Planful | A Complete FP&A Platform

 

What is Continuous Planning? 

Continuous Planning is a vision for finance and business leadership that elevates the financial IQ of the organisation and increases the speed, accuracy, and frequency of financial decision-making. It empowers the entire organisation with the agility and responsiveness they need to win.


Continuous Planning provides finance with more time to analyse performance, plan what to do next, and work with the business to successfully deploy and execute those plans.

Continuous Planning enables finance to automate laborious, time-intensive, and manual activities. That saves real time, money, and effort that can now be spent on higher value and more strategic work.

Business is Continuous,

Planning Should 
Be Too

 

Continuous Planning enables finance to automate laborious, time-intensive, and manual activities. That saves real time, money, and effort that can now be spent on higher value and more strategic work.

 

Continuous Planning is Modern Finance 

While weathering this storm of uncertainty, finance is also under pressure to do more, faster, and with fewer resources. Now more than ever, Finance is at the centre of every business, and CFOs must evolve their teams into a more strategic, more data-driven source of insights to drive better decisions for the business.

But a major challenge faced by finance is one of productivity. Laborious, time-intensive manual activities – like collecting, aggregating, and validating plans and reports in offline spreadsheets – cost the finance team hundreds of man-hours each month. That’s real time, money, and effort that could be redirected to more strategic activities.

Everyone in finance knows that spreadsheets are old news and that even small companies outgrow Excel. That’s been clear for years. But finance hasn’t enjoyed the same technological transformations that other departments have. Finance has been stuck with spreadsheets because they “can” work. Even with all of their security risks, productivity and efficiency drawbacks, and lack of audit and tracking capabilities, they still can get the job done in some scenarios.

Are you caught in the trap of antiquated

Excel nightmares?

 

There are signs to look for and you can be

aware of these.

 

Learn the Signs >

It’s time for a change.

While you can’t change the fundamental requirements of finance, like closing the books or building financial plans and reports, you can automate and accelerate those activities to free finance from the manual, laborious work that consumes so much of their time. 

You can provide business leaders with relevant data when it’s needed, engage in faster financial planning, and make more informed strategic decisions more frequently. It all starts with recognising the needs of today’s finance teams, while resetting the organisation’s outlook on what finance can be.

The next step is leveraging the right technology to help. Continuous Planning must be built upon a modern platform where all organisational data, tasks, deliverables, and collaboration exist in one user experience, accessible to finance and business users anytime and from anywhere. Automation and intelligence help to eliminate routine and recurring tasks and eliminate errors, condensing weeks of work into minutes and freeing finance to focus on strategic partnership and decision-making.

 

Planful | Continuous Planning is Modern Finance 

Am I ready to think about Continuous Planning?

If your financial planning and analysis processes have become slow, manual, reactive drains on your team, then you’re ready to embark on the journey towards a state of Continuous Planning. 

 

Free Readiness Assessment

 

 

 

 

Key Benefits of Continuous Planning

Productivity, Speed, and Accuracy 

 

Planful | Eliminate Manual Processes

 

 

Eliminate Manual Processes

Automate manual financial processes to save time, reduce errors, and move at the speed of business. Complete all of your financial activities and deliverables more efficiently and with less manual effort.

 

 

Building rolling forecasts

Use rolling forecasts to replace annual planning cycles so that you can respond to changing business conditions as they happen. Continual forecasting provides more accurate financial plans, increased agility, and optimised financial results.

Planful | Building rolling forecasts
Planful | Drive strategic planning

 

 

Drive strategic planning

Leverage data from across the business to drive long-term value and growth. Automate the tedium and manual steps behind the strategic planning process so you can spend more time analysing and collaborating and less time fighting with spreadsheets.

 

 

Conduct as hoc analysis

Simplify complex ad-hoc financial analysis for both finance and business users. Explore financial insights quickly and with confidence.

Planful | Conduct ad hoc analysis
Planful | Decrease time to close

 

 

Decrease time to close

Close the books faster by automating the collection, aggregation, and validation of data across the organisation. Rest assured risk is limited and data is secure due to strong internal controls and robust, searchable audit logs.

