At a glance
In the ever-evolving landscape of finance, the ability to predict and shape the future is crucial.
Accountants and finance professionals have traditionally spent a significant amount of time measuring KPIs and reporting on the numbers.
However, the focus is now shifting towards a more proactive approach that goes beyond using historical data to predict the future, says Phil Dodds CPA, board member and former CEO of Phocas Software.
Phocas Software is a business planning and analytics software that helps businesses integrate multiple data sources in a single platform.
Empowering finance teams
Finance teams often face capacity constraints, leaving little time for strategic planning and analysis.
“Most finance teams are running very close to the wind in terms of capacity, and they get bogged down in doing what they do and generating reports for the business,” says Dodds.
“We need to give them tools that make what they’re doing more efficient, so that they can become the provider of insights and add value, rather than just the reporter.”
A tool like Phocas can help businesses streamline reporting processes and automate data analysis. This can free up valuable time for finance professionals to share meaningful insights and shape the future of their businesses.
“We spend a lot of time doing forecasting, trying to predict the future. I think what we are trying to do with business and financial planning tools such as Phocas is to provide finance teams with insights, so that they can change the future,” Dodds says.
The shift towards providing insights signifies a fundamental transformation in financial planning and the role of finance teams. Rather than passively accepting the future as it unfolds, finance teams are actively working to shape it.
Driving business growth
Dodds says finance professionals can play a pivotal role in shaping business strategies and outcomes, because they have a bird’s-eye view of what’s happening across the business that goes beyond historical reporting.
“Financial planning tools enable finance teams to analyse sales forecasts, cash flow projections and market trends. They also help them to gain a deeper understanding of the business’s potential trajectory and steer their businesses towards growth and profitability,” says Dodds.
By leveraging insights derived from comprehensive and accurate data, finance professionals can guide strategic planning and drive the organisation toward improved efficiency, profitability and sustained growth.
Driving collaboration and alignment
To change the future effectively, finance teams must collaborate with other business units and align their efforts. Insights derived from financial planning tools act as a common language, enabling different departments to work together toward shared goals.
When data from all departments flows into one financial planning tool, finance teams can ensure that everyone has access to the same source of truth.
“Data belongs in the CFO’s office,” Dodds points out. “They’re the ones who can govern this data and make sure that it’s accurate and complete, and that it can be used well by the business.
“When data and insights are shared and accessible across departments, it breaks down silos, fostering a culture of collaboration and cross-functional alignment,” he adds.