A move beyond traditional budgeting does not necessarily mean losing the budget. Rather, it’s important to reduce some of the traditional planning approach and taking a modern, flexible view of how to best remain agile and perform better. Initiating a change in budgeting philosophy, improving stakeholder relationships, introducing a rolling forecast preferably powered by data analytics and developing an ongoing gap analysis between the budget and rolling forecast, were some of the groups experienced suggestions.
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As most forecasting methods require data, a forecaster analyzes the availability of data from both external and internal sources. The availability of external data is improving rapidly. With the explosion of Internet websites, potential sources of valuable data are becoming limitless. With unstructured data, the need for data mining tools has become a necessity for exploring potential sources of data for consumer analyses and predictive modelling purposes.
FP&A does not work in the finance silo of providing backward looking analysis of what has happened. They arm themselves and their operational and departmental leaders with the “why” of the performances and develop insights on trends. In the leading state of the FP&A Business Partnering Maturity model, FP&A is a credible partner that the business leaders can rely on when developing a sound strategy.
In an uncertain and fast-changing world, line managers need to be made aware of the uncertainties and risk inherent in the financial forecasts provided to them. Uncertainty is difficult to manage but uncertainties can be converted into known risk as forecasting capabilities and data management improve.