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In the ever-evolving realm of finance, staying ahead of the curve is essential for success. As a testament to this, SAP proudly sponsors the FP&A Trends Group's 2023 Survey.  This comprehensive report delves into the latest developments and challenges facing finance practitioners, offering a unique perspective on the current state of financial planning and analysis. With responses from 385 finance professionals representing a diverse range of companies, industries, and regions, the survey provides invaluable insights that every FP&A professional should take note of.

Some of the highlights from the Survey include:

Navigating Data Challenges:

One of the standout findings from the survey revolves around data quality—a persistent challenge for many FP&A teams. Astonishingly, only 20% of respondents reported having access to a single data source that is both easily analyzable and agreed upon in terms of classifications. Furthermore, 33% of participants struggle with data characterized by multiple definitions and the difficulty of consolidation. This data hurdle underscores the critical need for efficient data management solutions that streamline analysis and decision-making processes.

Time Allocation Matters:

Efficiency in resource allocation is a key indicator of an effective FP&A team. However, the survey reveals that the distribution of FP&A team time has remained stagnant for three consecutive years. Approximately 45% of team time is still spent on low-value activities such as data collection and validation, leaving only 34% dedicated to generating insights and influencing strategic actions. This disparity highlights the untapped potential for FP&A teams to drive higher-value contributions to their organizations.

Scenario Planning and Forecasting:

In a dynamic business landscape, the ability to swiftly adapt through scenario planning is indispensable. Yet, only 16% of organizations can run scenarios in under a day—a 4% decline from the previous year. Notably, 20% of organizations are still unable to conduct scenarios at all. For the majority, which can run scenarios, a concerning 26% require more than a week to complete this crucial task. Similarly, forecasting processes are taking longer, with only 17% able to produce a forecast in less than two business days. This emphasizes the need for agile forecasting processes to ensure timely decision-making.

Skills Evolution:

The survey highlights the evolving skill set required for FP&A professionals. Analytical skills, perennially in demand, remain critical, with 45% of organizations listing them as a requirement. However, the survey also signals a 17% increase in demand for business partnering skills, underlining the shift towards collaborative and strategic roles within FP&A teams.  This need for Business Partnering is complemented by an advancement in technology supporting xP&A.

Embracing Extended Planning and Analysis (xP&A):

The survey offers insights into the adoption of Extended Planning and Analysis (xP&A), a progressive approach that encourages cross-functional collaboration. Impressively, 29% of teams have fully embraced xP&A or initiated collaborations with other departments, while an additional 13% are considering this transformative journey. This trend reflects the growing recognition of the importance of holistic planning and analysis processes.

The "FP&A Trends Survey 2023" provides a comprehensive view of the current challenges and opportunities within the finance domain. The insights presented—ranging from data quality and time allocation to scenario planning, forecasting, and evolving skill sets—highlight the pressing need for FP&A teams to adapt, innovate, and align with changing industry dynamics. In addition the replay of the joint webinar by SAP and FP&A trends and other industry leaders complements the survey with live and comprehensive analysis and examples.  With its extensive respondent pool and data-rich analysis, this survey serves as an indispensable resource for finance practitioners seeking to navigate today's complex business landscape with informed decision-making and strategic prowess. To dive deeper into the findings and implications of this survey, access the full report and empower your FP&A journey.

Please see here for more information on SAP FP&A solutions.