Episode 028: Where we learn from Christian Wattig, why PowerPoint isn't always the right choice, his insights on financial planning and analysis, his passion for teaching, his transition from a corporate career to entrepreneurship and his thoughts on how to speed up month-end close.
Christian's unique approach to teaching FP&A skills to finance and accounting professionals, his innovative course design, and his commitment to making learning an engaging experience have made him a sought-after figure in the industry. His story is a testament to the power of taking risks and following your passion.
Join us as we explore Christian's journey, his insights on the importance of forward-looking financial planning, and his views on the role of technology in finance. This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking to level up their finance skills or considering a leap into entrepreneurship.
Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn from one of the best in the field!
Where to find Christian:
1. PowerPoint - Mentioned as a tool often used for presentations, but which Christian and Jeff Bezos believe can lead to less thoughtful communication. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/powerpoint
2. Microsoft Teams - Mentioned as a tool that can be used for scheduling reminders. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software
3. Slack - Mentioned as a potential alternative to Microsoft Teams. https://slack.com/
4. Chat GPT - Mentioned in relation to AI-generated emails. https://chat.openai.com/chat
5. Notion - A productivity tool that Christian uses. https://www.notion.so
1. Jeff Bezos - Founder of Amazon, mentioned in relation to his belief in the power of one-pagers over PowerPoint presentations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Bezos
1. Procter and Gamble - A Fortune 500 company where Christian started his career. https://www.pg.com/
2. Unilever - Another Fortune 500 company where Christian worked. https://www.unilever.com/
3. Squarespace - A company where Christian worked before starting his own education company. https://www.squarespace.com/
4. Amazon - Mentioned in relation to its one-pager culture. https://www.amazon.com/
So Jeff Bezos, for example, is a big believer also that PowerPoint, is in a sense too easy. You know, it's easy to create 50 slides without really thinking things through. But if you are say, okay, you have one to three pages, of, of paper, you know, and , you have to convey your message in words that someone can understand just by reading them without you clarifying things. That forces you to think more deeply and really think your, your arguments through.
Hello and welcome to Tech Finance, where we help finance professionals leverage technology to level up their lives. I'm your host, Adam Shelton, and in this episode we're chatting with Christian Tik fp and a educator and founder of FP and a Prep. Christian is an FP&A leader with more than a decade of experience in leadership roles.
He started his career working for Fortune 500 companies like Procter and Gamble, Unilever, and Squarespace. Later on. Christian now leads his own education company where he teaches fp and a skills to finance and accounting professionals. He runs corporate trainings and a cohort based course called FP&A Bootcamp
Outside work, he enjoys hiking and camping trips with his family, and he has an 18 month old son who keeps him on his toes. That's for sure. I can identify a hundred percent with that. Um, but if you like what you're here today, make sure to subscribe to Tech for Finance on your favorite podcast platform and on YouTube.
And if you want to subscribe to Christian's free newsletter, head over to fpa prep.com. I've got that link right, haven't I? Yep. Um, and I'll post the link in the show notes as well, but it's, uh, it's great to have you on the show today. Christian, thanks for joining me.
Happy to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Yeah, no worries at all. So we'll go over to you. So you've got quite a, an interesting story of how you've ended up where you are today. So just a few minutes. Do you want to just take people through that? I think they'll be really interested to hear.
Sure, sure. So, um, I started my career in corporate finance, financial planning and analysis, um, working at consumer goods company called, uh, Procta Gamble.
I spent four years there and then seven years at another large consumer goods company, Unilever. And I was really fortunate that I had the chance to start my career there because consumer goods companies, they're, they're complex, you know, they have thousands of different products, you know, uh, you, uh, p and g has detergents and, and, uh, and, and tea and personal care products and, uh, paper products, you know, lots of different products.
And those products that need to be designed, they need to be new ones that they have to come out on, uh, every now and then, and they need to be produced and then stored and shipped. And so there's a lot going on, a lot of moving pieces. And that's great when you work in finance because it means that there is a lot that can, uh, go well.
A lot that can go not so well. You know? And the role of finance is to bring visibility to that and to show what's working, what's not working, what strategies are working, which strategies are not working, and what to change ideally to, to move the company forward. And so I had a chance to, uh, partner with different parts of the companies there.
Um, and I always, uh, preferred and, and chose the roles where I was working closely with the business because to me that's really where, um, what I enjoy most about working in, in fp and a is partnering with, let's say the, the sales team and helping them find a way to, yes, sell more but sell more profitably, right?
To find the right balance there or partnering with the marketing team and figure out how we can tweak the product and tweak our messaging to, to reach more people while again, keeping profitability in mind, et cetera. And, um, so I had a number of different roles there about every two years I moved into a different position inside of those companies because they're, they're large companies and.
When I was working at Unilever, I also had the chance to work in the learning and development team for finance. Now I've done that while I was leading, um, the, the fp and a team that worked on the marketing budget. And I also ended up leading the team. And that's where I first, um, really realized that I enjoy teaching, you know, because I developed Excel courses for my, for my fellow finance, um, colleagues.
And, um, I, I realized that it's just really rewarding to teach something to someone and then see their eyes light up when I get something, you know? And, and that really got me, got me hooked and got me thinking. And then a little while later, I was approached by, uh, Maven. It's a, it's a platform. It's a company where they help creators create, um, court based courses.
So there's a live courses. And they taught me how to translate what I, what I learned into a course, into an engaging experience, because I think it's really important for adults to, um, learn in a way that they can participate, that they can become active, that they can do, you know, role plays and case studies and exercises, quizzes.
And that's how I designed my course. I launched it in the end, uh, in, in the end of 2021. And yeah, I was, I was really blown away by how fast it grew. You know, I'm teaching financial planning and analysis skills to mid-career, early, mid-career, and also sometimes, um, late career fi, finance and accounting professionals.
Most of my students are in small, medium sized companies where, you know, they don't have a mentor, they don't have anyone to talk to about how to be more forward looking, how to do a forecast, how to build a budget, how to do analysis. And so they come and take my program and it has been growing and growing.
Now I've, I, I have, um, I recently celebrated my 300th student. And that also, you know, that really I've been thinking for a while on, on seeing if, if I, if I should make this witch and become an entrepreneur because it's a dream that I've had for, for a really long time. But I was always a bit hesitant, always a bit risk averse.
You know, I have finance background, a lot of people have finance background that are a bit risk averse. Um, and the what really ended up making a, a, a difference and gave me the confidence to, to make the leap and, and quit corporate America. What, where, um, conversations with a few entrepreneur friends that, that I have, you know, because originally my concern was always, well, you know, I have a, I have a great paycheck, you know, I, I was making a good amount of money and, uh, it's a stable paycheck.
