I read some 100-120 books annually, I skim probably a hundred others. I read dozens of whitepapers and journals just to keep my mind sharp during any 12-month period. While FP&A bleeds every beautiful color in my veins, books on the topic generally range from being dull to lifeless. That’s why our team started scoping out FP&A Directors to interview for our podcast. Our first selection included some luck and did not disappoint.
Who is Daniele Martins?
As of February 2021, we’ve released just shy of 50 episodes of the CFO Bookshelf podcast. Since day one, I wanted to talk to FP&A accelerators, multipliers, and the financial polymaths in this field.
What better way to do this than to interview the people doing the work every day – they are the guinea pigs of financial excellence. That is, they are testing and trying new technologies and methods over time and sticking to what works while maintaining an open mind to new ideas.
And that’s where Daniele Martins enters the picture. I came across her name by random chance on my LinkedIn board. I rarely if ever do this, but I looked at her profile. After scanning her work history, my first thought was, “Interview her.”
If you watched the show The Newsroom, the last episode in season one is The Greater Fool. There’s a scene where the main character sees a face in the newsroom he’s seen before but cannot remember where. When he does remember, he challenges her with the same question that nearly ruined his reputation from the first episode. “Hire her,” were the two words that made that show special for many reasons.
Unlike the wanna-be broadcast journalist in that show, Daniele is not a Greater Fool. Instead, she’s a Greater FP&A Leader and I’m predicting we’ll hear her voice more often within the greater FP&A community.
Daniele Martins Interview Highlights
If this is your first listening experience of a CFO Bookshelf show, then you’ll notice some symmetry to each episode, but it’s purposely subtle – I don’t want to be predictable.
During this conversation, I wanted to know if FP&A found her, or if she found FP&A. Her views on Excel may seem to contradict what other writers criticize when they address the weaknesses and challenges of using spreadsheets.
We explore her team’s evolution of budgets to forecasts and then back to budgets.
Furthermore, we talked about one of my favorite topics – the mind of a young FP&A pro and her 60% People Principle.
Overall, we break the conversation into 3 buckets – technology, methodologies, and people. Our conversation around people is gold.
Daniele’s Background and Current Work
- has a current team of 8 spread across the globe – Australia, Denver, New York, Chicago, London, and where she works, Brazil
- Loved work at Disney as a young financial analyst
- the two types of FP&A professionals
- FP&A still not that well known in Brazil
10 Years Later, What’s Different about FP&A?
- business leaders now view FP&A team members as partners and there to help and support them
- no longer just a financial-oriented person – now understand the full business
- speak the same language as the management and leadership teams
- not just a financial leader but an operational leader
Excel – Good, Bad, or Ugly?
- Daniele has a unique perspective on the use of spreadsheets
- 2 sides to Excel
- not as bad as we might think it is
- it’s flexible, and modeling needs flexibility
ETL – Easier or Harder?
- it’s still … (sorry, no spoilers)
- datawarehouse solution always a goal
- means spending less time grabbing data from multiple systems
- is the ‘A’ in FP&A still weak?
- do you agree with Mark’s mantra, ‘have an answer before the question is ever asked?’
- views on budgeting and forecasting
- is your process collaborative?
- views on Beyond Budgeting
- the 6-month line of sight perspective
- monthly vs weekly forecasts
- the difference between a fixed and an agile mindset in budgeting and forecasting
- the need to quit focusing on only technical skills – that has to change
- favorite words – open, flexible, reliant, sharing with others
- ongoing education in areas beyond finance is important
- what is the beginner’s mind?
- from business partner to challenger – requires vulnerability
- learning to ask the right questions
- the 60% principle (brilliant!)
Daniele’s Favorite Books
I ask every guest about their favorite books. What impressed me the most is that there is not a single finance book on this list. Great picks, Daniele.
- Daniele’s LinkedIn Profile
- ThoughtWorks website
- Putting the A Back in FP&A with Automated, Integrated Planning by Dave Kellogg (Mark’s favorite blog writer)
- EPM, Project Orion, and the Beginner’s Mind, also by Dave Kellogg
- Looking for a primer on ETL, one of our topics during our conversation with Daniele? Consider ETL Basics: Extract, Transform and Load, or What is ETL?
Looking for some other great interviews? You can check our catalog here of some of the greatest thought leaders in their fields. May I ask a favor? Like us wherever you listen to your podcasts and mention us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or your other favorite social media channels.