FP&A Today

FP&A Today is the podcast for Financial Planning and Analysis. The weekly show dives into the challenges and opportunities within the world of FP&A, interviewing FP&A leaders, CFOs and other finance pros in order to give you the freshest insights and takeaways. Each week our top guests provide actionable advice about financial planning and analysis – from career goals to navigating challenges, and powerful Excel tips. Our weekly show provides unrivalled insights for navigating FP&A. FP&A Today is brought to you by Datarails. Datarails is the AI-powered Financial Planning and Analysis platform for Excel users.

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2 days ago

CFO Seth Zimmerman faced a triple blow of tests in his decades-long  real estate career. Firstly, he witnessed the Lehman collapse first-hand from within a real estate division of the famed bank (“We just got a call from our New York office, a guy in New York. He’s like, well, it’s done. We’re bankrupt.”). Secondly, being forced to blow the whistle when his CEO boss pocketed $1m into his bank account–the day after a $10m raise (the startup is now defunct). Finally, being the finance person when a developer absconded with $12m. “One of the things that I’ve learned is that when it comes to money, you never know what somebody’s going to do”.
In this episode, Seth Zimmerman, CFO at Invest with Roots, explains the core metrics in finance real estate and why things are never cookie cutter (“Every deal is, is different and you have to look at them individually”)
Zimmerman talks:
Life as CFO at Invest with Roots, one of the hottest companies in Atlanta,the only real estate portfolio that creates wealth for renters.
The role of finance at a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) – a security that trades like a stock on the major exchanges and reports to the SEC. 
Blowing the whistle in finance  when a former CFO pocketed $1m
Creating $700,000 for residents at Invest with Roots
Becoming CFO and bringing in budgeting and FP&A processes
Love of modeling and how I am using  modeling skills to get into the multifamily space
How to find great finance staff +the accountant recruitment challenge 
Favorite Excel function 
My motorbike crash 
Follow Seth on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/sethazimmerman/

Tuesday May 21, 2024

As a lifelong gamer, David Fortin successfully landed  his dream job managing FP&A at Ubisoft – the $2.79 billion gaming company responsible for Assassin’s Creed, Driver, and Far Cry, For Honor. The former PwC auditor then decided to take on an even more daunting leap. He ran FP&A at  Saas Startup Polka “building the plane while we were flying” – cue  his boss leaving, learning how to fundraise, facing disinterested investors, budgets rejected by the board,  the CTO crying, before managing an eventual successful exit (in 2023 the company was acquired by Swedish enterprise software giant IFS). Now he is a full-time YouTuber teaching Excel and Microsoft Copilot – still using finance and analytics to build his business.
In this episode David talks:
PwC CPA audit coming up that way to FP&A
Quebec, loving video games and landing a role at Ubisoft
Moving from a big company to a startup and a steep finance learning curve
Building the plane while flying in FP&A
Learning the sales pitch of funding round facing questions and disinterterested investors
CTOs crying when the budget is rejected by the board
Due diligence and exit – lessons
Becoming a YouTuber making Excel fun again and grasping Microsoft Copilot 
How CoPilot and AI will transform FP&A
Scenario analysis in Copilot 
20,000 hours of gaming and my favorite Excel function
Follow David on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-fortin-cpa-816b20b5/
Follow David’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@piggybankaccountant

Tuesday May 14, 2024

From being the First kid in her family to finish high school, Swati Bagri began as a role as auditor at Deloitte (“I did what any 17-year-old smart kid would do. I just followed my friends”). At Deloitte she discovered a “love of finance” realizing it’s “what I want to do for the rest of my life”.
Swati cemented her FP&A career at some of the world’s biggest brands: Nestlé, Mars, Amazon, and Kraft Heinz. At these giants she absorbed and built a playbook to get from “good” to “great” FP&A. Behing the success of FP&A at these teams, she explains is 3 things: strategic planning and forecasting, technology and risk management.
In this episode Swati talks about:
Finance transformation as a significant part of her role (the slippery term of “finance transformation” defined as the “effective use of technology to free up people’s time”)
How predictive analytics was used at Nestlé from rainfall data, and the wider playbook of building financial models with consumers in mind 
Hyperinflationary markets like Turkey and Egypt and FP&A and the lessons learned
Business partnering roles at Amazon and Nestlé and what I have learned about successful relationship building towards common objectives 
Co-founding The Strategy Story (including learning about Marriage insurance for wedding days)
Start by Explaining the P&L and coaching non-finance folk
War stories – annual planning cycles 
FP&A-led transformation at an ecommerce marketplace business and getting buy-in from senior management through a data story
The power of podcasts to keep your at the top of your finance game 
Sky Jumping and my favorite Excel function
Connect with Swati Bagri on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/swatibagri/
Book a mentoring session with Swati at https://topmate.io/swatibagri

