Planful Perform: Better, Together | FP&A Fridays
Rowan Tonkin: Hi. I'm your host, Rowan Tonkin, and welcome to Being Planful, the show for FP& A leaders and planning experts. Good morning, everyone. Good afternoon. Good evening wherever you're listening. We're back with FP& A Fridays, and we've got a really special episode for you today. We're talking about the upcoming Planful Perform conference. And the conference theme this year is what we call, Better, Together, so really excited about this. We're going to talk a lot today about the value of attending a conference. We're going to talk about the value of being better together and what that means, whether that's internally, externally and attending conferences. And we're also going to talk about some of the value from the specific sessions that we've got at Planful Perform. If you haven't yet, please go to planful. com/ perform and register for the event. We really, really want you to be there and we're really excited. We've got 43 sessions. We've got 50 plus hours of content, amazing networking. So really want you to be there and really excited to have our friends, Chris and Glenn, welcome back, gents.
Chris Ortega: Let's go. What's up?
Rowan Tonkin: All right, so I'm going to kick it off. Better together. Chris, what does that mean to you?
Chris Ortega: So better together, I think is, that is one of the most important takeaways that I've taken away from post- pandemic and this whole value proposition of going forward. I think we, and Planful is taking the lead in the golden age of the CFO. And better together, it definitely co- aligns with that. The golden age of the CFO is what we've seen where organizations have looked at the CFO to navigate a lot of challenges, adversity, so many different macro and micro factors that have affected businesses and to be able to navigate that. So better together, to me, means that it's all about connection, collaboration, communication, taking complexity, and put that into clear, concise conclusions. Yes, I was on my C tangent and I was going on with it, but I think that's so important is that finance now, and what Planful really brings is, finance is a team sport. It's no more about the finance MVP superstar, knocking out the best budgeting and forecasting, or having the best forecasting accuracy in terms of their next six months. We need to make sure that we're collaborating with the sales, the marketing, external stakeholders, bringing along with us in this journey, our accounting partners as well. So I think now is a really transformative and evolutionary time for finance to do everything that we've done individually, better together with the business. So, that's my definition of better together.
Rowan Tonkin: I love it. That was a lot of Cs, Chris. Only a man named Chris could come up with that many Cs, but Glenn you've been to many Perform conferences.
Glenn Snyder: Yep.
Rowan Tonkin: What does this year's theme mean to you, and what can folks expect from attending the event?
Glenn Snyder: So to me, the first thing that pops into my mind of better together, is teamwork. Chris nailed it. But when I think about, if you're going through an interview and someone says," Tell me about some of the great successes that you've had," it needs to start with we, it's not I. I've never seen anybody in a company succeed on their own, because they have to have support from their internal team, from their partners like Chris mentioned, HR and accounting, but from the business side too, you have to come together as an organization and really make sure that everyone's talking in the same language and you're working toward trying to achieve the same goals. That is a we thing, not an I thing. And when I think of better together, that is really what it's about. It's saying that people work better together as a team, than they do as individuals. And you could accomplish so much more. And the synergy concept of one plus one equals three, right, is that you could do so much more when you're working together. So that's what the theme, to me, really represents. Now, on your other question about what you could get out of the conference, I think about all the... And this is going to be my fifth year attending... There are several different tracks that you could go down. There's stuff that if you want to know how to use the Planful system, you could go into more technical things. If you want to understand how the technology can be used to help solve other problems, there are typical business cases that are out there that other customers are presenting. And then there's also more thought provoking leadership directional things that you get a lot from listening to this podcast, what Rowan and Chris and I are always usually talking about is best practices and how to apply that. And so there's a little bit of everything in these conferences and you get to choose what sessions really make sense and will resonate with you. You get to mix it up a little bit. So it's a lot of fun. It's a couple days, and you can't go wrong with being in Vegas, too.
