Hello Finance – Are You Engaged?

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Hello Finance – Are You Engaged?

Hello Finance – Are You Engaged?

By Robert Hirschey and Rob Tearnan

We know what you’re likely to say.

“Sure, we’re engaged. We ensure the books are accurate. We handle the monthly closing, do the analysis to explain performance, reforecast the rest of the quarter, and sometimes the year. What more do you want from us?”

Our answer is; “A lot more.” Let us explain.

We have found that the best companies practice Integrated Business Planning (IBP) as one of their key management processes. What is IBP you ask?

Integrated Business Planning is a process to align strategy, product/service portfolio, demand, supply, and resulting financials through a focused and exception-driven monthly replanning process. The result is a single operating plan, over a forward 24-month rolling horizon, to which the senior executives hold themselves and their teams accountable for achieving. Done well, it is the formal way that the business is operationally managed.

This is great news for Finance! It provides Finance the opportunity to constructively help the operating functions and leadership team shape the business going forward.

Finance partners with product development, marketing and sales, operations, supply chain, etc., to develop the latest view of the business going forward, and make needed adjustments to any changes to stay on track. By doing so, Finance plays a key role in helping the executive team reach consensus on a believable, feasible, and doable plan.

But it gets even better!

What about the dreaded “annual planning season” and the typical multi-month fire drill of setting goals and targets for next year, and developing the associated budgets?

Well, with IBP, there is already a set of assumptions and associated actions that cover product portfolio, sales and marketing, operations and, yes finance, for the forward 24 months. While not simply a “lift and shift,” a well-run IBP process significantly reduces the duration and effort of the annual planning process.

We call this making the annual planning process a “significant non-event.” (Read the white paper on how to achieve this "significant non-event" status!)

We’ve done this and seen it done - many times. It works.

All this leads to Finance being a “results enabler” versus a “results cop.” Finance is sought out for collaborative problem solving and respected for the value it adds, rather than avoided as a watch dog.

So, are you engaged in your company’s IBP process?

If not, get in there!

If your company doesn’t have an IBP process, point that out. Be a catalyst for change!

Learn more about our experiences and observations on how financial organizations play a critical role in a well-functioning Integrated Business Planning process. Download our white paper on “The Vital Role of Finance in a Mature Integrated Business Planning Process.” 

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