The 4th Singapore FP&A Board: Zero-Based Budgeting

July 17, 2018

The International FP&A Board held its 4th meeting in Singapore on the 17th July with a popular debate about "A New Age of Zero Based Budgeting (ZBB)". To learn more about the event, check out an article by Douglas Yeung, Senior Finance Director at Genesys.

36 senior finance leaders shared their FP&A ideas and experiences with each other. The meeting was extremely synergic as the participants came from different industries and worked together on finding answers to some burning questions. The Board members represented the following companies and each of them made a valuable contribution to the overall discussion:

  • Expedia
  • Cognizant
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • JP Morgan
  • Lixil
  • Mitsui & Co.
  • Schneider Electric
  • and many others.

The Meeting Agenda

1. Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB): key definitions and principles
2. ZBB as a basis for flexible Driver-Based Planning
3. Case studies from the field.

  • "Outcomes of ZBB in J&J" by Bhavesh Shah, Senior Vice President Finance at Johnson & Johnson
  • Rajesh Shroff, Chief Financial Officer at Adani Group, will share his experience on Zero-Based Budgeting

4. Small groups discussion on ZBB implementations
5. Conclusions and Recommendations

At the Board, it was decided that in the new age, ZBB helps not only to “justify the expenses” but to understand the key drivers of the business (and not only for costs). The participants named some of the advantages and disadvantages and actively discussed them during the meeting:

Pros:

  • ZBB facilitates out of the box thinking
  • It is great for Transparency and rationalization
  • It helps with Granularity
  • ZBB also helps to understand the drivers
  • It is not stuck to the legacy which makes it forward-looking
  • ZBB can be viewed as a proven method for cost ownership

Cons:

  • It is very time-consuming
  • Accountability could be a problem
  • ZBB could be perceived as demotivational and intimidating
  • Sometimes, benchmark could also become an issue
  • To be successful, ZBB needs huge support from the top
  • The bottom-up process could be overridden by the top-down one

Thank You

We are very grateful to our speakers Bhavesh Shah, Senior VP Finance at Johnson & Johnson and  Rajesh Shroff, CFO at Adani Group for sharing their valuable insights.

We are also very grateful to our sponsors and partners Michael Page, CCH® Tagetik and Association for Financial Professionals for their great support.