Rowan Tonkin: That's right. Vegas is going to be fun. I think what better together means to me is, and I'll steal a C word, is community, and really bringing the whole community back together. It's been a tough few years, like we haven't been in person for a long time. So number one, I'm really excited to, for me, this is an opportunity to meet a lot of customers, a lot of people in the Planful ecosystem that I've never met face to face. I'm really excited about that, but it's that conversion of the whole community at one event, whether that be Planful plus our customers, Planful plus our partners, but ultimately, all of those key stakeholders across the ecosystem coming together and doing exactly what you just said, Glenn, learning from each other, getting that kind of sense of we're in this together, we truly are. And from my perspective, trying to deliver that value back to the community. And I think ultimately we're all better together. That is the intention behind this is like, as a software vendor, we're better with our customers and we make our customers better, but they're better with us. And we want to continuously try and add value to that. That's our core goal, that customers is our number one value here at the company. And so I'm really excited about that. Chris, I know you've been neck deep in a lot of sessions. One session that I am absolutely excited for is Barbara Corcoran, famous realtor. Obviously, we all know her from Shark Tank. I have spoken with Barbara. Her session is going to light the stage on fire, but who else are you excited to hear from at Perform?
Chris Ortega: Yeah, for me, I think the thing I love so much about Perform is you've got very technical. If you want to talk so much more about the platform and really dive into spotlighting sales and dynamic planning, structure planning, all those different tools and solutions that you're able to have, you definitely have that. Then, a unique thing is like, you really have thought leadership sessions. So one session that I'm really excited about, is with Bryan Lapidus, who's at the Association of Financial Professionals, really large thought leadership organization inside here, the U.S. and globally, and his session is talking about integrative intelligence, and the application of that in finance. And I remember looking at the session description for this, and from a thought leadership perspective of the golden age of the CFO and the modern finance organization needs to structure, that's one. As you're looking at Perform, which again, is going to be taking place May 23rd to the 25th at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. That's one session to definitely put on your schedule. And he talks about how this intelligence is not just the financial IQ that the finance organization needs to own. There's also intelligence inside the business, there's intelligence with your stakeholders, there's intelligence with your vendors, there's intelligence with your partners, and how can you integrate all of that intelligence in a centralized platform where people can digest, action, and have the information that they need. So for me, that's a really important session because I think it involves the people, the process, the platform, and the partnership centralization to drive actionable insights in an organization. So for me, that's really one that I'm looking forward to for the entire Planful Performance conference, because I think it touched so many important points that CFOs and VPs of finance and FP&A need to be focused on and thinking about.
Rowan Tonkin: Yeah. I really like that. Obviously, the second session that you are most looking forward to, is Glenn's session. So, Glen, do you want to talk about your session at Perform, what you'll be speaking about, and then if you've picked another favorite session, tell us a little bit about that.
Glenn Snyder: Sure. So my session is going to be focused on building out a three year strategy for FP& A. Most FP& A organizations don't do this, but it's something that I've tried to do at every company I've been at, which is when you come in, we evaluate where you are, but you think about where the organization needs to be in three years, and you lay out a roadmap for how you're going to get there. And it helps put together your annual goals, performance tracking, and those types of things. But it also helps all the members of the FP&A team understand where they're supposed to be moving towards, what's direction. How are they supposed to learn and grow? And then you can, it also helps the rest of the company, because they see where you're going and you can better align with their strategies as well. So we're going to be talking about the importance of the strategy, but also how to put it together. And I'm going to even walk through an example of a three year strategy that I had used at a prior company as well.
Rowan Tonkin: That's awesome. And I want to just pause for a moment because being, not in FP& A, but being a stakeholder to FP& A, it's so important for me to understand where you're going. Like, I may understand some of the limitations, I may not understand some of the limitations, but knowing that there's a journey ahead, knowing the transformation, is so valuable, because then you're managing my expectations, as a key stakeholder, to the input and output that you guys provide as FP& A professionals. And it's something I've been talking a lot about with folks, is one of the biggest challenges with this golden age of the CFO, is that the communication to stakeholders is so critical, but it's normally finance teams are fantastic at managing external stakeholders, typically boards and potential investors, and if you're public company, Wall Street, but managing internal stakeholders has always been a little bit on the back burner, so I'm really excited to hear that topic.
