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Four steps towards a future-proof finance department

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That the world of finance is going through some evolutions of epic proportions, is an understatement. The sector as such sees the disrupting rise of specialized FinTech companies and startups. Blockchain is the talk of town as a fundamental game changer. Data analysts and predictive analytics specialists are in high demand, but supply is limited, leading to talent shortages. But corporate finance departments and organizations themselves are experiencing fast-paced changes as well, which has a massive impact on the planning, budgeting and forecasting roles.

Being well-prepared is half the battle. Sticking to the four measures below ensures that you can confidently tackle this new era of finance head-on:

  1. Enrich analysis with non-financial big data.
    If you only stick to financial data in your forecasts and plans, you’re forcing yourself to wear blinkers. Be sure to know what is cooking outside your department, and outside of your organization’s walls.
  2. Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) are critical.
    In a data-driven environment, financial planning and analysis are crucial. FP&A specialists are a strategic asset to all organizations. Investing in staff that knows both the financial and the IT side of the medal will always be the smarter choice.
  3. Unify the cloud.
    While the cloud is a great solution to inject the necessary versatility in your business processes, all too often it happens that different business models in different parts of the business put constraints on the success of cloud migration. Take this opportunity to implement planning, budgeting and forecasting through a single cloud solution.
  4. With continuous planning, the future is now.
    The proliferation of big data and the growing capacities of analytics tools make continuous planning a very concrete possibility. It allows for more accurate and quicker analysis, and better anticipation to market changes.

In the coming weeks, we will touch upon these four topics more in depth in a blog series.  Stay tuned.

Looking for a starting point to already help you on your way? Consider IBM Planning Analytics, which helps automate your essential planning, budgeting and forecasting processes. It also provides self-service analytics for business users and flexible, multidimensional modeling for your finance team. Read all about it here.

If you’re curious about the survey which served as the basis for the recommendations above, you can download the executive summary of “The Future of Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting” (by FSN) at following this link.

Presales Consultant at IBM, Software Group, Cognos Software

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