And, um, why take the risk, you know, to quit that and, and traveling my own? But what I realized after talking to other entrepreneurs is being employed in a, in a, in a, in a salary job is also not free of risk. Right. And actually in the contrary, you could get laid off at any time. We've seen, I'm working in tech and we've seen, um, unfortunately many layoffs in the, in the tech industry recently.
And the thing is, when you get lot laid off on your job, you don't see it coming. You know, your performance may be great, you may think be thinking you're doing well and all of a sudden, you know, that's it. And on the other hand, when, when you're an entrepreneur, Especially when you like, take a close look at your numbers, you should be able to see when revenues are slowing down and when you know things aren't working and then you still have the chance to do something.
You know, it's in your control, at least to an extent to see, hey, maybe we can pivot, maybe we can try something else. Maybe we can try to reach a slightly different audience. And, um, yeah, so that really gave me the confidence to say, Hey, you know, the, there's a risk in everything. Working for a company isn't risk free.
And when I'm an entrepreneur, yes, there's different kinds of risk, but I have the ability to adjust and, you know, make, make the most out of it. And that's why I made the decision to leave corporate America. Amazing,
amazing. And I think that that probably speaks to a lot of our listeners that are looking to, um, diversify, shall we say.
Um, cuz it's, it's the same when you look at an investment portfolio, don't you? Um, I mean, e even if you, you know, decided to invest in the s and p 500, for example, or, you know, ftse um, over here in the uk, that portfolio isn't just one company, right? That's, that's an investment that's spread a lot across a, a lot of companies.
Right? Um, so why would you hedge bets with one employment? And, and we are seeing more and more of that sort of hide hus side hustle passion project type thing in the finance space. And I think. Yeah, there, there is a, a message to, to listeners and, and obviously we're not trying to put the fear in people here.
You know, we're not of course saying that, you know, because businesses are adopting technology, you're gonna get laid off. Not, not at all. I think, you know, technology creates opportunities as well as reducing some of them. But the, the messaging is always clear that, you know, if you are in one of those data admin, you know, operational type roles, you do need to be looking at ways to sort of move up the chain, as it were to some of those more strategic roles.
Um, but obviously it varies companies, company, um, and of course now it's becoming easier and easier, as you mentioned, to take the knowledge that's in your brain and make some, some money from it, right? So, so you are mastered a large amount of knowledge and Maven was your platform, right? Um, it's not the only one, you know, gum road, you know, there's, there's plenty that you can start producing guides, courses, and all of that sort of stuff.
One question that I had for you, and this is maybe more of a, a personal interest than an interest of the audience, but it comes down to what you mentioned about, um, learning style and people learning in different ways. And when you look at the different learning platforms, so, you know, you could buy a guide, you know, PDF document cause some people like to read, right?
Or you sign up to a, a set of videos, you know, a video course for example, which is, which is on demand. Or you do a cohort, which is a, a specific moment in time. So personally, I've always preferred more of the video based learning whereby I can log in and do it in my own time. I've never really entertained the concept of a cohort-based learning experience whereby, you know, it's a date you commit to the date and you learn with a group of peers.
So I don't know whether you can talk, and this may be relates to, um, some of the listeners challenge that are, you know, looking to upskill and that sort of stuff. Obviously you're an advocate of the cohort based training. What, what's the value there? Is it the fact that you are there with a bunch of peers and you can sort of bounce off of each other and you are all all learning at the same time?
Or can you talk us through that, some of the advantages of doing cohort versus some of the other learning mediums?
Yeah, absolutely. And also you, you, you mentioned diversification at the beginning as well, which, which ties into that. But I also wanted to highlight there that yeah, it is important to diversify and the advantage of diversification is it's you, you experiment and you may find things that work and some things that don't work, you know, so for example, I also recently released a video based course and I'm also coaching other, uh, entrepreneurs who want to create chord based courses.
But how that ties back to your question is I think people really need to. Also when it comes to learning, try to diversify their experience because I, I think, you know, court based courses are still up and coming. Probably many of your listeners haven't done that yet. So I would give it a try, but to your point, um, I don't think you can clearly say, Hey, one way of learning something is better than another one.
You know, it really depends on what you prefer. It also depends on the topic, and it depends on how much prior knowledge you have. So I can talk a bit about the, the advantages and disadvantages of each. Mm-hmm. So when it comes to a court based course, the advantage is that you have more accountability and it can be more engaging.
So the accountability piece is that with video courses, the data shows that majority of people don't finish a video course. You know, they, they, they start it, they're motivated at the beginning, but they don't, they don't finish it. With court based courses, it's different because they're, they're taught live over Zoom.
Yes. Or a different platform, but they're live over the internet. And you may have, um, a recording, but it is different when you attend live. And there are some things that you only get when you attend live, like participating, asking questions, um, discussing things in a small group with, with with peers, making connections with other peers, you know, building your network, et cetera.
And people know that if they don't, if they miss this workshop, then they won't ever, it won't ever come back. So they do join and they do make sure that they attend. You know, I have, um, have been a bootcamp. I have an 85% completion rate. So that's definitely an advantage of a core-based course. It also is an advantage if you're trying to learn something that benefits from practice, you know, and that's really, um, skill-based learning.
You know, if you, for example, you want to learn how to, um, have a negotiation with a business partner about a budget, let's say, without, um, while still building a relationship without coming across as to policing. That's something that needs practice. You know, you can read a book about it, you can, you can watch videos, but it's tough to learn a communication skill like that just from, from consuming, you know, you need to go out and try it and try different things and get feedback.
So we're doing that in the course. But there are also disadvantages to code-based courses. So for example, um, I love listening to audio books and to podcasts at 1.5 x speed, or my sometimes even to x speeded because there, there's, there are often there, no, no teacher will always serve you content that is always, you know, the most, um, perfect for your situation, right?
That's just impossible. So, uh, what I like about video courses is that you can speed them up, you can listen at two speed, you can skip things and you can easily get back to, uh, individual things. And that's really a big advantage to, of, of, of video courses, I would say. And, um, So it really comes down. And, and of course, usually video courses are also more affordable than court based courses, you know, that, that, that's another thing to, to consider.
You could do one court based course or maybe, uh, three or four, maybe even five, um, video based courses. So it really comes down to, to what you're looking for and yeah. So is it helpful in terms of the, the differences and advantages and disadvantages?
Hundred percent. And it's interesting what you said there about listening to something on, um, one and a half, two x speed.
Good. Cause I, I know a lot of people that, that do that, uh, that, that they're really good at that. For me, it doesn't work, you know, uh, and maybe it's, you know, I've got a bit of a music production background and, and to me, listening to somebody speak quickly, it just, it just sounds a bit unnatural. Um, so I, I really struggle with a person who, but I understand the advantages and it's, it's kind of the same concept as if you were to, um, I can't remember who, who's, uh, who talked about it.
