Educational Sessions

Finance & Business Acumen

Data Dashboard for Total Impact

Finance & Business Acumen

AARP established the Data Analytics & Performance Management Team to embed rigorous discipline through fact-based decision making. This function, housed in the Operations and Finance Group, ensures the alignment of business strategy with financial, operational, and social impact goals, driving down to individual performance objectives. AARP’s EVP and COO, Scott Frisch, and VP of Enterprise Performance Management Walter Harris, discuss the strategy and tactical implementation, including statistical models and organizational staffing, to create a North Star for the entire enterprise.

Speakers
Scott Frisch, Executive Vice President & COO, AARP
Bryan Lapidus, FPAC, Director, FP&A Practice, Association for Financial Professionals
Walter Harris, Vice President, Enterprise Performance Management, AARP

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De-Mystifying AI/ML in Your Planning Process

Finance & Business Acumen

Hype on Machine Learning and AI is everywhere, but examples of how to implement it successfully within FP&A are few and far between. This session presents a strategic deployment of AI to assist in financial and operational planning told through a case study example from an extended planning and analysis approach (xP&A). This type of deployment isn’t easy and FP&A professionals rarely want risk. Attendees walk away with actionable advice from both an expert and practitioner about how to start this discussion in their organization and the key steps to bring the planning process into the future.

Speakers
Justin Croft, Vice President, Solution Architecture, QueBIT
Jessica Quiles, Director of FP&A, CARDONE Industries

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Rising Together: A Cross-Company Planning Framework for Growth in Uncertainty

Finance & Business Acumen

Extended Planning & Analysis (xP&A) across sales, workforce, demand, and operations gives finance teams a holistic view of the business. Organizations like Kindred at Home and Rubrik are automating processes, gaining greater ownership for budgets and decision making, and gaining greater planning accuracy by deploying cloud-based planning platforms. Finance Efficiency and accuracy gains include consistent QBRs, a three-day close, and shifting from data gatherers to business advisors who deliver real-time analysis. Practitioners from both organizations share their experiences implementing xP&A to create a comprehensive planning process, how their business users embraced change, and how they are successfully collaborating throughout these planning processes.

Speakers
Kinnari Desai, Vice President, Corporate Finance, Workday
Ajay Sabhlok, Chief Information Officer & Chief Data Officer, Rubrik
Sarah Griswold, Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis, Kindred at Home

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Scientific and Precise but Wrong: A Probabilistic Approach to Forecasting

Finance & Business Acumen

As the tools of data science and analytics become cheaper and the techniques become more accessible, it would be reasonable to assume that organizations are benefiting from higher levels of precision in forecasts. Be warned: Black box solutions and algorithms, useful in many cases, can trap organizations in a deductive approach to planning and managing the business. The key to successfully navigating an uncertain future is inductive thinking, where a new set of forecasting dynamic and probability-based approaches are recommended, such as Bayesian measurement, Monte Carlo simulations and scenario planning. This session explains how one company moved these techniques to real-time, on-going and scalable solutions that guide actions.

Speakers
Danny Bharat, Vice President Planning Analytics, American Tire Distributors
Andrew Brooks, Sr. Director Data Science, Torqata (an ATD Company)

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Show Me the Value! Why Your Business Case Does Not Value Resilience

Finance & Business Acumen

Most organizations develop “actionable resilience” by pre-planning responses and pre-positioning resilience capabilities that can be used under different scenarios. The challenge in creating a convincing business case is that known costs are compared to uncertain payoffs as leaders struggle to correctly assess the long-term benefits of potential resilience building projects. In this presentation, follow a single example through three valuation techniques—Net Present Value, Decision Tree Analysis, and Real Options Analysis—to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each technique and assess the most appropriate for the valuation of resilience-related projects.

Speakers
Vladimir Antikarov, CFO, Epione Biopharmaceuticals
Raja Ramachandran, CTP, FPAC, Director, Financial Planning & Analysis, Pyxus International, Inc.

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The New Normal: Scenario Planning as a core part of your Financial Management Process

Finance & Business Acumen

In early 2020 most organizations learned that their carefully constructed budgets ceased to be relevant under a climate of uncertainty, leading many to develop plans along multiple scenarios. This session looks at and demonstrates practical ways to incorporate scenario planning best practices an organization’s planning cycle. This includes evaluating possible scenarios, and identifying and assessing a variety of actions, often in a Playbook, to mitigate risks and exploit opportunities. Attendees learn to see different approaches for scenario and action planning while gaining a better understanding of the role of scenario planning in the overall planning cycle.

