FP&A: Forecast Risks and Determine Effective Solutions with Confidence

The average person makes approximately 35,000 conscious decisions every day, whether for personal growth and development or business operations and professional success.

In making these decisions, we inadvertently perform calculations to determine outcomes, manage timelines, review and implement new strategies, and mentally calculate costs. We then choose to stay on the original path or pivot. However, forecasting opportunities and potential risks, and developing strategies to manage these scenarios, are best made with accurate data and information.

Over the past few years, we have learned the effect that external factors can have on our daily lives, business operations, and community development. With so many decisions to be made, all with varying outcomes, it only makes sense that we move forward with strategies in place that draw on accurate information and resources.

The Four Components of Financial Planning and Analysis

Financial Planning and Analysis are at the heart of maintaining the overall success and well-being of a business, organization, or entire community. According to Gartner, the four components that build the foundation of Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) are;

  1. Mapping and budgeting
  2. Financial planning
  3. Reporting on management and performance
  4. Forecasting and modelling

Considering these four components is crucial to the success of any business or community. For Indigenous communities who have established a self-governance system and control the use of land, programs, and policies while engaging in agreements with the government at both a provincial and federal level, managing each component is critical. With administrations working to improve community-based initiatives, services, and frameworks such as education, healthcare, housing etc., having access to financial reports and information allows for decisions to be made that take into account the entire community.

The Challenge of Forecasting Risks

Risks to business and community development vary in size and impact – yet all have a corresponding effect on growth and success. A worldwide pandemic highlighted current issues within Indigenous communities and revealed new areas of risk that must be considered moving forward. Implementing tools explicitly created to monitor budgets, identify areas of risk, and plan for the future through engaging in various scenarios, can offer both short- and long-term benefits.

Pre-existing economic vulnerabilities such as poverty and food insecurity were already a concern and were only exacerbated by COVID-19. Job loss and financial difficulties created by unanticipated expenses also had to be considered. Unexpected events, however, such as a lack of tourism, delays in shipping, the heightened need for at-home education and so forth, have only added to the number of difficulties.

Forecasting risks has always been challenging for any business or community, yet it is integral to supporting overall management and development. By identifying pre-existing risks there is a greater understanding of how best to manage timelines, expectations, and expenses. It provides an opportunity for contingency plans to be put in place.

When unexpected risks occur, governing bodies must take a critical look at processes and budgets and draw on current resources to lessen the toll they may take. Without access to real-time data, detailed accounts, historical reports, and communication channels between all governance levels, responding to uncertainties is much more challenging to do and leaves more significant room for error.

Infrastructure Development and Tracking

Indigenous peoples and communities across Canada are increasingly becoming more involved in constructing and developing infrastructure beneficial to the community itself. Through this involvement, economic reconciliation is gained, in which those who are involved in the completion of a project, are paid and/or receive benefits.

Economic reconciliation can be achieved through the following ways;

  • Equity participation
  • Employment opportunities
  • Training
  • Royalties
  • Financial compensation
  • Sharing of costs

In managing the various aspects of infrastructure development and the reconciliation provided, individuals and communities involved must be able to access critical information at all times.

A few of the areas requiring monitoring and consideration are;

  • Budgeting and operational costs
  • Compensation percentage between governments
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Equity, investments and regulators
  • Resources, permits and consents
  • Location and site dynamics
  • Technology and existing infrastructure

Crafting FP&A Strategies with an ERP Solution

Bringing together all of these moving pieces into a single platform is crucial to increasing transparency and identifying areas requiring greater attention and management. In addition to stand alone Corporate Performance Management (CPM) systems, often cloud-based Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) solutions, such as Sage Intacct, are designed to increase overall clarity and accuracy in managing assets and allow for individuals and governing bodies to remain informed on financial health while determining potential risks.
A cloud-based ERP solution brings together a wide range of tools and resources to collect crucial information and provide detailed analytics. They work to;

  1. Track payroll, operating expenses, and various income streams such as grants and government programs across departments and services.
  2. Provide detailed projections based on historical data and easily share reports with key individuals and governing bodies.
  3. Allow individuals to share updates no matter their location, creating open communication streams and providing up-to-date information.
  4. Track economic reconciliation programs and manage capital, equity and stakeholder investments with accuracy.
  5. Monitor employee performance and identify areas for improvement.
  6. Audit existing programs and budgets, and address the economic impact of vulnerabilities specific to the community.

By integrating systems, financials and frameworks into a single solution, key decision-makers can measure results and analytics with greater accuracy and empower individuals, teams and entire communities. With critical information available at all times communities can also determine potential risks, analyze their impact and devise solutions based on those factors.

At MNP, we are committed to providing Indigenous communities, businesses and governing bodies with the information and tools needed to provide for the present and plan for the future. We understand the need to find a solution that meets your community’s complex needs and will assist you throughout the entire process so that you can move forward with confidence. Reach out to our team of experts today and allow us to share with you the benefits of crafting a financial plan as part of an ERP solution that works for you.

Request a free consultation to explore the ROI of an ERP solution for your organization.



 

Authors: Dan Caringi and Kerry Mann

Dan Caringi and Kerry Mann are Consulting Partners with MNP and leaders within the firm’s national Digital Enterprise practice.