A guide to FP&A: the best tools and why to adopt them

FP&A stands for “Financial Planning and Analysis” or “Financial Planning and Analytics”. Gartner describes FP&A as a “set of four activities that support an organization's financial health: planning and budgeting, integrated financial planning, management and performance reporting, and forecasting and modeling.”

A guide to FP&A in 2022: the best tools and why to adopt them

In this blog, we will discuss the role of FP&A within an organization, the best 2022 FP&A tools and why organization’s need to adopt them.

What is the role of FP&A and why is it important for organizations?

FP&A solutions enhance an organization’s finance division by assisting with the financial planning, forecasting and budgeting processes that can help leadership teams make important business decisions via insightful data interpretations. 

Essentially, they are insightful tools that allow organization’s to dig deeper into the financial operations of the business to identify areas that are over performing or underperforming. While it is usually attributed as a task undertaken by the finance teams, it isn’t just used to analyze data for the finance division only. Instead, the processes within FP&A can be used to reveal insights on areas from human resources and operations through to marketing and tech support.

So why is the FP&A function important for an organization to have? Here are a few key benefits:

  • The ability to make data-led business decisions quickly

    When making a business decision, instead of chasing department heads or key stakeholders from different parts of an organization, FP&A provides leaders with insightful data in one place. When the leadership team wants information to support a potential upcoming project, business case or just general insight, they need only to consult FP&A teams or software. This allows for more efficient decisions backed by solid and reliable data.

  • Business growth sustainability

    Not only is FP&A great for immediate business decisions, but you can use FP&A to create forecasted business models, outcomes, cases and projections. Considering investing more in your sales and marketing teams? FP&A can provide you with data that can project how that might go. FP&A can establish scenario models to help optimize business growth by comparing multiple outcomes and leaving leaders with the best outcome or model to choose from.

  • Productivity and efficiency increases

    Having business planning processes concentrated into one area, FP&A will increase productivity as less interactions will be required to produce insightful data interpretations. Less emails back and forth chasing information from one team member to the next, and if your FP&A is fully-automated, less need to store or maintain documents, nevermind the cost-savings due to decreased staffing requirements.

A guide to FP&A in 2022

Our top FP&A tools and why organization’s need to adopt them

As with many data trends, FP&A is constantly evolving and it’s starting to look more and more digital. If anyone needs further proof of how quickly cloud computing has become the norm in the world of FP&A, consider how the landscape looked back in 2015. According to the American Productivity & Quality Center, 25% of survey participants were using cloud technologies to do their finances and a further 22% were considering a move to the cloud in 2016. Recent data from Google Cloud showed that in 2021, more than 83% of surveyed financial services companies were deploying cloud technology as part of their primary computing infrastructures.

Now, in 2022, FP&A is all about the cloud. And it makes sense - software architecture is typically easier to use and maintain than traditional methods of compiling and analyzing a company’s financial strategy such as developing manual spreadsheets and reports.

To keep up with this trend, it is imperative that FP&A teams ensure they are across the latest cloud-based solutions, especially given the evolving nature of the technology. The cutting-edge aspect of cloud computing solutions means new platforms are constantly launching and those that already exist are being updated. That is why practitioners need to adapt their thinking and strategies to meet what is on the market. Transitioning to new platforms can be a hassle but the benefits of finding one’s right place in the cloud far outweighs the negatives.

Take SaaS (software as a service) solutions as an example of cloud computing. They reduce application support costs and increase application flexibility. Boasting global accessibility, ease of implementation and continual upgrades, modern cloud solutions allow FP&A teams to compile and deliver executives with the information and reports they need more easily and cost-effectively than ever.

With providers of all shapes and sizes offering FP&A software, selecting the right platform for your unique needs can be daunting. That is why we have compiled this list of the top FP&A tools on the market for 2022:

  1. Anaplan

    Anaplan is hyperscale computing applied to operational insights, forecasts and business strategies. Tailored to relatively large and complex customers, it offers a cloud modeling and planning platform that supports financial planning and forecasting and differentiates itself by supporting complex financial modeling while connecting to and blending operational use cases. Ideal for modeling any type of planning requirement and level of complexity – including incorporating data down to transactional levels - Anaplan is considered one of the leading solutions for complex financial budgets and plans, integrated financial planning and solution flexibility.
  2. Board Cloud

    board cloud
    A SaaS version of Board International’s all-in-one platform, Board Cloud makes it easy for users to analyze, plan, simulate and forecast. Backed by Microsoft Azure, it ensures that cloud Board International solutions and cloud CPM (corporate performance management) applications are up and running fast while providing security, reliability, scalability and performance. With self-service report building and visualization capabilities, along with its capabilities in relation to complex data modeling and integrated financial planning, the application features an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface that allows users to easily build reports and analyze without help from IT.
  3. IBM Planning Analytics

