Corporate Performance Management in uncertain times
Last month managing director David Watson attended a gala reception at the Palace of Westminster. The reception was hosted by the Parliamentary Review on the very night MPs were in the Commons voting on the call for an election.
The journal recently published a feature on how the team at Concentric Solutions helps customers to drive value from Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solutions. The article is timely given the continued political uncertainty!
Former Sunday Times editor and political pundit, Andrew Neil, wasted no time in chastising the main political parties for their prevarication over Brexit in his Keynote. Yet, whilst he was magnanimous in his opinions about leaving or remaining in the EU, he conceded that nobody can predict the outcome of the ongoing negotiations with the EU, or where the dividing lines in British politics will end up in a few more months’ time.
Timely and accurate management reporting, and the ability to forecast and plan for multiple scenarios, have never been more relevant.
So where do you start?
CPM in Uncertain Times
The themes in our report published in the Parliamentary Review, call out the concept of a ‘Management Cycle’ of CPM processes. Most well-run organisations set strategic plans, prepare operational plans, monitor, measure and forecast against those plans, and produce timely management information on business results. However, the prevalence of multiple legacy technologies in larger group companies serves to hinder their ability to adapt to change. Too much effort is expended on preparing the numbers, and on joining disparate solutions, technologies, out-dated models and spreadsheets together in an approximation to an integrated ‘Management Cycle’.
Brexit has led to companies holding back on investing in capital projects and delaying decisions on allocation of their resources. Whilst confidence in various markets is low, it is important that organisations maintain their competitiveness. The technology body, TechUK notes that a no-deal Brexit would pose a real risk to the sector, commenting that 69% of their member businesses have predicted it would have a negative impact on their firms compared to just 4% citing a positive effect.
If this is representative of corporate confidence in the current UK economy, businesses need better ways of making decisions. A CPM platform that integrates financial and operational data provides context to real-world performance. A system that enables ‘joined-up’ thinking across the planning, monitoring and reporting cycle ensures managers base decisions on the factors that drive their businesses, enabling them to modify forward plans to account for market changes.
The challenge for many firms in times of change is identifying how to use technology to mitigate the impact of change without bolting on even more disconnected software applications. Modern CPM solutions offer a combination of reporting process automation and business intelligence. A good example of this ‘single platform’ approach can be found in our partner solution from OneStream Software.
OneStream has been designed from the outset to unify a multiplicity of reporting processes. This includes:
- Driver-based operational and financial planning that cleverly models the Corporate agenda whilst offering local divisional relevance, and levels of detail;
- Sophisticated data integration that marries ERP source systems with CPM models, automating uploads and managing data quality to smooth the close process;
- Financial consolidation and reporting capabilities that address multi-GAAP reporting standards, account reconciliations, automated eliminations and adjustments, and full ‘report to source’ audit visibility on data and metadata changes;
- Ability to track all balance sheet movements, including foreign exchange exposure for complete cashflow understanding;
- Integrated reporting that provides a common window into all management cycle processes, using familiar MS-Office applications, system reports and dashboards that can be rendered on a PC or mobile device; and
- Portable technology that offers deployment choices on-premise or in the Cloud, aligning with each customer’s IT strategy.
Andrew Neil’s commentary acknowledged the Government’s apparent resolve to deliver Brexit with impunity. Trade with other non-EU states will become ever more important, and understanding their market dynamics will form a key part of modelling business plans and forecasts. Recent US trade tariffs and political unrest continue to impact on the Asian tiger economies. The only certainty, it would seem, is continued uncertainty.
Perhaps an analogy to draw from this comes from the advertisements by Esso Petroleum. Tango the Tiger, the famous face of Esso adverts, died only a matter of months after the Brexit referendum.
For multi-national organisations, an integrated CPM platform really is the new Tiger in the Tank in times of uncertainty and change.
Click here to read the full article published in the Parliamentary Review journal.