 

 

Create the board deck

Create professional financial and management reports that will impress even the most demanding executives, board members, and investors. Bring the right data and people together to share your insights with confidence and clarity.

Planful | Create the board deck
Planful | Improve collaboration and workflow

 

 

Improve collaboration and workflow

Empower every department in your organisation with current and accurate data. Make more frequent decisions, with more accuracy, and more confidence in the results.

 

 

 

How to Select an FP&A Platform for Continuous Planning

 

2020-03-09_14-54-01

1. Define the selection team and clearly identify roles

A selection team typically consists of five to eight members, with the core from finance and potentially some from the business, operations, and/or IT. It’s important to clearly define their roles and responsibilities upfront.

2. Get a visible executive sponsor

Few factors can have greater impact on the selection of a Continuous Planning solution and subsequent implementation than a visible executive sponsor. This person should serve as a high-level coordinator of the Continuous Planning project and be the project’s champion to others across the organisation.

3. Involve the business and IT the right way

Now that the selection team and executive sponsor are identified, this team should create buy-in with key business leaders across the organisation. Additionally,  don’t underestimate the value IT can bring to the Continuous Planning selection process. They often have valuable techniques developed over many years of technology acquisition that can help you make a better decision.

4. Get alignment on requirements

Requirements should be diligently documented from the start, adjusted as needed, and created in a shareable format. Think about your requirements in terms of how they support your journey to Continuous Planning.

5. Make the business case

Ideally, you’ve been benchmarking your pain points and inefficiencies in your current processes. Finance frequently runs processes in manual offline spreadsheets, which Continuous Planning solutions can eliminate for immense time savings, for example. Documenting these pain points gives you a good baseline to estimate your ROI as part of a formal business case or justification.

 

Best Practices in Financial Planning & Analysis

Fastpass... get started now and learn 'How' to do FP & A, the right way.

Download the Guide

 

What to Look For

divider

Curious about the ROI of a platform like 

Planful?

 

Here's what a Forrester Total Economic Impact™️ study had to say about the cost savings and business benefits enabled by cloud-based planning, modelling, and Reporting.

Read Now   >

1. One Unified Platform

A unified Continuous Planning platform brings together financial planning, close, and reporting & analysis into one platform, which keeps your data centralised and secure, streamlines your budgeting and planning processes, and gives budget owners more confidence in the numbers. The result is what every finance team wants: a higher financial IQ across the entire organisation.

2. Designed for Collaboration

Gartner reports that in 2020 at least 25 percent of organisations will conduct more collaborative, continuous, and consistent financial planning. By closely aligning financial strategies and processes across an organisation, according to analysts, finance can better manage the performance of the entire business. 

In other words, keep collaboration and communication in mind as you evaluate Continuous Planning platforms. Any platform should give workers in every department an intuitive, easy-to-use tool to input budget and forecast numbers no matter how or where they work. Finance shouldn’t have to spend time chasing managers, manually gathering data,  and bouncing back and forth to ask questions or gain clarity on variances.

 

3. Continuous Planning in the Cloud

Employee productivity was one of the top 10 CFO concerns in the last quarter of 2018, according to a study by Duke CFO Global Business Outlook. But if your employees are spending all their time gathering, troubleshooting, and emailing data instead of analysing and strategising, your productivity is never going to improve. 

With a cloud-based Continuous Planning platform, you can increase productivity by simplifying and automating your processes around budgeting, planning, and forecasting. And since finance will no longer have to rely on IT for software implementation, maintenance, or upgrades, you can lighten their load as well, freeing them up to develop and focus on more strategic technology initiatives for your entire company.

 

4. Intelligent Use of Excel

Departments across the organisation have depended on Excel to manage budgeting and planning for years. The interface is familiar, it’s simple to enter numbers into cells, and frankly, it’s always been done that way. But companies are finding that Excel has its limitations and shortcomings.

But even if you’re ready to upgrade to a Continuous Planning platform, you still need to ensure that people will use it. That means adopting an interface that is familiar to employees, regardless of their function or role in the organisation. A Continuous Planning platform that uses Excel intelligently is one that gives front-end users the familiar look and feel of their favourite spreadsheet program while reducing the inherent risk of insecure templates and disconnected data.

