The acronym FP&A is a relatively new one for Ukrainian finance professionals. Twelve months ago, while speaking at the Ukrainian Finance Leadership Summit, I asked the audience about these letters and discovered that only one participant knew its meaning. One year later, at the opening event for the Kiev FP&A Club, Ukrainian CFOs are keen for ways to improve the quality of their FP&A functions and to share and learn from the best practices in this field.
During the networking part of the event, participants actively discussed the systems and analytical methods in FP&A. As elsewhere in the world, Microsoft Excel continues to be the dominant system for FP&A functions in Ukraine. However, many practitioners realise that modern systems will move planning functions to a different level and will allow the release of the letter ‘A’ in the FP&A acronym. So the implementation of systems will soon be moving onto Ukrainian CFOs’ agendas.
Air Ukraine International, a leading international airline, successfully implemented IBM Cognos TM1 enterprise planning software some time ago. Their FP&A function truly realises the full potential of this popular planning system.
Office systems provider Konika Minolta Ukraine implemented modern business intelligence (BI) systems from Microsoft and moved to a different level of advanced analytical capability, when information could be easily ‘sliced and diced’. This multi-dimensionality creates very strong basis for FP&A models, says their chief financial officer (CFO), Igor Panivko.
The future of modern FP&A lies in the combination of BI and advanced predictive analytics. Modern planning systems should be designed and maintained in finance departments in order to avoid dangerous situations with ‘planning black boxes’, where finance professionals cannot observe and update the key drivers of the models. These new technologies bring FP&A departments into the next generation of planning capabilities: driver-based predictive modelling, advanced analytics and automated decision-making.
Tatiana Marushevskaya, finance director at Microsoft Ukraine, shared her experiences and insights on the future development of the group’s FP&A department. She recently hired a new FP&A professional and knows from her own experience how difficult it is to find the right person in today’s market.
The presentation section of the meeting was interactive, with participants asking questions and sharing their experiences on beyond budgeting philosophy, rolling forecasts and harmonisation methods for strategic and annual planning processes.
In Ukraine, there are a number of financial certifications and qualifications at present. Representatives from both UK and North American finance schools introduced a number of designations – including those from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)- such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
The concept of global, non country-specific certification looked interesting. It offers to help differentiate FP&A professionals, would not require years of studying and can be taken online through a number of training centres situated in Kiev and several other Ukraine cities.
Discussions continued over dinner, where participants expressed their interest in learning more about modern FP&A practices. Practitioners were keen in following London FP&A Club’s subject track: ‘Beyond Budgeting, Quality of Business Forecasting, Business Culture and FP&A’, among others.
The next meeting of Kiev FP&A Club will take place on Tuesday 17 December, when we will be discuss the beyond budgeting philosophy and the potential for its implementation in Ukraine.
FP&A trends are truly global and exciting. FP&A best practices are beyond borders and cultures and we will continue to reach different regions of the globe with our vision to improve the quality of the FP&A function.
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