Canopach: Pragmatic FP&A Consulting

Canopach: Pragmatic FP&A Consulting

CIO VendorPatrick Slattery, Founder & Managing Director
To create superior Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) practices Canopach’s philosophy focuses on three key areas: 1.) An unwavering focus on making client teams and their management independently successful; 2.) Creating a keen awareness of the critical value of information for decision making; 3.) Enabling agility and insight to adapt proven solutions to unique business environments. Canopach consultants apply all three with forward thinking and case-study research.

Success is defined by Canopach as teaching client team staff to do the work in a timely and effective manner with guidance from consultants. The firm has a history of program management and turnaround of large-scale projects when other consultants had become mired in day-to-day transactional roles. They are strong believers in teaching people to fish, as opposed to selling a hungry person fish every day i.e. creating a consulting revenue stream.

Many consulting organizations tout transformation approaches based on people, process and technology. But Canopach believes there is an underlooked fourth dimension— information. The firm observes that of the four dimensions of world class planning, information is the most critical and is at the crux of aligning plans with target setting and senior management expectations.

Canopach sees many clients struggling with the burden of ‘dead data’ buried in spreadsheets and legacy architectures. The firm believes moving to collaborative information is a required improvement. “Spreadsheet based budgeting and forecasting generally results in dead data. Well-designed driver based forecasting allows companies to keep estimates current and perform what-if-analysis to address issues or opportunities which informs decision making prospectively,” states John Granato, The Andersons Inc. CFO.

On creating agility and insight Patrick Slattery, Canopach Founder and Managing Director states, “when decision making is the primary result then information is the most valuable component, not the process. The simpler we can make the process, the better for all.”


When decision making is the primary result then information is the most valuable component, not the process. The simpler we can make the process, the better for all


They appreciate that when preparing fiscal budgets, there is nearly always a cycle of estimation, and negotiation, done to set goals for compensation plans. Canopach’s experience with publicly traded companies is that these estimates are best cascaded down from investor expectations to a target setting process. Initial estimates are based on existing business structure. Gaps are closed through capital planning for additional investment in capacity, and other initiatives. All of this works together to clarify their clients’ expectations for the period amongst management and senior executives.

Canopach appreciates the nuanced differences between budgeting and forecasting. Understanding that once the budget period begins, changes in the environment creep in. Nothing is perfect. Nothing happens according to budget. Clients tell Canopach there is no time to redo budgets when an estimation of where the business is headed, based on what is really expected, is needed. Canopach knows that this estimation, called forecasting, should not include negotiation. Their clients learn it should not simply be a process of folding in actual results creating a ‘Procrustean Bed’ for the rest of the fiscal year in order to achieve the original budget.

As strong proponents of the Cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT) Slattery states, “Canopach embraces Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the Web and its two major components—linked documents and linked data. We participate in and support W3C in that regard.”

The firm’s forward thinking is committed to increase knowledge-sharing and sponsored the development of an Abstract Model for the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). Canopach are members of the American Productivity and Quality Council (APQC) and are looking to use the web and social media to foster peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing on best practices and lessons learned.

Canopach’s team has large-firm pedigrees with expertise and capabilities to fill the void created by pure strategy consultancies. They excel at enabling a pragmatic implementation perspective that goes beyond tactical software configuration.