September 2019: What We’re Reading:

By The Center Team on September 25, 2019

News and insights to keep you up to date and on track—the nuance of facts, what expense reports reveal, and how CFOs can influence tech, talent, and ops.

The People Side of FP&A

Lawrence Serven and Kip Krumwiede for Strategic Finance | @SFMagazineIMA

Despite the apparent objectivity of spreadsheets, the field of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is alive with nuance. Every factual data entry has a human story behind it, which is why intimately familiarizing the FP&A team with the operations of the business is so crucial. Designing a more capable team begins with five dynamic qualities.

“If FP&A staff are to become trusted advisors and partners in the business, they need to have a firm understanding of the underlying business. They need to know how the business is run, the major influences or levers of the business, who the customers are and how they buy, and the strengths and weaknesses of competitors.”

Your Expense Report is a Window Into Your Soul

Sue Shellenbarger for The Wall Street Journal | @WSJ

Some employees submit an expense report for every cup of coffee they can justify, while an estimated 10% never file, even when they’re entitled to it. What influences the various attitudes towards expenses? Corporate research and psychologist insight illuminate some common personality types. (Watch out for those Grifters.)

“How people handle expense reports reveals a lot about their attitudes toward their employer, and their emotional baggage about money.”

The CFO as Lead Performer

Chris Schmidt for CFO | @cfo

A recent survey of over 150 financial executives looks at how advancements in analytics have opened up a head seat at the table for finance to influence big-picture business decisions. First areas of impact? Technology, talent, and operations.

“CFOs have the opportunity to impact all areas of the business. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed expected their CFOs would play an even larger role in all three key areas — operations, talent, and technology — over the next two years.”

How To Improve the Long-Range Forecast

Richard Reinderhoff for FP&A Trends

No one can predict the future, but a smart FP&A team knows where to look for the best indicators. Understanding all the dominos that eventually impact your bottom line—and successfully communicating that impact to leadership—can shape a more effective long-range forecast.

“To develop a long-range forecast, financials need to look beyond current events and steer away from business plans based on extrapolation.”

CFOs Reveal their Employees’ Most Outrageous Expense Report Submissions

Terri Williams for MultiBriefs | @MultiBriefs

Over half of CFOs have reported a steady increase in unreasonable expense report submissions over the past several years (think bear rugs and Lamborghinis). Fortunately, the right conversations can course-correct and strengthen fiscal culture without conflict.

“If one manager is allowed to continually spend outside of the policy, it sends a bad message to the rest of the company as word gets out about the manager’s behavior.”

Slash Ever-Rising T&E Costs with these 4 Strategies

Alyssa Evans for CFO Daily News

Travel and Entertainment represents one of the costlier categories of any company’s expenses. Everything from apps to generational differences can bump up expense report totals, but these four strategies can help keep numbers in check.

“There may be certain things you’re paying for that your company thinks are helpful … but travelers really don’t want or need.”


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