Maybe Derek Sives on the, the Tim Ferris podcast or something like that. But, um, he, he very much, or whoever, it was very much encouraged. Don't think that you've gotta always do something from start to finish. Yeah. So take the example of an ebook, for example. You know, don't think that you've gotta read all of the background in the intro and all that sort of stuff, just cause you paid for it.
You know, skip to the, the piece that speaks to you. And, and I find that sidetracks are, well that shortcuts a lot of the work for me when I'm doing sort of, um, learning that, that way. Um, and of course if you get INL book, right, you know, and you download the book and it's rubbish, you can, you can give it back, you know, not, not quite the same for a cohort based course or, you know, for a video learning course unless there's a refund policy course.
But, um, yes, it, it just comes back to that point that you're making about how everyone has a different learning style. Um, so no, I think that's really valid and, and very useful for everyone. So, but coming back to the point there that you made, um, Strong finance business partnering piece, you know, so you used the example of, you know, maybe negotiating with another internal stakeholder or, you know, having that discussion.
So there's a couple of bits that I pulled out from that. Cause you also mentioned it in your journey that you'd, you'd be having to partner with other, other members of the business. Right. One thing that I'd stress, um, which was a pro of what you said on the, the cohort based training is, and we've mentioned this before, is practice does make perfect.
You know, and you see this in sales all the time whereby, you know, if you, if you cold call somebody without rehearsing beforehand, you're practicing on your customers, you know, and it's not necessarily the, the best approach. You don't wanna practice and fail on your customers and potentially damage relationships, you know, so the more that you can drill and practice ahead of time and putting a bit of a tech.
Piece on that. And again, one-to-one with a human is, is obviously very, very important. But as a starting point, you know, if you do want to do self-practice without either investing or, you know, having to find somebody to practice with, um, there's all sorts of tools now. Um, and I'll, I'll drop some of, in, in, in the show notes, I can't remember whether it was speech file or something like that, um, that are like AI coaches.
I mean, PowerPoint's got the, um, the presentation coach in it, hasn't it? And I, I spoke, uh, to super about that a, a while back whereby, or have a go at you if you're speaking too quickly, probably like I'm doing now. Um, and it will say if you are putting too many ums and ours and all of that sort of stuff in it.
So it's very easy to get a tool with some of the more, I, I guess basic soft skills whereby you are able to practice before you then commit to Right. Finding a, a one-to-one coach or going onto a cohort based based training. I mean, I dunno whether you've experimented with any, um, apps or anything like that, but I thought it'd be worth mentioning that, you know, the practice piece is becoming more and more important cuz you don't wanna end up in a meeting.
Having never presented to anybody in, you know, that, that sort of capacity before.
Yeah, no, I actually wasn't aware that PowerPoint has a feature where it listens to you and then tells you, you know, how many filler words you have. Definitely. I need to check that out. Thanks for sharing that.
Yeah, it's, it's fine.
And, um, It's interesting. I mean, it's still not perfect, right? Um, it used to only be available in the online version of, of PowerPoint, um, which is why a lot of people can find it. It's in, it is in the desktop version. Now, obviously you've gotta have, you know, the, the Microsoft 365 plan or whatever. It's, I don't know if it's, um, I think it, there's two buttons, uh, rehearse with Coach and then there's another one that does the AI piece.
And it's quite useful because it'll give you live guidance as you're practicing, but then it'll give you a little dashboard at the end that's like a, a, a stats and graphical representation of what you just did. And that's when it gives you sort of a one page feedback on, on how you've done so that you can then improve after that.
But as I say, there's endless apps that are voice coaches that you can download on your phone as well. Mm-hmm. But I guess that, that crosses over nicely into one of the, the topics that we had, which was a post you did recently, which in Big Red writing said PowerPoint is dead. And I don't wanna give too much away, but I think if I've understood correctly, the gist is, I dunno whether it's to do with attention spans, but it's the concept of having a massive presentation that is very difficult for people to digest.
And maybe people should be thinking carefully about how they can condense that information. So, I dunno whether you can explain a little bit more about what that was all about.
Yeah. So when you're working in fp and a and financial planning and analysis, your ultimate goal is to make recommendations about how to move the business forward, how to capitalize on opportunities or mitigate risks.
And oftentimes, in many companies nowadays, these, these, these recommendations are made with PowerPoint decks, you know, uh, a long presentation. I've also, you know, worked at companies where every month we would put together 50 slides. You know, that's, I'm, I'm still, I'm still doubtful that really everyone read each and every slide every time.
Um, and a lot of people aren't aware that there are alternatives and. The, the, so for example, a, a friend of mine recently joined Amazon and when he was in one of the first big meetings, he was surprised at, at the beginning of the meeting, no one was talking. Everyone was just looking down and seemingly reading something.
And that's because at Amazon they have a really strong one pager culture. So Jeff Bezos, Bezos, for example, is a big believer also that the PowerPoint, um, is in a sense too easy. You know, it's easy to create 50 slides without really thinking things through. But if you are say, okay, you have one to three pages, uh, of, of paper, you know, um, and you, you have to convey your message in words that someone can understand just by reading them without you clarifying things that forces you to think more deeply and really think your, your arguments through.
At p and g where, where I started my career at Procter Gamble was the same thing. You know, the general manager I worked at, he said he would not accept any recommendation, any piece of, uh, decision making, any decision me meeting where the recommendation doesn't fit on one piece of paper. So we ended up getting very good with small font sizes, creative use of space, et cetera.
But really the point is that a lot can be lost in PowerPoint and it's also, um, really summarization of whilst thinking, you know, that's where it comes down to with one pagers. But it's not just that. It helps you as the, as the writer, as the presenter. Making, um, better decisions. It's also, I would argue, a much more efficient use of other people's time because in a traditional presentation, you know, you have a meeting, maybe it's an hour long, you spend 50 minutes going through the slides, telling people what's on the slide.
Maybe giving a bit more background and then the last 10 minutes about questions and maybe, hopefully making a decision. But that's not the most efficient way to transfer knowledge, transfer information, because people may have different background, know, they may know some of the things you're presenting already, and that may differ by, uh, meeting participant.
And people usually also get things faster than, uh, the time it takes you to slowly walk through a slide. So if you give people the information ahead of time with a one pager or you know, a three page memo like it is at Amazon, then they can read it at their own time.
They'll, they'll go through, um, they can read skim quickly, the things that they already know, reread maybe the parts that they don't know, pre and prepare questions ahead of time even.
Mm. And then when you have the meeting, you spend it effectively, which is really having a discussion. Everyone's on the same page. Everyone knows the facts, the recommendations, the downsides, the pros and cons, and then you talk about it and you, you make a decision together. And another advantage from that is that it's easier to do post-launch analysis.
