A couple of weeks ago I joined the meeting of the Amsterdam FP&A Board where we discussed the subject of the FP&A analytical transformation. In the course of the meeting the participants mentioned their current main concerns, some of which such as Data ownership, Data quality, and Business Glossary (‘Speaking the same language’). This surprised me. Why? Because these topics are ‘hot’ topics of Data Management (DM) with no common vision on the subject.
As a result I decided to write several articles on these topics for FP&A professionals. The main purpose is to share some knowledge and practical experience and to start a discussion about these subjects.
We live in a modern, technological world where data, or more accurately insights from data, can drive competitive advantage. From identifying opportunities for optimisation and efficiency to generating a greater understanding of customers and prospects, it should be every company's aim to use their data to influence their decisions and future strategies to gain the advantage in their competitive market.
The London FP&A Board was created on the 19th September 2013 to guide the development and promotion of best practices in financial planning and analysis (FP&A). In May 2016 we took our first, yet successful step in our international expansion plans by launching Stockholm FP&A Board. By the end of 2017, individual board chapters will have been established in 15 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the USA and Australia in order to identify and support new global trends, skillsets, and thought leadership in FP&A.
On 26 April 2017 the FP&A Board gathered in Stockholm for the third time to interactively discuss one of the biggest challenges of moving Financial Planning and Analysis to the next level and undergoing the transformation that is long overdue. FP&A Analytical Transformation became the main focus of 18 senior finance practitioners’ attention from such companies as Baxter, CGI, Danone, Electrolux, Hitachi Data Systems, MSD, Tele2, Philips, etc.
Companies large and small spend countless hours every month developing, amending and updating the spreadsheets that measure performance and drive strategic decision-making.
So it’s critical the data contained and output generated by these spreadsheets is timely, simple and above all, accurate. But is it?
By Stefan Spiegel, CFO SBB Cargo AG, former Head Controlling of Retail Division of Swiss Post 2017
In the period from 2001 to 2006, the Retail division of Swiss Post transformed itself from a public service company into a business-driven sales organization. Crucial drivers of change were, on the one hand, the adaptation of the steering systems up to the final implementation of a "Beyond Budgeting" philosophy and, on the other hand, a humanistic attitude of management and finance department against all employees. The success was amazing: The division succeeded in increasing the sales of new retail products from 0 to over 400 million CHF, optimizing the bottom line by more than 100 million CHF or more than 5 percentage points and becoming the first state-owned company in Switzerland to win the EFQM- Award for Business Excellence.