Thomas Cook’s rescue plan would have probably made it the “best-funded travel company in Europe,” but the UK government’s failure to offer a last-minute financial guarantee effectively brought about its collapse, according to testimony at an inquiry into the firm’s insolvency.
Read more on 5 Takeaways from UK's Thomas Cook Inquiry.
What caused the collapse of Thomas Cook? Read here.
Growth is a journey that requires the entire business to constantly adjust, optimize and execute, but it starts at the top. Only when the CEO, C-suite, and business-unit leaders have the right mind-set can leaders hope to drive growth across the business.
Growth is the number one, two and three priority.
A new survey by McKinsey highlights what separates growth leaders from the pack. Here are the seven statements that reflect the convictions of today’s growth leaders:
1. I'm all in
Always put growth first. Growth leaders put growth at the top of every agenda, from board meetings to performance reviews.
2. I'm willing to fail
Make plenty of bets. Growth leaders make more growth bets than their peers. They create a portfolio of initiatives, protecting the necessary resources and funding.
3. I know my customer as a person, not as a data point
Growth leaders are resolute, however, in putting the customer at the center of all their decisions. An executive at a global apparel brand admitted, “Whenever I’m in meetings and being presented with options to decide on, my first question is "What’s in it for the customer?"
4. I favor action over perfection
Act on “good enough” insights. Good data are crucial for good decisions, but growth leaders value speed over perfect insights. They don’t wait for perfect data. Instead, they use the data they have to make a thoughtful decision, pursue it vigorously, and then reevaluate based on results.
5. I fight for growth
Break down internal barriers. Growth is a team sport, but functional leaders often jealously guard their turf, which undermines many promising initiatives. Growth leaders actively seek out the conflicts and eliminate them. They break down silos, diffuse turf battles, and provide support for strained resources to clear the path for their teams to deliver.
6. I have a growth story I tell all the time
Infuse the business with purpose. Growth leaders know that purpose is power and that communication is about more than "the what" of growth; it’s "the why". Articulating a purpose that goes beyond brands, categories, and businesses is an effective way that growth leaders rally the whole organization.
7. I give control to others
Build up people’s growth muscles. Growth leaders invest more time in formal and informal training for growth, covering not just functional and leadership capabilities but also mind-sets.
Read more here.
Here are some of the most significant digital transformation in 2020 and beyond:
Read more here.
It’s the best of times and the worst of times to be a business owner. For many, the promise of a liquidity event represents the culmination of their life’s work. But how do you optimize your valuation or determine the ideal timing of the event?
Here are 10 steps to optimise the value of your company:
1. Start with the end in mind
Think like a buyer would. In addition to a growth plan, a buyer will want to understand the strategic value your company adds to their portfolio, the diversity of income and customers, and the likelihood that management will stay (which may matter less to a strategic buyer than to a financial buyer).
2. Include your team in the process
Many private company owners are skittish about sharing information regarding a potential exit with their management teams. Whether it is appropriate to do so is dependent on a number of variables, including the sophistication of the team. Senior managers are going to find out eventually, and utilizing their talents to drive valuation is often a success factor. Handcuffing them through a long-term incentive plan (LTIP) is an important best practice (as opposed to providing them equity). It’s is just good business to reward the people who get you there.
3. Focus on the growth story
The single most important variable in optimizing value is being able to demonstrate consistent, predictable revenue void of too much concentration risk in a few customers. The business owner must maintain laser focus on growth in the three to five years before the sale. Any buyer will want proof that the business can “scale.”
4. Secure the right advisers early
Many business owners talk to wealth advisers, strategic planning consultants, transactional attorneys and investment bankers late in the process. Create a team of advisers who can collaborate for several years in advance and have the pieces in place when you are ready to sell to optimize your valuation. Assign a “quarterback” to drive a seamless process.
5. Formalize your exit plan
After you have met with your team and advisers, formalize your company’s strategic plan and exit plan. Your exit will need to coincide with a succession plan. Note that a majority of “earn out” consulting agreements do not pan out. While there may be tax benefits to having a consulting agreement post-transaction, make sure you understand their limitations when you’re trying to optimize your valuation.