So with that, I mean, let's say you, um, you, you, you went through with the project and then half a year later you wanna look back and say, okay, everything we said ahead of time, all the financial analysis was done. How does it compare to reality? And when you have a 50 page PowerPoint deck, maybe also two, three versions of that, it can be difficult to find, you know, those assumptions and, and really what the agreements were.
With a one pager, it's much easier. And by the way, yes, it takes more thinking, it takes more effort to produce them, but it can also save a lot of time for the prepare, because you don't have to worry about formatting, you don't have to fiddle, you know, with font sizes, et cetera, do all in one pager. But I want to also, you know, caution a little bit in that, yes, I, I would definitely recommend people experiment with this, but it doesn't work in every situation.
So it works really well for making recommendations, trying to get a decision internally. But when it comes to board meetings, for example, or presentations with investors, I would caution against it and I would, uh, argue that, you know, that's a situation where you may want to consider sticking with PowerPoint.
And that's because with one pagers, you kind of have to let the cat out of the bag right away. You know, you have to put, and actually the recommendation is that's how p and g does it. You put your conclusion at the very beginning and you write it in a way that people could always, they get the most important messages first, and they can stop reading, you know, when they feel like they get it.
But when you have a board meeting or investor presentation, something like that, a high stake situation like that, sometimes you want to warm people slowly up or you up to an idea, or you want to, if you have bad news to share, maybe you want to first share the background on, on why that's the case, what happened, all the analysis you've done until you share the, the, the bad news.
And with the one pager, you know, you can't do that. You can slowly tell a story and build up a story. Um, and the other advantage of a presentation format is that visuals can be a bigger part of your storytelling. You know, you can have your, your graphs, you can explain what those graphs are. You can include graphs with a one pager, but they usually go in the appendix, or you maybe have one at the, at the beginning.
So if it's a very complex topic that's very multifaceted, where you have to look at it from many different angles, maybe a one pager isn't the right way to do it. But, you know, my, my point and the point of that, of that post is that it's way too few companies from, you know, what my, what my students and my, my coaching clients, et cetera.
What they tell me way too few companies, we even give one page was a shot. And that's really my recommendation here, is to see in which situations they can apply and just give it a try. It can save a lot of time for people and I believe a result in better decisions.
And I, and I think, I think that's the, that's the key, isn't it?
It's almost that decision prior to the meeting of what's, what's the best medium for this? Um, cuz as you say, you know, if you are trying to tell a bit of a story, if you're trying to sell something or sell an individual on, on a concept or, um, something that's happened, you, you're not gonna be able to do that in, in one page.
Um, but likewise, the. And I, so, so, a while ago, and it went out in the newsletter, I did, um, digital acceleration framework and, and the, the back of it, because we were talking about, um, you know, digital projects to improve communication, you know, and all of that sort of stuff. I did a bit of a, a communications matrix that said, look, pick your battles, right?
If it's really important and urgent, then sometimes a phone call will do, you know, we don't have to schedule end meetings and so on. And, and I think what we're talking about here is it is a similar thing. You know, what's the outcome? What information do we need to impart and how are we gonna deliver that in the most effective way?
And immediately, I'm sure loads of people are listening, are thinking, right, well, I've probably got two or three meetings in a week. Whereby we do go through 20 slides and it's literally just an update. You know, maybe not a huge amount that's actionable off the back of that, but obviously there is a high risk at the back end of that as people leaning back in their chairs, you know, scrolling through their phones or whatever, because you, you've lost that engagement because, you know, it's, that is the time for discussion and action rather than just displaying information.
Right. So I think, I think you're dead right on that. And I think also a word of warning for, from my perspective, cause of course on the show we're, we're all advocates of, of tech, right? And we know that generative AI chat gpt is a thing. And so anybody that's thinking off the back of this, um, well what if I just put the text from 20 slides into chat g pt, and get it to do a one pager for me?
Word of word of warning there because what we are talking about here is that critical thinking piece and they're kind of the elements that can't be trained. You can't really have an AI that really understands that, that core message, unless you've got a really, really good prompt. But no, that's that, that side, I think, yeah, as we always say, you know, use AI as maybe a bit of a sounding board, you know, cuz cuz they're, they're good at that, you know?
Um, give me some three examples of what a good one pager might look like. So you could use it for a bit of inspiration, but, um, anybody that's thinking of just, you know, generating a one pager from ai. I, I do so with a bit of caution, I did a post on LinkedIn, people have seen it before about using AI to generate basically 90% your presentation.
Um, and it's useful, but again, a word of warning with that is we do have the tools to essentially generate a presentation in its entirety, but there still needs to be that human involvement that says, right, well, what's the outcome of this? And what's the message that we want to get across? Right?
Cool. So I suppose, and we, we'll skip around a little bit, but there was another post that you did not too long ago that I, I found quite interesting and I guess this kind of relates, cause what we're talking about here is, you know, little skills that we polish and we ev uh, we evolve over time. Um, so your post was to do, uh, with compounding.
Yeah. So Einstein called it the eights wonder of the World, Warren Buffet attributes his success to it. And you spoke in that post about, um, compounding in creating the right habits. So I dunno whether you can talk about that a little bit. Cause I think listeners will find that interesting too.
So the, the. What's behind compounding is you do something consistently for a long time, and in the beginning it may seem like it's not really doing much, it's not really moving the needle, but if you stick with it, it can make a huge difference in the end because it builds on top of each other and the, the rate of the acceleration is, uh, can be exponential.
You know, because you, you, you're, you're always building on, uh, more and more building blocks until, you know, you're, you're, you're able to move mountains. And so it really fascinated me that this is so, um, how this principle works in finance. You know, Warren Buffett, um, famous investor says that really, you know, this is really, I.
But people sometimes underestimate because it does seem like it doesn't, it moves slowly. In the beginning it doesn't seem like much, but if you just stick with investing or, you know, other things can make a difference. And so I thought, okay, maybe there's a way that we can apply this in FPNA too. And, and I really thought about, okay, what are all the skills?
What are, what, what are some habits that if you focus on them consistently, they move you forward in, in, in a big leap eventually. And I came up with three areas specifically that I think if you focus on that a little bit every day, just a tiny little bit makes a difference. The first one is automation, second one is business understanding, and the third one is communication.
Now I think really those three are huge, and I'm happy to dive a bit deeper into those. So automation means we're, Um, we are looking at our process and tr looking for things that are repetitive, looking for things that, um, are just, you know, manual time consuming tasks that don't really add value. What do I mean with not adding value?
