Ahead of his presentation at the FP&A Innovation Summit in San Diego on February 6 & 7, we spoke to Larry Bitton, Vice President Finance at Allergan.
Larry is an experienced financial leader with over twenty years of financial planning and analysis expertise. He is a strategic partner with key executives and their teams to meet short and long-term organizational objectives. Larry has a proven track record in progressive leadership and highly analytical roles at prominent organizations with successful financial results, development of teams, and adherence to financial controls.
Can you tell us a bit about how you got started in finance and what first sparked your interest?
Grandma told me I was good with numbers.
How has the finance function’s role changed over the last decade? What do you see as having been the main drivers behind this?
Finance continues to be more of a partner and trusted advisor. It's good to be relied upon, especially given continued pressures on performance and insights.
Do you think executives’ perceptions of finance leaders as accountants still prevent them taking up a role as a strategic partner in their organizations? If so, how can they overcome this?
Sometimes in FP&A we are called bean counters or accountants. I go out of my way to say FP&A is separate from accounting as we look to the future vs just summarizing up the past.
What do you see as being the most important thing to consider when forecasting during a period of sustained growth? What else can finance leaders do to drive growth?
Good to understand drivers in the marketplace, share, and investments being made to quantify basis for growth. And then be able to measure against these assumptions and continue to adapt forecasting approach. Finance should have a continued interest in learning products and business along the way to keep connected and build relationships to ensure in sync/partner with executive team for growth.
What new technologies do you see as having the most impact on budgeting, planning and revenue forecasting in the future? You often hear solutions providers make disparaging remarks about Excel, but does it still have a role to play?
Forecast tools that are user friendly and easy to update & run ad hoc queries. Not sure I’d move away from excel so potentially suggestions to do so may need to be better balanced to get attention of audience.
What do you foresee being the major risks you face at your company in the near future? What do you think presents the greatest challenges for finance leaders over the next year? Do you have strategies in place to overcome these?
Continued improved performance, staying close to the score of the business, and ensure pathway to transparency.
What will you be discussing in your presentation? Is there anyone else you are particularly looking to hear from?
Presenting Effective Cost Management. Interested to hear about The Development of Financial Leadership, Finance Transformation, Role of Finance in A Shifting Business Environment, & Managing the FP&A Dynamic.
You catch Larry's presentation at the FP&A Innovation Summit in San Diego on February 6 & 7.