Despite being one of the “key strategic drivers in the organization,” most business’ financial planning and analysis (FP&A) teams are drowning in manual work, according to the latest research from Activant Capital.
That’s because even though these teams need access to more cross-departmental data than almost any other arm of the business, they still rely on outdated tools—namely, Excel—to collect and analyze key information.
As a result, FP&A staff spends up to three quarters of their time just gathering and managing data, the report finds. This is despite the fact that four of the top ten finance tasks (measure by time-saving potential) fall within the FP&A purview.
The TL;DR? The finance teams tasked with driving the most impactful change in the business are steering with outdated, non-scalable toolsets (ie. Excel, again).
A third generation of FP&A tools have a big opportunity
As Activant’s report points out, despite at least two generations of enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools having come to market in the past couple decades, most have largely failed to provide agility or usability that calls for retiring the old-school spreadsheet.
As a result, 86 percent of finance staff predominantly use Excel despite having access to a suite of legacy solutions.
This aligns with similar findings in Boast’s 2023 R&D Trends and Insights Report, which found that spreadsheets were the go-to planning tool for product roadmap planning for the vast majority of businesses polled—more than doubling the use of the most popular workflow platform.
However, Activant’s report finds that new entrants into the FP&A solutions market are seizing the opportunity to deliver where past generations have failed. They mark a “third generation” of tools that harness an “FP&A Software Hierarchy of Needs” that captures:
- Usability: Lower barrier to adoption and faster access to results.
- Real-time KPIs: By merging accounting and business intelligence, teams can actively and passively track for opportunities to optimize.
- Planning Powers: Tools remove the manual requirements of spreadsheets for faster planning.
- Real-time collaboration: Un-siloed access to data to unlock systems of intelligence
- Automation: New tools can do some of the thinking for teams, delivering action items and insights through AI-driven applications.
“An impactful finance leader requires a robust reporting and planning tool to enable insightful, real-time decision-making. The next generation of FP&A tools must deliver on this expectation with intuitive interfaces, seamless integrations, and unparalleled flexibility,” Joel Abdinoor, CFO of NewStore is quoted as saying in the Activant report.
Boast: More than just tax management
Activant’s report included a market map and value chain of new solutions that are aiming to deliver on the hierarchy of needs delivered above, which featured Boast within the Tax Management bracket of the CFO Tech Stack.
With an escalating Market Growth Conviction and Tech Maturity, Boast’s continually evolving platform embodies the scalable, usable and flexible solution that FP&A teams need to deliver impactful analysis.
Features like our recently launched Financial Data Hub makes sharing financial data effortless, giving clients the flexibility to seamlessly integrate, upload, or manually enter a wide range of financial documents. All of this goes to help teams maximize their access to non-dilutive funding through R&D tax credits, while offering actionable insights into the true state of their R&D.
This is one of the many game-changing features that is packed into Boast’s platform to help finance leadership simplify processes, maximize their access to critical capital to fuel their runway, and offer meaningful insights to help the entire business.
To explore the Financial Data Hub and experience the future of data management, contact our team today.
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