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Two Proven Techniques to Minimize Optimism Bias in Financial Planning & Analysis

By Karl Kern, Founder/President, Kern Analytics LLC

One of the realities that FP&A professionals need to realize is people tend to be too optimistic in their financial plans.  People tend to expect higher revenues, lower expenses, or less time to recover the amounts of their investments.  Psychologists label these expectations as optimism bias.

As an accountant, I am guided by the conservatism principle.  The conservatism principle frames financial reporting around errors.  The errors that I don’t want to make is overstating assets and net income.  Making these errors create an impression that I am presenting a situation that looks better than it is.  At its extreme presenting a situation that looks better than it is may be perceived as a fraud and this perception damages the most important qualification of an accountant, integrity.

Why Driver- Based Planning and Dedicated Planning Systems Matter for FP&A

By Elena Kiristova, CFO Russia and CIS at Groupon

Integrating actuals into the planning cycle is usually not an easy task. Financial and operating results are spread across multiple databases. Actual results and plan detail are at different levels. Lack of underlying volumes and rates make meaningful causal analysis difficult.

BUT - You want apples to apples. Too often you get a fruit salad.

With today’s more intensive focus on driver-based planning and key performance indicators, this  article will help management and FP&A staff think through the issues for better Variance Analysis and Corporate Performance Management.

Three Critical Roles for Every FP&A Team

by Mark Gandy, Outsourced CFO, Principal at G3CFO

I read with fascination the interview  between GTNews and Larysa Melnychuk, Managing Director at FP&A Trends group, regarding the global name recognition of ‘FP&A.’

As the term ‘FP&A’ gains traction well beyond North America, how about the roles supporting the FP&A function? Are those roles edged in stone? I’m not sure. Accordingly, I’d like to suggest 3 defining and critical roles for every FP&A team.

 

Mark Gandy is a long-time outsourced CFO who enjoys practicing the art and science of FP&A across his client base. When he has time, he also writes on his own blog at G3CFO.com.

Best practices in Rolling Forecasts

By Elena Kiristova, CFO Russia and CIS at Groupon

Everyone wants a crystal ball to be able to peer into the future. For businesses, that desire becomes a necessity because having a vision of the future allows for better and more strategic decision-making in the present.

A rolling forecast simply means that each quarter or month, a company projects four to six quarters or twelve to eighteen months ahead.

This allows executives and key decision makers to see both a financial and operational vision of the future. It also helps them assess next steps in their execution of their plan, understand critical pivot points in the plan and better judge the impact the economy may have on their plan.

I have seen rolling forecasts replace annual planning cycles with a continual planning process that results in more regular business reviews that look to the future. These reviews enable managers to understand problems, challenges and trends sooner and improve their proactive approach to those problems, challenges and trends.

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