What are the biggest challenges that companies face in financial planning?

One is simply to manage the process well. Only about half of the people in companies we recently benchmarked said that their planning processes are managed well. A contributing factor to this is that, according to midlevel managers, executives don’t communicate their strategy and objectives well. About one-fourth of executives said they communicate these very well, compared to just 7 percent of managers. Executives may think they communicate effectively because the goals are clear to the senior leadership team, but that finding suggests they shouldn’t be complacent and should risk communicating too much rather than too little. On the technology side, limited data access and uneven data quality are challenges that make it difficult for managers to understand trends and the direction of the business. Only one-third of companies said they have all or even most of the numbers they need to assess the impact of trade-offs they are considering in their plans. And not enough companies have the right tools and training to make optimal use of analytics to improve the accuracy of their planning processes.