FP&A Within The Economist

In this episode of the FP&A Trends Series, Toby Burton, CFO  (Global Circulation) at The Economist Group and a member of the London FP&A Board, shares his insights on how FP&A helps to drive the profits of The Economist’s Circulation business. 

This is a great example of how flexible and dynamic FP&A can help organisations to succeed in such quick and competitive business environment.

Toby's personal professional journey and experience as a CFO are the tremendous and very inspirational story: it shows how diversity, great leadership and incredible professional passion can help to excel. On the top of his professional responsibilities at The Economist, Toby is  Chair of Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) in the UK.

London FP&A Board: Are Fancy Visual Aids Worth the Investment?

By Neil Ainger, GTnews

Some time ago, the FP&A Board in London saw members debate whether fancy business intelligence (BI) software tools are a wise or even necessary investment. The general consenus was that boardroom members often don’t want to see complicated graphs, instead preferring to see the numbers in a flat 2D table.

“I’ve worked for a chief financial officer [CFO] who hated graphs,” said one senior FP&A professional. “As a finance person, he wanted numbers, not graphs. He even got his PA to print off a dynamic clickable dashboard I produced! A lot of a presentation depends upon who you are presenting to. I’ve certainly adapted my technique and tools depending upon who is listening.”

The Key Tech Requirements of an FP&A System

By Neil Ainger, GTnews

At one of the previous meetings, The London FP&A Board addressed the technological requirements needed for effective FP&A. The well-known Chatham House anonymised rules were deployed to encourage a full and frank debate.

The board members agreed that technology (like any tool) is only as good as people’s ability to use it and to apply it for business benefit and the discussions about the key requirements of an FP&A system got underway.

FP&A Team Building in Focus of the London FP&A Board

By Larysa Melnychuk, Managing Director at FP&A Trends group

On 20th April 2017,  20 FP&A professionals from such companies as Barclays, Coats, the Economist Group, Kraft Heinz, NetApp, Starbucks, Visa, etc., participated in the London FP&A Board meeting. 

The main focus of the interactive discussion in London was Effective FP&A Team Building.  

It is hardly arguable that there are so many requirements to a modern FP&A professional that are difficult to be met by one person, that building effective FP&A teams with complementary skills are seen as the easiest solution under the circumstances. 

London FP&A Board: FP&A Analytics Maturity Model

By Larysa Melnychuk, Managing Director at FP&A Trends group

Introduction

The future is unpredictable, the current business environment is harsh, competition is fierce. In these times of change, modern FP&A is both exciting and challenging. It is exciting because it utilises better and more sophisticated tools than previously, can embrace automation and the incredible power of online collaboration. However it is difficult because old finance management practices are still alive: they are inadequate for the modern world, but FP&A professionals continue to live from a deadline to a deadline and have no time to stop, change, re-write, and reconsider.

Analytical transformation reduces finance departments’ costs. e.g. robotics and automation, shared services, centers of excellence have already processes of many finance departments. But what about FP&A? In many cases, it still lives in the 20th century. It is a well-known fact that Excel continues to be the prevalent analytical tool used by finance professionals. The quality of data for FP&A analytics remains poor and the FP&A time wasted on the data reconciliations and cleansing. The financial analysis task thus takes on the form of “firefighting”, leaving no time to re-think and re-design the existing non-value adding processes.

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