Catherine Grainger

Posted by:
Catherine Grainger
- Planning Practice Director

There have been many boardroom conversations over the years about what it would look like to have a truly integrated business, where finance and operations work together to connect financial and operational plans, but how many organisations can truly say they have adopted this, and what does it really mean?

What do we mean?

We’re talking more than just budgeting.  This covers the whole organisation, financial and operational, to drive decisions not just though accurate and timely information, by ensuring the right people are involved enabling them to do modelling and scenarios. This leads to more accurate forecasting, obviously of results, but also other areas throughout the business, for example the workforce or cash needs. It also serves as a solid base from which to be able to plan for the future using what-if scenario modelling.

What happens if we don’t do it?

There are many consequences of not having integrated planning.

  1. Disconnected plans.

If plans are not integrated, data sources are often disparate, departments employ their own point solutions, so there’s no transparency or workflow throughout the business.

  1. Data silos

With everyone doing their own thing, there’s no single version of the truth. There’s also no wider view of the whole business, so you can’t easily identify business drivers or refine plans.

  1. No Agility

Not being easily able to see how actions could affect others means you can’t react quickly to market demands or business opportunities.  The process won’t scale and is time consuming.

  1. Little confidence

With so many different things going on, the process is often error-prone with discrepancies between departments.

Embracing integrated planning ensures higher relevance and quality of plans, as well as efficiency of the forecasting process and business delivery.

How do we do it?

Put simply, financial plans need to be linked to operational plans; no plan should be created in isolation without awareness of and connection to others. Co-ordinated execution, through a cross-functional process, leads to better business performance. Operational plans will have non-financial units eg people, products, assets that need to be forecasted, but all will have monetary value that links through to the financial plans.

There are examples throughout all departments in the business – Sales, Marketing, Production, Logistics. Specific examples like sales forecasting and promotions planning; workforce planning and resource effectiveness; IT portfolio and shared services planning; demand and capacity planning.

How having a partner like Sempre can help

It’s not just about partnering finance with operations, it’s about ensuring you have the right solutions and technology to drive better business outcomes.  By implementing these technology and practices into your organisation you are empowering your finance teams to deliver actionable results that are vital for future business decisions.

In short this helps to enable them to deliver ‘agile finance’ and elevate the role they play in your company’s business outcomes.  By automating processes and manual tasks you can free up skilled teams to spend less time on processes and reporting on the past and more on planning for the future.

Sempre has been working hand-in-hand with customers since 2011, building long-term partnerships that have helped them navigate the stormy seas of uncertainty.  Whether they are looking to increase their financial resilience, enhance their operational efficiency or make the smartest decisions possible, by sitting alongside our customers we  help them to achieve their goals.

Bringing together years of data, analytics and technology expertise, close relationships with world-leading technology partners, and extensive industry experience, Sempre’s consultants are trusted by our customers, to partner with them as a reliable member of their team.


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