Highlights from the 40th FP&A Summit in Austria – Project Performance Management and more hot topics for FP&A experts

On this year’s 40th FP&A Summit in Austria, all speakers agreed: A ‘single point of truthis required in order to be able to plan and forecast in a value-oriented manner. The presented FP&A panel 20201 with around 300 interviewed FP&A experts identifies the flexibility of the FP&A organization and the establishment of a single source of truth as the two most important levers for a sustainable increase in financial performance – i.e. FP&A departments want control-relevant information from a quality-assured, central source. In addition, 95% of those surveyed agree that digital technologies, including dashboarding and predictive analytics, are essential for increasing performance in FP&A.

But reality is often disappointing. Only 31% of the interviewed FP&A experts view themselves as a flexible controlling organization, while 70% would like it to be. When it comes to establishing a single source of truth only 20% of the respondents feel they have already succeeded, although 66% of the respondents view this as essential for sustainable performance growth. And when it comes to digital technologies, only 10% say they are already actively using them to achieve improvements in corporate management and increase efficiency. The will and the awareness are there – but where is the courage to implement it.

FP&A Summit - Opening Speech
'smartofant' joined us: Mascot of
A lot of exciting presentations and case-studies

Hamburg Airport, represented at the summit by the speaker Julian Jirsak, demonstrated this courage for digital transformation: Project and program planning was completely rethought and set up even before the Corona crisis. The Performance Management module used for this was implemented by on the basis of Unit4 FP&A technology. Julian Jirsak, Head of Portfolio Management at Hamburg Airport, presented the company’s path and the benefits ultimately achieved from the project performance management solution in his key note.

The time savings achieved in project performance management were particularly exciting for the audience: In just 3 weeks instead of several months, the complete project and program planning, including scenario calculations and the creation of management reports, took place. The secret at Hamburg Airport is that the skills of the FP&A and project managers can be used internally for program management and operational project management. Since they only need a little time for planning and reporting, they can get involved directly in highly complex projects (such as the very cost-intensive construction of luggage distribution systems, etc.). Conclusion: There is no need for expensive external service providers. Julian Jirsak puts the resulting cost savings, plus those from the strict budget limits of the projects, at several million Euros per year. In the next project phase, the application of artificial intelligence for project forecasts is part of the roadmap for Hamburg Airport.

As soon as the recording of Julian Jirsak’s exciting presentation is available, you can watch it on our Project Performance Management platform:

A lot of learnings from real-life usecases: Julian Jirsak, Hambug Airport & Alexander Hein about state-of-the-art Project Performance Management and AI in Planning

The speaker also states that he is happy that his team can access up-to-date data from anywhere to support agile decisions. The task of FP&A is therefore primarily to provide management support and must be guaranteed to be uninterrupted and at the highest level, especially under uncertainty, as is now the case with the Covid19 crisis. Only companies that actively look for their weaknesses in good times can stay competitive or even get ahead during the bad times.

Disruption was hot topic at the conference. Companies can only thrive in the future if they get out of reactive mode and follow a proactive plan. Learn more about practical examples with concrete recommendations for action in a webinar entitled ‘Switch from react to drive mode: 7 hands-on Suggestions for FP&A Experts’. For those interested: You can find the recorded webinar HERE.

[1] Controlling-Panel DACH 2020, ‘Controller-Institute Austria‘ in Cooperation with ‘EY’


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