Functional constraints are an important constraint class in Constraint Programming (CP) systems, in particular for Constraint Logic Programming (CLP) systems. CP systems with finite domain constraints usually employ CSP-based solvers which use local consistency, e.g. arc consistency. We introduce a new approach which is based instead on variable substitution. We obtain efficient algorithms for reducing systems involving functional and bi-functional constraints together with other non-functional constraints. It also solves globally any CSP where there exists a variable such that any other variable is reachable from it through a sequence of functional constraints. Our experiments show that variable elimination can significantly improve the efficiency of solving problems with functional constraints.