The Future Of Financial Planning And Analysis: The North American View

Pras Chatterjee

financial planningRecently, CFO Research conducted a global study sponsored by SAP, showing that finance executives from North America (the United States and Canada) acknowledge that pressure on finance teams to improve their contribution to high-value planning and analysis is increasing. The question, however, is whether they feel they have the tools and resources they’ll need to make good on that promise.

In the survey, nine in ten (91%) finance executives from North America agree that the demand on the finance function to supply highly responsive, interactive, and flexible business analysis to decision-makers is likely to increase over the next two years. Even more, respondents (93%) expected the demand for ad hoc decision support and analysis to increase, and nearly the same number (94%) agreed that improving the ability to conduct highly sophisticated, predictive business analysis (e.g., scenario planning, “what-if” analysis, and modeling) would yield substantial, measurable financial benefit to their company.

But 90% of them also say that, to maximize the measurable financial benefit of financial planning and business analysis, the finance function needs to spend less time on simply moving the data around—that is, spending time, attention, and resources on manually migrating and reconciling data from system to system.

Blog Image for SCNTheir primary obstacle seems clear—a lack of integration between IT systems for financial planning and the company’s ERP system. North American respondents report the lowest level of integration of any region, and in fact, 38% of executives from North America say that their systems are only loosely integrated (20%) or not integrated at all (18%). They also take longer than their peers from other regions to respond to ad-hoc requests for business analysis, with more than half (58%) saying it takes them up to a day or more.

The result? Less than a third (31%) of North American finance executives in the survey believe that their IT systems for financial planning currently can make a substantial contribution to finance’s ability to support decision making. With practically every one of the North American respondents (96%) agreeing that pressure is increasing on the finance function to improve its contribution to high-value planning, analysis, and decision-support, the current technology gap threatens to become a chasm.

Read the full report here:

Blog 1 Banner_NorthAmericaAbout this study

In May 2015, CFO Research, in collaboration with SAP, conducted a global survey of senior finance executives to gain a better understanding of how leading-edge financial planning and business analysis capabilities can support effective decision making. We collected 335 responses from large companies with at least US$500 million in revenues, representing a broad range of industries. We received 20% of our total responses from North America (U.S. and Canada), 25% from Latin America (Mexico, Central America, and South America), 24% from the Asia/Pacific region (including India and Australia), and 30% from Europe.

Sponsor’s statement

As a leader in enterprise performance management, SAP provides the necessary tools to assist the office of the CFO. By providing integrated solutions for financial planning and analysis, SAP offers real-time financial insights into the enterprise. For more information, please visit



Pras Chatterjee

About Pras Chatterjee

Pras Chatterjee is a senior director of Product Marketing for Enterprise Performance Management at SAP, specializing in planning solutions. Prior to joining Product Marketing, Pras was a practice manager for SAP Business Analytics Services in North America as a leader in the EPM practice. He has also served as a solution architect for SAP Business Planning and Consolidation version for the Microsoft platform and SAP NetWeaver, focusing on planning and consolidations around the globe. Pras is a Chartered Professional Accountant and has worked with various software firms in the EPM space, and has had a career in finance with various Fortune 500 organizations.