The Next Generation of FP&A

Abacum CEO Julio Martinez
Julio Martínez

, Co-Founder & CEO, Abacum

6 min read · Published: May 23, 2024

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Introduction

At Abacum, our mission has always been to empower finance teams to make faster and better decisions. Over the last few years, we have had the privilege of helping hundreds of mid-market companies surface better insights and drive business growth through FP&A workflows.

Today, we are taking things to the next level and starting a new chapter at Abacum. We are releasing the 4th Generation of FP&A software with Abacum Intelligence.

Abacum Intelligence will leverage AI-powered GPTs and machine learning to deliver enhanced AI insights to every stakeholder. We believe the future of FP&A is a world in which the entire business can do end-to-end workflows that helps them make better and faster decisions.

The next iteration of FP&A software is here – and we’re incredibly excited to be building it alongside our customers.

Staying true to our mission

One of Abacum’s key insights is that FP&A teams spend most of their time on manual, repetitive tasks, even though their role is crucial for driving strategic decisions and company performance.

As companies adopt more technology and tech-enabled business models, the volume and sources of data have only grown. Today, finance teams find themselves drowning in scattered data while focusing on driving business outcomes.

Let’s consider how most companies make decisions:

  • A company needs to decide on how to do X.
  • Yet the path to making that decision is never linear, as it will be an iterative trade-off of constraints and refinement of feasible possibilities.
  • This iteration means the drivers behind any decision are constantly changing. Every time a metric, cost, or employee changes, many (and sometimes all) of a company’s systems need to be updated. Because they don’t point to any single source of truth, they each need to be updated separately and often manually in a spreadsheet.
  • This is the root cause of many of the operational costs FP&A teams carry.

The current finance tech stack is manual, siloed, and overly reliant on spreadsheets. It’s ironic, given the high expectations placed on finance as a strategic driver in organizations.

FP&A is supposed to be the conductor of the orchestra, but all they have is a broken baton.

Previous generations of FP&A software have attempted to tackle these challenges, but they’ve often fallen short, particularly for forward-thinking companies:

  1. First-generation FP&A: these systems were on-premises, incredibly expensive, and time-consuming to implement, often costing over $1 million and requiring 12-month plus implementation cycles. As a result, they were accessible only to the largest organizations.
  2. Second-generation FP&A: these solutions moved to the cloud and promised to enhance access to sophisticated planning tools. However, they quickly became notorious for their complexity and difficulty of use.
  3. Third-generation FP&A: these platforms focused on breaking down data silos, shortening implementation timelines, and offering self-serve workflows for FP&A teams at a lower cost.

At Abacum, the fourth generation of FP&A builds upon the foundations of the third generation, furthering our mission to empower every stakeholder in the company to make their organization thrive through better and faster decisions. This new generation positions FP&A teams as the central hub connecting all departments.

The 4th generation of FP&A runs on Abacum

From Day 1, at Abacum, we have always shifted the paradigm of how teams collaborate by making finance something everybody understands and can act upon. We started by making workflows for FP&A, and we are continuing by creating workflows that help the entire business get instant answers to the questions that matter.

Why? At its core, every business decision is a financial decision, with the P&L as the final destination. This is why we believe finance and its levers need to be accessible to everyone in a company.

Abacum is not merely a system for building KPI reports and financial scenarios. In reality, Abacum is built for managing business processes and workflows, while having direct access to all of the underlying financial, operational, and employee data of a company.

Our goal is simple – Abacum will become the integrated and core operational system across all departments.

Leveraging AI to create real customer value

To help us deliver on that goal, our focus is on leveraging AI to tackle some of the deep-rooted finance problems that companies still grapple with. This means looking at technology as an opportunity to generate real customer value.

Abacum Intelligence fundamentally changes how finance teams operate by adding more speed, accuracy, and insights into the workflows and decisions of our customers. We do this with three foundational pillars that work together to deliver on that:

  1. AI Performance: Finance teams experience instant, accurate performance summaries and analysis.
  2. AI Insights: Finance teams have an AI analyst proactively delivering real-time target pacing through auto-forecasting.
  3. AI Accountability: Finance and the rest of the business can leverage AI at the junction of every decision and work together to deliver business goals and achieve targets within budgets and performance benchmarks.

Abacum Intelligence brings enhanced AI insights to every stakeholder; think of auto-forecasting, enhanced scenario planning, deep trend analysis and much more.

Abacum Intelligence

This is how finance teams can use Abacum Intelligence today to accelerate their decision-making:

Have the “why” always ready: AI Summaries

At Abacum, we recognize that Abacum Intelligence will not replace the business partnering element of FP&A, but its ability to understand and process your data augments any backward or forward-looking insights. In essence, faster decisions will start with AI insights that explain plan deviations, surface root causes, and provide explanations.

Today, customers can use Abacum Intelligence to provide an initial structure for their performance reports and analyses by summarizing key data points, highlighting outliers, to focus on refining the narrative rather than starting from scratch. Or empowering business leaders to better understand their metrics, creating a solid foundation for company-wide decision-making.

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Accuracy that removes the guesswork: Auto-forecasting

At Abacum, we believe the true value of a finance team lies not in their ability to build and maintain complex models, but in their ability to use those models as a compass for strategic initiatives.

Abacum Intelligence leverages machine learning to automate the forecasting process by analyzing historical data to set future benchmarks and optimize business forecasts in real-time.

With enhanced modeling capacity, Abacum enables a deeper understanding of the ripple effects of decisions across departments and helps identify the inter-departmental levers that drive results.

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Experience the Fourth Generation of FP&A software

Abacum Intelligence is revolutionizing the way finance teams and their companies operate—and this is just the beginning. We will continue to innovate and develop functionality that leverages the power of AI to help businesses make faster and better decisions.

If you’re an Abacum customer, we invite you to try Abacum Intelligence — log in to gain early access. Not yet a customer? Book a demo to see it live.

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