    IBM Planning Analytics
    IBM Planning Analytics is an integrated planning solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate planning, budgeting and forecasting and drive more intelligent workflows. Built on TM1, IBM’s powerful calculation engine, this enterprise performance management tool allows users to quickly and easily drive faster, more accurate plans for FP&A, sales, supply chain and more. The release of new predictive forecasting capabilities allows users to harness the power of algorithmic forecasting, while its AI-powered planning solution means businesses can augment human intelligence and see their employees spend less time manually aggregating data and put more effort into analysis and higher value work.
  4. Jedox EMP Software

    Jedox EMP Software allows FP&A teams to plan, analyze and report on one integrated platform. Self-service budgeting, planning and forecasting combine with intuitive analytics and BI dashboards to allow users to create integrated plans and reports based on the same data model business logic. Operating on the Microsoft Azure platform, Jedox’s cloud solution is highly compatible with Microsoft solutions such as Excel, Power BI and Dynamics 365. The Jedox Mobile application and its integrated collaboration features provides the ability to seamlessly access information and dashboards from any device.
  5. OneStream XF

    One Stream XF

    OneStream XF unifies planning, budgeting and forecasting by replacing spreadsheets and legacy applications that provide limited flexibility and lack integration with financial reporting and other solutions. Along with using the familiarity of Microsoft Excel and Guided Workflow, it leverages one unified financial planning software system to support financial and operational planning, budgeting, forecasting and reporting.
  6. Oracle Cloud EPM

    Oracle Cloud EPM
    Oracle Cloud EPM is a SaaS Enterprise Performance Management platform for enterprise-level financial and operational planning, reporting, consolidation and close, enterprise master data management and more. It also provides visibility into organization-wide financial information by consolidating relevant data into one system. These capabilities make the software ideal to expedite the periodic reconciliation and close process, and generate routine and adhoc reports and analysis. Oracle Cloud EPM also allows enterprises to use centralized data to create an organization-wide view of costs and profits including surfacing hidden costs and profits, such as calculating the costs of shared services and infrastructure.
  7. Planful

    Planful provides an end-to-end cloud FP&A platform that offers financial planning, consolidation, reporting and analytics in one place and is accessible regardless of one’s location. It makes it easy to automate and accelerate everyday processes to increase the frequency of decisions, accelerate insights and shorten the time it takes to turn those insights into action. Formerly known as Host Analytics, Planful acts as a single source of truth by capturing financial results at a consolidated level for all entities of an organization and makes it simple for finance, accounting and business teams to speed up financial planning and reporting. The built-in workflow, which is located in the consolidation control panel, provides a visual snapshot of what work is yet to be done, while fiscal year-end dates can also be customized based on how and when one wants to close the books.
  8. Prophix


    Prophix’s innovative, cloud-based Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software automates budgeting, forecasting and reporting across multiple industries including manufacturing, retail, healthcare, hospitality and banking. The Prophix Automation Center is ideal for finance departments wanting to leverage the software to string together multiple processes and ensure critical steps are never missed. Users can automate repetitive business processes such as data imports, report generation and allocations, along with logically and consistently creating budget plans, and forecasts by easily pre-populating data using pre-built functionality.
  9. Vena Solutions Budgeting, Planning & Forecasting

    Vena Solutions
    An easy-to-deploy solution for budgeting, planning and forecasting, Vena is a single, web-based solution that leverages users’ existing Excel spreadsheets and the company-specific models within them. Rather than sacrificing the ease of use and power of Excel for a controlled, secure environment, the software combines native Excel with the collaboration, workflow, security and analytical capabilities of a traditional CPM solution. Vena brings the leading-edge capabilities of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Power BI to its planning capabilities, which is evidenced by the AI capabilities now available to its customers.
  10. Workday Adaptive Planning

    Formerly called Adaptive Insights, Workday Adaptive Planning serves as a cloud-only solution that supports financial planning, workforce planning, sales planning, operational planning, modeling, performance reporting, dashboards, analytics and collaboration. The company’s enterprise performance management (EPM) solution can leverage company-wide planning capabilities to plan and report at all levels, adapting to changes without coding, scripting or support from IT.

What’s next?

Just as the importance of a quality FP&A team cannot be understated, so too is the need to empower that team with the best cloud-based solution to meet their needs. This list is just a small sample of the products on the market and which to ultimately invest in is a big decision. To find the best solution to meet your needs, take the time to research each solution to see if it is fit for purpose. Some key factors to consider are user experience, security, capabilities and customer experience.

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