Finance personnel today need no convincing that the use of excel spreadsheet is not strategic and sustainable for financial planning and analysis. The all too common problems of errors and inaccuracy, time spent, and complexity are few of the many reasons why finance departments today are less reluctant to invest in technology.
Gone are the days when finance departments and their respective decision makers put up with a lot of guesswork in their financial planning and analysis. Today, there has never been a greater demand for new technology that can aid finance departments in streamlining or improving their financial planning and analysis.
Today´s reporting, planning, budgeting, and forecasting solutions while capable still require a significant amount of time for implementation. This means that finance departments´ operations are still disrupted. On top of that, many businesses still struggle to attain their desired level of accuracy due to increased market volatility.
There is not a single business today that does not understand that improving overall accuracy means involving different people from various business units and that improving accuracy means attaining a deeper level of understanding of business drivers that impact organizational performance. Where this leads to is a call for improvement in the financial planning and analysis process itself and in the chosen technology.
The preference to implement a cloud-based fp&a software carries with it a lot of benefits which ends in shortened planning cycles, improved accuracy, and cost-efficiency. However, choosing the right cloud fp&a software is not as easy as some may think.
Therefore, we have compiled a list of the 4 things to look for when evaluating a cloud fp&a software.
- Embedded and in-memory Analytics
Many medium to large sized organizations today have business analytics already embedded in their solution. This is good because it enhances the finance users´ ability to spot and understand trends as well as the meaning or impact of these trends in the business. Having embedded and in-memory analytics in a cloud-based fp&a software enable finance users to identify relationships as well as predict to a certain degree certain potential outcomes.
Having both embedded and in-memory analytics not only enhances the speed at which analysis can be done, it also widens the scope of the information that can be analyzed in a much deeper level and in a more detailed manner.
In an economic climate such as what we have today, it is very important to be able to apply analysis quickly as conditions change rapidly.
- Self-service and Extensibility
A cloud-based fp&a software that allows for self-service abilities impacts the software´s ease of use. This means that finance departments take full ownership and control of the software instead of relying on IT.
It is important for normal finance users to be able play around and visualize data in the way that makes most sense to them. Being able to understand the connection between the key business drivers and their respective data sources is also important as this would enable the finance users to understand the impact of changes in these drivers and ultimately to the business as a whole.
In addition, a cloud-based fp&a software must be one that can grow with the business. There is no point in implementing a short term solution that ultimately cannot handle anymore the process when the business grows in complexity.
- Real-time Insight Capabilities
The chosen cloud-based fp&a software must contain the ability to provide real-time insight and agility to the CFO because for the CFO and other decision makers, it is important to make not only smart but also timely decisions as certain conditions change.
In order for this to happen, financial planning and analysis teams must not only have a solid operating and accounting foundation based on appropriate technology, standards, and processes, it must also be able to generate insights from various information easily and in a timely and accurate manner.
- Team Collaboration Capabilities
A modern and cloud-based fp&a software must include technology that can support team collaboration. Features such as the ability to leave comments and commentary reporting or activity streams as well as the ability to ask for input automatically when specific information is needed is very valuable.
Having the ability to collaborate internally ensures that budgets are rolled up and are executed properly and fully.
The question of where to begin when evaluating a cloud-based fp&a software is never an easy one to answer. While this list is not in any way exhaustive, it is a good place for you to start.
Evaluate as many solutions and meticulously look into them in order to truly determine which solution suits your business needs in terms of functionality as well as time and monetary investment. Look into potential hiccups during deployment and evaluate the consultants you are going to closely work with during the migration.
To know more about the most modern cloud-based fp&a software out in the market today, visit www.performancecanvas.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see a walk-through of Performance Canvas Financials in the cloud.
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