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New kids in town – FP&A and Business Controllers

From Number Crunchers to Decision Makers - Meet the Cool Kids on the Block, Business Controllers, and FP&A and how their work is empowered by Subscription Management Software
Wolter Rebergen
By Wolter Rebergen on April 05, 2024
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The Business Controller
Can subscription management solution support business controllers?
The Financial Planning and Analysis Role (FP&A)
Where does software like Younium jump in?

Like in most departments, finance teams have also been specializing more and more. In sales, you now mostly see a split between the prospecting team, the ones that sell, and the ones demonstrating the product. In Marketing, you see a specialism in online marketing, social media, demand generation, and lead generation teams.

Finance team setups have also been changing. It seems not more than 10 years ago when we had many administrative roles in the finance teams and thanks to all the tooling in Fintech we now see finance as a strategic role instead of “the ones paying our salary”. In those days, the entry of tools was scary. “Will this replace my job?” was a commonly asked question in the minds of people, not only in finance of course. Finance now has a lot less manual labor and tedious tasks thanks to automation and the finance people now fill the business with actionable insights and all over the world have gone to love their job a great deal more because of it.

In this blog, we want to zoom in on two of the roles that are true examples of the evolving role of Finance into a strategic department. 


The Business Controller

The term “Controller” already says quite something. Over 10 years ago it might have been the case that most finance departments only had the role to show how it went, rather than how it has to be. So if things went bad, the facts were presented once it happened and damage was done. With the Business Controller (BC) function times have changed and the grip has tightened to act when things happen directly giving much more control for a business to keep steering on the smallest deviations in numbers.

A business controller monitors and analyses financial performance. The analysis is then presented to management teams on a recurring basis ensuring reporting is not only filled with numbers but with actual suggestions on how to steer and zoom in on pain points and opportunities ready for the taking.

This role has put Finance teams much more in the driver's seat. Business controllers take data from all aspects of the business. Their role relies heavily on metrics and the quality/accuracy of these metrics. From a Younium perspective, business controllers use our SaaS metrics to analyze sales velocity, total growth, churn risk, renewal and upsell opportunities, and many others. Again, it’s not about showing the presentation with a status of the numbers, it’s talking about actions like:

  • We had high churn in February, could it be because we had performance issues around that time frame, or was it due to the indexation round? What do we then do to solve that moving forward?
  • During contract renewal, 80% of our contracts renew at a discount, we suggest moving more to usage-based pricing to lower the bar but still get the revenue we deserve.

In short, Business controllers bring decision opportunities forward based on facts to grow the business and eliminate risks.

With the latest developments in the SaaS tech stack, finance teams, and financial controllers have a good set of solutions to support them in their daily work. The tech stack will support financial controllers and enable them to free up time; it will also add to their skill sets. And this is something we are seeing more as a growing momentum, with companies asking for hires to go beyond spreadsheets. While the tech stack is available to support growth, it is also worth noticing that picking the right tools for your business is essential in supporting teams to work efficiently. That said, make evaluations of the tech stack, consider your complexity, and choose based on that, not just on the name.

Can subscription management solutions support business controllers?

Yes, they play a crucial role in supporting business controllers by providing real-time insights, enhancing forecasting accuracy, facilitating churn analysis, enabling performance tracking, aiding risk management, and supporting scenario planning.

  1.  Real-Time Insights: Subscription management solutions like Younium that are tailored for SaaS offer real-time visibility into key financial metrics, empowering business controllers to identify trends and anomalies promptly.
  2.  Forecasting Accuracy: These solutions facilitate accurate forecasting by integrating with financial systems and leveraging historical subscription data.
  3.  Churn Analysis: Subscription management solutions enable detailed churn analysis, helping business controllers proactively address churn drivers and optimize pricing models.
  4.  Performance Tracking: With customizable dashboards, these solutions allow business controllers to track the performance of subscription products and assess the impact of marketing initiatives.
  5.  Risk Management: By monitoring subscription metrics, business controllers can identify and mitigate financial risks effectively, ensuring compliance with accounting standards.
 Scenario Planning: Subscription management solutions facilitate scenario planning and sensitivity analysis, allowing business controllers to evaluate the impact of market changes on revenue forecasts.

As Younium’s VP of Customer Success, Erik Forsgren points out: 

"Younium Business Controllers users find support in our solution for their day-to-day operations. From monitoring subscription metrics to ensuring billing accuracy they use solutions to efficiently manage aspects of their subscription-based business".   

erik quote

The Financial Planning and Analysis Role (FP&A)

The FP&A role might even be a newer concept than the business controller role and not many companies have the role in-house but it’s a really strategic asset to your business.

The FP&A role focuses on forecasting and planning the numbers and kind of lives in the future. Similar to the Business Controller function they also analyze financial data to help with actionable insights. The FP&A role also focuses more on the budgeting process. The Budget process used to be a well-known thing for “let’s make it once a year, forget about the details and check if we hit the numbers a year from now”.

Not many companies managed to steer on it and kept focus on the targets they wanted to achieve, the roles they needed for that, and so on. Enter the FP&A role.

The FP&A role sits with department heads to deliver a budget. Once set, it doesn’t get stored in the cabinet but rather is used for monthly discussions, how are things progressing, what deviations are there that we need to talk about, and so on. It’s, of course, practically impossible to stick to every dollar put in the budget, but reviewing it and driving it at least means that deviations are made consciously and the impact has at least been discussed.

Knowing when costs are made and when revenue comes in is of crucial importance to the FP&A role. Therefore, revenue recognition engines are a key driver in this which is the reason why many of our customer’s FP&A roles use our solution for their daily work.

As we have mentioned with Business controllers, the tech stack is essential for SaaS business and finance teams. But where do subscription management solutions support the Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) role?

Younium, for example, plays a pivotal role as it can, with its flexibility, act as a central hub (single source of truth) for the FP&A role. By providing essential tools for dynamic budgeting and forecasting, revenue recognition compliance, cost analysis, performance monitoring, and strategic planning.

"The FP&A roles are fairly new and we can see more and more of our enterprise customers having those roles within the team. From forecasting revenue streams to optimizing pricing strategies, Younium supports FP&A roles with the insights needed to make those decisions based on data while streamlining their day-to-day workflows. It gives needed agility" - Erik Forsgren, VP of Customer Success at Younium.

Where does software like Younium jump in?

Here is a list of some tasks that are done by The FP&A roles with subscription management software:

  1.  Data Integration and Consolidation: These solutions integrate seamlessly with financial systems, consolidating subscription-related data for accurate financial modeling.
  2.  Dynamic Budgeting and Forecasting: FP&A professionals can develop dynamic budgeting and forecasting models, leveraging real-time subscription metrics and historical performance data.
  3.  Revenue Recognition Compliance: Subscription management solutions automate revenue recognition calculations, ensuring accurate financial reporting and compliance with regulatory standards.
  4.  Cost Analysis and Optimization: FP&A professionals can analyze cost drivers and optimize resource allocation to maximize profitability.
  5.  Performance Monitoring and Reporting: These solutions offer customizable dashboards and reporting capabilities, facilitating data-driven decision-making and stakeholder communication.
  6.  Strategic Planning Support: By providing visibility into subscription trends, subscription management solutions support strategic planning initiatives and long-term growth strategies.

Overall, subscription management solutions serve as indispensable tools for business controllers and FP&A professionals, enabling them to streamline financial processes, optimize performance, and drive strategic decision-making. Would you like to give us a case from your team so that we can cover how Younium can help? Just drop us a demo request here and our experts are on it.

Published by Wolter Rebergen April 5, 2024
Wolter Rebergen

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