So let's take an example. Let's take consolidation, right? Let, let's say you have multiple legal entities and you need to create a financial reporting that combines all the financials of those legal entities. Um, I argue that that's an activity that's not adding value. When I say that, people always say, but wait a minute, isn't it important to consolidate your financials?
Like, isn't it important to look at the business comprehensively? Yeah, it's important, but what I mean with it's not adding value is if you spend more time on, uh, consolidation, it doesn't result give you a better result. You know, because it's either, it ties, either it works or it doesn't. And so I would encourage you, you to look for activities that are like that.
You know, things that if you spend more time on them, it's not driving the business forward. And all of these activities are ripe for automation. But I think, and, and I'm also curious to hear, Adam, what do you think? Because you have a lot of experience in this, in this topic. I think that sometimes people are a bit scared to invest into automation because they're unsure of, uh, how much work it will take upfront.
Will it really be worth it? You know, what if it doesn't work, how do I fix it, et cetera. So, I would, that's why I think it's a, a nice approach also that works for compounding because there are small things you can do in your, in your day-to-day job that don't require hours and hours and hours of upfront investment, you know?
But small tweaks, for example, going through your Excel files and checking if you're ever copying something from one Excel sheet to another, you should never do that. There need to be better ways, um, to do that. For example, um, you could record a quick macro that moves the numbers from one sheet to another one.
You can see if you can change the process and how the data comes in so you can go directly to the source rather than skipping through files. I wouldn't recommend linking Excel files, by the way, because that always tends to break sooner rather than later. And usually at the worst moments, right when you need to submit something.
Um, so that's automation. So that's how compounding works for automation when it comes to business understanding. Um, that's a critical piece because it's very difficult to build to fully understand a business overnight. You know, we're working in, in complex environments, a lot of moving pieces, different departments, but at the same time, it's critical, especially when you're working in an fp and a to build that business understanding, because that's how you can do more than focus on your narrow, uh, finance process.
And, you know, you can do, that's how you can do more than cut budgets and update forecasts, but it doesn't happen overnight. So what I would encourage people is go out, talk to, talk to people, talk to business partners, uh, to learn more about the company. And people ask me, okay, but what should I talk to them about?
What should I ask them? And the question that works really well for me, worked really well for me in the past is say, Hey, um, what would you like to know to make better decisions? In an ideal world, you know, assuming that we have perfect access to data, you know, unlimited resources, and that's usually really interesting what people talk about then, because sometimes people have these, um, these, these, uh, mindsets where, okay, this is just not possible.
We don't have the time, we don't have the money, we don't have the tech. But when you say, Hey, tell me in a ideal world, when would you need to know what often there is a way that finance can help and get those numbers, get those metrics, those KPIs, and um, that does two things, right? You learn more about the business, you learn more about what your business partners need and would like to know to make better decisions.
And you can build the relationships because you're, you're showing that you want to help and maybe you're even able to help them. Um, so that's business partnering. When it comes to communication, it's just such a broad topic and a topic that even if you're very skilled at writing emails, giving presentations, everyone can always, uh, improve when it comes to communication.
And so I would always encourage people to not try to reinve, reinvent the wheel there, but, and, but really look at what have other people written about that, whether other people sharing on social media about communication, because there's a lot of great, um, there are a lot of great sources out there to learn more.
And so if you learn a little bit about communication, every day can also compound massively. So yeah, in a nutshell, uh, the three things that people should focus on every day when they want to make use of compounding is automation. Building a business, understanding and learning more about communication.
Perfect. No, that's, that's excellent. And, and thanks for the, the summary there. It's, it's really good. And I think before we move on from communication, cuz you asked a question about, you know, my perspective on automation. We can, we can come back to that, but on the communication piece, I think what I've learned recently is we are all guilty of living in our own local worlds.
Especially if we worked at a company for, for a while. Um, and we get used to what we do every day and we build the habit of acting like we do every day. And that's, that's what is often most difficult to, to break, you know. But in finding ways to make little changes over time, you kind of, I wouldn't say pushing yourself outside your, your comfort zone, but you're encouraging yourself to look outside the four walls of, of the job that you work in.
Right. And what's often helped me is going through phases where I will read, um, watch videos or do whatever to try and understand what's going on in different industries, you know, what different people are doing to, to solve similar challenges. So the communication piece there, um, there's a lot to be learned.
Um, Newspaper editors, copywriting, you know, um, going back to the traditional mechanism, you know, of attention, interest, desire, and, and action. When you look at those, you know, 1 0 1 marketing principles, they, they can filter into the ways that we communicate. Because if we are trying to deliver a message similar to what we are talking to, or, you know, people will remember you if you capture their attention and generate interest as part of that process.
Right. And, you know, it may seem a little bit, um, counterintuitive for finance teams to then read up on marketing, but I think nowadays, especially with smaller teams, that having to develop a broader range of skills, I think you need, you do need to read wise, uh, read widely. And I think that was a recommendation that came from, uh, Christian France Hansen on the second ever podcast, um, when we were looking at fi finance business partnering.
So yeah, absolutely. Right. You know, a, a little, a little bit of reading on different types of communication, even if it's not to do with finance and it's a completely different industry and, and sector i'd, I'd encourage that just cause it'll encourage you to think a little bit differently. Um, We're coming back to the automation piece and, and it's really tricky now and, and we're in a world now where there are so many different applications and so many tech companies that revolving overnight is so difficult to even know where to look.
Right. And I speak quite vocally. Um, I was on the, um, the finance master audio show, uh, last week with, um, Anders from, from Business Partnering Institute, and I spoke quite vocally there about, um, the concept of AI anxiety, which I think a lot, lot of people identify with. Because even as somebody who's a, you know, quote unquote expert in the space, it still gives me anxiety because every day I think there's know way I can keep up.
You know what, what's going on? What do I focus my intention on? What do I do? What do I don't do? So the first piece of this is for people to maybe not worry too much because everybody's got the same problem. And as I always say, when it comes to AI and automation, chances are that the applications that you use already, you know, Microsoft Co copilot and some of the stuff going on at Google, they'll likely be built into the applications that you use every day.
And going back to that point that I mentioned earlier about, you know, taking a 20 point, a 20 page PowerPoint presentation, chucking it into a generative AI platform, asking you to spit out a one pager, that's an example of AI B being used as a copilot. And we'll see that ASM with Microsoft's copilot, you know, open a Word document, you know, type in, can you create me a template for a performance review or something like that, and it will spit you out the structure.
So I think that's a really good use case for basic automation to soak up some of that really low level admin stuff that is, there is just no value in. So that, that aligns with your point earlier there, Christian. I think the next thing that people need to, to look at when they look at namely their time.
Cause that's the most important bit. And I've got a question to you about you, cause you were on a session about, uh, speeding up month and close not too long ago. So I'll ask, I'll ask you a question about that in a second. But we need to look at our jobs and think, right, well what are the short term objectives versus the long-term objectives?
