American Greetings - Chicago, IL

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Papyrus-Recycled Greetings (PRG) is seeking a Fprecast Analyst to join the Operations team in our downtown Chicago office. This position will develop detailed US Greeting Card Division and Canadian financial gross sales annual Plan and monthly estimates, in dollars and pieces by month, for assigned categories. Project base business and special events for top chains and all other accounts. Work with business units and SAM teams to incorporate initiatives. Prepare schedules and analyses to support and explain the estimates, quantifying opportunities and risks. Maintain weekly, monthly, and annual information as the basis for Plan and estimates, including special events, marketing and chain initiatives, major account gains/losses, and base. Determine appropriate analyses to explain actual results vs Plan and prior year. Share information with business units and account teams. Prepare ad hoc estimates and special projects, develop new approaches and recommend changes to current methods.

Responsibilities include:
* Develop detailed USGCD and Canadian financial gross sales annual Plan, monthly updates and ad hoc estimates. Financial gross sales are a combination of Scan-Based-Trading register sales in SBT accounts, and shipments to non-SBT accounts. Sales are forecasted by PFC in dollars, pieces, and average price by month, rolled up to major product categories, breaking out major chains and special events. (PFC = Product Financial Codes = each brand of B&E, individual permanent promo card programs, flat wrap, roll wrap, tissue, stickers, cellos, stationery, etc. by brand. There are 250 – 275 PFC’s for the Evdy Card CBU and Evdy/Seas Specialties CBU for US and CAN.) Design and perform forecast modeling for programs and chains. Translate high-level initiatives and strategies into reasonable timing and PFC-level detail and incorporate into the estimate with other known events and base business. US + Canada (converted to US dollars based on the current exchange rate) are combined to determine NAGCD. Present logic and estimate to the business unit VP, Finance VP, Canada, and Strategic Account Management (SAM) teams and publish as the starting point for all financial estimates below the gross sales line. Prepare schedules and analyses to support and explain the estimates and quantify risks. Bring opportunities and risks to senior management’s attention for actionable decisions. Develop schedules that become part of the estimate presentations by the business units to the Senior Team. This information and history mentioned below are also inputs into multi-year financial strategic plans.

* Maintain weekly, monthly, and annual information as the basis for the above. Monitor actual gross sales results by PFC and by major chain. Develop methods to reasonably estimate and track prepacked assortments, special events, marketing and chain initiatives, major account gains/losses, and base business using multiple data sources. Document other unusual events such as SBT buybacks, SBT quarter-end accruals, and journal entries. Develop power play and impromptu reports out of the data warehouse to track sales by chain and to help quantify the special events. Use POS, for chains where we have that information available, and compare to shipments. Run PACE (by chain) and PFS reports to monitor exposures for trends. Develop analyses and schedules that become part of the Monthly Business Unit Reviews to the Senior Team.

* Investigate and explain actual dollar, pieces, or average price sold variances to Plan and prior years. Investigate unexpected results by process of elimination - dig into source systems for reporting problems, analyze by chain to look for unusual patterns, analyze pieces by price point, and check knowledgeable sources for other possible explanations. Understand differences between the General Ledger and the Data Warehouse. Identify data quality issues and recommend solutions. Recommend enhancements to data warehouse cubes and source systems.

* Share information with the business units – attend regular meetings, determine information that exists to help prepare estimates and understand results, determine information and reporting that Forecasting can provide to help the business units. Analysis and reporting requirements are unique to each individual product category. Similarly share information with SAM and major account teams.

* Develop analyses to approach estimates in a new way, as sanity checks and support. Recommend changes to current methods and determine metrics. Develop new schedules to present and illustrate logic. Complete special analyses as requested by Finance management. Complete special analyses to support Prod Mgt and account teams for projects required to understand history or project possible future outcomes. May include a deep dive analysis for an account, scenarios on financial impact of pricing or product changes, analysis on turn rates, opinions or recommendations on the effects of unusual events, etc.

Experience Required:
Ideal candidate will have 1 - 5 years relevant experience:

Financial/Operations Management/Accounting/Research/Sales Analysts:
 Program Fulfillment for production, PDB/line list, and demand projection experience
 Product and Program development in Product Management
 An understanding of Account executive, SAM teams, Field Sales, PTM methods, structure, and contacts
 Needs to gain a good understanding of current Forecasting methods.
 Needs to gain a good understanding of Financial Data, Modeling, Data Warehouse reporting, and Analysis

Education Required:
Bachelor Degree is required. Other additional knowledge of Marketing, Sales, Inventory Management, and Quantitative PC Tools (strong excel) required.

Pluses: Cognos data warehouse tools (Power Play, Impromptu); mainframe systems.