Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) Transformation

Improve forecast precision and deliver decision-ready insights that drive growth in FP&A

FP&A must drive profitable business decisions

As companies increase investments in advanced analytics, CFOs and their FP&A leaders are well positioned to provide precise forecasts and actionable insights to support quick and accurate decision making.

However, dispersed organizational data and outdated, non-standardized reporting processes mean financial planning and analysis teams often fail to provide clear, decision-ready insights that businesses need to drive growth. Additionally, our analysis shows only 3% of companies have strategic, operational and financial planning processes that are fully aligned and integrated.

73% of finance functions favor a centralized, tightly governed source for data.

How we address your top financial planning and analysis challenges

FP&A leaders are pressed to deliver accurate forecasts, high-quality decision support and actionable insights in decentralized organizational structures and often with limited resources. Our trusted research, expert advice and robust benchmarks help CFOs and their corporate finance teams transform financial planning and analysis capabilities and support strategic decisions that grow the business.

Define the scope of finance analytics

Demand for analytic-driven decision making across the business has continuously increased. FP&A leaders must identify the key business decisions to support with finance analytics. Download Gartner’s quick guide to understand what analysis should and should not be supported by FP&A.

Deliver high-quality financial analysis

Finance invests a lot in financial analysis, but CFOs don’t see much return. Finance analytics are often misinterpreted or misused. High-quality financial planning and analysis can improve decision outcomes by up to 1% of sales. Learn how to deliver top-quartile financial planning and analysis.

Transition to rolling forecasts

Traditional forecasting methods are based on static, outdated data and are not able to support high-quality decisions in today’s fast-paced business environment. Rolling forecasting provides better visibility into future outcomes. Use this forcasting model to identify novel risks and inform operational and strategic decisions.

Optimize FP&A performance

Only 13% of organizations identify performance issues before they hit financials, while 81% of organizations take too long to remediate performance issues. Learn how the best CFOs and financial planning and analysis teams identify issues early and shorten the process from identification to resolution.

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Without the right KPIs, you can ultimately make decisions that aren’t based on information that’s relevant to those decisions.

Colt Meraw

Director of FP&A, Urban Institute

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Financial planning and analysis questions Gartner can help answer

The financial planning and analytics team plays a critical role in the organization’s financial strategy by performing budgeting, forecasting and analysis to support strategic decisions being made by business leaders. 

By delivering critical data and analysis, FP&A can improve the quality of business decisions, ultimately enabling business leaders to drive enterprise strategy more effectively.

Dedicated software and technology can make the budgeting and forecasting process quicker and more accurate. To leverage these technologies effectively, FP&A leaders need to set data-governance standards and establish shared buy-in with business leaders on the drivers of performance that budgets and forecasts track. In ensuring the right inputs, FP&A builds confidence among business leaders that the decisions they are making take into account the right financial variables and priorities.

Finance increasingly needs to provide operational or enterprisewide decision support to highly complex business structures. The ongoing standardization and automation of processes and transactions lends itself to centralization, but decision support is often better served by assigning FP&A teams (physically or remotely) to individual business units. 

The objective is to organize the finance function to improve the quality and impact of finance analytics. One option is the “hub-and-spoke” model in which a centralized center of excellence (hub) owns some of the more strategic analytics and is linked to “spokes” embedded in the business. In this model, the hub executes multivariate tests recommended by the spokes to produce constructive insights such as profitable-growth targets, customer and product profitability models, and strategic pricing information.

FP&A leaders need to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to data analytics and digital input. To ensure the quality of their data analysis, FP&A leaders need to focus on:

  1. Financial data management: Streamlining financial information, structuring data and standardizing data definitions to create a high-quality data environment that ensures information integrity while enabling faster and more impactful analysis of business problems. 
  2. Finance analytics: Applying specialized and semiautonomous (i.e., machine-driven) analytics methods to create more insight-driven and impactful analysis for business decision makers. 
  3. Metrics and management reporting: Aligning reporting processes and content with user needs while also ensuring efficiency. 

Gartner’s finance experts are trusted, objective advisors for 1,750+ finance organizations.

Gartner for Finance Leaders provides insights, advice and tools to help finance leaders make the right decisions to drive business results.