The next few years look to be a bumpy ride, as the global economy recovers from the pandemic. At the same time, Finance experts are seeing their roles evolve and expand to include advisory services and strategic planning. Now is the perfect time for Finance professionals to take on a leading role in designing and guiding their company’s future.
But to successfully do so, Finance professionals need to commit to ongoing education on best practices and emerging trends. One of the best ways to stay informed is to connect with experts who are on the cutting-edge of developments and thought. The following leaders have their nose to the ground–follow them to take full advantage of their acumen, experience, and insights.
10 Experts to Follow for FP&A Greatness
1. Gary Boomer
Shareholder, Visionary & Strategist, Boomer Consulting, Inc.
A highly influential consultant and strategic planning expert, Gary helps fill the gap between business and IT with digital communities and think tanks that promote peer education, thought leadership, and professional growth. From client development to compensation, he identifies practices and policies that foster progress across the accounting industry.
Recommended Reading: Planning for the Future, Whatever It Looks Like
“Continue with strategic planning, improving your processes, investing in new technologies, training your people, and developing higher-value services for clients. These are the areas we need to focus on to remain competitive and be prepared to accelerate into our future – whatever it holds.”
2. Jim Bourke
Managing Director of Advisory Services, Withum
Jim was one of the first people to earn the American Institute of CPAs’ Certified Information Technology Professional designation, an elite credential that signifies proficiency in technology concepts applied to the accounting industry. His expertise in tech as applied to the specific needs of financial operations, especially in cybersecurity, has earned him a dedicated following, speaking gigs around the world, and a thriving career advising accounting and financial firms on technology solutions that support stability and drive growth.
Recommended reading: AICPA Certificates Wall of Fame: Jim Bourke
“Every single finance professional needs to be concerned first and foremost with security and privacy. If you’re holding on to private confidential data, be concerned about the security controls around that data.”
3. Kimberly Ellison-Taylor
Executive Director, Finance Thought Leadership, Oracle
With a diverse career that has spanned positions at NASA, Motorola, and KPMG as well as Oracle, Kimberly has an unparalleled vantage point from which to address the challenges the accounting and financial industry faces, especially disruption. As a proponent of in-depth organizational and digital transformation as a means to adjust to ongoing shifts, she offers a wise perspective and workable approaches to spur innovation and flexibility in changing times.
Required reading: Dealing with Disruption Is Not New for CPAs
“When you look at disruption, and we talk about disruption on a frequent basis, the accounting profession is certainly experiencing its own share. . . . Thus, that meant the amount of guidance that we provide needed to be at a greater level, more depth, more breadth of opportunities to really share information with our clients, our customers, and our business partners.”
4. Tom Hood
President and CEO, Maryland Association of CPAs & The Business Learning Institute
Positioned at the intersection of technology, leadership, and learning, Tom is a recognized industry thought leader dedicated to helping financial and accounting professionals chart a successful course through a constantly changing business and technology environment. In addition to his prolific output on social media, he helps the industry become “future ready” through the Business Learning Institute’s educational programming.
Recommended reading: The Top 7 Skills for Accounting and Finance in the Age of Automation
“At various times, finance professionals must be reassuring voices, visionary adopters, motivating mentors, and shrewd negotiators. Those who hold these leadership skills may find greater success in helping their teams navigate this fast-paced era of change.”
5. Robert Kugel
Senior VP and Research Director, Ventana Research
Technology is an essential component of strategy and operational effectiveness in any business. Building on his background as a securities analyst and IT expert, Robert connects the intricacies of finance with appropriate digital tools, applications, and platforms, clearing a path for technology adoption that streamlines financial and accounting tasks, maximizes resources, and supports ongoing success.
Recommended reading: Make Accounts Receivable Pay
“With populations locked down and the accounting staff unable to work in an office, the need to operate virtually has accelerated the application of technology to finance and accounting departments, which has been long overdue.”
6. Samantha Mansfield
Consultant and Founder, Samantha Mansfield LLC
Samantha is an expert on tactics and strategies for surviving and thriving in a changing industry, with a focus on soft skills that support excellent client service, trust, and authenticity. Emphasizing continuous learning and self-awareness as the keys to remaining relevant, she offers advice and guidance at the confluence of people, processes, and technology.
Recommended reading: Zooming Your Way Into Business Development
“Our clients’ decision making, purchasing behaviors and expectations are changing. With that we have to be working on proactive responses to maintain the trust and loyalty of our customers. How we interact and communicate with our target market will impact our future viability and relevance. “
7. Sandy Y. Petty
Managing Partner, Executive Financial Partners, LLC
Sandy builds organizational infrastructures–from teams to technology–that helps firms improve productivity while reducing costs. An experienced auditor with expertise in international accounting principles, her hands-on, dig-in approach results in actionable insights that can improve almost any company’s bottom line.
Required reading: About Sandy Petty
“I have been fortunate enough to create the company culture I longed to be a part of during my career within Executive Financial Partners.”
8. Tom Pick
Digital Marketing Consultant, Webbiquity LLC
A truly prolific voice in the world of marketing, Tom not only helps businesses across a variety of industries expand their profiles and drive improved performance, he’s also the co-founder of the B2BMarketingZone blog and the aggregation site the Social Media Informer. His advice on optimizing the customer experience is particularly relevant right now as all companies face a more competitive landscape for consumer attention.
Recommended reading: Five Simple Business Changes That Can Make a Big Difference
“Undoubtedly, your business has had to make changes to stay afloat. But, those changes shouldn’t all stop just because the economy is starting to ‘re-open.; Instead, this is the perfect time to make positive upgrades that will not only keep your company going but allow you to grow through this year and beyond.”
9. Rick Telberg
President and CEO, CRA Trendlines Research
Rick is a longtime commentator on accounting and finance, having served as an editorial lead for leading industry education companies and media outlets, including CPA2Biz and Accounting Today. His wide-ranging perspective, decades of experience, and smart, practical solutions make him a steady, guiding light in confusing times.
Recommended reading: Beat the Covid Crisis with These 20 Steps for Your Firm and Your Clients
“During uncertain times, everyone wants more information. Crisis management is no time to leave people wondering what management is doing and the reasons behind decisions.”
10. Jennifer Lee Wilson
Partner and Co-Founder, ConvergenceCoaching, LLC
A coach, speaker, and consultant focused on leadership development, Jennifer believes a vision for professional growth is essential at all levels–individual, organizational, and industry-wide. In trainings, workshops, blog posts, and podcasts, she helps current and future leaders develop new mindsets, habits, and structures that inspire and sustain a new paradigm for transformative leadership.
Recommended reading: How the COVID-19 Crisis Is Leading to Lasting Change
“The profession is being called to a higher level of advisory thinking and communicating, and practitioners are going deeper with clients than ever before. To me, being advisory is practicing a holistic, relational, inquisitive, and solutions-oriented mindset. Right now, we can’t approach our clients like business as usual without appearing tone-deaf.”
Stay on Top of FP&A Best Practices
Learning from others’ hard-won knowledge is key to not only individual success but the growth of the industry as a whole. With in-person networking off the table until at least mid-2021, it’s even more important to keep a regular regimen of digital education. Following these influencers is a good way to get insights on tap.
Looking for more ideas about how you can develop resilience and strategies for the future? Check out our Scenario Planning for Finance guide.