6. Understand valuation
Every business owner thinks their business is worth more than it actually is. Get an expert business valuation done, in part to set the basis for your long-term incentive plan.
7. Minimize tax liability
Too many owners wait far too long to consider their tax liability during a transaction, and they end up giving away a sizable chunk of their gain in taxes. The right advisers may have you consider relocation for the business or the owner, or other tax-mitigating strategies such as forming an ESOP. This is why a CPA who knows M&A is so critical to optimize your valuation.
8. Ensure you have solid financial statements
A fatal flaw that will end a process before it begins is a lack of financial controls. Buyers will immediately discount any company that does not have solid financial statements and performance for at least three years.
9. Be patient
Selling in a down cycle can be costly. Waiting until you have assembled the right team, advisers and financial history can dramatically increase valuation. As private equity becomes interested at about $5 million in EBITDA, crossing this threshold is important in maximizing value
10. Develop your life plan
Owners often have a sizable portion of their financial wealth wrapped up in their businesses and make invalid assumptions about the cost of retirement.
Source: Marc Emmer. Read more by clicking at the image below:
1. Master a skill, scale it, build a community 0:25
1a. Build a platform for others that have skills 0:51
1b. Start online courses/webinars 1:54
2. Clean people's homes 3:08
3. Amazon Fulfilment business 4:07
4. Meal preparation and delivery 5:02
5. Rent bikes/mopeds 5:46
6. Fitness trainer (online or in-person) 6:33
7. Certified Public Accountant 7:27
8. Leadership skills 8:04
According to public speaking expert Neil Gordon, this is because most of us tend to stuff our talks full of information. You're taught to use acronyms, have steps and processes, fill your latest marketing deck with complicated charts ... and so you do.
Gordon says this is a mistake. "Most people think the reason why the most-viewed TED talks have been seen so many millions of times is because they're the most jaw-dropping, fascinating, ingenious, inspiring, or funniest talks," Gordon offers. "But it's not actually any of those things."
So what is it? What is the secret sauce?
"What they have," he says, "is a fully distilled idea that pervades the entire talk."
In other words, they have one big idea. Not several ideas. Not a list of seven ways to get more [blank] to do [blank].
No, they have one single, central, unifying theme. Gordon calls it a "silver bullet."
Shared office provider, WeWork, has filed paperwork to enable it to list its shares on the US stock market as it seeks further funds for expansion.
Founded in the US in 2010, WeWork is already London and New York's largest private office occupier.
But it has yet to make a profit, with losses last year doubling to USD1.9 billion.
The firm's business model is based on short-term revenue agreements and long-term loan liabilities.
Ratings agencies have given it a "junk" or risky credit score because it has borrowed heavily to fund its expansion.
Despite this, the firm - which operates in 600 cities globally - was valued at some USD47 billion by private investors when it raised fresh funding in January.
Source: BBC, UK
Salary guide for accounting and finance professionals in Malaysia 2018 / 2019:
Source: Kelly Services, Malaysia
A simple explanation of machine learning (ML). You don't need a Phd or even a degree to use ML, just use it.
Response and ability. Good leaders get people to believe in them. Great leaders inspire people to believe in themselves.
We’ve been hearing the statement “Health is wealth” since our childhood. However, not all of us are acquainted with its literal meaning. It means that no matter how wealthy you are, if we are not healthy, there is nothing we can cherish in life.
People are suffering from overweight, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart diseases, kidney problems and so many other unknown problems. Most of these problems occur because of our lifestyle.
Money means nothing when it doesn’t afford you the time and means to spend it on yourself and your loved ones. Staying healthy therefore becomes a necessity. Even a little money is sufficient, if you have your health support your run with good times.
Here are 5 tips to stay healthy (and wealthy):
1. Eat well (eat everything in moderation)
2. Sleep well
3. Exercise, exercise, exercise
4. Breath fresh air (spend more time outdoor)
5. Drink lots of water
Digital disruption is much more than an abstract concept promoted by analysts and vendors; it is now a reality for most organizations.
