You already know that FP&A has been undergoing a rapid transformation. So, what’s the change in direction?
Well, FP&A is quickly moving beyond periodic reporting to continuous planning and agile decision-making. The modern FP&A team is the entire org’s business partner in making better decisions, not just Finance. Gartner recently identified five of the top artificial intelligence (AI) use cases for financial planning and analysis (FP&A) leaders to consider implementing in their functions.
“Organizations ignoring these use cases should have a good reason for doing so because they offer the best combination of feasibility and business benefit,” said Mark D. McDonald, senior director, research in the Gartner Finance practice. “Looking to apply AI to other use cases before getting these five working effectively is likely leaving process efficiency and business performance gains on the table.”
We recently hosted a LinkedIn Live event, ‘Infuse Enterprise AI into Integrated Planning: Be The Future First™’ where we discuss the use of AI in extended planning, which you can view the recording via this link: https://lnkd.in/eZxVceWR
In 22 minutes, we discuss how AI applications are transforming the finance function of aligning strategic and operational knowledge. We know that AI is only as good as the data it’s based on. It can’t add value if your data is incomplete, inaccurate, or siloed to begin with. That’s why we recommend that you start with a modern, enterprise-grade planning platform. We recommend Pigment for extended planning, as it excels over systems architected initially a decade or more ago across the six pillars of reporting, collaboration & workflows, scenarios, data aggregation, modeling engine, and access controls & security.
To keep it very simple, there are two operative words for AI in integrated business planning: faster and smarter. Leveraging NLP, it could start with a conversational question. For example, you might ask your planning solution to break down revenue by country and segment, a softball question as far as AI goes. Or for the office of the CRO in integrated planning, ‘Why do we have a gap in quota attainment?’ For the CHRO in integrated planning, ‘why is the latest forecast scenario higher than the plan?’
You could have AI automatically generate insights and reports. You could also test some new assumptions, such as ‘What if we launch our new product three months in advance.’ You can really ask just about any question related to the scope of the data within the application, structured or unstructured. Ask your new assistant to play out different what-if scenarios to help you make the best decisions.
To sum it up, key features of AI infused into Integrated Planning include data querying, pattern identification, smart insights, automated analysis, reporting, assisted modeling, and scenario building. As AI-powered tools become more embedded into organizations, FP&A analysts will have greater capacity for more creative and strategic pursuits.
Superpowers like spotting hidden patterns in data and giving more accurate predictions about future trends make AI the newest strategic partner for FP&A teams. When productivity increases, so does the addressable white space in which humans are needed to work with machines. Next-gen finance professionals are interacting with AI daily, and this will only become more widespread, a symbiotic mix of humans and machines working together.