Armanino Blog

Power Up Your ERP With Financial Planning & Analysis

by Mark C Wagner
July 31, 2018

Are you getting as much value out of your ERP as you could be?

Platforms like Sage Intacct and Microsoft Dynamics allow you to better manage your business and automate some processes, but they aren't designed for financial planning analysis―and the reporting tools that come out of the box with ERP systems sometimes don't cover everything an organization needs.

Without the proper technical solution in place, planning and reporting can be time-consuming and error prone. To get the most out of the data in your ERP, consider integrating dedicated financial planning analysis (FPA) software that streamlines these tasks and enhances your ability to put your data to strategic use.

The benefits of FPA solutions

With so many different financial planning analysis solutions to choose from, you'll want to look for software that communicates efficiently with your ERP of choice. Platforms like Adaptive Insights offer pre-built integrations for best-of-breed ERPs that pull financial data via pre-defined field mapping, eliminating the tedious work and matching errors that occur when you import spreadsheets by hand. Automating the flow of data will result in daily time savings. A revision to an account number, for example, will no longer necessitate manually amending it across multiple spreadsheets. Instead, relevant changes will be pushed throughout the system, and updated reporting will be available simply by clicking refresh.

The biggest benefit of FPA software, however, won't be the access to reporting your finance department has―it will be the access that everyone else has. Groups across your organization will be able to pull up dashboards that provide real-time financial data, and users will be able to run KPI-specific reports from a verified, single source of truth. They'll have immediate insight into their progress toward goals, all without bugging your finance team.

With reporting available to everyone, finance will no longer have to operate as a report-delivery bottleneck. Instead, they'll be able to focus on helping leadership make better, more informed business decisions.

Informed financial planning depends on timely data. But when you are manually uploading your transactions and closed books to your ERP, anyone trying to forecast and plan for the months and years ahead may be working off of numbers that are more than 30 days old.

By integrating FPA software with your ERP, you'll enable users to get real-time financial information on demand, rather than having to wait for accounting to release the numbers after the close. This visibility will allow your organization to flag problems sooner, enabling you to quickly course-correct as opportunities or difficulties arise.

Better data means better planning

Financial intelligence and analytics allow you to plan strategically. Dashboards can display historical trends and current conditions on metrics ranging from gross margins to operating expenses, and your finance team can quickly game out likely occurrences based on a variety of variables. For example, you can build out a what-if scenario to gauge how a proposed price increase for a product will—at different percentages—affect sales and impact net revenue.

We've seen clients cut time requirements for intricate forecasting and reporting packages from four days to five minutes by integrating financial planning analysis software in place of manual verification and uploads of spreadsheet workbooks. Increased reporting speed and data accuracy allow your company's decision-makers to create revenue forecasts, budgets and expense plans, secure in the knowledge that they are working off the most current and accurate information.

By adding FPA to your technology stack, not only will your ERP be powered up, your company will be, too.

Learn more about the impacts of financial planning analysis cloud capabilities with Armanino's team of former CFOs, FPA Directors and Controllers.

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Mark Wagner, Consulting, Armanino
Senior Manager
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