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 financial planning and analysis platform that automates data consolidation, reporting and planning, while enabling finance teams to continue using their own Excel spreadsheets and financial models. Get in touch at www.datarails.com

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Episodes

3 hours ago

The market for pet brands is enormous. Two-thirds of American households own a pet, and collectively spent $136.8 billion on them in 2022. In this market, Chewy is winning the hearts of owners. The pet-food and -supplies company is famous for providing portraits, gifts, free food and handwritten notes that delight pet owners. In this episode, Matthew Herbert Chewy Director of Finance Matthew Herbert reveals the FP&A undercoat that keeps this Fortune 500 favorite purring.
Herbert says customer service at the company is in “my opinion the strongest moat within the organization…it has its own finance arm and it has the backing and support of technology and other resources to make it successful. Because we really believe that we’re here to provide a delightful experience for our customers. Pets are part of the family and we want our customers to know that we view them that way.”
In this episode:
How Chewy does FP&A 
What KPIs do FP&A manage at Chewy and how its set up
Using data to help tell the story at Chewy
How Matt overcame adversity such as being laid off and team conflicts faced
Leading FP&A at the fortune 500 high growth ecommerce company Chewy
Secrets to effective business partnering 
Insights from 15 years of Investment Banking, Programming Banking, Retail, Consumer Products, and eCommerce.
The impact of Being a self-taught programmer on a career in finance
Why finance remains the best role for strategic impact supporting C-Suite Executives
His brand new training course (https://biztrix.us/) based on best-in-class Excel, PowerPoint, Word, SQL and VBA experience
Links
Follow Matthew Herbert on LinkedIn
Matthew’s training course at https://biztrix.us/

Tuesday Sep 26, 2023


What happened when two highly-skilled Excel leaders took on the "best of the best" in the sport? Paul Barnhurst reveals the inside story when he pitted his FP&A-based Excel wits in the The Financial Modeling World Cup (FMWC). Taking the ultimate test alongside him is fellow-first timer “Excel Ninja” Ajay Patel, who teaches thousands of subscribers advanced Excel.
Giving his opnion on the two Excel jousters is Andrew Grigolyunovich, FMWC Founder and CEO of AG Capital. The trio talk Excel-at-speed, improving skills, and the functions they can't live without.
Getting to know Andrew Grigolyunovich: From being a CFO at 21 to founding the Financial Modeling World Cup
Ajay Patel (aka the Excel Ninja) a fifth degree black belt in Tang Soo Do talks his favorite Excel functions and his FMWC ultimate test
Optimization planning and Analysis vs FP&A
The inside story of Paul and Ajay’s grueling FMWC experience
Secrets to creating classic Excel use cases 
Advice for getting started in competitive Excel 
Best advice to improve your Excel skills 
Guests:
Andrew Grigolyunovich, Financial Modeling World Cup: Founder & CEO of AG Capitalhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewgrig/
Ajay Patel, The Excel Ninja, Founder of the Excel Dojohttps://www.linkedin.com/in/theexceldojo/
 
FP&A Today is brought to you by Datarails,the AI-powered financial planning and analysis platform. Keep your own Excel financial models and spreadsheets and benefit from AI for data consolidation, reporting and planning.

Tuesday Sep 19, 2023

"I have been at the inception points of three companies-Intuit, Netflix and Mozilla Firefox. And now I’m just trying to give back as many lessons as possible” Jim Cook 
Jim Cook shares his front row experience as first finance hire at streaming giant Netflix. He reveals the finance business partnering lessons learned from supporting fellow co-founders Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings building the company from obscurity to one of the biggest brands in the world.
How did finance at Netflix contribute to the  design of  the first red envelopes? What are his lessons that can transform your FP&A?
In this episode:
Coping with unrealistic budgets experience at fast-growing startups
What it’s like as Finance Hire #1 at Netflix
Rebirthing the browser market at Mozilla Firefox
Lessons from M&A and IPO at Intuit  
Lessons to deliver blockbuster FP&A 
The FP&A as CEO 
The power of a “listening tour and finance partnership”
Using your voice in FP&A 
What storytelling really means for a finance professional
Two strategic finance moments that changed the game for Intuit and Mozilla
Links from the Show
Netflixed by Gina Keating (Amazon)
That Will Never Work, Mark Randolph (Amazon)
Netflix versus the World. (Full Documentary, YouTube)
Five lessons I learned from Netflix – Jim Cook
Contact Jim Cook on LinkedIn
Email jimCook@benchboard.com