More than one-third of executives in a recent Forbes Insights/Treasure Data survey say they are being directly affected by competition from digital and data-savvy players in their markets.
What does it take to embark on a data-driven disruption journey? Here are some ways to get started:
1. Creating new markets or leveraging the power of information to offer solutions in new ways.
2. Be the disruptor.
The best way to fend off disruptors is to become the disruptor. Shift their business models using data-driven products and services, or by linking up with digital-savvy players.
3. Surface your data assets.
With the influx of data that an increasingly digital world creates about customers, access to clearly organized, consolidated data is crucial. Think of ways to create entirely new products or services through new channels.
The most likely form of disruption is through the actual monetizing of information technology.
The disruption that is radically reshaping today’s markets, as well as creating new ones, is driven by data, with the goal of enriching the customer experience, and delivering goods and services on demand without so much as a hiccup in supply chains or response systems. To accomplish this, data needs to move fast, seamlessly and be accessible.
As Holger Hürtgen and Niko Mohr, of McKinsey, recently put it:
“Data has become the new corporate asset class, and the best way for companies to generate and access it is to digitize everything they do"
Those organizations leading the way and digitally disrupting their markets have learned to employ customer data in new and innovative ways not simply to be disruptors, but to provide superior customer experiences.
Source: Forbes Insights (click on image to read more)
He is more popular on social media than Madonna or Oprah Winfrey, but you might never have heard of him. Kai-Fu Lee has become the face of Chinese tech, his name synonymous with a country itching to take on the world.
Lee spent his formative years helping charter a path of innovation for companies such as Microsoft and Apple, but it was when he spearheaded a failed attempt to bring Google to China that everything changed for him. Lee left Google in 2009, to set up his own venture capital fund, Sinovation Ventures.
Lee's new book, AI Super Powers, was published in September.
“The Chinese model is about building an incredibly high wall so that no one can replicate or start a price war. It’s about detail orientation, operational excellence, having a huge market, having instantaneous feedback from the market, iterating so many times that it becomes innovative. And I think that is the spirit. I think the copying was the way it started.”
Here is a good summary of the future of AI according to Lee:
In his first internal management strategy speech since being named Jack Ma's successor, Alibaba Group Holding chief executive Daniel Zhang Yong reminded managers in the company that key performance indicators (KPI) should never be the sole reason to do something.
“If we live for KPIs, and do something just for the sake of KPIs, then Alibaba is finished,”
Zhang reminded employees that the company's dream is to create value for the customers they serve.
He also exhorted employees to do their best to meet their own expectations, instead of caring what others think, and not give up when they meet resistance or obstacles – especially when it came to new business models and innovative projects that have not been tried before.
“Many of our businesses have been the same for over 10 years, and if we keep doing things the same way today, or five years later, then Alibaba won't have a future,” Zhang said, adding that his greatest fear was that Alibaba would become like a “robot on loop”.
Data Studio, Google’s free data visualization and reporting product, is out of beta and now generally available.
This move signifies our continued commitment to helping teams identify and share insights from their data, so they can take steps to improve business outcomes.
Since introducing Data Studio as a beta in 2016, we’ve improved the stability of the product and added many key features. We’ve seen millions of people use Data Studio to transform their data into powerful stories that surface key business insights.
Companies like AirAsia Group are using Data Studio to help with cross-platform reporting and collaboration between teams. "Data Studio helps to keep AirAsia data flowing through the organization,” says Nikunj Shanti, Chief Data Officer, AirAsia. “Data democratization is the key for future efficiencies within the airline and the integration between Data Studio and BigQuery data sources help ensure that everyone has a single view. The platform has rapidly evolved in the last 12 months, and we’re able to sunset existing production and ensure we have a single platform for data dashboard and ad-hoc visualization."
Today’s announcement of general availability comes on the heels of many product updates based on beta user feedback. Most recently we announced a number of new features that enhance the way you can experiment, combine, and share your data visualizations using Explorer, Data Blending and the Report Gallery.
