As businesses strive to become more data-driven, financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is taking on a larger role in guiding the future of the entire organization. Finance departments are no longer merely providing static management reports; they’re tasked with being forward-looking trusted advisors to help steer the enterprise.
Taking on this bold new role is not without its challenges, however. Our recent survey of over 300 organizations saw only 41% report that they make most decisions based on data. Fully 94% say they struggle with data quality, and 64% said scenario analysis was either very difficult or somewhat difficult with their existing resources.
FP&A experts will shape the next evolution of finance. But we need inspiration, guidance and true thought leadership to meet the challenges our profession faces. To help you get inspired for 2020 and beyond, we’d like to share our list of 27 innovators and bold thinkers who are helping transform finance. Read their work, follow them on social media, and you’re guaranteed a steady stream of high-quality thought leadership.
Think you know as much about FP&A trends as the thought leaders? Take our future of business finance quiz and find out!
27 Finance Thought Leaders to Follow
1. Darryl Bannon, FCCA, MBA, Finance Systems & Change Management Consultant, Writer, Mentor & Connector
Darryl is a consultant and finance specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. As a contributing writer to Financial Systems News, she shares unique observations about the present and future of finance. As the Startup Loans Mentor for Fashion Angel, she helps the next generation of fashion entrepreneurs achieve their business goals.
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Follow Darryl on Twitter and LinkedIn
2. David Chase, Managing Partner & Owner, Advanced CFO
David is a thoughtful and strategic CFO specializing in cash flow forecasting and helping businesses secure growth capital. He is also generous in sharing the knowledge gleaned from 18 years in the industry, as a contributing writer to Entrepreneur and other publications.
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Follow David on Twitter and LinkedIn
3. Peter Chisambara, ACMA, Founder, ERPM Insights
Peter is leading the charge to break down communication silos in organizations, uniting the departments responsible for strategy, risk and performance to work together for more effective decision-making. His approach to finance combines creative and critical thinking for maximum impact.
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Follow Peter on Twitter and LinkedIn
4. David Cieslak, CPA.CITP, GSEC, Principal, Arxis Technology, Inc.
David is a sought-after public speaker for multiple accountant societies as well as a consultant with over 30 years of experience helping businesses take control of their finances. He has been named one of the top 100 most influential people in accounting for 11 consecutive years, and it’s not hard to see why.
5. Kyla Curley, CPA, CFF, Managing Director, StoneTurn Group LLP
Kyla is an expert at navigating the complex twists and turns of business litigation. In her 15-year career as a forensic accountant, she has led major investigations across industries, for clients ranging from individuals to enterprise-level global organizations.
6. Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D., CFA President, Astra Insights
While most analysts are content to predict the future, Shawn seems to be living there already. His best-selling book, Digital Destiny, explores how data is already changing the way people live, work, and communicate. Shawn’s analytical skills have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.
7. Kenneth Fick, President & CEO, Pierce the Fog Consulting LLC & Senior Manager, MorganFranklin Consulting
As a consultant, Kenneth is leading the charge for more data-driven and more agile financial forecasting. His guidance has helped clients restructure their organizations to streamline processes and promote growth.
8. Paul Hamerman, VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
Forrester Research is one of the most trusted names in data, and Paul has spent nearly two decades with the institution as an industry analyst for enterprise applications. His Twitter feed is a treasure trove of industry analysis and statistics.
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Follow Paul on Twitter and LinkedIn
9. Tom Hood, CPA, CITP, CGMA, President & CEO, Maryland Association of CPAs & The Business Learning Institute
For the past 21 years, Tom has devoted his professional career to educating CPAs, helping them thrive in the present and plan for the future. He was recently named to the CPA Practice Advisor Accounting Hall of Fame and is a co-author of the Insights to Action strategic thinking system. Tom also regularly shares his expertise in articles published on LinkedIn.
10. Robert Kugel, Senior VP & Research Director, Ventana Research
Robert is a unique brand of hybrid professional, using his IT knowhow and business background to help change the way businesses approach technology and data issues. His posts on the Ventana Research Blog provide invaluable insight on machine learning, AI, data management, and more.
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Follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn
11. Magnus Lind, CEO and Co-Founder, Skanor Group, Author, Finance Unleashed
Magnus has a long, varied, multi-national track record of success in the business world. He has started companies in seven countries and helped manage businesses in over 30 countries. His book Finance Unleashed: Leveraging the CFO for Innovation, is a handbook for a new breed of data-driven entrepreneur.
12. Gabrielle Luoma, CPA, CGMA, Owner & CEO, GMLCPA, LLC
Gabrielle began her finance career in 2004 providing income tax preparation services, and over the past decade has grown her business into consulting, training, blogging, and public speaking. Gabrielle is a co-author of Behind Her Brand: Expert Edition, in which she shares her success story to inspire future entrepreneurs.
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Follow Gabrielle on Twitter and LinkedIn
13. Samantha Mansfield, Director of Professional Development & Community, CPA.com
CPA.com is a valuable resource for finance professionals looking to acquire the skills they need to thrive in the future. Through blogging, developing curriculum, planning conferences, and teaching workshops across the country, Samantha helps bring even more value to the site and its community.
