business exists, and this company in particular fills the need—a product/market fit.

Many startups devote several years to establishing that product/market fit as they build out and refine their product. In fact, achieving that kind of fit, with smaller checkpoints along the way, is a good one-to-two year goal. In these early stages, the financial plan can reveal to the team that it doesn’t yet make sense to set massive marketing KPIs or sales targets as the refinement process continues.

Business alignment

The financial plan sets forth clear cash flow expectations. For new businesses, the amount of cash going out is often more than is coming in, but it remains important to determine an acceptable level of expense, and ensure the business stays on track, and the statement helps achieve this. Cash flow management is also an important part of a financial plan, so that even team members who are not seasoned finance experts can efficiently and accurately track cash flow as needed. For all of these reasons, a solid financial plan assists with sensible cash flow management.

Agility, collaborative and actionable budgeting

Closely related to both cost reductions and cash flow management, it is essential to know the best way to spend the funding that is actually available to the business, whether through investments, revenue, or some other source. The business should break down the overall budget for the quarter or year into separate budgets for specific teams such as customer support, marketing, product development, and sales. This way management can ensure each budget accurately reflects the team’s productivity and relative importance.

Budgets also allow each team to build within a known set of limits. Team members can effectively plan campaigns and other tasks because they know what resources are available. Furthermore, it is always simpler to track team or project budgets than to monitor overspending at the company level.

Identify spend reductions

A financial plan enables the FP&A team to identify ways to reduce spend in advance. Building a financial plan includes a careful look back over the speed of current growth and what has already been spent. The goal with this kind of spend control is to detect over-inflated costs and unnecessary spending in the past to eliminate it in future budgets. The result from this kind of periodic review is keeping spending in line with expectations and making better use of resources.

Mitigated risks

The finance team assists the business in avoiding risk and navigating pitfalls when they occur. Many risks, from fraud and other forms of economic crises, are predictable and avoidable.

A strong financial plan should account for some uncertainty, business insurance expenses, and other unexpected expenses, and set aside resources to cope with them. Some teams create several financial forecasts with various business outcomes: one that shows results under conditions with more revenue, and others under conditions with less.

Especially during economically volatile times, prepare for many contingencies in the financial plan, which should clarify how the roadmap for the business will change as growth fluctuates.

Crisis management

During a crisis in any business, the first move is typically to review and re-build strategic plans. Without strategic plans in place, a crisis response is merely improvisational.

As the coronavirus crisis and surrounding financial crisis in 2020 and beyond have revealed, finance teams and leaders must constantly reforecast to deal with adversity. Businesses are developing new financial plans quarterly or even monthly to cope, and nobody truly knows when the crises will end.

The financial-planning team should help get through this particular challenge and other crises by focusing on several steps, all using their ongoing financial planning process. The first step in crisis management is to reassess new business operational baselines. Next, the team should use the plans and feedback to build a reality-based plan they will review many different business scenarios.

The team will next determine the business’s general direction and align on a financial plan that fits with this possibly new direction, in context. Then they will identify the best actions for the company to take, as well as any trigger points that could require further changes. A strong financial planning process, FP&A team, and store of financial statements can all make these crisis management steps much simpler.

Be opportunistic around fundraising

Any prospective bank, lender, or investor needs to see financial planning in the form of a business plan. A financial plan must tell a story to investors, while communicating the trustworthiness of the projections.

Roadmap for growth

A financial plan clarifies both the current financial situation of a business, and helps it project where it intends to be in the future. This may be reflected in various specifics, such as number of employees to hire; markets to penetrate; or new services or products to sell. The financial plan itself augments these goals with specific data, such as a budget for a particular number of new employees, including talent and recruitment costs and other resourcing needs.


Of course transparency in the financial plan is critical for lenders and investors. But it’s just as important for the team and staff. To ensure your team that the business is healthy, following a solid plan towards growth and scale, and in good leadership hands, a transparent financial plan is key.

Does Planful Help With Financial Planning?

Yes. Planful delivers a continuous planning platform elevating the financial conversation, aligning finance’s need for structured planning with the business’ need for dynamic planning, and enabling your organization to make better decisions more confidently, quickly, and strategically by uniting the business together.

Comprehensive budgeting, planning, and forecasting features offer the financial planning and analysis team the control, structure, and partnership with the business they want. Meanwhile, dynamic planning features empower business leaders and finance with individualized, agile models and plans to manage for multiple business outcomes

Planful also delivers complete financial consolidation, including inter-company eliminations, partial ownership rules, and statutory reporting. The platform also ensures your business meets every management, financial, regulatory, and ad hoc reporting need with a robust library of delivery options and reporting formats.

Planful can help your business:

  • Reduce reporting time up to 90% by automating manual processes
  • Replace annual planning cycles with rolling forecasts to better respond to changing business conditions with increased agility, more accurate financial plans, and optimized financial results in real-time
  • Leverage data from across the business to drive strategic planning, long-term value, and growth
  • Free up time for collaboration and analysis by automating tedious, manual tasks in the planning process
  • Simplify complex ad-hoc financial analysis and explore financial insights with greater confidence and speed
  • Reduce time to close by up to 75% by automating data collection, aggregation, and validation across the organization with low risk and high security thanks to robust, searchable audit logs and strong internal controls
  • Create impressive, professional financial and management reports that share insights with clarity
  • Improve collaboration and workflow with accurate, current data

Find out more about Planful’s Financial Planning solution here.

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