Glenn Snyder: Well, I want to take it one step further because if it's done right, as a business partner, Rowan, as an example, you should go over and be able to hear where FP& A is trying to go and you should be thinking," Oh my God, I didn't know you could even do this. I now want to engage with you more. I want to go and leverage FP& A to help me do these other things that you're trying to do in your business." And that's what sharing strategies can really do. So I'm super excited about it. It's going to be a fun session. And by the way, so on your second question, which was the next, the other session I'm really looking forward to, Chris is doing one that when we were talking about topics, I also proposed and Chris was like," No, no, no, I got it." So I'm super excited about hearing Chris talk about the value of empathy within FP& A. It is a topic that's near and dear to my heart. I always try and teach it in FP& A organizations. I was happy to go and do this presentation, but Chris is going to be up there, so I'm super thrilled about hearing that.
Rowan Tonkin: Well, if someone can speak about empathy, I know it's Chris, so really excited for that too. One session that I am personally excited about, I'm just going to take the floor for a second, is Doug Henschen of Constellation Research, is talking about the impacts of ESG. So for folks that may not know, Environmental Social Governance on finance, and it's becoming a much bigger issue for finance stakeholders, specifically as public companies putting more pressure or being put under pressure, to deliver expectations around what ESG is for that business. Those public companies are then putting pressure on private companies to disclose more information about what they're doing with ESG. And it's becoming a really, really big factor. So Doug's going to take the audience through a lot of those impacts, a lot of the challenges, and really help people understand what they need to be doing. So I'm excited for that session, because I think it's something we're going to hear a lot more about, for sure.
Chris Ortega: Yeah. And Rowan, just to add onto that man, that was my, I was debating between my two sessions and that was my second one, between Brian and Doug. ESG, I think, is one of the most important aspects and bubbling up from a governance perspective with IFRS, with U. S. GAAP, the SEC is really starting to buckle down with public companies, as they're disclosing this data. I've also had conversations with big four accounting firms that are like, how do we put a governance and framework around it? So like that topic being at the conference for those CFOs, VPs of finance, even accountants, and even just overall business people, that is going to be really, really something important. I think that is a key differentiator to have an expert that walked through that framework, the value proposition it has, and the ability to take something that's important like that, that is traditionally, that's not, where do you see that on the P& L, Rowan, right?
Rowan Tonkin: Yeah.
Chris Ortega: Where's that? How do you audit that? Where does that look at on the profit and loss, on the balance sheet, on the statement of cash flows, that's not normally in there. So that, to me, is such a great topic that CFOs need to be thinking about and really developing frameworks and processes and governance around really how they're going to do that. Because people in FP& A, accounting, finance, and CFOs, just professionals, they're starting to look to their organizations and that's starting to be a key differentiator from a recruiting perspective for people to join organizations, is the ESG efforts that they're doing inside of their community and the impact that it's having to their organization. So I would definitely highly recommend that one, for sure.
Glenn Snyder: Yeah. If I could add one thing to that, it's that if you are a private company and you are thinking about going public, ESG is one of the things that you probably don't think about very often, because as a private company, you are not held accountable to Wall Street standards and the SCC and other things, but it's one of the first questions that you get asked from outside animals. So understanding how you are governing the organization, and governance, a lot of times, if you were a sole proprietor and you built up your organization and be 50 million, 100 million,$ 200 million in revenue, you did a great job getting there, but to be thinking about all the nuances, when it comes to how to properly govern the organization to go to that next level, it is absolutely critical and requires a different type of thought. So I agree. I think that's going to be a fantastic session.
Chris Ortega: Yep.
