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FP&A Focus…’Tis the Season (not that one)

A recent article in Business Finance Magazine about the hottest jobs in finance discussed the fact that, “The hottest position today is financial planning and analysis.”  Tell that to the many professionals in corporate America who make their living in financial planning and analysis (FP&A).  As planning season sets in at many companies they may be looking at having to get through yet another planning season filled with overtime and sacrificing personal time.  And they’ll do all this without any extra help. 

To paraphrase a CFO who was speaking about forecasting, “…everybody is trying to figure out the same thing: today is the 28th of [the month], and I know how much we sold yesterday on the 27th. But if I can figure out what we’re going to sell in [next month], I can truly pound my competitors.”   Senior management at some of the world’s top companies are getting more and more in tune to the importance of the financial planning and analysis function.

Institute of Management Accounting (IMA) statistics indicate that of all of the time spent on the budgeting process, roughly eighty percent of the time involved in the budgeting process is spent on assembling data and manipulating spreadsheets.  The time spent on “value added analysis” represent less than twenty percent of the total time in the process.