We remain dedicated to our community and have developed capabilities like community connectors, which allows you to connect to your many different data sources, and custom report templates, which enables you to build custom reports and easily share your solutions. Features like these have helped grow our ecosystem and make Data Studio more impactful for more people.
Data Studio’s mission is to empower people to identify and share insights from their data, whether it’s a marketer surfacing information about which of their advertising channels is most effective, or a business analyst tracking performance metrics.
We look forward to continuing to explore that mission alongside our community of users and collaborators. And as we invest in platform stability and advanced features, you'll be able to focus on what matters, the growth of your business.
Source: Google Data Studio
Admiral Bill McRaven was in charge of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden. What he said was truly breathtaking.
McRaven released a short, direct statement, one that will certainly be very polarizing, but that is also a truly stunning example of leadership.
The 7-word headline: "Revoke my security clearance, too, Mr. President."
A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself.
Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities. Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.
This is truly one of the most stunning and sudden direct challenges to a sitting president.
But setting aside that political disagreement, McRaven's actions here are an astonishing example of trying to lead, at a potentially large personal cost. Here's why it works.
1. He's direct
McRaven's entire statement is 230 words. He gets right to the point, and there is no misunderstanding in his message. Effective communication is an important part of leadership.
2. He has credibility
McRaven is no longer in uniform, but his reputation is the main reason his message might resonate far and wide.
3. He sacrifices
McRaven doesn't offer bromides or call for people to rise up. Instead, the only thing he asks Trump specifically to do is to all him to make the same sacrifice that McRaven says other people are making. That's a powerful message.
4. He surprises
Like most members of the military, Admiral McRaven was careful not to reveal his political beliefs while he was in uniform. In fact, it is surprising to see him coming out and making such an overt, public statement against the president like this.
5. He offers a way out--and a challenge
By the time you get to the last sentence of McRaven's message, there's already a lot of energy spent, but his last line is amazing: "The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be."
This is tough language, but it's interesting for what it's not. McRaven isn't demanding that Trump apologize, or reverse his decision, or resign. Instead, he's challenging the president and offering him a way out.
Source: Bill Murphy Jr, Inc.com
It pays to know your team players. Can you differentiate the productive and destructive people in your team?
Data blending or creating relationship with multiple data sources is one of the most useful features in reporting.
By default, charts in Data Studio get their information from a single data source. Blending lets you create charts based on multiple data sources, called a blended data source. For example, you can blend two different Google Analytics data sources to track the performance of your app and website in a single visualization.
Blending can reveal valuable relationships between your data sets. Creating blended charts directly in Data Studio removes the need to manipulate your data in other applications first, saving you time and effort.
Deloitte just published a large-scale survey of Millennial employees (and 1,844 Gen-Z workers) that revealed critical gaps in skill development.
In the study, respondents listed job skills they felt were essential and how well they felt their employer fared in helping them develop those skills.
Here's where the four biggest gaps are, and how to start closing them:
1. Interpersonal skills
2. Confidence and motivation
3. Critical thinking
4. Innovation and creativity
So help close these skill gaps and maybe you'll stop-gap the outflow of young talent.
Here’s the dilemma: In a competitive, complex, and volatile business environment, companies need more from their employees than ever. But the same forces rocking businesses are also overwhelming employees, driving up their fear, and compromising their capacity.
It’s no wonder that so many C-Suite leaders are focused on how to build higher performance cultures. The irony, is that building a culture focused on performance may not be the best, healthiest, or most sustainable way to fuel results. Instead, it may be more effective to focus on creating a culture of growth.
A culture is simply the collection of beliefs on which people build their behavior. Learning organizations, Peter Senge’s term, classically focus on intellectually oriented issues such as knowledge and expertise
Building a growth culture requires a blend of individual and organizational components:
1. An environment that feels safe, fueled first by top by leaders willing to role model vulnerability and take personal responsibility for their shortcomings and missteps.
