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Episode 8

Live Panel – When Vision Meets Reality: Managing an Operating Plan

by | Oct 20, 2021

Specia live expert panel edition: ” When Vision Meets Reality: Managing an Operating Plan” hosted by FEI Utah (Financial Executives International) and CFO Leader. An incredible lineup of speakers including Kevin McKenzie with SimpleNexus, Elliot Smith from Lucid Software, and Ray Langhaim with NICE CXone.

About This Episide

In this special edition episode of CFO Leader, we record a live expert panel of CFO’s discussing the ins and outs of managing an operating plan. We cover three main areas of discussion:

Part 1: Operating Plan Foundation  (15 minutes) 

  • Planning 
  • Preparation:
    • What is the role of the CFO vs other executives in the operating plan process? (Kevin McKenzie) 
    • How do you evaluate the effectiveness of your prior year’s operating plan? (Elliot Smith) 
    • Relationship between the Operating Plan, Forecast and Fundraise Strategy (Ray Langhaim)
    • How to determine the appropriate amount of complexity for your operating plan? (Kevin McKenzie)
    • What is the timeline for your Operating Plan Timing, from Start to Board Approval? (Elliot Smith)
    • Rolling Forecast vs a Fixed Plan? Why choose one or another? (Ray Langhaim)
  • Architecture
    • Bottom-Up vs. Top Down operating plan architecture. Why choose one over the other? (Kevin McKenzie)
    • Macro vs Micro – What is the appropriate amount of detail for the operating plan? (Elliot Smith)
  • Securing Approval/Reviewing
    • How do you move from department budgetary wants to needs? (Ray Langhaim)
    • How should the CFO think about Identifying/Communicating Risks to the executive team/board as pertains to the plan? (Kevin McKenzie)
Part 2: Managing the Operating Plan  (15 min) 
  • Once you have a board-approved plan, Now what? (Elliot Smith)
    • Processes to manage/keep up with the plan?
    • Critical items to be monitoring?
  • How should the CFO deal  and communicate assumption errors & other variances (Ray Langhaim)
  • How to deal with unexpected changes in the operating plan? (Kevin McKenzie)
  • How should the CFO deal with underperforming departments? (Elliot Smith)
  • How to manage executives that aren’t bought into the operating plan? (Ray Langhaim)
  • Scenarios
    • We Exceed the plan (Kevin McKenzie)
      • What to look out for? 
      • When to formally adjust the operating plan? 
      • Problems that unexpected revenue growth creates 
Part 3: The Wartime CFO  – Managing a company turnaround (15 min) 
  • Talk about mentality change between peacetime CFO and Wartime CFO (Elliot Smith)
    • How do you think/act differently? 
    • What processes procedures do you put in place? 
  • Managing the board and executives during Wartime, what are best practices (Ray Langhaim)
    • Cutting Budgets/Headcount 
  • Setting up decision frameworks for action: & making the hard calls : (Kevin McKenzie)
    • Cutting Budget
    • Canceling initiatives 
    • Layoffs 
  • Tips for taking the emotion out of the decision (Elliot Smith)