Variance analysis, a well-recognized as a valuable tool for business review and planning, examines deviations in operating margin and other financial metrics relative to a budget or prior time period. Such analysis breaks down the deviations into various decision-based drivers of profitability (e.g., price, volume, cost, productivity) and serves as a gauge of forecasting accuracy and components of growth. While most companies are simultaneously concerned with business planning, meeting financial commitments, and growth, every company uses it differently. Variance analysis is at the heart of business performance. So how can FP&A leaders maximize the benefits of this critical tool?