Rowan Tonkin: Yeah. To your point there, Glen, the big thing with ESG is, obviously you've got the public markets putting a lot of pressure on that, but I think public companies will now be starting because of all of those governance reasons, all the regulatory reasons that Chris just outlined, those public companies are going to, they need to communicate about how, what the ESG of their own supply chains are. And therefore, those public companies will begin to start to put a lot more pressure on private companies, regardless of whether they're trying to go public or not. So even if you are in a private company, not planning to go public anytime soon, and there's lots of those out there, then you need to be thinking about this anyway, because your supply chain, your vendors, your customers, will start putting pressure on you to disclose more about your business practices because they have to, and that could hurt if you are not ready for it. Well, I didn't think we were going to talk so much about ESG on today, but that's probably a fantastic topic for another podcast. So as we think about Perform, we're also... It's a user conference, right, so if anyone pays attention to this small company called Salesforce, they have their dream force every year. And Mr. Benioff gets up there and talks us about their vision. We've got something better, we've got Grant Halloran, our CEO, who's going to stand up and talk about the Planful vision, so really excited for that session. We're going to be talking a lot about the Planful vision, where that's going. Obviously, you all heard the theme of better together, and there's some alignment there. So if you're at all interested in where the future of FP& A, the future of accounting, and the future of finance is going, that's a not to be missed session, because Grant's going to talk a lot about that vision and really excited for that. Sessions, I'm also, I love user conferences cause I get to hear from customers. Chris, you've been involved in some of the planning, a little bit of this conference. What customer session are you most excited for?
Chris Ortega: Yeah. So a lot of the customers I've been able to talk to, it's like, I love that translation that they made of like a platform solution or a specific function to drive partnership or other different areas in, inside their business. And for me, that is another aspect of it, is you got thought leadership, you got vision where it's going, you've got the future of finance. And you also got these very great specific examples. And there's one example that comes to my mind, a figs example, where they're talking about specifically how they partnered inside the business and use reporting to drive insights, not just in the finance organization. I think anybody, any solution out there could be like, Hey, here's how we use it to drive insights. But also that collaboration element, right? And from talking with a lot of the customers, you see how passionate that they are about the platform. And it's not just passion about the tools and functionality and the spotlighting sales and other tools and solutions they're able to use, but how those tools and solutions make an impact to the broader organization, how they partner with sales, how they partner with marketing, how they partner with operations, how they partner with HR, how they partner with their manufacturing group to provide different levels of insight. So I think coming from those customers and seeing those real life use cases of where they've had a centralized, collaborative FP& A solution, that has really expanded the finance organization's value proposition and really brought those different functional areas together inside of that tool to collaborate, to communicate, to connect. And Rowan, I'm still in your seat from earlier, that's the community that it provides. And I think that's really transformative because so much of what you think about tools and technologies is like, Hey, Salesforce is the salesperson's group and Marketo's the marketing person's technology and FP& A is the finance group. But having a solution where now you're bringing those stakeholders in together, you're bringing them in to collaborate. You're bringing them in and communicate and showing that the action, the impact and influence that has in driving insights and moving the organization forward, I can tell you across the board, you're going to have a lot of sessions with the customers that are passionate about that, and proven to show you the framework and quick start comprehensive guides for you to take those actions to implement inside of your organization. So that's what I'm really excited about and which is a whole nother pillar that I think Planful Perform 2022 is going to offer to any attendee attending the conference.
Rowan Tonkin: Can't agree more with that. You scared me with 2022. I can't believe we're here already, and it's almost halfway through the year. Glen, speaking of 2022, you've been to this conference a number of times, right, coming on what? This will be your fifth time, you said earlier?
Glenn Snyder: Fifth time. That's right time.
Rowan Tonkin: Fifth time. What is it that makes you keep coming back?
Glenn Snyder: Well, you guys keep inviting me, so that's nice, but seriously, I think it's a combination of things. First of all, the speakers in the events are great, but one of the things is as someone, whether you are a Planful user or not, the interaction with people about what they're doing, I mean, this is a forum that you get over breakfast or lunch, or just between sessions. You talk to your neighbor, you're sitting down at a table with other people from other companies and you start sharing ideas. And again, I kind of come back to, I think, Rowan, you used a great word there, community, and it is a community, not just of Planful people and Planful users, but of FP&A people. And to go and talk about best practices and to challenge people, say," I'm having a problem with this area, for this particular forecast, whatever, have you come across something?" And hearing ideas from other people. That, to me, is one of the real exciting things about this conference, because it allows people to get exposure to how other companies are doing things, how other people approach things. Because I know a lot of people have been at companies for a long time and they're really good at what they do, but they don't see how other companies are handling certain things. And if you don't, you clearly, you don't know what you don't know. So this allows people to have that opportunity to ask and kind of brainstorm about other possibilities, other ways of doing things that they could go and bring that back to their own company. So to me, that's one of the best things, just the interaction with all the people who are there.