Tuesday May 07, 2024

We host our first ever FP&A guest from the US casino and gambling sector with the head of FP&A at Genting Americas, a world leader in casinos and lodging with luxurious loactions in Las Vegas, Bimini, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom.
Bill Singh is VP FP&A of Genting Americas, part of the world’s largest Destination Resort operator operating as Resorts World . Genting boasting five public companies capitalized at $45 billion and employing more than 50,000 people worldwide. This episode  reveals their inside FP&A game including metrics such as “win per unit per day” tacking the “hold”. Bill is strategic leader with more than a decade leading FP&A and providing insights on skills and budgeting management, to insider advice about gaming.
In this episode:
Getting an unexpected offer of an FP&A role at a casino in Nevada
Why FP&A at the “nexus of data and decision-making” is an “ultimate” career path 
Critical skills you must develop in FP&A 
Giving “X+1” in your FP&A answers
Salesmanship in FP&A
FP&A metrics: “Win per unit per day and hold”
Lodging: occupancy, your ADR, your revenue per available room
Odds and statistics from tables, games and FP&A modeling 
Insider advice about gaming (including “Don’t play a game right by the door”)
The power of leading budget for the operating side and the capital budget for all divisions +lessons from 10 years of budgeting  
The impact of AI in getting answers faster for operators
MATCH+TEMPO – My favorite Excel function and lessons from drumming  
Follow and connect with Bill Singh: https://www.linkedin.com/in/billsinghprofile/

Tuesday Apr 30, 2024

What’s the connection between FP&A and Taylor Swift? To answer we are joined by Michael Stotland, Vice President of FP&A at AEG Presents.
AEG Presents is one of the largest live music companies in the world, and most famously the concert promoter behind the $1 billion dollar revenue Eras Tour by Taylor Swift: the highest grossing tour of all time.For good measure, Stotland’s FP&A team also supports the tours of Paul McCartney, Katy Perry Elton John, and the Rolling Stones, and 25 music festivals, including the iconic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, along with Stagecoach, the New Orleans Jazz Fest, hangout Fest, electric Forest, and Firefly.
In this blockbuster episode, we want to teach you how FP&A feels (apologies to Swifties):Michael Stotland VP of FP&A at AEG reveals in conversation with host Glenn Hopper:
How growing up in Los Angeles the entertainment industry the entertainment industry was a natural choice, and starting my career at MGM
Spreading my wings at 20th Century Fox 
Building up the FP&A function at MarVista (a TV and movie production company showcasing nearly 2,500 hours of content) and the story behind a facing a “fantastic year” during COVID FP&A leadership at AEG  helping live entertainment “ return from the abyss” 
“Seeing the financials bounce” back as pent up demand was realized 
Pulling external data into daily FP&A work 
Heatmaps on beer costs and price of living as part of FP&A planning 
Managing 3 areas of FP&A at AEG:  General, systems and business strategy units
The FP&A dimension of Taylor Swift Eras Tour 
Using local macroeconomics to impact business decision-making – from the UK to Singapore and the US
How Television revenues and licensing of big movies saves movie studios 
FP&A swiftness when Kanye West bowed out at the last minute at Coachella 
Using AI to look at past events and ticket sales and performance on a contribution margin basis 
Looking to optimize how we do FP&A and ambitions to become CFO
Links between FP&A and my triathlon career 
Connect with Michael Stotland Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis at AEG Presents: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikestotland/
Further Reading:
Rolling Stone: Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour Is the Highest-Grossing of All Time and First-Ever to Hit $1 Billion
Investopedia: Swiftonomics: The Economic Influence of Taylor Swift
Datarails Blog: How FP&A makes Huge Hollywood Hits

