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WATCH: Data-driven decision-making for competitive advantage

Modern financial planning uses data and analytics to help CFOs make better, faster decisions. This can lead to improved risk management, resource allocation, and business performance

To watch the full webinar, click here: Integrated Business Planning in a Changing World: Strategies for CFOs and FP&A Teams? | Contentive (

The global business environment is more uncertain than ever, with ongoing political, economic, and social disruptions impacting organisations across industries.

For CFOs and FP&A teams, this means that traditional financial planning processes may no longer be sufficient to effectively manage risks, optimise resource allocation, and drive business performance.

To remain competitive, organisations must adapt quickly to changing market conditions and make data-driven decisions in real-time.

On May 11, The CFO – in partnership with Jedox – hosted a webinar under Chatham House rules to understand how finance teams could build greater resilience and agility in the face of global changes.

Anders Liu-Lindberg, co-founder of the Business Partnering Institute, Bobby Lane, CEO of Factotum Group, and Mark Moss, senior sales executive at Jedox provided insight on how to leverage technology.

CFOs and FP&A teams have two options to navigate uncertain times: traditional FP&A tools or integrated business planning (IBP).  Traditional FP&A typically involves creating separate financial plans, operational plans, and strategic plans, often with little collaboration between departments.

In contrast, integrated business planning (IBP) connects finance, sales, HR, operations, and supply chain, integrating all the data that matters from across the organisation. This helps eliminate traditional barriers, bridge performance management gaps, and adds richer context to the numbers.

While most attendees of the webinar (83%) acknowledge still relying on Excel for their financial planning, many were aware of the need to switch to an IBP framework – and that requires agility.

“Since Covid, we have had to live in an agile business environment, which is probably a ‘kind’ way to describe it,” one of the speakers explained. “There is no such thing as doing a forecast or a budget for a year now because you know it is going to change in three months’ time. The whole environment we’re working in is changing.”

The speakers all agreed CFOs needed to adopt a “flexible” approach to financial planning which would allow them to respond quickly, with a level of control, to unexpected events and support changes which may need to be enacted.

Data has to flex too

In order to remain agile, the speakers considered how to ensure processes can evolve easily and alongside the pollical and economic environment – in addition to innovation in technology.

“Essentially, finance teams need to stay curious,” one speaker said. “It is going to be difficult for finance trams to feel ahead of the curve, and it may seem like they are setting themselves up for failure, but it is so important to stay curious as to what is happening in the world around you.”

Panellists agreed that the leaps made in generative AI over the past few months were one area CFOs and their teams should have been paying attention to. “They should be asking how this new technology can be used within their processes, or even how it can generate insights for them,” one speaker said.

Interestingly, the speakers said it was not imperative for finance teams to be ‘techies’ – they need not understand everything going on in the tech sector, but they should know what is available to them and the opportunities breakthroughs in the space could pose for their business.

Having a ‘champion’ – someone within the business who can lead on these projects – is one approach businesses are taking. But even when you have the right person, and the right cultural mindset, switching to an IBP process remains a challenge.

And that is because of the data. “It’s a difficult area, there is no doubt about it,” one speaker acknowledged. Even when businesses have decided which FP&A platform they want to use, ensuring good quality clean data is being fed into the system is not always a given.

“You need to infrastructure in place, you need a data warehouse or a platform which has a database in itself so you can automate things, use software like machine learning, and set the tolerances and variances,” one speaker said.

To watch the full webinar, click here: Integrated Business Planning in a Changing World: Strategies for CFOs and FP&A Teams? | Contentive (


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