Anders Liu-Lindberg, an influencer and consultant, wants to bolster the importance of financial planning and analysis in businesses and help finance professionals get a seat at the decision-making table. In a recent podcast with CFO Club, Anders shares his top tips for FP&A professionals.
1. Don’t bury the insights
Something Liu-Lindberg likes to say is that insights times influence equals impact. He recalls a story of a finance professional he assisted who was doing great analysis, but their management reporting insights were buried deep inside of a crowded excel document. “If I’m the head of sales, and I get this sheet, I’m like, ‘whoa, what is this? I can’t work with it.”
Liu-Lindberg’s client rethought their approach and instead used two slides to present their insights. Slide one gave the issues identified, and slide two included recommendations.
“That is a transformative difference in your management reporting. Because if I ask what’s the end result of your management reporting? Only 20% of finance professionals across the world have a recommendation in there. A lot of it is just data information. Nice to know, but it doesn’t really help anything.”
2. Fixed budgets are restrictive
One of Liu-Lindberg’s ten commandments of planning and forecasting is: thou shall not blend target setting, forecasting and resource allocation in the same process.
He believes many companies are doing budgets wrong. “The challenge with the budget is that you’re trying to achieve too many things [target setting, forecasting and resource allocation] at one in one time.”
“Reality changes so fast these days anyway,” says Liu-Lindberg, so forecasting can’t only be done during budgeting. He also says resource allocation needs to be more flexible, “because the world is so dynamic, you know, opportunities and risks are bound to appear at any time during a year.”
3. Change is hard – but necessary
The journey is tough for finance professionals who need to evolve into more people-oriented roles.
Liu-Lindberg says most finance professionals didn’t go into the profession because they wanted to work with people. “. . [If] the reason why you went into finance is because you thought this is about numbers and systems and processes and checklists, and that I like that as a professional, but now I’m asked to do something differently. It’s a difficult change, right?
“How often do you have to completely transform yourself into something different in your professional career? Not very often.”
Liu-Lindberg says that while it sounds simple on paper – to evolve from a traditional finance professional to what he calls a business partner – is not easy in practice. “That’s where I really try to help out.”
Similar to how Liu-Lindberg is creating a community to help finance professionals evolve, CFOClub Africa is a community where CFOs and finance professionals can find guidance from fellow professionals about meeting some of the industry’s unique challenges.
The full interview with Lui-Lindberg is coming soon to https://cfoclub.co.za/cfo-talks-podcast/ exclusively available to CFO Club members. Get 30% off your annual membership this November.