Speakers
Mitch Max, Founder, BetterVu
Betsy Maclean, Chair, Audit Committee, mCloud Technologies

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Personal & Team Effectiveness

Develop and Retain High Potential FP&A Talent

Personal & Team Effectiveness

Developing FP&A professionals in the pre-COVID era was an imperfect endeavor; developing them in a post-COVID era will be even more challenging as we continue to work in a remote, decentralized way. The companies that succeed will need to take an increasingly blended approach, incorporating greater immersive experience and cross-functional rotational training. Hear from the director of a Fortune 100 financial leadership development program and an FP&A professional development and training advisor about how this strategy is being implemented in organizations to drive more effective talent development and retention results.

Speakers
Carl Seidman, Principal, Seidman Global LLC
Brett Kennedy, Senior Principal, Financial Development Program, Cigna

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It’s Ok to Pay for Ketchup and Other Lessons Learned from an International Career in Finance

Personal & Team Effectiveness

Are you curious about exploring an international career, what it’s like to work outside your base country or, are you looking for ways to connect more authentically with your colleagues and customers abroad? With seven international assignments between them presenters share their perspectives and leverage the social psychologist Geert Hostede’s cultural model, termed dimensions of culture, interspersed with anecdotes and a bit of contextual history to understand how to become a better cross-cultural finance professional and leader. This discussion is structured around two sets of learnings – those relevant toward being a better FP&A analyst (long-term orientation, uncertainty avoidance) and those relevant toward being a better leader (indulgence, power distance).

Speakers
Michael High, FPAC, Business Unit CFO - Deep Water Gulf of Mexico, Royal Dutch Shell
Raymond Kerkvliet, Vice President Finance, Royal Dutch Shell

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Presenting Data & Data Visualizations

Personal & Team Effectiveness

Tools to manipulate and present data in a variety of ways are more prevalent than ever, creating the opportunity to connect with stakeholders in a more powerful and useful way to drive actionable insights. Data visualizations can and should be created with elements that appeal to the interests of different departments and key stakeholders. In this session, through real-world use cases, and project examples hear about best practices for developing and designing impactful data visualizations to build greater communication between FP&A teams, the stakeholders and the organization as a whole.

Speakers
Malisa Neville, FP&A Senior Consultant, Collectiv
Danny Bharat, Vice President Planning Analytics, American Tire Distributors

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Read (Hidden) Emotions: The Science Behind a New Skill

Personal & Team Effectiveness

What if financial professionals could have access to information which has previously been unknown, like what others are thinking and feeling? Finance engages with a variety of business partners with different agendas, priorities, and points of view. Sustained success, in this area, requires the ability to build constructive relationships. Recognizing the emotions others feel during critical meetings is key to increasing empathy and rapport. These potent skills are based on 40+ years of psychological research, frequently applied in law enforcement and security, like the CIA, FBI, TSA & more. Learn how to apply these skills in the business arena—both in-person and online—to improve your emotional intelligence. Regardless of job roles, attendees can see an increase in their influence and communication abilities by embracing these new skills.

Speakers
Dan Seidman, Managing Director, Read Emotions

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The "How" of Diversity & Inclusion: Walk Your JEDI Talk

Personal & Team Effectiveness

Finance can engage in meaningful diversity and inclusion initiatives that drive transformative results across the organization. A panel of industry experts moves beyond buzzwords and mandated training to making corporate responsibility actionable, including: how FP&A can expand their influence to promote DEI within their organization, identifying what’s in it for you regardless of role to invest in D&I initiatives, and how to engage your colleagues in meaningful, inclusive ways that do not require much effort or time.

Speakers
Steve Rosvold, Founder, CFO University
Katharine W. Halpin, Founder and CEO, The Halpin Companies, Inc.
Eric J. Ellis, Vice President of Finance and Strategy, National Restaurant Association
Chris Ortega, Director of Finance, Emarsys North America

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Technology and Data

Becoming an Analytics Business Partner

Technology and Data

The traditional role of FP&A is undergoing a transformational change from a historical-looking reporting center to a forward-looking analytics business partner; but needs to act fast to stay relevant to the business stakeholders. This requires a vision and roadmap of how to integrate business partnering skills, data science thinking and analytics tools, along with the understanding of strategic thinking, acting, and influencing. This session examines the principles and practice behind the transformation of a global finance department into an analytics business partner, and the resulting return in the investment in terms of dollars, job security and career advancement.

Speakers
Lawrence S. Maisel, President, Decisionvu Group
Jesper Hybholt Sorensen, Managing Member, Finance Analytics Institute

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Building Flexible Models with Microsoft Excel’s New Dynamic Arrays

Technology and Data

For the majority of FP&A practitioners Microsoft Excel is the go-to platform for financial modeling and planning but desire to maximize its functions to save time, eliminate mistakes, and minimize unnecessary rework. Dynamic Arrays is a newly introduced Excel function that’s not widely known.  Join this session for a deep dive discussion on how FP&A practitioners can leverage the capabilities of dynamic arrays to achieve some of their most paramount mechanical modeling objectives allowing them more time to focus on analysis and interpretation.

