At some point the uncertainty over Brexit will dissipate and clarity will return to the market but, right now, Brexit means higher risk exposure for companies operating in the UK.
From investment to liquidity, hedging, exchange rates and human capital, companies will be impacted on many fronts and in different ways.
Now is therefore the time for the finance function to prove how strategic and more value-adding its role can be.
But what are the key steps and processes that need to be in place to manage risk, eliminate uncertainty, take advantage of new opportunities and push ahead of the competition? How should organisations plan for an environment in which so many of the performance levers are beyond their control and what should CFOs be doing next?
Step 1 – Use technology with risk-adjusted planning models
The best approach to risk assessment is to keep a constant planning process that factors in the main risk elements.
It would for example make sense to put together a post referendum 3-year plan estimating the impact of the devaluation of the pound on the business and to create strategic planning models where risk factors are linked to currency volatility or any other risk your company might face.
It’s advisable to have both a 3 to 7-year plan based on your business model to give management guidance for the longer term, and a 12-month operational budget to give management guidance for the short term.
Just to make one example, construction and manufacturing companies may want to simulate the impact of oil price shifts and energy costs on their business using technology with risk adjusted planning models.
Step 2 – Link your financial statement to your business strategy
It’s time CFOs and CEOs started speaking the same language. The CFO needs to become more involved in the decision-making process.
The financial statement has to be linked together with the business strategy so that the CFO can work as a trusted advisor to the CEO, to support them and help them make better, more informed decisions.
This is no doubt a big challenge. One of the problems is that most CFOs are struggling for time because they are too tied to their legacy systems and they do not have time to invest in those systems to release the time they need for analysis.
They are spending too much time on spreadsheets and data manipulation and consequently end up having no time to spend on strategic advice.
Step 3 –Improve your ability – and agility – to analyse data
If ever there was a time to modernise your finance function, this is it. CFOs need a unified corporate performance management (CPM) solution to manage the complexity of a business as a whole.
Organisations should not have separate planning and reporting systems, they need to have a holistic, 360-degree view of their business.
Investment in flexible technology is necessary to manage operational data, link KPIs to financial data and link regulatory data to the financial statement for compliance.
Brexit will no doubt have far reaching implications.
By putting the right processes and systems in place, you’ll be in a better place yourself to adapt and react to change quickly.
This will lead to better performance and lower risk exposure. Investing in flexible, integrated management reporting, planning and operational processes technology is a step in the right direction.
Sourced by Nick Nesbitt is Consulting Services Director at Tagetik UK