Tight margins and an uncertain economic climate have many financial institutions working hard to get ahead. It’s impossible to predict whether the economy has peaked. Is your institution prepared for a downturn when/if it comes? Many have turned to data insights and robust analysis to anticipate and plan for the future—which is especially important at the beginning of a budget cycle.
Strategic, long-range plans that align with tactical budgets and regular reforecasts have helped U.S. banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions prepare for the road ahead, addressing key challenges, performing detailed monitoring, and analyzing performance against targets.
You, too, can improve budgeting and planning processes to accelerate and optimize performance using the six best practices summarized below:
- Make strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting a single, cyclical process
Streamlining processes makes it easier to assess performance and improve alignment, efficiency, consistency, and transparency.
- Use a collaborative, driver-based approach to planning
Breaking down data siloes and sharing high-level, global drivers and assumptions—such as rate forecasts, balance sheet growth targets, prepayment speeds, non-interest growth patterns, and payroll drivers across the organization—improves accuracy and drives accountability.
- Optimize processes for efficiency, automation, and ease of use
Introducing automation when possible improves efficiency, minimizes human error and expedites task completion.
- Improve the accuracy of balance sheet planning
Leverage cash flow forecasting to increase accuracy and focus on the impact net interest income has on overall performance.
- Create and assess multiple scenarios
Begin by looking at multiple options that consider variables such as growing one product versus another, increasing marketing spend in specific channels, and adding resources to expand business in a particular area.
- Support robust analysis throughout the planning life cycle
Build a strong foundation for performance improvement by using a single, scalable platform that facilitates robust analysis across the full life cycle of the planning process.
By leveraging the appropriate financial and operational data, processes, and tools, finance leaders can improve planning efficiency and accuracy, empower strategic decision-making, and grow profitability.