Speaker
Carl Seidman, Principal, Seidman Global LLC

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Capital Planning Optimization: Project Prioritization, Tracking, & Reporting at Sabra

Technology and Data

As part of a broader finance transformation effort, Sabra implemented a capital projects planning solution that integrated with their cloud-based enterprise EPM platform. This replaced a legacy Excel environment that lacked a single view of all capital projects, required manually intensive data management, and did not provide system driven financial DPI’s or project prioritization capabilities.  Learn how Sabra leveraged the solution to deliver a single consolidated view of capital projects through the approval cycle that dynamically evaluates and prioritizes projects, enhances budget management capabilities, standardizes reporting, and enables advanced analytics and data visualization.

Speakers
Philip Peck, Vice President Advisory Services & Finance Transformation, Peloton Group
Brad Frankel, Senior Director Corporate Strategy & Development, Sabra Dipping Company, LLC

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Creating Data Strategy: A Finance & IT Partnership

Technology and Data

While CFOs agree that data-driven insights are critical to better decision making, 84% of CFOs don’t trust their company’s data. As a result, 66% of CFOs admit to putting their own experience and gut instincts over data-driven insights when making strategic decisions (figures based on KPMG survey). This session showcases a case study of how one organization’s finance team partnered with IT to reimagine their data strategy, which ultimately has unlocked their analytical potential towards better data storytelling. Speakers explore data strategy across three pillars: data storage, data governance, and data accessibility and analytics in an effort to show a practical example of the role Finance can play in moving towards data-driven decisions.

Speakers
Matt Burton, Director, Chick-fil-A, Inc.
Camille Marie Felton, CTP, FPAC, Senior Lead Analyst, Financial Analytics & Automation, Chick-fil-A, Inc.

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Developing Excellence with Business Intelligence

Technology and Data

Business intelligence tools (BI) have unlimited potential to produce data that benefits organizations of all sizes, yet the sole deployment of a BI solution will not deliver the desired results without developing ‘Excellence’. Excellence is the force that governs and oversees the adoption, implementation and maintenance of BI platforms to connect across functions and improve data integrity. In this session, FP&A practitioners discuss the challenges and best practices for seamlessly creating BI Excellence.

Speakers
Greg Gillespie, Principal, Collectiv
Joshua Stoltzfus, Finance Manager, Redwood Credit Union
Matt Mowrey, Senior Director Finance, DAI

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How FP&A and IT Drive Value Together

Financial & Business Acumen

The relationship between IT and finance is critical for the entire organization to deploy the right capabilities in a cost-efficient manner. At a basic level, IT costs can be a substantial percentage of revenue, and at a deeper level, they are critical to operational success in all parts of the organization. The move to remote work has further changed the relationship and has raised challenges for hybrid office configurations going forward. Hear from a practitioner who has been a finance analyst, accountant, auditor and compliance professional to show the path to understand IT opex and capex from a technical, operational and financial perspective in order to right-size IT budgets, build partnerships, and get the most value from your IT spend.

Speakers
Ralph Villanueva, IT Security and Compliance Analyst, Diamond Resorts
Nikita M. Miller, FPAC, Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, The Kresge Foundation

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Leveraging Machine Learning: Three Finance Use Cases

Technology and Data

Many finance organizations are turning to advanced tools and analytics, including machine learning, to reduce the amount of time spent forecasting while increasing accuracy and insights. Join members from Microsoft finance as they share how they are integrating machine learning across the organization, from invoice processing to compliance and to revenue. With three in-depth examples of how machine learning is helping to dramatically increase the impact of finance within the company, speakers demonstrate what they have learned throughout the journey.

Speakers
Jesse Todd, Group Finance Manager, Microsoft
Moran Elnekave, Group Business Process Manager, Microsoft
Vidya Bhagavatheeswaran, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft
Ashwani Gattani, Business Process & Analysis Manager, Microsoft

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To Cloud or Not to Cloud: That is the Question!

Technology and Data

Moving an entire corporate finance ecosystem from on-premise to the cloud is more complicated than simply lifting and shifting operations. Hear a finance executive and transformation consultant explain how Diversey, a provider of sanitation and products, systems and services, worked through several thorny issues, including evaluation of technologies, cost-benefit analysis, security concerns, operational continuity, and change management. This presentation provides practical steps, key decision points, unexpected insights, and potential pitfalls to avoid in moving from on-premise, through a hybrid environment and onto the Cloud.

Speakers
David Dickerson, Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, Diversey
Roger P. Cressey, Global Director, Qubix, Inc.

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