2. A focus on continuous learning through inquiry, curiosity and transparency, in place of judgment, certainty and self-protection.
3. Time-limited, manageable experiments with new behaviors in order to test our unconscious assumption that changing the status quo is dangerous and likely to have negative consequences.
4. Continuous feedback — up, down and across the organization – grounded in a shared commitment to helping each other grow and get better.
A performance culture asks, “How much energy can we mobilize?” and the answer is only a finite amount. A growth culture asks, “How much energy can we liberate?” and the answer is infinite.
Read more here.
How do you change a mind?
Rely on objective facts and statistics. Develop a strong case for your side, back it up with hard, cold, irrefutable data, and voila!
It doesn’t work.
The mind doesn’t follow the facts. Facts, as John Adams put it, are stubborn things, but our minds are even more stubborn. Doubt isn’t always resolved in the face of facts for even the most enlightened among us, however credible and convincing those facts might be.
If facts don’t work, how do you change a mind, whether it’s your own or your neighbor’s?
1. Give the mind an out
We’re reluctant to acknowledge mistakes. To avoid admitting we were wrong, we’ll twist ourselves into positions that even seasoned yogis can’t hold.
The key is to trick the mind by giving it an excuse. Convince your own mind (or your friend) that your prior decision or prior belief was the right one given what you knew, but now that the underlying facts have changed, so should the mind.
But instead of giving the mind an out, we often go for a punch to the gut. We belittle the other person (“I told you so”). We ostracize (“Basket of deplorables”). We ridicule (“What an idiot”).
2. Your beliefs are not you
We all tend to identify with our beliefs and arguments. This is my business, This is my article. This is my idea.
When your beliefs are entwined with your identity, changing your mind means changing your identity. That’s a really hard sell.
A possible solution, and one that I’ve adopted in my own life, is to put a healthy separation between you and the products of you. I changed my vocabulary to reflect this mental shift. At conferences, instead of saying, “In this paper, I argue . . .,” I began to say “This paper argue.”
This subtle verbal tweak tricked my mind into thinking that my arguments and me were not one and the same. It was no longer personal. It was simply a hypothesis proven wrong.
3. Build up your empathy muscle
Humans operate on different frequencies. If someone disagrees with you, it’s not because they’re wrong, and you’re right. It’s because they believe something that you don’t believe.
The challenge is to figure out what that thing is and adjust your frequency. If employment is the primary concern of the Detroit auto worker, showing him images of endangered penguins (as adorable as they may be) or Antarctica’s melting glaciers will get you nowhere. Instead, show him how renewable energy will provide job security to his grandchildren. Now, you’ve got his attention.
4. Get out of your echo chamber
We live in a perpetual echo chamber. We friend people like us on Facebook. We follow people like us on Twitter. We read the news outlets that are on the same political frequency as us.
This means our opinions aren’t being stress tested nearly as frequently as they should.
Make a point to befriend people who disagree with you. Expose yourself to environments where your opinions can be challenged, as uncomfortable and awkward as that might be.
Strongly believe in an idea, but be willing to change your opinion if the facts show otherwise.
Ask yourself, “What fact would change one of my strongly held opinions?” If the answer is “no fact would change my opinion,” you’re in trouble. A person who is unwilling to change his or her mind even with an underlying change in the facts is, by definition, a fundamentalist.
In the end, it takes courage and determination to see the truth instead of the convenient. But it’s well worth the effort.
Source: Ozan Varol
If you think all CEOs are Ivy League educated individuals who set their eyes on the C-suite at a young age, you're mistaken. According to Elena Botelho and Kim Powell, authors of the book "The CEO Next Door," "Even the most impressive CEOs often didn't start out knowing they were destined for greatness."
However, many of us believe the stereotype that an "iconic CEO is powerful and patrician, a bold, charismatic extrovert with a flawless resume," write the researchers. This makes us falsely assume that we are not "CEO material." To the contrary, ordinary people can also become CEOs, note the authors, as long as they have the necessary traits.
Four simple behaviors can turn everyday people into powerful CEOs: decisiveness, engaging for impact, relentless reliability and adapting boldly.
