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The Purpose-Driven CFO and Much More!

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Why I'm Not a CFO! - A Career Planning Reality Check

By Andy Burrows

[First Published 7th March 2018]

If you’ve read any of my articles, you may well have wondered why I’m not a CFO by now. I presume to talk about the Finance function. I talk as if I know what the Finance function should be, and how it should be run. I’ve had many senior roles in my career in Finance over the last 20 years. So, why am I not a CFO by now?

So, I thought I’d tell you a little of my story.

And as you read, you’ll realise two things:

  1. I didn’t follow all the advice I gave in my article about how to plot a course to the CFO role you've always wanted, giving tips to plot a career path to be CFO one day. Much of that advice is based on reflecting on what I did, what I should have done, and what I’ve learned from other people. And,
  2. No one is entirely in control of their own future.

So, the fact that I haven’t attained a CFO position isn’t because I haven’t tried to, didn’t want to, or...

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Andy Burrows Featured on the Strength in The Numbers Show

By Andy Burrows

[First published 8th February 2018]

When Andrew Codd asked me if I'd be a guest on his new podcast, The Strength in the Numbers Show, I was excited.

I connected with Andrew on LinkedIn quite soon after starting Supercharged Finance, late in 2016. He and Anders Liu-Lindberg seemed to be having some good online discussions about Finance business partnering, which I’d already written about. And Andrew had recently published his book about the subject, The Audacious Finance Partner.

I was partly excited because I’ve never been interviewed before, except for jobs!

Networking Backwards

But the main reason for my excitement is that I’m getting a real buzz out of the connections I’ve made through Supercharged Finance.

Before the end of 2016, I was one of those who wouldn’t connect with people on LinkedIn unless I’d at least spoken to them. I’d reject random connection requests from people, or at least be suspicious, especially of...

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Why Financial Modelling Skills Will Be A Big Career Door Opener For Emerging Accounting and Finance Talent

This article is written by financial modelling specialist, Lance Rubin. You can find more of Lance's work at https://www.modelcitizn.com/

Background

If you have recently been for a job interview or at least just taken a small peek through the door called opportunity then you may have noticed something emerging regarding a new key skill requirement, which you may or may not have.

Irrespective of your level, financial modelling skills have become one of the most highly sought after for finance professionals today.

Good news for candidates is there is short supply and huge demand. There was certainly no shortage of opportunities when I was looking for a job recently, but I decided to use this shortage to consult to many different companies rather than just one as their employee.

Bad news is if you are in a finance team and never built or know what a 3-way model is, then you have lots to learn and to catch up on. A 3-way model refers to the 3 financial statements namely an Income...

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Driver Based Planning and Forecasting in the Context of FP&A

This article is written by financial modelling specialist, Lance Rubin. You can find more of Lance's work at https://www.modelcitizn.com/

Background

When I first came across the term driver based planning and forecasting I was confused.

As an ex-investment banker having joined a Finance team the concept of drivers when talking about a forecast or plan was simply assumptions.

Why was it not called just that? Assumptions! Investment bankers have been building models with assumptions ever since the first model was built and a corporate transaction was negotiated.

So what’s all the excitement about driver based planning. It’s simply a financial model with assumptions to drive decisions..no?

Driver Based vs Assumption Based

Why give assumptions a different name i.e. a driver, why not just call it assumption based planning?

Ultimately a plan or a forecast is a collection of assumptions both in the numbers that are input into the model but also assumptions around...

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Financial Modelling: Diamonds in the Rough

financial modelling fp&a Sep 20, 2018

This article is written by financial modelling specialist, Lance Rubin. You can find more of Lance's work at https://www.modelcitizn.com/

Background

Why is it so hard to find Finance staff with good financial modeling skills?

Surely all accountants and professional finance people are good financial modelers?

When I was leading a large team within the Finance function of a major Australian bank it was difficult to find good modeling skills.

This isn't just a skills gap in banks but across all Finance teams in corporates and small to medium sized entities.

It's nobody’s fault, we were never trained and everyone just got tips off the resident "Excel expert" in the team. There is always one...Or we used Google and learnt from Chandoo and YouTube videos to solve problems in spreadsheets….just like you solve anything really…YouTube saviour.

