"Last mile FP&A" represents the components of the finance function that are the inevitable realities for finance teams irrespective of the level of sophistication in systems, software, and technology.
Said differently, there are efforts and requests where a well-performing ERP, FP&A software, and data connectivity tools are not collectively the silver bullet for all things FP&A. Whether it is process building and related components within data collection, extraction, or aggregation/transformation, the modern finance team requires key skillsets to be successful (and sane). These include:
Process Building: Arguably the most important senior FP&A skillset outside of analysis, critical thinking, and cross-functional socialization, FP&A professionals need to be able to design and implement scalable, repeatable, and transition-able processes from scratch. Even when the systems and embedded tools get you 90% of the way there, the path to 100% is a scratch process.
Data Collection: If the data is important enough, but not captured within existing systems, writing it down on a napkin is better than not collecting it. The ability to create collection templates that are centralized, controlled, and accessible is an underappreciated, though integral, skill.
Data Extraction: When systems cannot generate the analysis and outputs demanded, you have to get that data out and build it yourself (hello Excel, my old friend). FP&A should be leading the interaction with IT and third party vendors to understand extraction capabilities, formats, report-scripting, and additional connectivity points.
Data Aggregation and Transformation: Copy-paste is dead, and has long been the enemy of efficient process building with drill-down paths back to source data. Available tools have exploded over the past decade, and represent required learning for up and coming FP&A professionals. These are arguably the biggest change to FP&A since the invention of Excel, and are re-shaping the composition of finance teams.
System and software advancement remain important goals of the finance function that can accomplish much of the above. That said, even the most sophisticated organizations face the prospect of system and data fragmentation (e.g., acquiring another business and running parallel systems until full integration). Therefore, the strongest finance teams are adaptable to fragmentation, and embrace it as a "way of life" in adding value across their organizations.
Program will be followed by drinks.
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Host and Facilitator: Nick serves as 'a voice for the Middle Market,' representing the more than 10,000 Finance Leaders of The CFO Alliance Peer Advisory Networks that empowers Modern Finance Leaders to make complex decisions on People, Strategy, Technology & Risk.
VP Finance at FIrst Water Advisors
Bobby Odior is a seasoned finance professional with 15+ years of corporate finance and FP&A experience across a variety of sectors including energy, entertainment, technology, manufacturing, and CPG. Operating across a broad scope – FP&A, system implementation, and project management – Bobby has a history of effectively combining technical capabilities, diverse industry and finance experience, and consultative skills to drive value for partner companies.
Prior to joining First Water, Bobby served in multiple financial leadership roles at high-growth companies, including U.S. Silica and Main Event Entertainment. His earlier career included various finance roles at Fortune 50 corporations, including AmerisourceBergen, Kimberly-Clark, and ExxonMobil.
Bobby graduated from the University of Houston with a B.A. in Finance. He currently resides in Houston with his wife and their two children.
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