Rowan Tonkin: Yeah. Yeah. I go to more marketing events. I also attend a lot of finance events, as a vendor. But to me, it's the value that you get, not just from the speaking sessions themselves, right? Like every, every speaker is generally fantastic. And they're talking about a topic that they know very well and know deeply, and there's a lot to learn, but it's the ideas that get sparked from those sessions. And then the collaboration with the rest of the community, outside of those sessions, that becomes really valuable. It's what you take back to your business. And you're like," Wow, I heard this thing, which triggered this idea. And now I want to put this into practice." And those things can be like the spark plug, if you will, of some fantastic innovation for your business, whether that be building some crazy new model that delivers a ton of value to the sales organization, for example, or whether that is like," Oh, wow. I didn't realize we could connect our applicant tracking system to our FP& A platform so that we can look at vacancy rates of hiring and tighten up our budgeting process for HR," for example. Those things are the things that you just kind of like, you get that little golden nugget while you're in a session. And next thing you know, six months down the line, you've implemented something completely new. And you can't really remember where that idea came from, but if you were ever to do the ROI and the attribution tracking, it's like, wow, that came from that event. And that's what I love about Perform, is that the inspiration that people take away and take home. So really excited to hear from customers in six to nine months," Hey, because of that thing that I learned at perform, this is what I took away." So yeah.
Glenn Snyder: Can I add something? That, one of the best practices that I saw, is that because sometimes you have a larger FP& A and sometimes not everybody in FP& A can go and attend the event. I highly recommend for all the people who are going to be attending, go back to your companies afterwards, set up a one hour meeting and do a little run through of everything that you learned and experienced at the event and share that with the rest of the team. Because I think that is a great way to share not only the knowledge and experiences, but to really make sure that when you're at the event, you're thinking about how your team can build and grow on what they're doing.
Rowan Tonkin: Love it.
Chris Ortega: And I think another point that I just want to add, it doesn't matter if you're a financial analyst, senior financial analyst, VP of FP& A, CFO, you're going to have all of those titles represented here at this conference, right? Like you're going to have FP& A people talking about how they were able to build better business partnerships. We've got some great sessions with CFOs, like Dan Fletcher at Planful, and other CFOs talking about it. So you're going to have that even wide variety of experience to draw from. I can't tell you how many times I love coming to conferences. And I just love talking to a CFO, that's been a CFO for like 20 years. That level of knowledge, expertise, insight that you get. And it's not even talking about the platform solution, you're just hearing them present, talk about what they're passionate about. That's even another aspect of that I'm looking forward to. And I think other attendees should consider, is you're going to have all personas represented, from the top of the CFO funnel, all the way down to financial analysts, and being able to connect and have that opportunity to share best practices, pitfalls, and learnings along the way. So you're going to be fully represented no matter where you are in your journey. And maybe you are that senior FA that's ready to make that leap to be a manager of FP& A. You've got session and people that have went to that mountaintop and be able to do it. Dan Fletcher's going to be talking about how to become a CFO and three step tricks on how to, three critical skills that you need to be the CFO. So you're getting that, all of that knowledge, that's there to help you, not only with the tools to enable you to be a better Planful customer use and more centralized solution, but also that thought leadership, that experience, that mentorship, and just that overall knowledge that you can gain from everybody attending the conference. I think that's a super added bonus.
Rowan Tonkin: And it's not just the value that you get in the moment, it's the ongoing relationships that you create. And I think you said it there, Dan's going to be someone who presents on how to become a CFO. I know Dan really well, and he would love for people to come up to him after that and talk about how they get on that journey. And those relationships that folks can create with peers or with potential mentors are hugely valuable. And then they turn into things like Glen coming back five times, right? It becomes something that you're... Like I'm sure there's plenty of folks that Glen has met at year one, year two, year three, that he's excited to connect with again at the event, because he hasn't seen them for a couple years cause of all these reasons. But regardless of that, he would be excited to connect with him again every year. It just becomes something that you're always excited for. So really, really keen for anyone listening. If you've got all the way through this, and you're still listening, you're obviously ready to sign up. So planful. com/ perform. If you need a code, if, Chris will hook you up, or myself or Glen, we all have codes. So reach out to us on LinkedIn, connect with us on LinkedIn and ask for a code. We'll be sure to help you out to make that attendance a bit easier for you. We know that we're working with finance people and T& E is always near and dear to heart. Just, I know we've only got a few more minutes left. I'd like to ask each of you, what's the one thing, the one thing that you get the most value out of, out of conferences like Perform? And then once you talk about that one thing, what are you most looking forward to?