 

 

 

 

What is Planful?

Planful is the FP&A Platform for Continuous Planning

 

Planful delivers a vision of Continuous Planning by accelerating the end-to-end

FP&A process and fostering business-wide participation in agile financial planning and decision-making.

 

Book A Live Demo

 

Why Planful Platform for Continuous Planning?

For faster, more frequent, and more confident business decisions

 

The Planful FP&A platform rapidly accelerates financial close and consolidation cycles,

drives agile structured and dynamic planning cycles, and generates insightful

financial reporting and analytics so you have the confidence and agility to drive your business forward.


 

Planful | A Continuous Planning platform for modern FP&A

 

A Continuous Planning platform for modern FP&A

Planful’s Continuous Planning platform marries finance’s need for structured planning with the business’ need for dynamic planning, enabling your organisation to elevate the financial conversation, and make better decisions more quickly, confidently, and strategically.

 

 

Explore the Platform

 

 

Planful | Explore the Platform

2020-03-09_15-46-30Data Integration

  • Integrate from any data source (ERP, CRM, data warehouse, spreadsheets), range of automation options. Source data can be on-premise or in the cloud. 

2020-03-09_15-46-30Dimensional Engine

  • Unifies data, optimise performance and functionality in real time - power to scale, flexibility to model and report, control to consolidate and plan. 

 

2020-03-09_15-46-30Financial Intelligence

  • Prebuilt logic for debits and credits, currency translation, GAAP/IFRS - shortens implementation time, control and accuracy. 

 

 

Is Your Organisation Ready for Continuous Planning?

Understanding your organisation’s financial IQ is a critical first step as you undertake your evaluation and selection of a Continuous Planning platform. To reach Continuous Planning finance must lead the organisation in adopting a Continuous Planning platform and the organisation must support finance.

Identifying your pain points is essential, but it’s also important to understand the full evolution of finance that results in being in a state of Continuous Planning.

 

Talk to our Team

 

 

Where to Start?

Assess Your Readiness... .

Planful | Assess Your Readiness

Level 1: Unaware Information Anarchy

Finance teams at this level are faced with siloed systems and data, and they’re just trying to get to the right numbers to use in reports, plans, and analysis. They spend valuable time trying to figure out which numbers are accurate or where they came from rather than making data-driven business decisions.

Common Characteristics

  • Little collaboration between finance and business units.
  • Slow and manual processes.
  • Lack of accuracy and controls.
  • Heavy use of Excel or standalone point solutions.
  • Excel is used for tasks that need a more sophisticated solution.

If you’re in this stage, here’s what you need to do:

Appoint a leader. Tap a single individual to head your up your journey towards Continuous Planning. This person is responsible for coordinating the effort and driving results.

Outline pains and business impact. Identify, describe, and organise your pain points. Be sure to quantify the real and soft costs to the business in time, personnel, frustration, accuracy, process steps, and other metrics.

Identify quick wins and goals. Focus first on a “quick win” to demonstrate benefits. Then, use that success as the foundation for goal-setting in the near term and beyond.

2020-03-09_16-33-31

 

Level 2: Opportunistic But Still Drowning in Spreadsheets

Some automation has been achieved with a financial planning and close platform, but in limited pockets and generally within finance. Data accuracy remains questionable and spreadsheet usage remains high.

Common Characteristics

  • Some automation in place, but many process and visibility issues remain unaddressed.
  • Planning, close, and reporting still primarily a finance-driven exercise.
  • Incremental improvements made in business collaboration and efficiency.
  • Manual data management and minimal quality control.
  • Excel fills the gaps not covered by automation, but is used for tasks that require a more sophisticated solution

How executives view their current system and budgeting processes

Planful | How executives view their current system and budgeting processes

Level 3: The Enterprise Sees the Light, Wants More

Continuous Planning strategies have expanded beyond finance in this level to include operational areas like sales, marketing, or manufacturing, but more remains to be done for Continuous Planning to be truly transformative.

