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Finance & Accounting, Life Sciences
Life Sciences

Executive Summary: Key Sessions from Life Sciences Accounting & Reporting Congress

Posted by on 19 May 2021
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At the 16th Annual Life Sciences Accounting & Reporting Congress, leaders from across EY moderated sessions and shared insights and best practices on some of the most important issues facing finance leaders in life sciences companies. You can read or download the full executive summary PDF sponsored by EY by clicking 'Download Now' above. Below is a brief description of each of the sessions.

  • Chief Accountants Panel: Mark Solak led a discussion among chief accounting officers from several life sciences companies about the most significant challenges they and their companies have faced during the pandemic and what they expect the world to look like after the pandemic. They focused on changing how and where people work, taking a people-first approach with greater flexibility, and adopting tools to automate controls and aspects of the closing process.
  • Luminary Panel on Innovation: Tim Gordon moderated a panel of scientists who shared their thoughts on how COVID-19 is affecting the scientific and research communities. The panelists see increased collaboration, efforts to expedite clinical trials, and increased awareness of the need to improve the diversity of trial participants. These scientists see great potential in using digital technologies such as AI to leverage the massive amounts of data in healthcare to generate profound breakthroughs in drug development.
  • Communicating Your Long-Term Value Strategy to Investors: Marc Siegel focused this session on the growing importance to investors of nonfinancial metrics, particularly ESG (environmental, social, and governance) metrics. It has become increasingly important to investors that companies report nonfinancial metrics, which are
  • seen as key indicators of a company’s strategy and long-term value. For companies getting started, tools from the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) can help in reporting relevant nonfinancial metrics for specific sectors.
  • Digital Leadership: Viq Pervaaz guided this discussion on how life sciences companies are using digital technologies to empower people and advance the business strategy. The focus of this session was how digital technologies enable individuals, teams, leaders, and entire organizations. Digital is not a singular destination; it is an ongoing journey.
  • Strategies for Accounting for Alternative Financing Structures: Phil Howard and Daniel Lujan were joined by accounting leaders from life sciences companies to share insights about creative ways that companies are financing R&D activities. These financing methods—which can involve significant accounting complexities—include different forms of collaboration between companies and partnerships, often have an equity kicker, can involve selling royalties, and more. Best practices in these arrangements include working closely with business development and with investor relations, and having systems in place to track the complex R&D financing arrangements.
  • Divestiture Strategies to Create Value: Hosting this panel of divestiture experts, Mike Banish and Savi Mittal shared E&Y research indicating that interest in divestitures remains high for both sellers and buyers. The panel discussed best practices for identifying divestiture opportunities through a regular strategic review process. They offered lessons from their experiences in the divestiture planning process, stressing the importance of preparing strategically, operationally, and financially. They also described critical parts of the divestiture marketing process, including the management presentation and due diligence.
  • Finance Transformation and Cost Optimization Through Automation: Stephan Choe and Tracey Gunter led a conversation looking at the keys to a successful finance transformation, which include identifying a clear business problem to solve and engaging a diverse group of stakeholders in the process. Any finance transformation initiatives need to be aligned with the overall company strategy, and individuals participating in the transformation need to have a clear sense of the personal and professional benefits, such as gaining new skills and advancing their career. The panelists examined how the pandemic has affected large-scale transformation work, which has often resulted in organizations reviewing all initiatives to ensure they still generate value and reprioritizing initiatives, while also changing the way organizations work.

Read or download the full executive summary PDF sponsored by EY by clicking 'Download Now' above.

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