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Grab those golden nuggets of wisdom from FP&A Week Day 3, in 500 words or less.
Go straight to the source to collect the best financial and non-financial data
Understanding financial and non-financial data is crucial to finance storytelling. It is recommended to go directly to the source (e.g., ERP or accounting system) and create tables or graphs in Excel to ensure the presentation is well prepared in advance.
Additionally, gathering non-financial data, such as industrial data, commercial data, headcount data, etc., should be considered in order to make sense of the financial data presented.
"What I think we don't do enough of in Finance is to collect all of the non-financial data that exists in your business. You need to make sense of financial data by combining it together with non-financial data." - Nicolas Boucher, FP&A Thought Leader
Ask questions early on to maximize your presentation effectiveness
Preparing for an important meeting with senior leadership requires two stages of preparation.
Internally, one should focus on working files and understanding what topics to prepare slides for. Externally, it is best to use informal communications like calling or sending emails in order to determine the main focus of the meeting and receive feedback from stakeholders.
This ensures that everyone is working towards a common goal and that presentations are worth everyone's time.
“Don't be afraid to call people before the meeting to give them necessary information. You'll get buy-in from your stakeholders because they'll know what is important and they will focus on what will make the presentation worth it for everybody." - Nicolas Boucher, FP&A Thought Leader
Remove the element of surprise before the big meeting
To effectively convey a message during a meeting, it's important to be prepared and know who you will be presenting to.
Before the meeting, consider sending documents or even an executive summary screen shot with the email invite so attendees can best prepare.
During the meeting, instead of taking control, ask attendees what they would like to discuss first. This allows for more fruitful conversations that are tailored to the needs of each individual and makes sure everyone’s time is being used effectively.
"For me, it's no longer a presentation. It's a decision-making meeting where you as Finance come with a proposition to discuss with management." - Nicolas Boucher, FP&A Thought Leader
Presentation is a skill you should hone over time
Become a student of presentation techniques and observe what works best for you. Embrace your tools: use the power of your body language, tone, and energy to make an impact. Ask for honest feedback from your team and keep experimenting with new ideas.
“You as a person have a lot of [presentation] tools. Look at what I do with my hands, my eyes, my tone: I can be calm when I'm sure we're in control, or I can energize people. These are the tools that are not on slides, but inside you.” - Nicolas Boucher, FP&A Thought Leader
In-person meetings work better for creative problem solving
Prioritize face-to-face meetings when creating ideas, solving problems and developing relationships. Take the time to get to know people in-person, especially when you are presenting to them for the first time. Remote meetings can be a great supplement but should not completely replace in-person meetings.
"If it's the first time you're presenting to [a certain group of] people. fly, take the train, or the car — whatever means of transportation — to go see people. Because being in the presence of people before and after the meeting is really important, to see the relationship between people." - Nicolas Boucher, FP&A Thought Leader
Read takeaways from Day 4.
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