Tuesday Apr 23, 2024

Antonio Reza is the Head of Finance for Google Cloud Consulting in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). In this episode he reveals the FP&A life and lessons he has learned over the past 14 years working in finance and strategy at Google, Microsoft, and GE. He brings experiences across 10 different countries leading teams across the globe spanning different industries (he also speaks four languages). In this episode he reveals:
How Getting into GE’s finance and FP&A training was life-changing
Why so many tech people like himself are inspired to get into finance 
Country specific differences in finance that he has learnt over his career 
Google in the midst of AI revolution and how we used AI at Microsoft for our commercial forecasting 
How AI in finance is still about automation – with insights the next frontier for FP&A
How FP&A at Google and Microsoft FP&A teams are set up 
Why “Walking  the Shop” remains core to his career in finance
How the biggest companies in the world manage real-time data
Despite the technological avalanche storytelling and persuasion is fundamental at the top tech companies
Why FP&A needs to focus on snapshots vs “real-time” dashboards 
FP&A Need to Ask Why x5 Times: The Secret of great storytelling 
Why I am focused on grasping and applying the economic picture in my work 
My biggest challenges in moving from individual contributor to manager early in my career 
How a  “failure” led to my team and I staying in the office for 56 hours trying to close an audit – and the people skills I learnt along the way 
Why Despite working at Google, Excel still bosses Google Sheets for finance teams
Using your 20s to hustle and have a successful career 
Follow Antonio at X (Formerly Twitter) 48k Followers https://twitter.com/theantonioreza
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/theantonioreza/
Subscribe to Antoniio’s Newsletter Money & Robots https://www.theantonioreza.com/
Further Reading
WSJ: Google Finance Head: Anything That Can Be Automated, We Strive to Automate
The Pyramid Principle:Logic in Writing and Thinking by Barbara Minto
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It; Chris Voss
The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the Twenty-first Century’s Greatest Dilemma; Michael Bhaskar and Mustafa Suleyman

Tuesday Apr 16, 2024

Greg Lopez has served as the CFO and VP of operations at companies including Futurism, a digital media company, Wirecutter (acquired by the New York Times) and Gawker Media (acquired by Univision). Now Greg is a consultant at high-growth companies working with clients ranging from a “family owned business doing $20 million”,  “SaaS businesses doing $10 million a year” to private equity-backed business doing $500 million a year.”
In this episode he provides his formula for success in FP&A and finance:
How a career in finance suited my character traits and passions
Learning the full aspects of finance, FP&A and business partnering
Building to a commercial mindset as CFO
Acting as an investigative journalist for the business  
Why finance needs to lead in defining metrics in a startup
Moving from a bigger company to a startup - what you need to know 
Increasing the feedback loop in finance teams 
Expectations of CFO in a startup 
Favorite KPIs - from contribution margin and profit to Sales cycle velocity
Variables and determining drivers for the business 
One of the biggest finance challenges - developing talent and cyber attacks 
Lightning round: pickup basketball and lessons for finance
Best Excel feature: introducing Scenario planning and modeling using Watch Window 
Contact Greg
@glopeztweets on X
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-lopez-4b248b88/
Show Notes:
Recommended reading:
How A Hulk Hogan Lawsuit Launched A Career in M&A | Greg Lopez https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/how-a-hulk-hogan-lawsuit-launched-a-career-in-m-a-greg-lopez/id1642784919?i=1000606411968
Financial Intelligence, Revised Edition: A Manager's Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean: Berman, Karen, Knight, Joe, Case, John: 9781422144114: Amazon.com: Books
Startup CXO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Company's Critical Functions and Teams (Techstars): Blumberg, Matt, Birkeland, Peter M., Dorsey, Scott: 9781119772576: Amazon.com: Books
The Ten-Day MBA 4th Ed.: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering the Skills Taught In America's Top Business Schools: Silbiger, Steven A: 9780062199577: Amazon.com: Books
Amazon.com: Financial Planning & Analysis and Performance Managem

