Brian is Founder and Principal at Kalish Consulting. He is Former Executive Director – Global FP&A Practice at AFP. He has over 20 years of experience in Finance, FP&A, Treasury and Investor Relations. He previously held a number of treasury and finance positions with the FHLB, Washington Mutual/JP Morgan, NRUCFC, Fifth Third and Fannie Mae. He has spoken all over the world to audiences both large and small hosting FP&A Roundtable meetings in North America, Europe, Asia and soon South America. Brian attended Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, GA for his undergraduate studies in Business and the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech for his graduate work. In 2014, Brian was awarded the Global Certified Corporate FP&A Professional designation.
Maybe it is the nerd in all of us, but one of the topics I witness financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professionals discussing with the most passion is whether their positions should be called FP&A – or would a better descriptor of their jobs be BP&A (business planning and analysis)? I can honestly say I’ve seen the discussion of this issue get quite heated (though still polite and civil). At roundtables that I have hosted, whether in New York, New Delhi, or New Zealand, this debate usually comes up.
To a large extent, the success of an organization is determined by the degree of collaboration between the different departments across the enterprise. A collaborative business planning process synchronizes data from various sources from both within and outside the organization. The intent is to streamline the progression of turning data into information, information into knowledge, and knowledge into better-informed, smarter business decisions when it comes to planning, budgeting, and forecasting.
Today’s business world is significantly different from that of just a few years ago, and the velocity and magnitude of change and uncertainty will only accelerate. We are operating in an environment of high “VUCA” – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
Organizations are under increasing pressure to make well-informed decisions quickly based on data coming from various sources. Now you can leverage technology that speaks to multiple systems to develop meaningful planning metrics with an agile, intuitive interface that allows users to analyze their data in a more productive manner. Luckily, the advances in the technological tools available provide the opportunity to make that leap to a higher, better-constructed, and ultimately more useful set of planning metrics.
When I discuss my “Three Pillars of FP&A,” I am referring to financial acumen, communications, and business comprehension/partnering. I want to use today’s article to address how we, as a profession, can and should improve our communication skills. One of the greatest complaints about FP&A professionals is our inability to explain ourselves and our work (insights and foresight) clearly and expediently to our business counterparts. This is what I call our inability to be good storytellers.