When joining a company it was expected that everyone knew how to use Excel with a high degree of competency in Financial...

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The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 10: Finding purpose in the boring bits of Finance

By Andy Burrows

[First published 26th December 2017]

[This article is also on LinkedIn - why not "Follow+" Andy and give the article a "like"?]

I haven’t written in this series for a while. So, for new readers, I’ll just briefly reiterate the premise of The Purpose-Driven CFO.

 What I set out to do was to investigate what difference it makes going back to first principles with the things we do in Finance, and asking “why?” I know from experience that understanding why we do things can increase our motivation in doing them. Once you can see the end goal, and see the benefits of that goal, any tedious, mundane, difficult or complex steps towards it become less burdensome. And often asking “why” reveals implications that will change the way we do things. That has certainly been the case with all the other areas I’ve looked at from this angle. 

You can find links to the previous articles at the end.

What I’m...

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The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 9: Developing Finance Business Partnering

 By Andy Burrows

[First published 20th July 2017]

[This article is also on LinkedIn - why not "Follow+" Andy and give the article a "like"?]

I don’t take it for granted that anyone reading this will have read the other articles in this series. Perhaps you have a particular interest in Finance Business Partnering. So, for new readers, I’ll just briefly reiterate the premise of The Purpose-Driven CFO.

That is, what I set out to do was to investigate what difference it makes going back to first principles with the things we do in Finance, and asking “why?” I know from experience that understanding why we do things can increase our motivation in doing them. Once you can see the end goal, and see the benefits of that goal, any tedious, mundane, difficult or complex steps towards it become less burdensome. And often asking “why” reveals implications that will change the way we do things. That has certainly been the case with all the...

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The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 8: What is a Purpose-Driven Finance Function?

By Andy Burrows

[First published 27th June 2017]

[This article is also on LinkedIn - why not "Follow+" Andy and give the article a "like"?]

To date in this series, I’ve been picking activities that we do in the Finance function, and looking into why we do them. That’s the essence of my purpose-driven approach. We’ve worked through some big ones, like budgetingstrategyreportingprojects and internal control (and others - the links to all previous parts in the series can be found at the end of the article).

What I’d like to do at this point in the series is to step back and take a look at the big picture. What does the Finance function exist for, if we were to sum it up? If we want to be “purpose-driven” in Finance, what does that mean? What is a purpose-driven Finance function?

Great Expectations

As a business grows, it employs Finance people in a variety of different capacities. Someone to do...

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The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 7: The Great Alternative to Analysis Paralysis

By Andy Burrows

[First published 21st April 2017]

[This article is also on LinkedIn - why not "Follow+" Andy and give the article a "like"?]

If you’ve seen the earlier articles in this series, you’ll know that I’ve been using what I’m calling a “purpose-driven” perspective to draw out useful insights into the work of the Finance function. My thesis is that being explicit about the reasons why we do things, not only boosts motivation and engagement within the team, but actually affects the way we do them. The introductory article that explains the thinking behind the approach. 

So far, I’ve covered budgeting, strategy, reporting, projects and internal control.

This time round I want to take a look at why we do financial analysis.

What Do Analysts Do?

What is ‘financial analysis’? As I thought about that question as a starting point, it occurred to me that it’s difficult to define financial analysis in...

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The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 6: Internal Control is for Finance Business Partners Too

By Andy Burrows

[First published 15th April 2017]

[This article is also on LinkedIn - why not "Follow+" Andy and give the article a "like"?]

Internal control is often seen as a boring subject. It conjures up visions of bureaucracy, paperwork, inspection teams with checklists, things which slow the business down. But, as I have said elsewhere, “Saying that internal control is boring in business is like a train driver saying that tracks and signals are boring.”

Over the course of this series, I’ve been looking at activities within the remit of the CFO from what I’m calling a “purpose-driven” perspective. I’m trying to investigate whether examining, and being explicit about, the reasons why we do things, actually changes or influences the way we do them. If you haven't seen it already, please take a look at the introductory article that explains the thinking behind the approach: The Purpose-Driven CFO Part 1: Why Be...

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