Brian Kalish, Director of Finance Practice for AFP, is on the road every month, meeting with financial planning and analysis (FP&A) professionals. Kalish recounts his experiences in this column, which looks at the hottest topics in FP&A, as well as the Corporate FP&A Professional Certification.
In August, AFP hosted its fourth Peloton-sponsored roundtable, this time in New York—the city with the most Fortune 1000 companies. From there, it was off to the city with the highest number of Fortune 1000 companies on a per-capita basis: Omaha, Nebraska. FP&A professionals in both cities expressed a great deal of interest in AFP’s Corporate Certified FP&A Professional Certification.
The New York roundtable consisted of 18 attendees from a mix of Global 500, Fortune 1000 and +$1 billion companies. The general topics of the roundtable were:
- FP&A certification
- Enabling technology
- Talent acquisition and retention
- FP&A organization structure
Some of the specific questions/topics included:
- Effective centralization of FP&A
- Known effective software/tools to help FP&A professionals perform
- Rolling forecasts and how to use them to minimize budgeting pain
- The CFO’s role in today’s finance/business partnering.
It was also a wonderful opportunity to highlight the FP&A Certification as there were three designees in attendance. They were able to provide firsthand knowledge of how the exam was designed and prepared, as well as what it was like to actually prepare and pass the exam. Designees have been present at the recent roundtables in Seattle and Boston, and one will likely be present at the roundtable in Singapore in October.
One FP&A director in New York was quite keen to learn more about the FP&A Certification. She believes the certification is a designation that her staff should be looking into taking because there really isn’t a comparable equivalent in the marketplace. We really tore through the nuts and bolts of how the exam was designed, how the questions and answers were determined, and how the testing parameters were set. She was impressed with the work, care, and diligence that has gone into the development and delivery of the certification.
I met with a senior director of FP&A in Omaha who wasn’t very aware of AFP or its FP&A initiative. She asked a good number of questions about the certification; how the content was determined, who the competition is, and what has the reception to the designation been. She thought it would make sense to review the materials, and she expected that some of her staff would probably be interested in exploring the certification. She also wanted to discuss the AFP Annual Conference and how AFP might be able to help build the FP&A network in the Midwest, especially in Omaha.
Also in Omaha, I met with a vice president of planning and financial projections for a Fortune 1000 company. She also wasn’t very aware of the FP&A initiative, but liked what she heard about the certification. She thought it made a lot of sense and was needed in the FP&A profession. She looks forward to sharing the certification with her peers and staff and may also attend the AFP Annual Conference. She, like everyone I met in Omaha, was interested in improving the local network for FP&A professionals.
Learn more about FP&A Certification here.