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.
“Do I have the right skill set for FP&A in 2018 and beyond?” That is a question I am asked all the time, whether I’m in Kuala Lumpur, Montevideo, or San Francisco. The role of the modern FP&A professional has changed greatly over the past 20 years, but the change I have witnessed over the past five years has truly been amazing.
A main goal of many of FP&A professionals I interact with concerns becoming a trusted business partner. Whether that’s with the company as a whole, the C-suite, or a particular business unit, most FP&A professionals want to advance along the maturity curve to become valued and sought-after business partners (and even better, business advisers), rather than some kind of bean counter. The days of sitting in an office and collecting, verifying, and scrubbing reams of data with little or no interaction with the people we support are over.
The role of the FP&A professional continues to progress and evolve along a continuum. In the past, we spent most of our time and effort explaining what had happened and tried to divine the future based on our observations. At the time, the biggest challenges were a lack of data and tools powerful enough to permit extrapolating limited available data to project into the future.
While “top-down” or “bottom-up” sound like some lively toasts you might hear in an English pub, they are also two of the most common ways to prepare a financial forecast. In that area, there is great debate as to which method is “better.” As with most questions in life, the initial answer is usually, “it depends,” so let’s look at the pros and cons of each approach. At the end of the day, there is no single answer. As a global FP&A professional, you will have to determine the best approach for your organization.
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