Business is not a solitary pursuit. It often takes dozens or even hundreds of people partnering together to create meaningful impact. But when it comes to the finance department, it can often feel like you’re working in a silo. Instead of being seen as a partner, FP&A teams often struggle to get buy-in from business managers. So how do you make finance part of the team? By getting everyone else invested in the numbers.
Data collaboration takes continuous time and effort to ensure everyone is moving in the right direction. Stakeholders who invest in the process are rewarded with the KPIs and dashboards they need to make better business decisions. Those that don’t participate get stuck with raw numbers or GL account data. If you don’t make it easy for both sides to take ownership, then neither side will benefit.
As great as spreadsheets are for some things, collaboration isn’t one of them. Multiple emailed copies of a spreadsheet leads to confusion and errors, while the inability to manage who has access and enters data should raise massive red flags. Finance ends up spending the bulk of their time just verifying numbers are up to date and accurate. As a result, the team doesn’t have time to work with stakeholders to deliver reports with relevant KPIs, which leads to stakeholders freezing them out of the process.
Financial collaboration becomes easier when you stop relying on static spreadsheets. It starts with getting the entire team working with one, trusted set of numbers, and building on a foundation of accurate, up to date data. When you trust the numbers, you can focus your time on analysis and working with stakeholders to deliver valuable insights and improve engagement. When your partners in other departments can take more ownership of the data, turning it into “our numbers” instead of “finance’s numbers,” everybody wins.
When you have a single source of truth, and get other stakeholders engaged, you move towards what we call “active planning.” An active planning process needs to be collaborative, comprehensive, and continuous. Benefits include:
When you have these three components, we call it "active planning"
We have experienced dramatic improvements in collaboration with key stakeholders across our organisation. Greater visibility into operational and financial metrics and enhanced collaboration across finance, R&D, procurement, and manufacturing has helped us drive significant performance improvements across our operations.
Kyle Chlan, Senior Operations Finance Manager