15 June 2020
Almost half (45%) of finance departments in the UK are relying on spreadsheets to plan their recovery from the pandemic downturn, denying themselves the speed, flexibility and accuracy of an analytics platform.
The poll of 1,063 respondents for MHR Analytics, the financial planning expert, found only 27% of organisations are using planning analytics software to formulate recovery strategies.
The relatively low use of planning analytics software persists despite widespread understanding of their advantages within organisations. Last year, an MHR Analytics survey of 501 UK finance and technology professionals in large organisations found more than half (55%) believed their company needed a forward-looking forecast to survive the next decade. More than a third (38%) of respondents thought planning would be automated within five years, with 30% saying the same about scenario-modelling.
However, the latest poll also made clear the advantages of reporting and planning software for working remotely. Almost seven-in-ten (68%) working in this way say it is either operating well during the current enforced period of near-universal home working or has caused them no concerns at all. Increasing numbers of organisations have made the shift from mature on-premises offerings to cloud solutions.
“The downturn is posing questions about recovery that many organisations will not be able to answer without rapid access to a comprehensive range of ‘what-if’ scenarios covering HR and the financial impact of any proposed strategy. If they are relying on spreadsheets, they will struggle,” said Mark White, Financial Performance Management Specialist, MHR Analytics.
“Organisations may go back to spreadsheets because their reporting and planning solutions cannot cope with the multiple, rapidly-changing factors involved, such as changes to furlough rules.
“The level of agility and accuracy organisations need in a crisis is only possible with advanced, cloud-based financial planning platforms, alongside full skills transfer so employees know how to model detailed multiple scenarios quickly.”
Organisations that have made the transition to cloud-based planning analytics find it is the best way to dramatically reduce admin time, allowing skilled finance professionals to focus on more strategic activities that will provide better value. A survey by MIT and IBM revealed how organisations that adopted analytics to analyse their data had 8% higher sales growth, 24% higher operating income and 58% higher sales per employee than those that did not.
Organisations need to embark on the journey to more sophisticated and cloud-based analytics in readiness for further economic fluctuations. In last year’s MHR Analytics survey cited above, 39% of respondents said the biggest barrier to progressing data analytics technologies in their companies was a lack of skills, and more than a third (35%) said it was data quality. Bringing on board accurate scenario-modelling solutions for their teams to take advantage of sooner rather than later, will provide greater foundations to stay afloat and compete.
To find out more about how MHR Analytics can help organisations accelerate their path to data maturity and achieve the full gains of planning analytics, ready to face any scenario, visit MHR Analytics.
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