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The Top Five Tips for Financial Planning and Analysis



Effective and efficient financial planning and analysis is critical for the success of any business, helping to inform decisions and strategies that will drive long-term growth. Yet many organizations don't have a well-structured approach to tackling their financial planning initiatives. To help CFOs, CEOs, and business owners maximize their financial performance and reduce unnecessary risk, here are five tips for improving your current approach to financial planning and analysis.

1. Get Clean Accounting Data


One of the most important steps for effective financial planning and analysis is ensuring that the accounting department is costing expenses to the proper cost centers. This requires accurate and timely reporting of all expenses, so that budgeting, forecasting, and other financial decisions can be made confidently. The cost center information should be tracked in a systematic way which allows for easy evaluation and analysis.

2. Analyze Your Financial Data Regularly

It's important to regularly monitor and analyze your financial data to identify where the business is excelling and any areas of opportunity or risk. This can be done by running various analyses, such as a variance analysis (to compare actual results against budgeted goals), cash flow projections, or trend analysis. Having an automated system in place that allows you to quickly and easily access this data can save time and money.


3. Use a Financial Model for Accurate Planning


Forecasting is an invaluable part of financial planning as it enables business leaders to anticipate future trends and identify potential issues before they become serious problems. Creating a financial model for forecasting is an essential part of any forecasting process. To build an effective model, it is important to collect accurate and high-quality data, identify areas where trends are likely to occur in the future and create scenarios based on realistic assumptions.


4. Utilize Financial Dashboards


Financial dashboards provide a great way to quickly visualize and analyze financial data, enabling users to gain an understanding of performance at a glance. These dashboards can be used to track KPIs, compare actual results against budgeted goals, and monitor trends over time. An important benefit of utilizing financial dashboards is that they can provide the insight necessary to make well-informed decisions in a timely manner.

5. Automate Your Processes

Using automated systems to manage financial planning and analysis processes can help streamline operations, saving both time and money. Manual entry of data into spreadsheets or databases can be extremely time-consuming and can open the door to errors. Automation, on the other hand, speeds up mundane tasks and helps ensure the accuracy of data.

Conclusion

To recap, in order to get clean accounting data, you need to first analyze your financial data. Once you have a good understanding of your company’s numbers, it is important to use a financial model to project future performance and make decisions accordingly. Utilizing financial dashboards can help keep you on track with your goals, and automating the process will save you time and energy. If you would like more information or assistance setting up these tools for your business, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at GFT. We are more than happy to help!

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