Finance leaders in healthcare are facing an increasingly complex and expansive landscape, often with spread-thin teams sifting through siloed data and legacy systems, making it difficult and time-consuming to closely track key metrics and KPIs. Strong financial practices are foundational for providing exceptional care, and effective finance teams can support better resource allocation and improved patient outcomes.
FP&A software stands as a critical technology for the modern healthcare finance function, offering tools to automate and enhance a range of activities. From increasing accuracy and productivity to facilitating real-time, data-driven decision-making and collaboration, this software can profoundly transform operations. The outcome is a more efficient, strategic finance function that underpins better resource allocation and patient care.
However, the implementation of FP&A software is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It's an important investment requiring careful evaluation and thoughtful execution.
Why FP&A software?
FP&A software helps teams consolidate many data sources and collaborate with cross-functional partners while providing an up-to-date, holistic view of the business. By digitizing and centralizing information, finance leaders can easily access real-time data, reducing the likelihood of errors and inefficiencies stemming from manual processes or disparate systems.
Next-generation FP&A solutions like Vareto can be a force multiplier for finance teams, helping them:
Increase accuracy and productivity. FP&A software’s ability to automate many manual and regularly recurring FP&A tasks can help reduce errors and improve the accuracy of financial data and reports. Finance teams can leverage integrations with ERP, CRM, HRIS, and other tools to bring data directly into one platform, serving as the main source of truth for operational and financial data. Automating many routine tasks that traditionally take up the bulk of FP&A time can free up finance teams to focus on more strategic initiatives.
Engage in more effective decision-making using real-time data. FP&A software gives finance teams real-time access to financial data and insights for informed decision-making, including composite metrics stitched together from different systems.
Collaborate more effectively. FP&A software can increase transparency and trust between finance teams and organization stakeholders by reducing friction and back-and-forth through custom sharing permissions, support for concurrent users, real-time commenting and tagging, and more.
Selecting and implementing technology solutions
Careful evaluation and implementation of the right technology solutions can help drive financial stability and support the delivery of high-quality patient care. Many different FP&A software tools are available with different feature sets and capabilities. Take the time to research all your options to find the best FP&A software for your specific needs. During the evaluation process, you’ll have the opportunity to demo the product and ask questions.
Start with these best practices:
Assess organizational needs: Identify your organization's specific financial challenges and requirements to determine the most beneficial technology solutions.
Evaluate features and functionality: Compare the features and functionality of different software solutions to ensure they align with your organization's needs and can be easily integrated into existing workflows. Evaluate how the solution can support and improve current processes. Teams should get into the details of each provider’s offerings and ask specific questions to help them understand how the solution can help them achieve their goals.
Get details about the onboarding process. Implementing an FP&A solution is inherently time-consuming and requires some complexity, but the onboarding process shouldn’t be painful. The FP&A software provider should have a plan in place for your organization’s onboarding and should be able to give detailed answers to your questions.
Consider scalability: Choose technology solutions that can grow with your organization, accommodating increased patient volumes, expanding service offerings, or additional locations.
Prioritize security and compliance: Ensure the selected technology solutions meet the necessary security standards and can support compliance with healthcare-specific financial regulations.
Involve stakeholders: Engage key stakeholders, such as finance team members and clinical staff, in the selection and implementation process to ensure buy-in and smooth adoption of the new technology.
Determine if it’s user-friendly and easy to use. FP&A software is meant to improve efficiency, meaning it should be easier than what you previously did. There’s always a learning curve with new platforms, but the software shouldn’t require learning a whole new language.
Make sure it will improve collaboration. Improved collaboration is a core benefit of the newest generation of FP&A software. It should be easy for both finance and program managers to use and understand. A platform that acts as a centralized place for working and reporting provides better transparency and accuracy and reduces back and forth between teams.
Allocate adequate resources for implementation: Plan for sufficient time and resources for system implementation, including data migration, staff training, and ongoing support.
Consider your ongoing support needs. Will you have a dedicated point of contact committed to your team’s success? If so, how knowledgeable is that person about finance?
Understand pricing models. Ensure you understand the total cost involved, not just the initial cost for the software. Find out if the software provider has flat, all-in pricing or utilizes a packaged, price-per-seat approach. Is the quoted cost all-inclusive, with access to unlimited feature sets?
Prioritize security. Remaining compliant with FASB and IFSB is top of mind for most finance teams. Don’t forget to ask about the security practices for the tool and whether or not the software is SOC 2 compliant.
Check the vendor’s reputation. Research a proposed vendor’s reputation and ask for current customer references.
Harnessing FP&A software for a healthier future
With the right tool in hand, healthcare finance leaders can step away from the minutiae, fostering a more strategic approach to decision-making that ultimately benefits patient care. FP&A software isn’t merely a technological upgrade — it’s a strategic enabler, capable of fostering a more streamlined, effective, and future-ready finance function. Embrace the potential of FP&A software to optimize your financial operations and ultimately elevate the standard of patient care.