The Economy

How to View Variance Analysis in These Slow-Growth Times

Counterintuitively, meeting financial commitments is tougher when the business is inching along than when growth is gangbusters, finance prof says.
David McCannMay 22, 2015
How to View Variance Analysis in These Slow-Growth Times

Thomas E. Conine, Jr. — just “Tom,” to us — can stir up a good mix of the theoretical and the practical, when it comes to finance.

As to the former, he’s a professor of finance at Fairfield University. As to the latter, he’s the president of a company himself, called TRI Corporation. And TRI brings the two together with its corporate finance education programs — which combine classroom learning with highly realistic, computerized simulations of problematic financial scenarios that the “students” work on in teams — for many of the largest companies in the country.

CFO has featured Conine and his work in two articles on such programs, at Dell and Stanley, Black & Decker, and in Conine-authored pieces on variance analysis, whether to cut volume or price, shareholder return, and, most recently, foreign exchange.

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In this video he returns to the topic of variance analysis, explaining the fine points of different types of variances — in price, volume, cost, productivity — in the context of the slow-growth environment that much of the corporate world is experiencing today.