You want to be a better finance professional?
💡Reflect on these 12 principles and pick 2 you want to focus on in the next 4 weeks.
Imagine working 6 months with your team on a project.
After 6 months, today is the big day! It’s the day of your presentation to the Board.
You have your deck of slides ready, you worked until 11pm the day before (you wanted to make sure that your slides have the best design and that you have an excellent wording). Now it’s your time to shine and you have 20 minutes to convince the board to invest in your project.
You go through the slides (of which you are really proud of) but after a couple of minutes you feel the interest and the attention of the room going down. You find yourself repeating several times the same information because your audience looks puzzled…
Now you start thinking, what is wrong? Why are they not excited by your project? Why don’t they see how hard you and your team worked over the last 6 months?
Ultimately, the board’s decision comes: “We are sorry but this is not a priority. We can not approve your project”
Actually, you are not even surprised based on the way your audience acted over the last 20 minutes.
This has to be frustrating, right?
And why? Not because of your work ethics or the quality of your work.
So why? This is simple but overlooked by many of us: your speech and yourself were not convincing enough. You underestimated the importance of public speaking skills to win the positive opinion of your board.
I have experienced this in different occasions. In many situations, a finance professional may not articulate well the story behind the figures, no matter how fancy a spreadsheet looks.
This is why, I made one of my priorities to change that. And the change started last week with the help of Ursula Witthöft. She coached me during one day to improve my public speaking skills. It was the best training I had since more than 5 years.
This the reason why I strongly advise you to take a course on public speaking. I wish I would have done it before. But don’t take the advice from me, just see what Warren Buffet has to say:
“If you can’t communicate and talk to other people and get across your ideas, you’re giving up your potential.”
Warren Buffett told business students that public speaking is the most valuable skill they can learn.
It’s one of the most underrated skills for professionals. Moreover, it’s rarely taught, neither in the professional world nor at school. But it brings you so much value!
To close this topic, I wanted to share with you, 10 things I learned about public speaking during my training:
Last lesson learned (and for me the most important one): invest time to prepare your performance not just your slides. Don’t only rely on Powerpoint!!!
Artificial intelligence is changing our jobs and either you adapt, or you die!
Two-thirds of workers say they trust orders from a robot more than ones from their manager.
Here is a table extracted from an article by the World Economic Forum.
See the full article here: https://lnkd.in/dMCdnAA
Few weeks ago, I participated in a Q&A session with students from my business school about jobs in Finance. One of the most asked questions was about the qualities needed to be a good finance professional.
In this article, I share my view on the key skills and qualities to have when you want to work in Finance and how they bring value to your organization:
Let me know in the comments which qualities do you think are the most important for finance professionals.
Do not hesitate to share this article to somebody starting his career in finance.
Thank you for reading
Cash is King but do you know your King?
In this article I will explain you what I learned about Cash this year and what you can use to improve your cash management.
Like most of the Finance Managers, I bring a specific focus on reaching our targets and report on how well (or bad) we do in comparison with these targets.
Most of the financial KPIs are P&L oriented. Therefore Balance Sheet items like Inventory, Receivables and Payables are not the first priority… but play a significant role in the evolution of your cash balance!
This year I learned how to monitor a cash balance, how to plan the cash flows and which action plan can you implement to obtain results.
You need to understand your cash flow. From a theory point of view, you have two methods: the direct and the indirect methods
The direct method uses actual cash inflows and outflows from the company’s operations (think about looking about your bank statement).
The indirect method requires more accounting knowledge as it starts from the net income and involves different adjustment from P&L non cash items and balance sheet movement with cash items.
As a financial manager you need to understand and be comfortable with both methods. Most probably the indirect method will be used for reporting as this is the one which has more consistency and can be mapped with the other types of reporting (P&L and Balance Sheet). Here is a link to help you improve your understanding about the indirect method for cash flow statement.
Understanding the impact of the different components of your cash flow statement should be your priority to monitor your cash balance and as finance manager it should also be your responsibility.
In theory it is easy: plan your cash in and your cash out.
In reality this is more complex.
For your cash in, you need to use your revenue forecast combined with the payment conditions in place with your clients. If your are in an industry where there are advance and milestones payments not related to revenue, this brings another layer of complexity but can not be forgotten. I recommend using the 80/20 rule and focusing on the main projects/clients to get a quick estimation of your cash in.
Planning your Cash out can be easier thanks to the recurring costs having a monthly frequency with short payment terms (personal costs, utilities, recurring raw material). For non recurring expenses, you need to focus on the biggest item and use the information from your procurement team to plan when a purchase order will be fullfilled and with which payment terms.
Finally you need to be aware of exceptional events like Financing or Investing which have significant impacts on your cash balance. Considering your role as finance manager, you should already be involved in these transactions or at least the significant ones.
