Financial planning & analysis (FP&A) professionals act as the bridge between finance and leadership, making the numbers work to determine holistic strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting, then tying it all into the goals of the business. Because the profession is so dynamic, FP&A roles require a broad skill set with innovative techniques that evolve with the finance sector.
One of the best ways to sharpen your skills and keep up with the latest trends is to learn from the examples of fellow FP&A professionals. AFP 2022 offers the unique opportunity to hear what leading finance practitioners are doing across a wide range of industries.
Wondering how AFP 2022 can help your professional development? Pick a skill area you want to hone to preview some of the related sessions.
Creating High-Impact Budgeting and Forecasting Processes
A mature and impactful FP&A function uses the planning process to drive accountability and encourage robust, informed strategic dialogues across the organization. Get an inside view on best practices for:
- Leveraging efficient planning techniques.
- Communicating information to create value through the planning process.
- Strengthening partnerships to take action on variances.
How Corporate Finance Decisions Really Are Made
Finance practitioners all know discounted cash flow and return on investment techniques as the basis for corporate investment decisions; however, in practice, many other elements are mixed in with the quantitative assessment. Getting smart on how identifying and navigating these other factors can make you more effective. Learn about:
- Strategic considerations such as the network effects of how one business impacts another.
- The growing role of data and automated decision-making
- ESG considerations.
- The corporate dynamics of the HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion).
How to Quantify the Value of Major Projects
Investment in major projects — long-term tangible and intangible assets that create value, enhance capabilities, and position the organization for long-term returns — is key to business growth. Yet determining the strategic and financial value of major projects is a notoriously difficult and nuanced task for most FP&A professionals. Learn from FP&A advisor Carl Seidman how to assess:
- The incremental costs and value of a project.
- A project’s contribution to the financial well-being of the company.
Read Carl Seidman’s blog post to learn more.
Finance: Superstar of Organizational Transformation
Continuous marketplace disruption and uncertainty require finance to harness data from a multitude of sources, analyze performance, develop what-if scenarios to evaluate risks and reward, and optimize plans of execution that fulfill value metrics. Unfortunately, legacy FP&A technologies have stymied that goal. Our panel of visionary finance leaders will discuss the need for, and lessons learned from, an extended planning and analysis (xP&A) approach to modernizing the business by aligning strategic, financial and operational plans.
Integrated Operational Execution & Financial Planning at Covanta
To provide financial plans that reflect an organization’s core operational activities, FP&A teams need integrated business planning where actuals and forecasted driver assumption updates flow through the business value chain and generate summarized financials. Learn how Covanta, an energy-from-waste and industrial waste management services company with over 40 plants and 4,000 employees:
- Standardized processes and centralized planning assumptions.
- Improved forecast accuracy while reducing forecast cycle times.
- Delivered advanced analytics and KPIs.
Best Practices in Finance Learning & Development
Every finance organization needs to ask how to hire, train and retain its members to deliver value to the organization. But what does that look like, and how do you plan for the development of a profession in the midst of so much change? Representatives from The Dow Chemical Company, Finance Development & Training Institute, Johnson & Johnson, and Verizon discuss how they are preparing the next generation of finance leaders and present tactical applications for your company.
Financial Lessons from the Fast Lane
Given the high levels of volatility and uncertainty presented by both commodity price swings and energy transition, the energy industry offers a unique case study on how pressing concerns over cash preservation and generation can distort the normal decision-making process. Drawing on lessons learned from prior cycles and throughout this crisis, three finance practitioners from Shell and Parkland share their experience driving their businesses from FP&A to the front line, exploring questions like:
- What tactics can we use to drive high-quality decisions?
- How do we avoid cutting costs that will destroy long-term value?
- How do we see through volatility to grow the underlying business?
How Building Trust Enables Effective Business Partnering
As finance business partners, our goal is to become strategic partners, driving sustainable growth and profitability while managing risk. But to get there, our cross-functional business partners need to be willing to give us a seat at the table. Paul Barnhurst, founder of The FP&A Guy, and Christian Wattig, founder of FP&A Prep, discuss:
- Why an environment of trust is the foundation of all successful finance business partnering.
- Concrete tools and knowledge for auditing and building successful business partnerships.
Managing the Structure of Distributed Finance
Once upon a time, your finance team consisted of everyone you could see when you stood up from your desk. Today, the question of who is on your team is varied and may include augmented staff (gig/freelancers), outsourced vendors, centers of excellence or shared service utilities, business units and remote colleagues. This panel discussion covers the key elements of teaming and defining the work of finance in a decentralized world.