1. Make quick decisions
Successful CEOs are decisive and are 12 times more likely to be high performers.
Steve Gorman, the former CEO of Greyhound, exemplifies why this trait is so crucial. When Gorman took over Greyhound in 2003, the business was losing money, according to the study. In addition, its parent company, which had just come out of bankruptcy, was ready to shut the doors on the company.
For four months, Gorman listened to his top execs create and dismiss plans to save the company but eventually he had enough. Among the many piles of data his team analyzed was a satellite map of the U.S. and Canada, which showed where all the nation's lights were concentrated (a reflection of population density). Unsure if his plan would work, he immediately set out to reshape Greyhound bus routes around these heavily populated regions. His strategy worked.
By the time he left Greyhound in 2007, the company reported $30 million earnings and was eventually sold for twice its 2003 value.
The authors explain that Gorman was able to "push forward" not because he knew his plan would work but because he realized that a potentially bad decision was much better than no decision.
2. Get people to buy into your idea
To be a successful CEO, you must engage those around you and inspire them to deliver results, according to the authors. But it's not as simple as being nice or getting people to like you. In fact, nice CEOs can be a drag on an organization because they focus more on being agreeable than getting workers to deliver quality results, say the researchers.
To effectively persuade people to buy into your ideas, the authors say to do three things:
a. Translate your vision and goals and be clear about your intent.
b. Understand the emotional, financial and physical needs of the people who will help you deliver results.
c. Establish everyday routines and habits to build relationships, which translate into action and eventually business results.
3. Deliver consistent results
CEOs who consistently deliver results and successfully execute plans are seen as reliable, according to the researchers. Once a CEO is known for their reliability, their odds of getting hired double.
"In business, reliable and competent people are cherished," write the authors. "Employers and clients are more apt to take risks on them and more apt to give them opportunities."
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson did just that when he created Virgin Australia, the country's second largest airline. The decision to launch this airline was actually the brainchild of his employee Brett Godfrey, who Branson immediately took a liking to because he was personable, detail-oriented and hardworking.
"[I] saw how he dealt with people in a personable manner and got the best out of them," Branson writes in his latest autobiography, "Finding my Virginity."
The billionaire was so impressed by his employee's work ethic that when Godfrey suggested creating an airline company in his home country of Australia, Branson bit. In 2000, Virgin Australia officially entered the aviation market with Godfrey as CEO ( a position he held until 2010).
4. Adapt to the circumstances
"To get to the top, aspiring leaders have to learn to navigate the uncharted," write the authors. They point to Kodak, Blockbuster and Borders as companies that failed because their leaders didn't adapt.
Their analysis also found that the CEOs who excel at adapting feel comfortable being uncomfortable. These execs understand that discomfort comes with change and learning. Furthermore, adaptable CEOs can let go of the past and focus on the future, much like Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
Source: Ruth Umoh, CNBC
Raising fund? Pitching? Listen to what she has to say ...
If any work disciplines can offer us a window to the future, Financial Planning and Analytics (FP&A) is certainly one of them. In an environment where your speed to move can make the ultimate difference to your company, it’s no accident that financial forecasting is now at the cutting edge of change in today’s business world. And indeed, future business success may lie with those who embrace these changes sooner rather than later.
Faced with a post-Millennium atmosphere of uncertainty and rapid change, accurate forecasting – and the ability to reforecast at pace – has gained huge currency for business leaders. Add to this the influence of automation tools on traditional accountancy roles, plus the growing need for top-line expertise in reading and disseminating our vast quantities of data, and you have a sector at the centre of the action when it comes to change. Michael Page recently sat down with one of FP&A’s thought leaders to plot five factors driving change in today.
1. Speed and Simplification
Larysa Melnychuk, CEO and founder of the International FP&A Board, spends much of her time these days in discussion with the world’s leading CFOs about the changing world of financial analytics, financial planning and analysis.