Let me know in the comments what do you do in your company to improve your cash flows and how do you monitor it.
Thank you for reading.
Note: my contribution is written in a personal capacity
Nowadays, everybody has a LinkedIn profile which replicates accurately their resume. But how can you differentiate yourself from the others?
You will notice that few people have a summary on their page. Therefore, one of the best way to stand out from the crowd is to write and customize your summary.
Here at High Performers, we give you 5 tips to guide you to optimize and improve your LinkedIn profile summary.
There is many way to get the best out of your LinkedIn profile summary. You could do so by doing the following:
– List key words about your expertise, experience, skills and education to maximise your LinkedIn ranking for search by recruiters
-Write about yourself, explain your journey in the professional world and what makes you a valuable asset
-Show your creativity! Attach a creative presentation of you, tell a story, show yourself from a different angle and leave a special impression
You already made the first step by deciding to write your summary! Now what to write to make your LinkedIn Profile summary special?
We recommend to explain here what drives you, what do you stand for, what is your mind-set, your objectives but most of all be genuine.
You can inspire yourself from the great examples that we have listed below, but also from your LinkedIn network. There are great LinkedIn profile summaries out there!
Finally, you can stand out by a call to action at the end of your summary. This call to action can be an invitation to connect, to help or to share a story.
The summary is an opportunity to use the key words which will help you to improve your LinkedIn Profile ranking. But be
You can also list special skills and knowledge that are not traditional in your industry and demonstrate why this is an asset to you.
Being able to show your mind set is one of the great advantage of the LinkedIn Profile summary and that could make the difference in the eyes of a potential recruiter!
Did you know that you could attach documents in your summary? That’s maybe the best tip to stand out make your profile come alive with some examples of your work or maybe a presentation of you! You can attach many different types of documents:
One of the best way to connect with a potential recruiter can be through personal interests. Actually, doing so will increase your likeability factor. The summary is an excellent opportunity to let you share what you love doing, what you are doing outside of work, what you are currently reading and maybe explain what is special about you and what your friend and family love in you.
If you want to read more about the topic, we recommend you the post “7 LinkedIn Profile Summaries That We Love (And How to Boost Your Own)” from the official LinkedIn blog.
Edit May 2020: Add a banner with a call to action or a description of your profile. Check mine here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bouchernicolas/
Finally, as a bonus, we have attached here some examples of the best LinkedIn profile summaries.
LinkedIn Profile summary “short version”
LinkedIn Profile summary with call to action
LinkedIn Profile summary “out of the box”
If you liked this post it will mean a lot to me if you share it around. You can also leave a comment below to contribute with your ideas.
Even if you think that you master Excel, I recommend you to visit the website of John Macdougall “How to Excel” where you will certainly learn something which will help your productivity (and will give you the possibility to impress your colleagues thanks to your new Excel skills).
Here is one of the best post where he presents a compilation of the best Excel tips and tricks ranging from beginner to pro that will save you time and make you more productive: Amazing Excel Tips and Tricks
Here is just one new trick that I learn today:
If you right click and drag a range instead of the usual left click, then you’ll able to do more than just cut and paste. A whole menu of advanced options is available.
Here is a great To Do List by Jon Macdougall, the Excel MVP.
Use it for yourself, for your team, for your meetings or for project management with other people.
Tailor this template and take the habit of using it instead of redoing the design of your To Do List each time you create a new one.
Click here to get the template (choose to download the file once the new window opens)
I find that Data Scientist and Controllers share a lot of similarities in their work. We could even say that the controllers are the Data Scientists of Finance.
I found valuable insights in the article “What The Data Scientists Really Do” from the Harvard Business Review which confirm the similarities.
Here are the parts I found the most interesting in this article:
Sure, machine learning and deep learning are powerful techniques with important applications, but, as with all buzz terms, a healthy skepticism is in order. Nearly all of my guests understand that working data scientists make their daily bread and butter through data collection and data cleaning; building dashboards and reports; data visualization; statistical inference; communicating results to key stakeholders; and convincing decision makers of their results.
The skills data scientists need are evolving (and experience with deep learning isn’t the most important one). „Which skill is more important for a data scientist: the ability to use the most sophisticated deep learning models, or the ability to make good PowerPoint slides?” He made a case for the latter, since communicating results remains a critical part of data work.
One result of this rapid change is that the vast majority of my guests tell us that the key skills for data scientists are not the abilities to build and use deep-learning infrastructures. Instead they are the abilities to learn on the fly and to communicate well in order to answer business questions, explaining complex results to nontechnical stakeholders. Aspiring data scientists, then, should focus less on techniques than on questions. New techniques come and go, but critical thinking and quantitative, domain-specific skills will remain in demand.