Chris Ortega: Yeah, I'll kick it off. So the number one thing I always get, and I'm always usually like, it's very few conferences I've been to where I'm not presenting. This is one where I get to play both hats where I am presenting. I get to be an attendee. So I get to be the sponge to soak up everything. The thing I love the most about going to conferences is that's that point where you get those, what are those? Where are those trends going? What are those, I call them waves? What are those waves that are starting to bubble up, like ESG or transformative FP& A, or being better communicators and better business partners, that is where I look to absorb. And I get that opportunity to sit back and learn. That's one of the most like things I get away from conferences is just that learning and that connection aspect of what those new waves are going to be. And I think the number one thing that I'm really looking forward to at Planful Perform 2022, which again, May 23rd to the 25th at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas, I'm looking forward to, honestly, if I'm being all cards on the table, I'm looking forward to getting back in person and being around people, being around that connection, sitting in a room with people and learning. There's also a virtual opportunity, if you're not ready to get to that stage yet, Planful Perform has virtual options as well, but I'm excited to get with high performance, high potential people that are thinking and moving their organization forward, moving their team forward, connecting, collaborating, and really getting that framework and that model on how finance can be better together inside the business. That's what I'm really looking forward to.
Rowan Tonkin: Awesome. How about you, Glen?
Glenn Snyder: When I think about all the conferences that I've attended, there's always three, five people or so that I make a really good connection with, people I had no idea even existed before. Maybe we are in similar roles, maybe we're in similar tech companies or industries, whatever it happens to be. But there always seems to be at least a handful of people that I walked away from a conference saying," I'm going to be better off for having not only just met them and talk to them, but down the road, we're going to stay in contact." And I think about that every single conference that I've been at, there's always been a couple people there who I'm still in touch with and that I could go over and I could reach out to, them say," I need some advice or whatever," or just if I'm have a lot of times you're not physically in the same location, but you happen to travel to one of those cities or whatever, and you meet up for a drink or dinner or something afterwards, you make those connections that really last sometimes for years. And to me, that's the one thing that I've always tried to take away, is you're going to learn a ton of stuff. And that stuff is going to be very directly applicable, especially in the next six months, as you can go over and apply those things. Chris talked about the trends that you learn, those things are applicable, but two years, three years from now, those trends change. The technology changes. Other things have to shift. You always have to stay in front of it, but the relationships that you can build with some of the people here, those can stay constant. You can continue to build and foster those relationships. And to me, that's one of the best things to take away from a conference, it's meeting people that you wouldn't have the opportunity to meet and engage with otherwise.
Rowan Tonkin: Yeah. I love that. And to me, that's the value proposition of these type of events, whether it's perform or any other event, it's that community that you can create. And that's why we called it A, Perform itself, but the tagline of better together, because to both of your points, we truly are better together. So if you want to get better, Perform is the place to do that. As Chris has said, May 23 to 25, the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, planful.com/ perform. Thank you both, have a great weekend. This has been FP& A Fridays and ESG will be another topic that we'll be covering soon. So really looking forward to that, and we'll also have some live from conversations at Perform, and Perform wrap up coming for you soon. So thanks everyone. Have a great weekend.
Chris Ortega: inaudible.
Rowan Tonkin: Thanks guys.
On this episode, Rowan, Chris and Glenn talk all things Planful Perform, our user conference for finance and accounting taking place from May 23-25 in Las Vegas. The theme for this year’s event is “Better, Together.” Tune in to hear what it means to be better together, the value you’ll achieve by attending, which sessions Rowan, Chris and Glenn are most excited for, and much more. Like what you hear? It's not too late to save your seat for the most impactful user conference of the year at planful.com/perform.