Q&A: A Diverse Background for a Diverse FP&A Function

Losada Revol was raised in Argentina and worked there and in Brazil for many years before moving to Hawaii to study and then Miami in the US, to work for Ryder Systems on their global supply chain solutions in North and South America, and China, Malaysia, Poland and Germany. This well-travelled man now works at World Fuel on corporate finance and monthly forecasting using FP&A skills picked up along the way. 

Like many of his contemporaries, the experienced Ricardo Losada Revol, director of corporate finance at World Fuel Services, worked in a number of roles in finance before moving into financial planning and analysis (FP&A). He talked about his journey with the Association for Financial Professionals’ (AFP) Andrew Deichler, in the organisation’s ‘Exchange’ magazine, while also commenting on the body’s plans to introduce an FP&A certification scheme.  

Q1. Can you tell us a little about your background? How did you end up heading up FP&A at World Fuel Services?

A Ricardo Losada Revol: My background includes many roles in different functions. I’ll start with my education background. I have an industrial engineering degree from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. In my last two years of school, and after school for a couple years, I worked for Philip Morris International in operations in Argentina and Brazil. Then I went to Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, US, where I earned an MBA in marketing. I worked in Hawaii for four years in a business development role for a cosmetics company, where I was responsible for introducing the product line in different markets abroad. I was successfully able to open up businesses in Mexico, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, Kuwait and Korea. 

From there, I found a new opportunity in Miami, US, at Ryder Systems. I worked in the corporate strategy and development group, which provides support and consulting services to the different divisions within the company and insight to the executive suite. So I worked on several projects in this role, supporting the president of the two largest divisions of the company. A lot of financial analysis was needed in order to evaluate the projects. After successfully running these projects and implementing them, I was promoted to a position in FP&A. So I worked in FP&A in charge of the global supply chain solutions division of Ryder. I was responsible for consolidating and leading the business plan and forecasting process every month, which included Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Canada, Mexico, the US, China, Malaysia, Singapore, the UK, Germany, and Poland. 

After a few years, a new opportunity came up to work for World Fuel Services. At that point, World Fuel Services didn’t have a corporate FP&A function, and I was brought on to establish that function. I was hired as a senior manager, and about a year ago I got promoted to director of corporate finance. 

Q2. What are your current FP&A job responsibilities at World Fuel Services?

A Losada Revol: In my current role, as director of corporate finance at World Fuel Services, I am responsible for several aspects of corporate finance. Primarily I lead and manage the annual planning process. Secondly, I lead and manage the monthly forecasting process. Thirdly, I provide analytical support to the chief financial officer (CFO) on a monthly basis, putting together management reports, analysing the performance of the business, and conducting any ad hoc analysis that he may have, in order to understand what is driving the business. Also, when the CFO is preparing for an earnings call every quarter, I provide him with insights and any financial analysis he may need. 

Additionally, I am responsible for conducting evaluations of different targets on a regular basis. World Fuel Services is a company that is in growth mode, and because of this we are actively looking for opportunities in the marketplace where we can grow. One of these opportunities could be to acquire companies. When these situations come through our pipeline, I am the one who conducts the evaluation of these businesses to see if it makes sense financially to acquire them. 

Q3: What is your biggest challenge/project that you are working on?

A Losada Revol: Currently, the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) evaluation and year-end results are taking up most of my time. The planning process usually goes from September to January, and then it is presented to the board of directors. So we just finished with the plan and now I’ve been working on different evaluations. 

In terms of challenges, World Fuel Services has three segments and we have a corporate FP&A team. But the businesses have their own finance teams, and they report to the segment CFOs, not to corporate. So the way our company is currently structured, these functions are decentralised. We have a corporate FP&A and we have these other finance teams in the segments that are totally decentralised from what we do. So that creates challenges in terms of communications and keeping deadlines because we sometimes work on different agendas. 

Q4: How much do you see AFP’s upcoming FP&A certification moving the profession forward?

A Losada Revol: I think it will definitely contribute to creating an awareness of the profession. Companies will feel more comfortable with hiring somebody with an FP&A certification. That person will be someone who understands what the planning process is, how to conduct typical financial analysis and how to evaluate the performance of the business. So in that sense, the company will take on less risk when hiring somebody with an FP&A certification. 

Also, a candidate with the certification will be able to market himself better when competing for a position. It will indicate that this person is capable of doing the work. It definitely will pull that person aside from the pile of resumes. I think it’s good for both companies and candidates. 

This article first appeared in the AFP ‘Exchange’ magazine title.

 

  • If you would like to find out more about FP&A and the plans for the Association for Financial Professionals’ certification scheme please follow this link for information about signing up to the AFP FP&A e-newsletter or visit the FP&A website

 

 

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