A significant number of chartered accounting firms are still heavily reliant on outdated finance systems and are dragging their feet when it comes to digitalisation. That was one of the key findings of a 2021 CA ANZ member survey which revealed that traditional methods were unable to meet the unified planning and analysis needs that more and more clients are demanding.
New enterprise performance management software can revolutionise finance teams and drive a culture of decisiveness and confidence, enabling them to react quickly to changes, plan for opportunities and uncover new opportunities.
This has certainly been the case for Anna Schell, FP&A manager at Starlight Foundation, who recently adopted a data driven culture. While the impact has been transformational, it also meant the team had to move out of its traditional technological comfort zone.
“There was a steep learning curve and it was important to support team members with training and address their concerns,” she says. “I think everyone agrees that the ability to consolidate and communicate information much more easily has been well worth it.”
Indeed, it’s estimated that the amount of data created, captured and consumed globally has risen from two zettabytes in 2010 - each zettabyte is equal to one billion terabytes - to 79 last year. By 2025, that figure is expected to more than double again to 181 zettabytes. That’s a lot of Excel spreadsheets.
Connecting the dots
Schell believes that, as the world is changing at a faster and faster pace, finance managers have to be more agile.
“The EPM system has allowed us to move away from Excel budgeting and reporting (with associated data and version issues) which has saved time and resources,” she says. “We used to complete an annual budget and midyear re-forecast. Now we have a quarterly 18 month rolling forecast process and are focused on high-quality reporting and analysis.”
Breaking down traditional silos between enterprise financial and operational planning processes can deliver new levels of value to the business.
In finance, traditionally firms have been very good at explaining deviations to budget forecasts, but industry commentators are increasingly calling for more guidance on what lies ahead.
“Program Managers are now able to see financial data when they need it with flexible reporting that is built around their roles,” Schell says. “We have also implemented improved workforce planning. This means that we can truly focus on growing our reach and impact.
“Program Managers are now able to see financial data when they need it.”
One dimension in which Jedox excels is helping to transform basic financial planning and analysis into what’s called extended planning and analysis (xP&A). Touted as the new engine of finance transformation, xP&A is an approach that combines industry best practice in areas such as forecasting, advanced analytics, and performance monitoring, and integrates them across the wider business.
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To find out how Jedox Enterprise Performance Management can accelerate planning, forecasting and reporting to help transform your business, visit www.jedox.com.