Verizon CFO welcomed external advice for pandemic scenario planning

By: Robert Freedman.

When COVID-19 hit, Matt Ellis consulted outside experts to help ensure his FP&A team’s assumptions about going forward were realistic.

Verizon’s Matt Ellis, CFO of one of the largest companies in the United States, has ample resources and lines of sight at his disposal. However, it was crucial to get an outside perspective as he and his team put together plans in early April for managing the economic impact of COVID-19.

“Initially, our corporate FP&A team put together three different cases, at the macroeconomic level, of what [the pandemic] means for our volumes,” said Ellis, who was promoted to CFO in 2016 after heading up finance for the company’s wireless and wireline businesses. “But to ensure we hadn’t missed something, it was valuable to pressure-test our assumptions against external parties — consultants and banks, things like that.”

The pressure testing didn’t change any of their assumptions, Ellis said this week in a CFO Thought Leader podcast. But it helped validate the scenarios his team put together and now he feels relatively confident the company can pivot quickly based on what the economy does going forward.

Source: CFO DIVE (2020)

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