Apliqo Insights: Shanghai FP&A Board meeting 2019

The meeting focused on global trends in modern financial planning and analysis. Some key trends highlighted at the beginning of the meeting included:

  • Artificial Intelligence and predictive planning models
  • Digitalization
  • The benefits of better managed bottom line FP&A
  • Big data
  • The development of trusted data hubs
  • Increased forecast accuracy
  • Integrating a strategic planning layer into both financial and operational plans
  • Flexible technologies as tools for following FP&A best practices
  • Using BI tools for advanced analytics
  • Realtime reporting and planning
  • The new skill sets and requirements needed to fulfill FP&A roles, such as a deeper commercial background and business partnering skills.

Despite evaluating these new trends, the participants at this week’s event also concluded that many companies still struggle with the basics of modern FP&A. This includes best practices like unifying strategic, financial, and operational planning/reporting, as well as using modern methodologies such as driver-based planning, rolling forecasts, and long-term planning.   Following this discussion, the Board completed a short survey to better understand the maturity of the FP&A sector in Shanghai. Here are the results of this brief questionnaire:      

How long is the average duration of your budgeting and planning process in months?

1 – 3 months4 – 6 monthsMore than 6 months
34.4 %62.5 %3.1 %

How long is the average duration of your forecasting process?

Less than 3 days3 – 7 daysMore than 7 days
3.1 %21.9 %75.0 %

Following this opening discussion, the meeting featured 2 very exciting presentations by:

  • Michael Bian, Finance Director at Bunzl. Mr. Bian shared his insight into the transformation his former company experienced after moving from a very static traditional budgeting model to a more dynamic, bottom-line-driven process.
  • Rainer Kern, CFO at AT&S. Mr. Kern shared his insight into the implementation of Performance Management Models and the values theses models delivered for AT&S’ FP&A department. Furthermore, he described how AT&S was transforming its finance department by hiring new Data Scientists and Business Partners.

Larysa Melnychuk also shared the latest FP&A Analytics Maturity Model, which was developed during the past FP&A Board Meetings around the globe:

Following these presentations, the attendants participated in a group workshop where they worked on the following questions:

Where are your organizations placed on the FP&A Analytics Maturity Model?

Most of the organization rated themselves between Developing and Defined (75%-85%) and only a small number considers their maturity as Advanced.

What steps are needed to arrive to the Leading State?

Many key steps were mentioned from each group and attached overview summarizes the categories and steps which are needed to achieve a Leading State.

FP&A Teams / ResponsibilitiesFP&A ConceptFP&A Tools
Increase Awareness of FP&A added valueAnalyze the companies current FP&A situationEvaluate individual FP&A tools that align with the defined concepts
Management Support for changesUse Performance Management such as KPIs, Dashboards, and an analysis of critical processesEvaluate tools during the Proof of Concept stage to make sure they support the required functions
Build teams with analytical, presentation and communication skillsDefine projections and frequency using Budgets, Operational Plans, Forecasts, Rolling Forecasts, and Long-Term PlansStart small – implement a use case to show early success and increase support for the future
Commit to investments in resources and toolsBuild models for critical drivers like Gross Margin, Opex, Capex, and Working Capital 
 Analyze FP&A best practice methodologies and usability for your models 

The event was hosted and sponsored by the global FPA partners  Apliqo and Michael Page.

Apliqo – a Cubewise Company – is proud to be sponsoring such a high-quality forum dedicated to debating the most important trends and challenges facing the FP&A sector. We’d like to extend a special thanks to Larysa Melnychuk for creating such a unique community focused on FP&A and giving Apliqo the opportunity to be a part of it.

We are looking forward to our next upcoming events in 2019. The next FP&A board meeting with Apliqo will take place in Singapore on 9th of July 2019. The topic will be: Rolling Forecast. 7 Factors for Success.

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