Tuesday Sep 12, 2023

Drew Murphy nearly became a meteorologist. But he opted for a different type of forecasting, warning of impending storms as an FP&A professional. A fast-paced finance career saw him land a part role at Procter & Gamble (while studying)-his senior year saw him work 30 hours a week as a plant accountant. Following six years of FP&A at Procter & Gamble (including analysis for Gillette and Braun), he took roles at Vistaprint, Mimecraft (where he was central to their IPO) and a CFO gig. Drew then launched community FP&HEY with his co-founder Yarty Kim. The mission of FP&A Hey is to “help time starved FP&A professionals get their free time back, their personal freedom back” offering resources and mentoring for FP&A professionals.
Core to his career approach is a clear mantra: “Find best practices, find people that make you better, work on things you enjoy.” In this episode he discusses the implications of this approach to upgrading your career and work life balance in a busy finance role.
In this episode:
Drew’s worst budgeting experience in his career 
Shaving forecasting with Gillette and Braun
how to impress sales executives with quarterly sales performance analysis 
Best practice for a monthly profit forecast and team management process
Why you need to be at a place with “people you respect and admire” 
The importance of relationships in finance
How the IPO process felt like a “wedding” 
His strategic finance moment delivering (at Mimecast) growth of 40%, EBITDA expansion over time as a percentage of revenue
Why FP&A pros must learn accounting and a business model 
Links from the Show
FP&A Hey. Because they don’t teach FP&A in school. Grow your skills, networks, and careers, all while having fun.
How to impress sales executives with quarterly sales performance analysis: https://www.fpandhey.com/how-to-impress-executives-with-quarterly-sales-performance-analysis/
Contact Drew at Drew@fpandhey.com

Tuesday Sep 05, 2023


This special edition of FP&A Today saw 1,524 finance pros sign up for this LinkedIn Live session. In this episode Paul and a special panel answer all your burning questions on how Finance teams are practically using AI to advance their careers (and bring instant productivity to their businesses).
Joining Paul is Adam Shilton, Founder, Tech for Finance and a world expert on “Helping finance pros turn systems into superpowers with AI”. In addition he is joined by Sloane Kolt, Head of Datarails Labs, which recently launched FP&A Genius, an AI powered solution transforming FP&A.
Some of your big audience questions answered:
What was the last thing you used Generative AI for? 
Ethical questions in AI and Finance (eg. Do we own the model that AI built?)
What are the most common use cases for AI in FP&A, and accounting post ChatGPT?
What are the differences between AI in big vs small companies? 
How should finance leadership use AI and adapt it in their team ethos and processes?
Privacy, security, AI and Finance - what are the risks?
What are the secrets of effective Prompting in finance?
Clarifying tasks with your AI Chat 
Lessons from building a new finance AI tool 
Favorite non ChatGPT AI tools you have seen
Best advice for getting started with AI in finance
Rapid fire questions: favorite Excel function and person I would most like to meet. 
FP&A Today is brought to you by Datarails,the AI-powered financial planning and analysis platform. Keep your own Excel financial models and spreadsheets and benefit from AI for data consolidation, reporting and planning.
YouTube video of the episode
Blog post and full transcript
Follow Paul Barnhurst on LinkedIn 
Follow Datarails on LinkedIn

Tuesday Aug 29, 2023

Rick Warren, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer, Innovation Care Partners, brings lessons from more than 25 years in Healthcare Finance. This includes roles as senior finance and FP&A roles at Ascension (one of the one of the largest private healthcare systems in the United States), Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country, and CVS Health, one of the US’s largest retail pharmacy store chains. This is a must-listen for anyone who is interested in finance procedures in healthcare and the most important metrics in healthcare for anyone in finance.  
This episode covers: 
How finance can help transform healthcare equity –  the challenge of getting lower socioeconomic group fair  healthcare coverage
Rick Moving from a political science degree to finance and ultimately CFO
The importance of Relevance over precision in FP&A
The nightmare budget which crashed before it was saved
Lessons from Boy Scout leadership positions 
Margins for hospitals still struggling post-covid 
The fundamental healthcare financial metrics including reducing hospital expenses, admissions per thousand, ER visits vs primary health care physician, SNF nursing home days spent, revenue and expense per member per month 
The secrets to effective business partnerships in FP&A
Favorite Excel Function
FP&A Today is brought to you by Datarails,the AI-powered financial planning and analysis platform.  Keep your own Excel financial models and spreadsheets and benefit from AI for data consolidation, reporting and planning.

Tuesday Aug 22, 2023


Aarish Shah is Founder of EmergeONE a Fractional CFO firm for venture backed UK tech startups and scaleups (from Seed to Series B). He has spent close to two decades operating as a CEO or CFO, and now specializes in helping startups understand and act powerfully on their numbers.  In this episode, Aarish shares his insights on financial planning and analysis (FP&A) in startups and the fundamental lessons he has learned in his career. 
His “worst budget ever” when one of his factories burnt down in Papua New Guinea
Who he would most like to meet
His Nothing Ventured podcast and key lessons talking to players in the venture ecosystem
Why he likes the constant “challenges” of Series B startups over other stage companies
The difference between "building" the playbook and "running" the playbook in startups
How to consider your finance tech stack scales pre-seed to Exit 
How FP&A should consider their tech stack
Why you need to spending your money at pre-seed 
Investing in early stage businesses in the UK
How do we go about creating a budget and forecast for a startup?
Key metrics I use to analyze startups 
How startups can cope with the drying up of cheap capital
How to get your CFO to say yes 
Favorite Excel function
How AI understanding is the one skill every FP&A practitioner needs 
Episode links:
Nothing Ventured Podcast
EmergeOne Fractional CFOs
hello@emergeone.co.uk (to contact Aarish)
FP&A Today is brought to you by Datarails,the AI-powered financial planning and analysis platform.  Keep your own Excel financial models and spreadsheets and benefit from AI for data consolidation, reporting and planning.
Follow Aarish on LinkedIn
YouTube video of the episode
Follow Paul Barnhurst on LinkedIn 
Follow Datarails on LinkedIn

