In 2020/21, changes in Australian Aged Care reporting requirements made it mandatory for organisations to report on information down to individual units/segments and consolidated at the organisational level.
The new requirements means coordination across multiple departments and systems. In response, a quick reaction can be to extract data, filter in Excel, group, and present as a report with limited analysis. However, this misses the opportunity to add permanent capability to internal reporting and provide greater operational visibility.
One reason is that adding permanent staff to produce additional manual reporting is a trade-off compared to investing in setting up a new reporting solution. An increasingly popular alternative is to use managed FP&A as a service with defined KPIs rather than a large in-house investment. This provides a high level of flexibility and can help you adjust quickly to changing organisation needs.
Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) is a specialised area that requires a unique set of skills. At the core is providing meaningful analysis to Management and Board.
FP&A in an NFP organisation includes bringing together information from multiple sources, including client management, rostering, payroll, and finance. Often, these systems are managed by different department while reporting goes to different funding bodies.
One challenge is to integrate the data. Another is to ensure data quality is reliable. With managers focussed on business-as-usual matters, a good FP&A team adds major value to the data hidden across the organisation and unify this into logical sequence and reports that can ‘tell a story’ with the data.
Staff with specialised skills are often hard to retain. They look for new opportunities, or the demand prompts them to move organisations. FP&A is an area which needs specialised technical and analysis skills. When staff turnover occurs, it can leave a vacuum for some time. A risk is that the remaining team does not continue using processes that were developed or systems fall into disrepair.
The pandemic (and post pandemic era) exacerbates this issue as many people seek new roles to enhance their career. By adding scalable services with the ability to improve processes rather than just provide business as usual provides a profound rethink of how you manage your finance team. It complements your team and helps avoid gap from staff turnover.