She notes that in an environment of unprecedented “black swans” and “perfect storms” in our global financial market, business leaders are now more aware than ever of the need to move fast: “Situations that we never expected would happen, have happened in real life. Obviously in the business environment, this is one of the biggest reasons why financial analytics has changed,” she notes.
Combine this pressure-cooker environment with the arrival of newer and cheaper Cloud-based systems that are easily managed within a finance department, and you have an environment ripe for change. “In this dynamic business environment, it’s not possible to use the old, very detailed and static methods we used,” notes Melnychuk, who is based in the United Kingdom. As a result, the landscape for financial analytics is now more forward-looking and speed conscious than ever.
2. Find Your Key Drivers
In an increasingly complex environment, the ultimate goal is to understand in the simplest way, how a business makes its money. “We’re talking about simplification beyond the incredible level of detail that we had before,” notes Melnychuk. “It’s all based on key business drivers that are very important to identify – it’s about the 20% of drivers that explain 80% of the results.”
She notes that while many managers claim to know these key drivers, the reality of our big data world is that some drivers become less sensitive over time, while others prove less reliable. The ideal key drivers process should be part of a company’s business intelligence project, she notes. “It should be automated: and the drivers should be checked often, through analytical automation.” Likewise, it is also important to pay attention to both internal and external drivers, she notes.
Yet are many companies in the world currently doing this? “I would say not many,” she notes. “Definitely leading companies have started – and this is on the agenda of many companies.”
3. Tough Roles to Fill
Increasingly, she says modern FP&A teams require three distinct roles (as per Mark Gandy’s model). The first is the Architect who builds the driver-based model. Next comes the Analyst, who can track its progress. And ideally, a third role, that of a business-partner, or Communicator. “It’s difficult to find these three people in one role,” Melnychuk notes from her own experience as an FP&A director. “Analysts and Architects can be introverts, and not so comfortable going to the business to communicate it. I’ve seen this a lot.”
As such, it tends to be a tough job to fulfil: “Around 70% of UK CFOs, and 80% of US CFOs, say that FP&A roles are the most difficult to fill.” While in traditional accountancy, being qualified and examining past financial history was once sufficient, this is no longer the case. “In FP&A it’s different. We’re seeing the emergence of big data, from which you have to analyse these key drivers.”
4. Rapid Reforecasting
In an environment of sudden and intense market change, being able to identify and simplify your business drivers can provide an invaluable chance to move fast against competitors. “It’s dependent on the visibility of their data, and the ability to drill down and make decisions very quickly,” Melnychuk notes.
She takes the example of a sudden market interruption, a so-called black swan event. “With traditional planning models and traditional hires, you needed four-to-seven months to reforecast. But with this new generation of systems, models and people, you can probably do this in a couple of hours – almost in real-time.” One New York based banking group she spoke with, had reforecasting down to a fine art. “At the moment, it’s less than 36 minutes, while previously it used to be more than three weeks. This is an indication of how the world’s changed,” she notes.
“And why? It’s because traditional line-by-line forecasts were replaced by driver-based planning model that is implemented through system. Just 36 minutes and it’s done – and the quality of this forecast is quite good as well. So this is a good example of how much this can achieve.”
5. Future role replacements
Melnychuk anticipates a realignment ahead in terms of job roles within finance departments, as some traditional roles become replaced by new ones. “Fewer traditional accountants will be needed, and more combinational skills, especially with this data management, analytical and business-partnering will be needed,” she predicts. “I can see a time when data scientists work together with FP&A. And it is already happening in some leading analytical organisations”
Leading companies already enlist data scientists to identify, for instance, the one driver responsible for 60% of their forecasting. Melnychuk notes that effective driver-based planning can save teams a lot of time and effort: “You don’t need a lot of data, or to spend a lot of time. But to identify those key drivers really can help you to very quickly and very effectively build your plans and different scenarios for the future.”
“There will be this new work for analytical people, because they will start from different levels of analytics, and they will go forward. So it’s very motivational for good analytical talent to be at such organisations.”
Source: Luke Clark
Business, economy, education and current issues. Providing tips, tricks and tools in managing business.