Page 6: Forecasting and evaluation
Having created an operating plan within the annual planning cycle, a business must monitor the plan to ensure that targets for growth, sales, profitability and cashflow are met.
Using their analysis of variance between actuals, plans and forecasts, planning analysts work with the business teams to develop suitable plans of action. Where actual outcomes differ from forecasts built into budgets, it is essential to discover why.
Planning analysts work with sales and marketing managers to help identify reasons for change, e.g. has a competitor entered the market, or has there been an unanticipated shift in consumer tastes? In this way, planning analysts are analysing information with marketing managers and together they are developing strategies to keep the business plans on course.
For example, by using a Promotional Control Evaluation (PCE) tool, planning analysts are able to measure the impact of promotions. This enables the optimum promotion being placed at the right time for the consumer in the most suitable market, thus maximising the opportunity for everyone concerned.