The current state of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) makes me think of a quote by author William Gibson: “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Some companies are experimenting with, and deploying, the latest technologies and advanced systems. Others are using basic systems and processes and do not feel the need, or have the resources, to overhaul their department. Most companies are somewhere in between.
It is in this environment that AFP has introduced the second version of its FP&A Maturity Model. Version 1.0 was published several years ago—which is practically a lifetime in the fast-changing world of FP&A. Even as we thoroughly updated Version 2.0, the goal of the Maturity Model remains the same: to offer a roadmap for excellence in FP&A in the near term and include the competencies to address changes on the horizon.
The model is designed to help organizations develop a baseline for their current FP&A practice, and to help them improve in various areas. AFP will continuously develop actionable resources to help companies improve in each area, including articles, guides, webinars and social media, and tools such as downloadable templates.
FP&A skills are applied over three dimensions, with various elements comprising the FP&A role ascribed to each of these.
- Finance and business acumen: FP&A translates corporate and business strategy into a financial plan and supports the enactment of that plan through resource allocation. Processes generate input and insight through financial analysis, supported by enabling technology.
- Technology and data: Technology enables new capabilities for individuals and teams to apply to financial analyses and processes; data is a key economic asset leveraged throughout the business analysis and operations.
- Personal and team effectiveness: FP&A is a trusted advisor to the business, based on credibility, partnership, and communication. FP&A continues to build its skillset in keeping with business and technological best practices.
- Integrated planning: A key function of FP&A is to translate the strategic plan into a strategy that coordinates the company, can be measured, and can be checked. This includes forecasting and budgeting (for those companies that have a budget process).
- Performance reporting: A key to operating a company is delivering the right information to the right person, at the right time in the right format. FP&A develops effective reports for various audiences that are trustworthy and timely, and can effectively communicate FP&A’s credibility.
- Analytics: FP&A delivers insights based on constructed models, data and information.
- Managing growth of FP&A: FP&A plans its own growth to remain relevant to the changing operating models of business, technology and careers. Data management and systems architecture to facilitate data manipulation are critical.
Overlaying these dimensions are four standard capabilities that guide FP&A:
It is a challenge to create a single model to fit the broad expanse of FP&A community, where practitioners and enterprise vary greatly by size, structure, industry, geography, and culture. We realize some readers’ organizations may fall somewhere in between regarding various components of the FP&A Maturity Model. Our hope is that you will find in the Maturity Model inspiration and aspiration to improve your craft and advance the profession.
The new version of the FP&A Maturity Model is available here.