Tuesday Aug 15, 2023

Ashok Manthena has supported FP&A teams at some of the biggest and most well-known companies on the planet including Google, GAP, and Ingersoll Rand. This included a period at Google which was striking because of “the amount of resources available for finance” particularly when it comes to killing manual finance processes. He says there is an in-built DNA to “automate manual processes”. He says: “This bubbles up naturally when they find there is an, there is a manual process and everyone comes together and thinks about how to automate that process.” In a second career stage Ashok has been a leader in AI finance carrying out practical research, giving keynote speeches and providing practical advice on transforming businesses through the use of AI.
Rapid fire questions: Why I want to meet Gandhi – to doing Doing sensitivity analysis in ChatGPT 
Why we should all be embarrassed by the  stat that 70% of FP&A is spent on getting the data (vs only 30% on insights) 
The power of meetups meetups and the return of face to face meetings for finance learning 
What my career FP&A career at Google taught me 
The near future of automation and AI including running daily reports to the CFO 
Why data priority needs to be the #1 priority alongiside faster surfacing of data issues to leadership
How I became a leading AI finance speaker and writer and started a tech startup
Two ways AI is going to revolutionize FP&A Departments forever 
How ChatGPT will be a new interface for finance – practical examples 
The playbook for smaller finance teams and businesses to  thrive in the AI age
Advice to get started with AI in FP&A
The role of data science in the future of FP&A
FP&A Today is brought to you by Datarails,the AI-powered financial planning and analysis platform.  Keep your own Excel financial models and spreadsheets and benefit from AI for data consolidation, reporting and planning.
Follow Ashok on LinkedIn
YouTube video of the episode
Follow Paul Barnhurst on LinkedIn 
Follow Datarails on LinkedIn

Tuesday Aug 08, 2023

“The male prison population in the United States is about 15% psychopaths. So if, if you’re a warden and you work all day with prisoners, and then at the end of the day you go to some award ceremony honoring local CEOs, you’re probably interacting with a similar number of psychopaths at each event." Jack McCullough – President of CFO Leadership Council and 26-time CFO.
Jack MCcullough’s background gives him an unprecedented perspective on financial leadership. Having started hist career at Big Four audit firm KPMG, he subsequently served as a CFO for 26 different companies, often in a part-time or interim role, working with about 35 CEOs. In his words “several geniuses, a handful of lunatics, and two or three who were both. But I learned from each person and became a more effective leader.”
In this episode Jack McCullough reveals:
How to work with Psychopath CEOs 
Mental health and finance and overcoming difficult leaders 
The importance of personal brand-building for CFOs and FP&A analysts
How Jack invented the phrase “CF-No” in 1984
Why FP&A professionals and CFOs need to build their brand today
The things that CFOs most want from their FP&A leaders
His most strategic finance moment – or how COVID transformed his  business
Mentoring in finance and the power of being mentored by Gen Z talent 
Why he headlines his finance conferences with Guns n’ Roses and AC DC 
Who would he most like to meet 
 His most manual processes ever
The surprising two traits that CFOs must achieve today to have any chance of success 
How to become a CFO
Episode Links
Books by Jack McCullough:
The Psychopathic CEO: An Executive Survival Guide: Jack McCullough
Secrets of Rockstar CFOs: Jack McCullough
The CFO Leadership Council
Watch on YouTube
Follow Jack McCullough on Linkedin
Follow Paul Barnhurst on LinkedIn 
Follow Datarails on LinkedIn

Tuesday Aug 01, 2023

Robin Kiziak is Financial Controller and Finance Business Partner  at VF Corporation (home of outdoor brands Vans, North Face and Timberland). Previously he has been a finance business partner at Hotel Chocolat and UK home improvement leader, Wickes. He also runs the website, There’s Nothing Funny About Finance which aims to move finance away from stereotypes (think Dr No or Beancounters). In this episode Robin reveals how he has used humor to disarm tension in meetings and become a finance business partner  trusted by his colleagues 
In this episode: 
Robin’s Favorite Finance Joke
How to be a finance business partner (“with a part of the business that don’t want you  there”).
The negative stereotypes of finance and how to overcome them
The power of soft (or human) skills 
The distribution metrics behind Vans and Timberland’s finance successes 
Costs vs service as the “holy grail” in retail 
How to start off in a new finance role – which financials to look at first 
The biggest financial surprise  you found
Snagging an unsung hero award
Biggest advice to an aspiring FP&A professional 
FP&A Today is brought to you by Datarails,the AI-powered financial planning and analysis platform.  Keep your own Excel financial models and spreadsheets and benefit from AI for data consolidation, reporting and planning.
Links – There’s Nothing Funny About Finance
Follow Robin Kiziak on LinkedIn 
YouTube video of the episode
Follow Paul Barnhurst on LinkedIn 
Follow Datarails on LinkedIn

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