Common Characteristics

  • Most financial processes are automated to accelerate planning and close cycles.
  • Operational areas are engaged, but finance continues to invest the most effort.
  • Financial planning processes and standards start to emerge and more end-users are getting involved.
  • More (but not all) data sources are integrated, and some data management and quality controls are in place.
  • Excel is used in conjunction with the Continuous Planning platform to meet business requirements.

If you’re in this stage, here’s what you need to do:

Quantify business gains and ROI. Begin to track overall business gains vs. initial baselines and quantify the ROI you’re seeing from Continuous Planning.

Refine and optimise. Target stubborn bottlenecks that remain and continue optimising processes to heighten visibility and efficiency.

Broaden business engagement. Scale Continuous Planning to operational processes like sales and inventory, linking them to finance in a collaborative manner, where data and information is easily shared.

 

171006 Transforming Your Business BreakFix to MSP

 

Level 4: Transformative and Driving the Business

Finance is the strategic heartbeat of the company and is deeply involved in driving the business forward with accurate and informed recommendations, while process automation is pervasive across the enterprise.

Common Characteristics

  • Finance and operational collaboration is providing speed and agility.
  • Complete cross-enterprise engagement drives alignment, and finance is instrumental in developing business strategy and setting goals, and they act as a hub and a partner to the business.
  • Financial planning processes and standards are well defined, and business partners are fully engaged.
  • Virtually all data sources are integrated into a single source of truth, with robust data management and quality controls in place.
  • Excel is used sparingly in the Continuous Planning process.

If you’re in this stage, here’s what you need to do:

Sharpen analytic insights. Finance now has more time and resources for real-time reporting and analytics, elevating its role in strategic growth.

Continually optimise. With all relevant processes automated, it’s a matter of ongoing optimisation through continuous review and feedback with operational areas.

Adapt quickly to change. Whether entering a new global market or acquiring a competitor, you have the agility to make informed, data-driven forecasts and decisions.

 

 


 

Data Integration with Planful

Data integration is a critical component of a modern FP&A platform, and is a key advantage of the Planful platform. The platform supports the integration of data from a wide variety of sources and data types, and offers several different integration methods.

With the Planful platform you can ensure that your data integration processes are repeatable, automated, and secure while providing robust audit trails required by internal and external auditors. The integration capabilities of the platform reduce your manual effort and ensure your data is of high quality at all times — without the need for any manual involvement.

 

Data Integration with Planful

Creating a Single Source of Truth is not easy but having and understanding and then creating an action plan towards achieving an integration, can make all the different and leads to a quicker decision to do so, or hold off until you are ready.

One of the most critical requirements of an FP&A platform is the ability to integrate financial and non-financial data to and from multiple sources. 

For example, loading GL trial balances from the general ledger is required for the financial consolidation and close process in the FP&A system.

In the video featured here, Planful Customers discuss the benefits and ease of integrating multiple data systems with Planful. 

This customer testimonial includes references to “Host Analytics” which is now known as Planful.

Planful provides powerful, bi-directional data integration capabilities allowing access to data from ERP, HCM, CRM, data warehouses, spread- sheets, and other sources, whether they are on-premises or cloud-based.

 

Create a single source truth. Integrate Planful

 

Download the Guide >
divider
Gartner Logo 2019

Planful was named a Leader again by Gartner in the 2019 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Financial Planning and Analysis.

Garter Report 2019

 

Our Customers

Leading Finance and Accounting Professionals Trust Planful

 

LT Apparel Group

Lee Johnston looked to Planful to cut down on the time to budget reporting - previously working on multiple spreadsheets in different locations, Planful became the ideal solution to their budgeting nightmare.
Talk to our Team
Book A Live Demo
We’ve been very happy with Planful and the CFO Solutions team, which led implementation, and I look forward to discovering new ways to improve our business — we signed a three-year agreement, so we’re betting on Planful for long term.

Gary Kolanda Medrobotics Corporation

Gary Kolanda | VP of Finance at Medrobotics Corporation


 

 

Talk to the Sales Team

 

Contact Us