Because long-term you might come to the realization that the systems in the setup that you have at the moment just won't scale. Yeah. Um, you've got, you know, basic finance system and half ton of spreadsheets, right? And, and that's not uncommon. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. But if you do want to grow substantially as a company, you do need to have systems that are gonna scale.
And, and everybody knows that. But the problem is finding the time to implement, change business process, and get everybody singing from the same hym sheet. And coming back to that business partnering piece, the finance team might know a hundred percent that the tools that they have access to aren't gonna facilitate that, that scale up, but other members of the business might not be bought into that yet.
So sometimes you've just got to accept, we've gotta work with what we've gotta work with and changing our foundational systems that aren't just, aren't gonna work. So that might be a long-term play that we've got to have consideration for, but what are the short-term wins that we can get from an automation perspective?
And you, you mentioned a couple of Excel tricks that, that you can do there, Christian, but I'd always recommend mapping. The processes that you have. And sometimes just time finding, the time mapping the processes a is a little bit, little bit difficult. But as I spoke to ab uh, Abhijit about in the last podcast, I think 80 20 is an analysis mechanism is still just as relevant today as it always has been, whereby you look at your tasks on a daily basis and you say, right, what, what are the 20% of tasks that produce 80% of my results?
Right? So once you've got all of your tasks together, you then rank them to say, right, which of the high value activities and which are the low value activities? Because until you've got that from not just a business perspective, but from a personal level as well, you are not gonna know what to automate and what not to automate.
But once you've got your list, you can take the bottom activities and then you've got decision to make. And again, in the show with Abhi, I'd mentioned the concept of AI sourcing as well as outsourcing because there's some activities that you still could outsource to a human, you know, in, in a, an area of the, the world, the, the rates are lower, you know, so whether it's Bangladesh or the Philippines or wherever, those admin data entry jobs, there's still people that can do that, whereby it still requires a human eye as opposed to an AI technology.
So that's still valid. But then on the AI sourcing, um, piece, as I mentioned previously, you know, you can have a foundational presentation set up in seconds with an AI presentation tool. You know, I'm, I'm not advocating a particular tool, but that at least will do 50% of the structural work for you so that you can then input the, the rest of it.
It's the same with working with spreadsheets. You know, um, chat Gpt or Bard now, um, will quite easily, you know, spit out a load of code that you can use to, to merge spreadsheets together. Do you see what I mean? So once, once you've got those low value tasks and they need to be really, really granular down to the, I'm copying and pasting this every week, that's when you can start thinking, right, well what's the best way for me to do that?
So once you've got those short-term objectives that free up your time, you've then freed up time so that you can then focus on more of the long-term stuff. And the long-term stuff could be adopting more tech. But until you free up your time in the short term to be able to do that, you're not gonna be able to, to bite off the bigger chunk, which is full on transformation.
So, I dunno whether that's useful or not, but, There we go. Does
that make sense? That makes, that makes a lot of sense. And you know, you're right that there are now so many tools to, to automate things. To automate processes. But what I wanted to remind people off of is also that before you think about automating something, um, that shouldn't be your very first step.
The first step should be, Hey, is this, do I even need this thing? You know, you mentioned 80 20. Do I even need this, this, this, uh, model, this slide, this, this process, and eliminate it. Because we don't want to automate something that we don't really need. And oftentimes things keep building up and people sometimes, you know, don't take the time to look at what do I even need in terms of reporting, slides, analysis, et cetera.
Then the next stop step, uh, I'd argue should be simplifying things, you know, also before you're automated, because you don't want to automate an inefficient process. Ideally, you know, you want to make sure that the outputs are all needed and all, um, uh, targeted and simplified enough to the, to the objective you have, and then you mo move toward, towards automation.
Um, yeah, that's just some additional thought I had about that
esa. Eliminate, simplify, automate. There we go. Got enough? Yeah. Yeah. So this kind of ties together. So obviously in finance there are some repeat activities that we can't get rid of. Um, you know, so month end we need to generate reports. We need to box off those operational activities, whether, whether it's recs, corrections, you mentioned consolidation earlier, which could, could form part of month end.
Um, so. I dunno how, I dunno whether it was an exclusive webinar that you're on or who attended, um, when you did have that session on speeding at month end close, but were there any sort of nuggets of information, any sort of recommendations that came from that session that you think would be useful?
Yeah, I can share a few things.
So part of the month end close process for fp and a is preparing management reporting deck. You know, that's a, that's a longer document. Uh, talked about one pages before. Still 90% of companies do it in PowerPoint forms. So that's what I'm focusing on now. Yeah. Um, and there are some tricks that I learned where you can, um, save time there speeding things up, um, without really having to commit to new tools, not just things that you can do with, with the process and how you're doing things.
One thing, one complaint that people have is that there are just too many slides. They have 50, 60, 70 slides they have to create every month. And so, A few things that I learned over time. What can help reduce that is, um, when you ask people, when you ask your business partners or maybe even your boss, Hey, which slide can we eliminate?
Sometimes there's not coming much. You know, they, they, they, they're hesitant. They don't really know what to say. So I would, I wouldn't ask that question. I would ask them, Hey, which slides would you like to keep taking it from that angle? And then usually they'll say, oh yeah, for sure this one, this one, this one.
But it's often fewer slides than you would expect. Um, and then you can move the others in the appendix and then, and then eventually eliminate. That's one thing. And the other thing that's maybe a little bit more extreme, but it can work really well is run what they call a skip test. Mm-hmm. So when you're preparing the slides, you probably have an idea for which slides are less useful, less often, you know, discussed.
Just don't include them in a deck. And, but that, I don't mean don't prepare them because, you know, people may know this and ask questions or I, I, I prepare them, but I don't share them in the deck. I just have them ready in case they get a question and then see what happens. Now, see if people ask for it, if anyone asks for it, oftentimes people don't.
And I would keep preparing it for a few cycles, for a few months if you have monthly reporting, and then you can, uh, eliminate them. So that's, that's a way in how you can reduce the number of slides. That's one way to save time. Um, another way that you can save time for your, with your month end closes, often you get last minute requests.
You know, when, let's say your, your management reporting deck is due, um, a week or, or two weeks after the, the close of the month. Um, You may have some slides at a standard, but usually there are always, you know, new things you, you want to look at. And often it happens that you, you um, you get some requests for additional slides a day or two before the deadline.
And it can be stressful, you know, people have to stay there, stay late, uh, try to somehow scramble something together quickly. But there, there are ways you can avoid that. And one way that worked really well for me in the past is creating what I call a shell. A shell is, um, um, an outline of your presentation where you have the slides and you maybe put the headline on it.
