Financial planning with SAP Analytics Cloud

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Published on March 19, 2021 – Mark Mrosek, Senior Project Manager Analytics & Dr. Russell Sadd, Senior Solution Architect and Pre-Sales SME, Planning & Analytics at Westernacher
Believe it or not, many companies are still using Microsoft Excel as their primary tool for financial planning and analytics (FP&A). Studies show that a substantial 40% of companies rely on Excel for their planning.
(Barc, 2010; Deloitte, 2014).

Excel may well be a popular tool, but it is limited.

Consolidating plans across your organization, performing complex collaborative planning or implementing scenarios for top management soon become struggles. Unsurprisingly, much valuable time is consumed in doing so, and errors abound. Indeed, financial planning in Excel results in up to 25% more effort than with modern planning applications (BARC, 2010).

What would such an alternative look like?

In 2017, SAP introduced SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) to provide managers with self-service BI functionalities as well as financial planning capabilities. SAP emphasized user-friendliness, targeting business users rather than IT developers. Creating a report in SAC should be as easy as an Excel spreadsheet.
Not only can SAC present data in a visually appealing way, but it has native machine learning: predictive analytics can create a sales forecast with just one click. Even better, SAC is designed to make data acquisition just as easy: live connections to your SAP S/4HANA ERP or SAP BW installations; import connections from SAP Concur or Salesforce. Obviously, uploading an Excel file is a piece of cake.
We should note that SAC is aimed directly at business users, which means independence from the IT department. Nor, as this is a cloud product, does extra hardware need to be installed. Indeed, within but a few days of training, a finance department is busy building their first SAC reports by themselves.
If anything, the one question raised during an SAC implementation is the “how”: how should a good planning application look? Westernacher can help you to answer these questions. Westernacher has substantial experience in financial planning and reporting with SAP Analytics Cloud and will share hard-won best-practices from customer implementations in diverse industries. By empowering and training the finance key users, Westernacher enables its customers to become self-reliant experts in SAC.

Establish quick wins with Westernacher.

Westernacher has bundled its best-practices for Finance Planning in SAC into 4 Time-to-Value Solutions. These packages focus on providing content with most value in shortest time and come with a fixed price and implementation time. By using a modular approach, customers can concentrate on parts with the highest benefit from a Sales & Revenue Forecasting, Headcount & Personnel Cost Planning up to a full Cost Center or comprehensive Financial Planning. Westernacher offers all varieties of implementation, from turnkey solutions up to a guided do-it-yourself.
If you are interested and would like to learn more about how Westernacher can help you, please reach out to us.

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