Tuesday Apr 09, 2024

Getting FP&A teams to harness their data to reach their goals is the holy grail. Nathan Bell, Managing Partner, VAi Consulting, is among the most in-demand experts. Bell has unique experience– having started in computer science, before leading finance teams at Native American Bank, Digital Media Trends and Gartner– where he advised hundreds of FP&A teams facing chaotic data situations). In this masterclass, he shares a practical framework looking at the expectations, fear and hype surrounding data, analytics and AI for FP&A teams.
In this episode:
From a computer degree to leading finance teams
How Nathan discovered the power of telling stories as Chief Credit Officer at Native American Bank 
Overcoming the challenge of presenting to non- financially literate CEOs
The challenge when finance is “last in line” 
When companies don’t have good data and what FP&A teams can do 
“Federated data governance” and avoiding turf battles
why setting up self-service data as CFO came back to bite me 
Using a “metrics cascade” clarifying  data and metrics
Critical thinking as the new superpower for finance teams in the AI age 
Key to setting  up pilot AI programs 
Dinner time when your wife is also a CFO
Key quotes: Remember PPDAC. Problem Plan, Data, Conclusion.
Your Plan, what Data you need to capture against that plan, analysis, and Conclusion.“If you can master that in that order, I think from a skillset, you’re, you’re ready” – Nathan Bell.
Critical Thinking as the new Superpower for FP&A
“Critical thinking is gonna be more powerful than ever. I don’t think there’ll ever be a situation where we’re going to let AI make the decision without going through a human to look at the data. We need to ask what do we do? What’s the action? What’s the decision?”
Connect with Nathan Bell on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathan-bell-1038662/https://vai-consulting.com/

Tuesday Apr 02, 2024

Tory Bauman, Vice President, FP&A at Zayo Group joins new host Glenn Hopper. In this fascinating episode they go deep on FP&A metrics and processes at one of the most exciting companies in telecoms. Tory leads an  FP&A team underpinning business decisions at Zayo whose network stretches over 16.8 million fiber miles and spans 141,000 route miles. With telecoms long at the forefront of technology, Tory explains her cutting edge philosophy around FP&A realizing “ leadership’s strategy and their goals” “closing gaps” and making necessary “pivots”.
In this episode Tory reveals:
Her move from accountant to finance and why she made the switch
How FP&A at Zayo is set up and the main metrics tracked including the importance of being good stewards of billions of dollars in capital investments
Measures for forecasting churn 
Alignment as crucial to business partnering 
Early warning signs and predictive analytics 
FP&A and cost per event on telecoms network 
Using external data and macro side on the pricing decisions 
How Zayo is profiting by providing connectivity and bandwidth in the AI revolution 
How I am trying to develop my experience in capital markets and mentorship 
Why I am not shy about letting people know I want to be a CFO
Her golf career and the impact it has made on her finance goals 
Connect with Tory on LinkedIn

Tuesday Mar 26, 2024

It’s the end of an era. This is Paul Barnhurst’s last episode as FP&A Today host. And in this episode he introduces new FP&A Today host: Glenn Hopper. 
Glenn Hopper is a Chief Financial Officer with two decades of experience leading finance operations for private equity-backed companies. Glenn  is an author and journalist, US Navy Veteran, #1 AI Finance leader, and a passionate advocate for FP&A. 
In this episode:
Glenn’s whirlwind career since he last appeared on the show
Training FP&A on AI 
Why getting started on AI in finance is a painful auditWhy the first stages of AI implementation in finance have nothing to do with AI 
Launching the definitive LinkedIn course for generative AI and finance 
Why it is vital for finance professionals to understand the base of AI 
Glenn’s favorite episode of FP&A Today
Why I decided to become the new host of FP&A Today 
Why there’s no need to hide my Southern accent on the show 
Turning the tables on Paul
Paul’s final message 
Follow Glenn Hopper at https://www.linkedin.com/in/gbhopperiii/
Follow Paul Barnhurst at https://www.linkedin.com/in/thefpandaguy/

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