You say what it will show later on, but you don't take the time yet to create the visualizations, create all the reports, update all the numbers. You just have a, have one line about what the slide will show. And then I shared that with the key stakeholders and with, with, uh, with the leaders of the company and say, Hey, you know, this is what I'm planning to put together.
Does this make sense? Do you like to add something? And usually that's much easier for people to rea respond to because if you just ask someone, Hey, is there anything you want differently this month? Anything in addition, oftentimes people say no. But then when it gets close to the deadline, some ideas come up and you know, they share them with you.
But if you give them something to look at and to review and to go through, it's much, you make it much easier for them to, to, to come up with things that they would like to see and, and give you that early so they can make a, a really big difference. Yeah. Those are just two, just a few points that, uh, I'm, I'm, I'm teaching when I talk about speeding up your monthly close.
interesting. And, and I've, I've never thought of it on those lines in terms of doing what is required to. I guess the, the minimum level of understanding before then spending the rest of the time in up in updating everything. So yeah, I think, think you're absolutely right. Sometimes we've gotta help ourselves and make our life easier, especially if we know that there's gonna be something coming up just, just before.
Um, so I think that's really valid. I think the, the feedback that I tend to get when, when we talk about month end and it's, it's slightly different to the, the topics that you've just spoken about there is finance tend to have it working, you know, pretty well. You know, especially if it's an established business.
Month end tends to be a well, well-oiled machine, right? Um, unless your systems are fundamentally wrong and, um, you know, we do need to reinvent the wheel, but as I say, we won't talk about that. But the, the bottleneck is often waiting on information from other departments and it's tricky because you can't control the point at which you might have data from another member of the team.
Right. You know, so, um, I dunno, take a construction business, right? You know, we, we can't move onto the next stage month and until we've got time sheets from, you know, whoever you know, has, has done the job or done the site work or, you know, just, just an example there. Um, and I've been thinking more and more recently about how to make that user journey a little bit easier for finance teams that are needing that information.
And one example, slightly different, and it's not directly month end, but speaking to a bookkeeper not too long ago, um, and we were having a chat and, and I asked him, you know, What information do you wait on? Where do you find most of the bottlenecks are? And he says, well, before I produce the month end reports, I need a certain amount of detail from my customers before I can compile everything for them.
And I just feel like I'm chasing them all the time, you know, closer and closer to the deadline. Um, and then everything's, as you say, last minute and I'm spending nights on it or whatever. I think. And we won't mention any tools here, I think. There is, going back to that automation piece, an element of automation that we can apply to sending messages to people.
I'm not talking about, you know, half a ton of automated emails or anything like that, but in his example, it'd be easy for him to set up a tool that basically just sends a reminder to the appropriate person a certain set of stages, similar to if you're doing your, um, your Dunning and your credit collection and that sort of stuff, you know, you've just got a cadence of messages that goes to the individual that says, Hey, I'm expecting this information for you by this date.
You still think that's gonna be okay? Or do we need to, you know, do we need to do something about it essentially? And I think there's maybe some opportunities in finance if you are waiting from, from other people to start implementing some of that. I've heard of finance tools sometimes using, um, project management tools like monday.com or click up and that sort of stuff.
And they almost run their month as like a mini project. You see what I mean? Where you've got assignees and then one of the assignees might be a different department. So not directly related to what you've just said there. Um, and again, I've not spent enough time with companies that using those mechanisms to determine whether that speeds things up or not.
But I think comes back to your piece about communication there. If you're giving people enough notice on what you're expecting from them, and you give them an easy mechanism for them to give you that information, that isn't another one of the thousand emails they've got in their inbox, you know, it can sometimes help the process too.
I don't know whether you've seen any of that.
Yeah, no. You're, you're bringing up a, a. Super common challenge that accountants and also fp a professionals face, um, which is that, yeah, people have different agendas, but may be your number one priority. You know, closing the books, doing all that. It's just a small sub priority that of other people where they have lots of other things on their plate that they think they need to prioritize.
And so what I learned over the years, what makes a big difference is, is, is two things. One is, um, making sure that people understand why you need the information at a certain point of time, why it's important. Uh, that's often neglected. You know, people just say, Hey, that's a deadline. You have to stick to the deadline.
Yeah. But people, people are people and they want to understand things. People are, you know, naturally curious, but also when something makes sense to someone and they understand, okay, it just. Always takes three days to do this because A, B, and C. And if, if, if I don't share it at this point in time, then all these other later things that are related, uh, are late too.
And when people understand that one, it's more salient, you know, it's, it's easier to remember. And two, they're more likely to, and it helps them prioritize because then they understand the repercussions of not doing it. Then they can compare that to what would be repercussions of if they did delay something else on their plate.
And they may come, hopefully come to the conclusion that they should rather delay something else on the plate rather than being laid to you. That's number one. And the other one is nudging, because, um, so nudging means reminding people that something is coming up and that you need something and why you need something.
And that's also something that I see sometimes people struggle with because they think, oh, it's rude if I send people reminders or follow up. But, um, it's actually not, it's actually helpful because people have so much on their plate, they're getting so many, um, requests everywhere. It is sometimes difficult to keep track of things.
By sending reminders, you're making it easier for people, you know, you're essentially, um, taking something off their plate because you're taking the piece of the plate that is, okay, I need to keep track of everything. I have to calend, have to have calendar reminders everywhere you're taking it off and you're doing it for them by sending them reminders.
So if you do it nicely, if you do it in a professional way, that can also make a big difference. Very valid.
Yeah, very valid. And, and it reminds me of, um, a message I got a few days ago from, from, from one of the team and, um, I, I didn't even know you could do this. So, so obviously I mentioned some of the project management apps, which could be overkill, you know, especially if your month end close isn't particularly complex, you know, so again, going back to what Christian was saying earlier, you know, eliminate or simplify before you do anything.
You know, don't, don't turn it into a bigger project than it actually needs to be. But I got a teams message from him, um, dead on half past four, reminded me to do something. Um, and I messaged him back saying, I've already done this. Why have you reminded me about it? And he'd set, uh, the, he'd basically set a delay on his team message.
So this is Microsoft Teams. So what you'd done is he drafted a message and he said, schedule for later. And I didn't even know you could do that. So in theory, you know, you could do that for multiple messages, right? You could just say, right, we'll schedule a reminder a week from now and two weeks from now, so it ends up in this, I'm sure Slack offers, you know, might offer something similar as well.
So there's little things like that whereby you might just wanna have a look at the systems you're using already to say, right, well, is, is there a way that I can make things easier for myself? So I think, I think that's really about, yes,
just reminding me of that. Absolutely. I think nudging is a great area where you should rely on tools.
