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About Your Profit and Loss Next W - What?

Dear Bank IT Manager,

In my last post I committed to send a new update once I ate my first rocket salad. Mission accomplished: It was simply delicious. By the way, you asked what P&L tools and vegetable patches have in common. Let me answer them straight away: Nothing. It is just that my vegetable patch is my passion and I cannot help mentioning it in any occasion, whether it makes sense or not. :-)

Hopefully you will also remember that in my last post I referred to the Six Ws method. I started with the “Who”, highlighting the importance of knowing in advance who the users of our platform will be. Well, now it is time for…


If you give somebody 30 seconds to describe what a P&L tool is you will probably receive an easy answer that will meet your expectation. But if you give the same person 30 minutes your questions will probably increase exponentially. So I strongly recommend that before committing any timelines you ask all relevant stakeholders what a P&L platform means for them.

A current state analysis will probably be insufficient, so I recommend focusing on the end state. As mentioned in previous posts, it is possible that our new platform is contemporary with other initiatives to modernize or standardize processes in the bank. Therefore it is very important that we clarify in advance what processes will eventually be supported, regardless of what current applications do. With the risk to be over-simplistic, if you are planning to create a new platform probably the current state is not… brilliant.

Let me mention a few examples to illustrate what some of these processes might be: P&L daily review (which splits and drill-downs?); month-end review (probably more complex analysis?); adjustments (different types? several temporal behaviours?); sign-off (different privileges according to the user profile?); comparison with Flash P&L (agreement with traders?); multi-day P&L options; reconciliations; submissions to other systems; complex financial analysis; etc.

There is something as important as clarifying what processes will be included. You probably guessed: what processes will not be included. We need to clearly state what is out of scope; otherwise we will see late requirements appearing as users’ answers to functional gaps. Obviously the pressure for the project management will be different in one case or the other.

Additionally to the processes, we need to clarify what data will be required. At the end of the day, it is likely that our platform will have to deal with more data issues than usability problems. So we need to be especially cautious with data. To mention some examples, we should clarify data and adjustment granularity, required P&L concepts, reporting currencies and hierarchies, which accumulative values are needed (Day-To-Date, Month-To-Date, Year-To-Date …), etc.

Hope it helps, 

Miquel Febrer, Director, GFT Iberia.


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