Businesses have long recognised the importance of using data analytics to improve the customer experience. Analysing market trends and consumer activity, businesses adapt, innovate and optimise their products and services to keep customers happy and increase profits. The focus on customer-orientated analytics has however, resulted in businesses failing to harness the power of their data to optimise their operational processes and significantly improve margins – although this is changing.
In this episode of the FP&A Trends Series, Toby Burton, CFO (Global Circulation) at The Economist Group and a member of the London FP&A Board, shares his insights on how FP&A helps to drive the profits of The Economist’s Circulation business.
This is a great example of how flexible and dynamic FP&A can help organisations to succeed in such quick and competitive business environment.
Toby's personal professional journey and experience as a CFO are the tremendous and very inspirational story: it shows how diversity, great leadership and incredible professional passion can help to excel. On the top of his professional responsibilities at The Economist, Toby is Chair of Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) in the UK.
By Neil Ainger, GTnews
Some time ago, the FP&A Board in London saw members debate whether fancy business intelligence (BI) software tools are a wise or even necessary investment. The general consenus was that boardroom members often don’t want to see complicated graphs, instead preferring to see the numbers in a flat 2D table.
“I’ve worked for a chief financial officer [CFO] who hated graphs,” said one senior FP&A professional. “As a finance person, he wanted numbers, not graphs. He even got his PA to print off a dynamic clickable dashboard I produced! A lot of a presentation depends upon who you are presenting to. I’ve certainly adapted my technique and tools depending upon who is listening.”
Keeping your company at the forefront of its field means having the ability and confidence to make hard-fast decisions. Success depends heavily on making the right decisions and executing them with speed and efficiency, giving you a serious competitive advantage over the market.
EY conducted a survey that revealed 81% of senior executives indicated they needed to improve their decision making speed and get greater insight on their business. They also recognised that their team made too many decisions based on intuition, and wasted time working on mechanical tasks and unnecessary detail.
The process of remaking decisions wastes a considerable amount of time. There is an art to making good decisions the first time.
On 11th May 2017 the Zurich FP&A Board gathered 36 senior finance practitioners from such leading local and global companies as Barry Callebaut, Cembra Money Bank, Citrix, Credit Suisse, Ecolab, EF Education First, GE, Gedeon Richter, MAN Diesel & Turbo, Medtronic, Quintiles IMS, Swissport, TE Connectivity, Xylem, etc. The important subject of Effective FP&A Organisational Structures became the main focus of the third FP&A Board meeting in Zurich.