Yeah. And we should rely on, uh, you know, smart tools, smart reminders, because yeah, that just takes the, the uncomfortableness off the plate. And, uh, you just need to make sure that people don't ignore, ignore it, because they, they know it comes from a machine and doesn't come from a person. Sometimes, you know, you, you, you can't replace walking over to someone's desk and say, Hey, I just wanted you to know that this is coming out.
But yeah. Can definitely help a lot. Yeah, a hundred
percent. And that's, that's also why I'm not an advocate of AI generated emails. Um, mm-hmm. I appreciate we're coming up to time, so we'll let you go in a bit Christian, but, um, That, that was one of the, the big things that people started talking about when Chat g p t was first released.
Right. Um, if you get an email copy and paste the email and say, you know, um, draft an appropriate response for this. Right. And it's, it's just my perspective. I, I don't agree with that. Yeah. Because, um, to me, you're taking the human element out of it in your, you're basically saying there indirectly, I'm not interested enough to reply to you myself, you know, so, so I don't, I don't necessarily agree with that.
I think there's times where you might wanna have a blanket response for rinse and repeat stuff, and it's probably a conversation for another day. But coming back to what you said there earlier about last minute requests for stuff, I think there's an argument we do have the tools now. Um, we just need to be sensitive with data because of course, um, you know, that is a course of concern with a lot of these AI tools now is, is the data secure?
So I always preface any of this by saying, make sure that you check the small print with any of the tools that you provide to make sure that they're compliant from, from a data perspective. I think when you look at some of the stuff that the, the guys at Stir are doing with their, uh, C F O chat, um, and some of the other data to chat tools, for lack of a better term, I think there's an argument to say that if you do have repeat reporting or repeat questions that are asked, that you can give somebody else access to a subset of the data.
So if people are asking those simple questions saying, oh, can I have an update on this? Or, can you send this report? Instead of them having to come to you every time for the basic stuff that's at the very bottom of your 80 20 analysis, you just give them a facility to chat to the data to answer their own questions.
That concept isn't new. That's been around since service desks existed. You know, from a support perspective, you know, knowledge bases, you know, instead of having to speak to a human, just search the knowledge base. And I think it's now becoming easier and easier for you to create your own internal knowledge base, which then reduces reliance on people that are trying to do the value add stuff, but still allows other members of the business to self-serve.
So it's just one last thing that I, I wanted to mention whilst we're talking about that,
that sort Great point. Great point, great point. Yeah. That's also, that's also an important objective I think of, of finance fp and a, is to empower people so they can access the data that they need at the right time, which also includes training, right?
Because you, you can't just throw data at people. You need to make sure that they know how to interpret it, know how to differentiate good and that data. But that to me is also, uh, responsibility for fp n s. So, yeah. And, and how, how people can have a, make a big difference and have an impact in the company is by.
Creating, giving people that access to the right data at the right time.
Absolutely. And don't think if you do the sort of stuff that you know, you are, you are putting your own job at risk. Because I say the, the, the sole aim of all of this is so that we can be more useful to the business. We're not trying to cut ourselves out, we're just trying to repurpose that stuff so that we can concentrate on the stuff that matters.
A hundred percent. And that's also I think really where, um, when you look at the trajectory that AI in finance is, is, is taking, is definitely, it will be become more and more prominent. There will be tools, uh, where you can ask, you know, your AI assistant, Hey, you know, uh, revenue dropped by by 10% versus forecast last month.
Why is that? Right? And, and we'll come up with something. But it doesn't mean that you don't need financial analysts anymore because you still need to do the interpretation and you need to do the, the selling of the information essentially to the rest of the business. So they understand it, they understand applications and they understand what, you know, this means for the company and what you should do.
Yeah. You'll, and that to me is the fun part of finance. Yeah. You know, the part that actually is rewarding and interesting is, is taking the insights and see if you can have an impact with that. Yeah.
That's, that's it. Cuz you, you're no longer just regurgitating data. You're helping the business take action, you know, B because otherwise it's irrelevant.
Right. You know, data without action, you know, there's, there, there's no point in having it. Right. So, no, very good.
Um, so the, the last question I tend to ask Christian, it wasn't in the, the topics, I'm, I'm sorry, but, um, obviously the podcast called Tech for Violence, I often ask people whether they've got a favorite phone app or a gadget or piece of software.
It could be like a, a Google Chrome extension or something like that, that they, they use all the time that they literally couldn't live without. I dunno what yours would be.
Yeah. So my favorite piece of software that they use all the time is, uh, notion. So, so for those of you who don't know Notion, it's um, It's a note taking app, but it's much more than that because it's basically a way you can create databases really easy with, with your, your insights.
And I use it as a second brain essentially. So whenever I learn something, I write it down a notion. Whenever I take notes on a book or a podcast, I do that in notion, uh, whenever I have an idea about something I want to try in the future, I, I, I put it there. And so it makes it really easy to get to everything.
It makes it really easy to capture things, and you can also connect things. You can have automations and notion. It, it's a, it's a really cool tool that takes some time to learn, you know, because it's a blank canvas when you open it. You can do lots of things with it. Yeah. But I definitely think that it's worth it because yeah, it's a very powerful tool for knowledge management.
send you an, uh, a link as well, and I'll put it in the show notes, but, Chat briefly to Abijit on the past, past podcast about this. There's a guy, um, I'm not affiliated with him yet. He's not giving me a kickback or anything like that. I think he's called Thomas J. Frank. And he's like a notion guru, so I use a load of his templates.
Um, so I don't know whether you've heard of him before. Um, but he's, I
did. He's great. Yeah, I follow him as well. Yeah. Very good. Cool. So where can people also not affiliated with notion, by the way?
That's fine. We we should be though. Cause we talk about it all the time. All good. So where, where can people find out more about you,
Um. Yeah, so people can subscribe to my newsletter. It's called fp n a Tuesday. Every Tuesday I send, um, three insights, three ideas from me about fp n a, two quotes from others because I think there's also fantastic experts out there. Um, I, I, I was able to include some of your content in there as well. A few times, Adam and Will definitely in the future.
And then one infographic. So three insights from me, two quotes from others, one infographic so that the goal is set. Every week, finance and accounting professionals learn what, at least one, one new thing from subscribing to my newsletter. It's free and you can find firstname.lastname@example.org. Now it's like financial planning and analysis.
FPA prep.com. Perfect. And
your LinkedIn as well. I'll put link to your profile. People
can also follow me on LinkedIn, of course. Yeah. Regularly post, uh, on LinkedIn as well.
It's Christian tig, which is w a double t i g. So if people wanna search, if they're listening on audio, please do that. Perfect. Thanks so much for coming on, Christian.
It's been amazing.
Thank you, Adam. I really appreciate, uh, you having me? Yeah, no worries
at all. And hopefully get to do it again sometime. Perfect. See you later.