In this episode Jason talks to Grant Deans, a world-renowned expert on using data and analytics for financial transformation. He has worked all over the world in various finance departments and currently holds a CPA while working towards his Masters in Finance.
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The word ‘transformation’ often invokes a feeling of massive and rapid changes. Instead, shift your focus to creating agility in your company by creating smaller milestones. If you section larger goals into small steps and celebrate the small wins, you will be less likely to burnout your team and systems.
[00:50] Why data is so essential to transformation in finance
[08:40] Where does financial planning and analysis sit in relation to the finance sector
[11:00] Grant’s journey from accountant to finance transformation
[15:55] The argument for data specialists vs. finance specialists with data knowledge
[21:00] How to approach large transformation without burning out your employees or breaking your systems
[28:32] What Grant suggests to help boost productivity and improve transformation within a company
The need to stay relevant has forced many industries to evolve including the finance sector.
Previously, traditional finance heavily relied solely on singular rails of knowledge such as accounting.
However, in order to keep up with emerging data technologies has meant that other skill sets such as maths and data have become vital in finance roles and departments.
New finance also requires companies to make rapid shifts due to the efficiency of modern-day data collection. Results and feedback on implementing different ideas can be provided almost immediately and monitored in real-time. Integrating data and analytics into financial planning allows companies to make swift changes and stay ahead of the curve.
Financial Planning and Analysis is an emerging field where AI and algorithms are utilised to improve performance in the finance sector. In the future, FP&A might break away from traditional finance, moving toward strategic support with the assistance of data tools.
There is a strong case to argue that data can be solely handled by a data and analytics team with their acquired information disseminated to other departments for review. The case for having separate financial planning and analysis teams is due to the complex nature of interpreting financial data. By having a team that collaborates on both data and finance, companies are able to interpret financial data with sound strategic backing and knowledge.
Transformation shouldn’t have an end goal, instead see it as a series of short sprints. This way people can remain agile and adapt when needed. In a modern and rapidly-changing environment those who are faster at adapting will be able to thrive instead of just survive.
Creating short sprints when creating a transformation serves a logical purpose. If too much changes too soon you will find that a lot of systems will start to become overburdened and break down. Similarly for members of a team, if you try to create mammoth changes too often you will find that people will start to get stressed and fatigued with the increased pressure. To avoid this, get your team on board early and concentrate on small wins.
Some tips for using data across different departments
Don’t get overwhelmed by the term ‘transformation.’ Instead, be willing to remain agile in your data and analytic needs while adapting them to different departments. Constantly analyse your performance and be willing to adapt and improve where needed.