14. Jim Marous, Owner and Publisher, Digital Banking Report, Keynote Speaker
A fintech expert and renowned financial industry strategist, Jim is an expert on the ways data and technology are transforming finance. In addition to publishing the Digital Banking Report, Jim has been featured in The Financial Times, The Economist, CNBC, CNN, and many other media outlets. Jim is not only pushing the boundaries of fintech, he’s helping educate all of us.
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Follow Jim on Twitter and LinkedIn
15. Jack McCullough, President, The CFO Leadership Council
Jack has dedicated his career to elevating and educating present and future leaders in finance. The CFO Leadership Council helps CFOs network and continue their professional development, while the MIT Sloan CFO summit provides an annual real-world opportunity for CFOs to meet, network and learn together.
16. Isaac O’Bannon, Chief Editor, CPA Practice Advisor
With the CPA Practice Advisor, Isaac O’Bannon has created a hub of knowledge for finance professionals. He writes an astonishing amount of content for the site and brings together other expert voices to provide the maximum value for readers.
17. Jim O’Connor, Global Finance & GBS Advisory Practice Leader, The Hackett Group
Jim is a widely-recognized thought leader in the industry, sharing his expertise on the future of finance with publications like FP&A, Evaluation Centre, and the Journal of Accountancy. He is also a sought-after public speaker at accounting and finance events. His organization, The Hackett Group, regularly publishes industry-leading finance research.
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Follow Jim on LinkedIn
18. April Rudin, Founder & CEO, The Rudin Group
A self-professed fintech “geek,” April founded The Rudin Group nearly a decade ago, placing herself squarely on the forefront of the industry’s digital disruption. In addition to her client work, April regularly shares her expertise on the Huffington Post.
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Follow April on Twitter and LinkedIn
19. Vincent Ryan, Editor in Chief, Digital Content and CFO Magazine
Over the past few years, CFO Magazine has established itself as a trusted resource for finance industry news and thought leadership, thanks in large part to Vincent’s turn as Editor in Chief. Vincent brings a journalist’s eye to finance news, keeping the coverage vital, valuable, and consistently refreshed.
20. Monika Saha, GM of Finance Product Line, Zuora
Monika is a 16-year veteran of the SaaS space, and has spent the last 5 years working with the Zuora project team to build the company from a startup to a billion-dollar-valued organization. She is a truly global-minded finance professional with an eye toward the future of the industry.
21. Bill Sheridan, CAE, Chief Communications Officer, Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA)
Bill is a dedicated content creator and curator, helping CPAs further their careers and equip themselves for the future. He created the MACPA blog and regularly posts content there. Also, Bill produces the organization’s “CPA Spotlight” podcast, and hosts webcasts to help educate his colleagues.
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Follow Bill on Twitter and LinkedIn
22. Gary Simon, Chief Executive, FSN, Leader, Modern Finance Forum for CFOs
CFOs around the world rely on Gary for thought leadership and analysis about the current state of finance and business systems. His thought-provoking posts on LinkedIn have made his profile one of the top 10 most visited for leaders in the UK.
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Follow Gary on Twitter and LinkedIn
23. Jack Sweeney, Host of CFO Thought Leader
Through Middle Market Media, Jack helps business leaders share their thoughts, analysis, and leadership lessons with a broad digital audience. Jack also created and hosts the CFO Thought Leader podcast, featuring interviews with finance leaders on the cusp of digital transformation. Under Jack’s direction, Middle Market Media was named one of the top 50 influencers in business podcasting in 2015.
24. Rick Telberg, President & CEO, CPA Trendlines Research & Bay Street Group LLC
Rick and CPA Trendlines Research are at the forefront of industry analysis, helping finance professionals benchmark performance now and plan for the future. In addition to short-form articles on CPA Trendlines and LinkedIn, the organization regularly publishes in-depth research to help guide tomorrow’s finance leaders.
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Follow Rick on Twitter and LinkedIn
25. Jeff Thomson, President and CEO, Institute of Management Accountants
With over 30 years in the finance function, Jeff has proven to be an expert on risk management and management accounting. Trust Across America named him one of their Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior. Jeff is also a regular contributor to Forbes magazine, posting thought leadership and interviews with finance leaders.
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Follow Jeff on Twitter and LinkedIn
26. Leigh Tucker, Managing Director of Nonprofit Client Practice, Accounting Management Solutions
Leigh has spent the majority of his career in finance working with nonprofit organizations, including higher education, healthcare, and charities. He shares his experience both in writing and as a sought-after speaker for nonprofit events such as the Merrill Lynch Philanthropic Advisory Council’s annual symposium.
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27. David Worrell, Partner & CFO, Fuse Financial Partners, LLC
Over the past decade, David has created a truly impressive body of work in business and finance, with over 300 published articles to his name. In addition to short-form content, David has written two books with vital finance advice for entrepreneurs.
The finance function is rapidly evolving. CFOs and other finance leaders will need to learn, adapt, and optimize to meet the challenges of digital disruption. The leaders we have highlighted in this article not only have the vision to help make the change, they regularly share their expertise to help elevate the profession.
Interested in hearing what our experts have to say about the future of FP&A in 2020? Check out our interactive FP&A quiz filled with insights and advice from industry leaders!