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What is Scenario Planning?

Scenario Planning is the process of systematically exploring future “what if?” circumstances and their consequences, such as economic downturns or natural disasters. The goal is to anticipate or even mitigate adverse events that might negatively impact a plan or organization’s ability to achieve its objectives. Scenario planning can also help an organization manage risks by identifying possible actions it could take should a particular scenario occur. Bearing in mind that the future is always uncertain, companies will often use a variety of forecasting methods, from historical trends to qualitative judgmental analysis, in order to generate multiple scenarios for each critical issue.

In finance, scenario planning aims to increase awareness of both external and internal factors that can affect company performance. In this article, we will examine financial scenario planning from a practitioner’s point of view. The analysis and analysis supporting the scenario planning will be along the three main dimensions of internal management (financial management), external economic conditions (market environment) and risk (regulation) (see Figure 1).

Background

The discipline of scenario planning has existed in its current form for approximately 20 years, although different names have been used over that period. At one time the discipline was called “Foresight”, which can be traced back to a presentation by Foresight’s Dana Mitchell in 1984. (This same title is also used in Europe). At another time, the discipline was termed “Futures” (or “forecasting”) which was popularized by Kouzes and Posner in the early 1980’s through their Canadian Futures magazine.

Objective of Scenario Planning

The objective of scenario planning is to ask “what if?” questions in order to encourage discussion and debate about potential scenarios. The process aims to help organizations develop contingency plans in advance for each scenario that might occur in the future, based on uncertainty about future issues. By engaging key individuals (e.g., top management) through brainstorming, asking questions and testing arguments, creative thinking can be stimulated to come up with multiple scenarios that are better than one person could imagine alone. In addition, organization participants can discuss the various scenarios and develop a risk analysis of how each scenario might play out. If the scenario planning results in a list of contingency plans that appears realistic from an external political, economic or regulatory perspective, it may discourage potential threats and may even prevent a negative outcome if a company is prepared to deal with them.

Many scenario planning exercises have proven to be ineffective at achieving their objectives. Scenario planning is most successful when participants “put their heads together” versus relying on statistical modeling tools or mathematical formulas that don’t offer realistic alternatives or help participants consider multiple viewpoints. This is why scenario planning is an ideal tool for communicating with stakeholders (e.g., executives, employees).

Usefulness of Scenario Planning for Firms

Scenario planning allows companies to explore and think about what will happen if certain events occur, like an economic downturn. It can also help explore decisions such as whether or not they should purchase stocks or bonds during a particular time, or whether or not they should make a large acquisition; this would help them better prepare to react to various scenarios and mitigate risk.
Scenario planning can also help a company that is expanding to different countries. They would be able to explore the possible outcomes of each potential scenario and then be prepared for that particular scenario when it occurs.
To create a good scenario, you have to plan out the various outcomes that could occur for each of your scenarios. You then have to think about what would happen in that situation and how you would respond.

Issues with Scenario Planning

There are a few challenges that companies face when working with scenario planning. The first is that it can be a very time consuming process. When creating a scenario, each step must be well thought out and thoroughly explained, which takes a lot of time. Another challenge is that it is hard to predict what will happen in the future. This makes it difficult to create accurate scenarios about the future because you do not know what will actually be occurring at all times.

While Scenario Analysis has its drawbacks, there is a benefit to scenario planning that outweighs the challenges. Having a good strategy for your company allows them to react to and react appropriately during any situation. It also helps organizations become more flexible and adaptable, which makes them better able to adjust their strategy as different scenarios arise. It is important to note that scenario planning can be done for multiple purposes, such as both long-term and short-term planning as well as global and domestic ones. To begin with, companies should take a strategic view of how they want their business to operate in the future, rather than thinking about individual markets at a particular time. This will help facilitate scenario planning within your company going forward. Since a major drawback of scenario analysis is the time it consumes, firms can hire Freelance Scenario Analysis Consultants from Fintalent, the hiring and collaboration platform for tier-1 M&A and Strategy Professionals. While Consultants from Fintalent carry out this planning,, the business can deploy its personnel to other areas and save considerable time.

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Hire the best Scenario planning specialists in 2,900+ industries

Fintalent is the invite-only community for top-tier M&A consultants and Strategy talent. Hire global Scenario planning consultants with extensive experience in over 2,900 industries. Our platform allows you to build your team of independent Scenario planning specialists in 48 hours. Welcome to the future of Mergers & Acquisitions!

Why should you hire Scenario planning experts with Fintalent?

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Fintalents are best-in-class - and specialized in 2,900+ industries.​

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Frequently asked questions

Most frequent questions and answers

What clients usually engage your Scenario planning Consultants?

We work with clients from all over the world. Our clients range from enterprise and corporate clients to companies that are backed by Private Equity or Venture Capital funds. Furthermore, we work directly with Family Offices, Private Equity firms, and Asset Managers. Most of our enterprise clients have dedicated Corporate Development, M&A, and Strategy divisions which are utilizing our pool of Scenario planning talent to add on-demand and flexible resources, expertise, or staff to their in-house team.

How is Fintalent different?

Fintalent is not a staffing agency. We are a community of best-in-class Scenario planning professionals, highly specialized within their domains. We have streamlined the process of engaging the best Scenario planning talent and are able to provide clients with Scenario planning professionals within 48 hours of first engaging them. We believe that our platform provides more value for Corporates, Ventures, Private Equity and Venture Capital firms, and Family Offices.

Our Hiring Process – What do ‘Community-Approach’ and ‘Invite-to-Apply’ mean?

‘Invite-to-Apply’ is the process by which we shortlist candidates for the majority of projects on our platform. Often, due to the confidential nature of our clients’ projects, we do not release projects to our whole platform but using the matching technology and expertise of our internal team we select candidates who are the best fit for our clients’ needs. This approach also ensures engagement with our community of professionals on the Fintalent platform, and is a benefit both to our clients and independent professionals, as our freelancers have direct access to the roles best suited to their skills and are more likely to take an interest in a project if they have been sought out directly. In addition, if a member of our community is unavailable for a project but knows someone whose skill set perfectly fits the brief, they are able to invite them to apply for the role, utilizing the personal networks of each talent on our platform.

Which skills and expertise do your Fintalents have?

The Fintalents are hand-picked and vetted Scenario planning professionals, speak over 55 languages, and have professional experience in all geographical markets. Our Scenario planning consultants’ experience ranges from 3+ years as analysts at top investment banks and Strategy consultancies, to later career C-level executives. The average working experience is 6.9 years and 80% of all Fintalents range from 3-12 years into their careers.

Our Scenario planning consultants have experience in leading firms as well as interfacing with clients and wider corporate structures and management. What makes our Scenario planning talent pool stand out is the fact that they have technical backgrounds in over 2,900 industries.

How does the screening and onboarding of your Scenario planning talent work?

Fintalent.io is an invite-only platform and we believe in the power of referrals and a closed-loop community. Members of our community are able to invite a small number of professionals onto the platform. In addition, our team actively scouts for the best talent who have experience in investment banking or have worked at a global top management consultancy. All of our community-referred talent and scouted talent are subject to a rigorous screening process. As such, over the last 18 months totaling more than 750 hours of onboarding calls, of which only 40% have received an invite-link after the call.

What happens if I am not satisfied with my Scenario planning consultant’s work?

During your initial engagement with a member of our Fintalent talent pool with no risk. If you are not satisfied with the quality of your hire for any reason then we are able to find a replacement at short notice. There is no minimum commitment per project, but generally projects last at least 5 days and can last 12+ months.

Interested in our invite-only community of tier-1 Scenario planning experts?

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