What should I do with my downtime in FP&A?

bernie madoff's picture
Rank: Baboon | 164

In order to make myself as indispensable as possible within the organization and more attractive for when i'm ready to make a move?

we obviously have our busier times where there is absolutely no free time, but we also have instances where there is a lot of opportunity to improve processes or build skills.

so, any advice?

Comments (8)

Best Response
Oct 2, 2016

Learn about the business you're covering (products, drivers, competitors, etc.).
Take time to understand the role of those who supply you with information.
For those that you send information, learn what they do with it, how they analyze it, etc.

Find ways to improve/automate processes. Discuss best practices with others in related functions.
Understand what FP&A teams for other businesses or further upstream/downstream are doing and whether there are any processes they do that you should implement.
Standardize information, identify and eliminate silos, duplication of efforts, etc.

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Oct 2, 2016

some pretty good stuff there - thanks for weighing in!

it does seem that if you get enough knowledge of the business and business units - you can sometimes move laterally into said units.

Oct 2, 2016

Used to work at an E&P and during downtime we reached out to different group heads and did 'excel projects' - ended up creating a lot of monthly cost tracking / analysis broken type by engineer / area / time of year (winter) / etc. and word quickly spread through the organization that we were very efficient w/ excel and the special projects started pouring in.

Great way to get exposure b/c a lot of these reports end up in front of C-Suite if you make them right / spend some time really understanding what is important for these guys to be tracking and then put it in an easy to digest format that is repeatable.

Also - make sure you don't tell anyone how you create them / build out the model so they can't get rid of you :)

    • 1
Oct 3, 2016


    • 1
Oct 3, 2016

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Oct 4, 2016


Oct 4, 2016

This. I'm almost to where I'm not involved in month-end close (two items for closing the books) other than our month-end close meeting.

Automate as much as you can

Learn the ins-and-outs of the business -- moreso than you would from just working on projects/analysis. Talk to people; get a sense for how they run their business and how you could better support them.

Be prepared for when the next thing comes down the pike. In my shop, there's downtime and there's firedrill time...the better prepared you are, the easier crunch time will be.

Rework your models and global assumptions. Every year when I walk through our consolidation models for operating and capital, I find things I could smoothe out for the next year to make my life easier. Similarly, our fringe rate changes slightly each year; update your cost of capital and average hourly wage etc.

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Oct 4, 2016