This is a response I made to a question posed by @CommunityMember128799 in this post here. I thought it would be helpful to have it in our retail group knowledge base.
With regard to retail specifically, there are several themes you're going to want to take as it relates to FP&A and pretty much all finance related applications in Anaplan. I'm not going to mention the questions to ask for a specific FP&A use case (like how to consolidate the GL, or generate financial documents like income, balance sheet, cash flow and shareholder equity - assuming you already know that) but rather the nuanced nature of retail that will enable the processes in Anaplan: Note: I'm going to avoid some of the real estate planning as that is pretty generic to the industry.
Calendars | Time
Inventory is the working capital for the retailer. While this theme can be lumped with Accounting there are some very specific questions related to inventory that need to be asked. You have to know which valuation method the retailer is using so you can utilize the historical transaction data. Typically, Finance will obtain forecasts from the merchandising team but the inventory valuations don't always align, nor do the calendars (discussed in another theme). To enable Anaplan, you have to make sure the inventory valuation is converted correctly in a common way.
Do you use cost averaging, standard costing, or retail inventory method to value your inventory? If LIFO is used how is this reconciled with all the other inventory planning?
How does the merchandising team value inventory?
How are you projecting the inventory receipts?
What are the conditions that move inventory from unowned to owned? (owned means the inventory is the retailer responsibility and is moved from an open order to the stock ledger).
Does the merchandising team provide Finance their projections using the same inventory accounting used by Finance?
What differences are there and how/where is this reconciliation managed? Spreadsheet, 3rd Party Tool?
Does the company utilize direct ship to stores or customers, or does all inventory get received in a distribution center?
Explain how the stock ledger is maintained, how often is it updated, and what line items are needed, and how are they defined? Typical line items: Receipts, In-Transit, Net Sales, Markdowns (if RIM is used), Sales Discounts (if cost averaging is used), Shrinkage, Ending Inventory, Gross Margin
Are imports utilized? How and where are all the cost components maintained?
How is the currency exchange managed? Is there any hedging and how does that factor into the use case?
What are all the sales channels used? Typical is wholesale, retail, and e-commerce but there's also leased departments (store in a store), concession, affiliate, outlet, close-out, franchise, and pop-ups. Are there any special accounting considerations needed? For example, the lease agreements with lessee's.
How are store opening and store closing costs accounted for? How are the accruals maintained? Accounting rules used? Sensitivity to the data - who is able to see it?
Do you need to consider comparable stores? Meaning a comparison between stores open last year that are open this year?
Explain the capital budgeting process?
Rules of thumb for projection horizons? (this is needed for NPV calculations)
Jared’s passion for retail trace back to his high school days when he sold cinnamon toothpicks to his classmates and when he learned firsthand the concept of inventory management, cost of goods sold and how to make a tidy profit. After being introduced to retail planning solutions as a buyer at Target Stores, he’s been on a personal journey ever since to help retail practitioners reach their potential by using software solutions that effectively enable their processes. Recently named a 2020 Master Anaplanner and Community Boss, Jared provides retailers, wholesalers, and ecommerce planners the rigor, training, and positive thinking needed to help them fully optimize their Anaplan platform. Prior to joining Columbus Consulting, a consultancy focused on the retail industry, Jared was a retail IT executive for Target, Tuesday Morning, Payless, and Ascena.