Nine Predictions: FP&A in 2019

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The future of FP&A promises more uncertainty and change. Here are nine predictions for 2019 made by FP&A professionals.

More business partnering

“In 2019 I predict that FP&A will stop seeing forecasting, analytics and producing numbers as its primary purpose and change into using the numbers to change decisions for the better through business partnering.” -- Anders Liu-Lindberg, Head of Global Finance PMO, A.P. Moller-Maersk

More scenario planning

“If the economy heads into a recession, I see the FP&A crowd getting busy with scenario planning!” -- Pete Geiler, AFP FP&A Advisory Council

Updated job descriptions for finance

“More companies and job descriptions will ask for big data , modeling experience ask in job descriptions for finance.” -- Geetanjali Tandon, AFP FP&A Advisory Council, Digital & IT Transformation Finance Lead at Bayer Crop Science

More automation

“Automation will continue to allow finance and FP&A professionals to truly rethink how they do work, to spend less time on routine and repetitive, manually-intensive type work, and free up more time for them to serve as valued business partners. And finance professionals will continue to need to be adaptable, flexible, and upskill in terms of analytical skills and technology savvy. But there are so many resources out there to help that this should not be a time for worry or fear, it instead should be thought of as a time of great opportunity for those professionals who believe in lifelong learning, and for those organizations who are truly learning organizations.” -- Rachele Collins, Ph.D., Principal Research Lead, APQC

More dynamic reporting

“We expect to see more dynamic and online reporting, and the use of analytics solutions that provide better insight into future performance as well as broader utilization of driver-based modelling to connect the dots between operational decisions and their financial outcomes. Master data management is the foundation for analysis and standardized reporting. We expect greater adoption of MDM tools and improved governance. Aided by more robust underlying data,  FP&A will increasingly take on the role of the analytics hub of the organization, serving multiple internal customers. Our research revealed that 70% of finance organizations already or will have set up analytics/decision support centers of excellence in the next 2-3 years.” -- Nilly Essaides, Senior Research Director Finance/EPM/FinOps, The Hackett Group

Finance execs will fall in love with Excel, again

“Less confusion and some clarity (things still change so fast) as we start to re-train our people and support them through these turbulent, yet exciting times. People will start to love Excel (it just got a makeover), but for the right reasons. They will discover some of the powerful add-ins and add-ons that supercharge native Excel, but also start to realize where the bad use cases are for Excel and find other solutions. Power BI will start to dominate the BI market (if it hasn’t already), but certainly get more embedded into the FP&A teams as its barely used at the moment.” -- Lance Rubin, CEO of Model Citzn, CFO of Sequel CFO

FP&A will grow in prestige

“My prediction for FP&A in 2019 is that we will spearhead our own specialty! Meaning, the range that FP&A can have within an organization is tremendous. We all see it but can’t ‘solve’ everything. Hence, we will pull FP&A along with us to those areas we operate in, do projects, or simply have our interest. If CFOs are thinking FP&A is a fad, in 2019 they will see many rising stars and new opportunities presented by us.” -- FP&A professional on LinkedIn

AI will inform analysis

“AI to have a more prominent role in predictions as well as analysis, and people will be more proactive in helping others understand the financial impact of their decisions before the impact occurs.” -- FP&A professional on LinkedIn

Increased fragmentation

Looking ahead, I see increased fragmentation under the banner of agile management. Interoperability will be the word for individual careers, business services, and technology leading to rapid teaming and de-coupling.

Here’s to the New Year!

About the Author
Bryan Lapidus is Director, FP&A Practice for AFP.

Copyright © 2018 Association for Financial Professionals, Inc. All rights reserved.

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