Leigh Anne Siino

About Leigh Anne Siino

Leigh Anne is a Senior Consultant with Paragon Solutions working under the Life Sciences vertical, where she currently is focusing on both Life Science software implementation, as well as financial and operational reporting and analytics efforts.

She has proven herself as a thought leader and innovator on the topic of Gross-to-Net/Revenue Management throughout her tenure at such pharmaceutical manufacturers (both branded and generic product portfolios) as Kremers-Urban/UCB Inc., Actavis, and Merck/Schering-Plough.  Her experience also spans other industries, noting that she held several financial roles at Volvo Construction and Equipment Services.  And while spanning organizations and even industries, her resume proves cross-functional, as she has served in roles not only in Finance and IT, but also Sales and Marketing, Contracting, Managed Markets, etc.

Her work has not only allowed her to have operational and financial oversight over all revenue-related practices and procedures of an organization, but has also given her the opportunity to lead multiple, related projects.  Some of these projects include, but not limited to: multiple, full-cycle SAP implementations, rebate automation efforts with Revitas’ product, inventory management system upgrade, EDI enhancement projects and several reporting and analytics projects.

Throughout the successful completion of such projects and day-to-day operations, Leigh Anne has delivered corporate best practices for: GTN reserve analysis, accrual methodology and process, contract-to-cash business process and policy and procedures, pricing and offer analysis, customer and product profit and loss statements, and cash flow forecasting, to name a few.

5 ‘No-Tech’ Ways to Enhance your Gross-to-Net Performance: Part Two

2 nd Sep
Leigh Anne Siino

Continuing from Part One of this blog series titled, “5 ‘No-Tech’ Ways to Enhance your Gross-to-Net Performance“, where we were discussing the first two of five elements that can help ensure the most effective optimization of your corporate GTN performance and provide a solid basis for future growth and profitability.  Let us resume with number three.

3. Implementing a Corporate Communications Plan

A well-designed and carefully crafted communications plan can help you to eliminate organizational silos and establish more effective communications between divisions within your company. Identifying the areas of cross-functionality within your organization is only the first step toward improving communications; finding ways to break down barriers and foster collaboration throughout your corporate structure can allow improved control over a wide range of activities:

  • Financial processes can be managed more effectively with cooperation between departments to ensure accuracy and speed of processing.
  • Team projects can be monitored and streamlined with help from all parties involved, allowing a greater degree of collaboration on these corporate priorities.
  • Contract management tasks can receive the attention they deserve from accounting, legal and sales forces within your organization.

By creating a comprehensive plan for communications and collaboration among all units within your corporate structure, you can achieve greater productivity and enjoy enhanced accountability for all company activities, projects and workflows. Remaining mindful of cross-functionality in your corporate environment can provide you with added insights when creating your organization’s communications strategies.

4. Mapping Processes for Internal Consistency

Creating a set of best practices that can be regularly applied throughout your organization can ensure much-needed consistency in your corporate communications and practices. This can provide added clarity in your internal activities and can present a professional and positive image of your organization to vendors, current customers and prospective clients. Mapping workflows and processes can allow you to establish and enforce consistent standards for appropriate communications across a wide range of corporate activities. Ensuring proper oversight and accountability for these collaborative efforts and workflows can further increase employee buy-in and can provide valuable feedback on the progress made toward achieving consistency throughout your organization.

5. Adjusting and Adapting to Current and Future Challenges

The final stage of GTN optimization is an ongoing process that involves adjustments and changes to the established best practices in response to challenges already in play or on the horizon. Some of the factors that can necessitate changes to your existing GTN optimization strategy include the following:

  • Reduced profitability
  • Economic conditions
  • Regulatory requirements for cash reporting
  • Patent cliffs
  • Increasing availability of generic products
  • Biosimilar products in major markets
  • Healthcare reform requirements
  • Extensions of product life
  • Increasing competition from specialty and boutique firms
  • Vaccines
  • Moving into global emerging marketplaces
  • Price erosion over time

An organic and holistic gross-to-net standard that is consistently applied throughout your organization can provide you with valuable insights into your current workflows and areas of concern within your corporate structure. It can deliver added opportunities for oversight and active management. Most importantly, establishing functional GTN standards can position your company to take advantage of opportunities and to meet future challenges in a proactive and effective way.

 

5 ‘No-Tech’ Ways to Enhance your Gross-to-Net Performance: Part One

26 th Aug
Leigh Anne Siino

Optimizing your gross-to-net (GTN) performance in the life sciences sector can produce added profitability and can stop revenue leakage while increasing productivity for your organization. Although technology undoubtedly plays a significant role in your workflows and processes, it should not be your primary focus when assessing your current GTN situation and identifying areas where improvements can be made. Continue reading

Three Overlooked Adjudication Measures worth Paying a Little Extra Attention to

9 th Jun
Leigh Anne Siino

In this edition of “Whiteboard Breakdown”, I walk through a Disputed Deduction workflow, which is a may seem a little atypical as part of the Q2C process mapping and control discussion; but I feel it’s necessary.  As I point out, it’s crucial to recognize, document and standardize those procedures that occur irregularly and usually in response to an undesired customer action, here in the form of a deduction on an invoice.  I mention this specific process, as it relates heavily to the topic at hand.

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A Quick and Easy Guide to Adding Internal Controls to your Quote-to-Cash Business Process

22 nd May
Leigh Anne Siino

Here is a graphic of the whiteboard content:

Reviewing and assessing internal controls in your organization can be a daunting task, usually due to the fact that you find way to many controls exist or none at all.  Controls are essential to the success of your Q2C business processes, not only for Audit and Compliance purposes, but also to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of each part of the process.  Here we will review a few simple steps that you can take to review and map your business processes, identify points of need for control and implement those controls.  By keeping a few of these simple ideas and even key words in mind, you should be able to quickly and easily look at your business process and know just where to add in these controls.

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The 3 Shared Misconceptions about Quote-to-Cash, Gross-to-Net

30 th Apr
Leigh Anne Siino

On a topic so holistic, yet so detailed, so high-level, yet so ‘nitty-gritty,’ so outcomes based, yet so heavy on inputs and operations; it is no wonder that a true Subject Matter Expert (SME) on the whole subject, soup-to-nuts, is tough to come by.  But yet, we are flooded with information from individual contributors on the topic, at the broader spectrum.  So, when does the information we are receiving go from objective to subjective.  And furthermore, for a topic so important, so heavily discussed, with such great financials attached, how are we letting the conversation move from fact to ‘fiction,’ or really ‘individual belief?’

I continually attempt in this blog to move away from the subjective, the varying ways to do what needs to be done, and focus on a ‘standard.’ So, for the readers’ sake, I will digress; and rather focus on a few, common misconceptions that are a result of this ‘subjective’ view of Life Science Revenue Management business processes.

But first, a quick refresher (or at least attempt to all get on the same page) on Quote-to-Cash, and its regular aliases:

 

Here, we are differentiating the ‘process names,’ by breadth across varying operational phases (Quote/Contract, Revenue Recognition and Cash), as well as type of analytic available (Pre-deal, Post-deal).  What we are really talking about here is scope; what is the scope of your revenue management business process?

The Majority of Risk, Problem Areas Exist within Revenue Recognition, Finance Organizations

In the past six months or so, I have witnessed about three or four various takes on industry surveys (live or not) asking the audience (Life Science finance and contract operations professionals), what is your biggest pain point…as it relates to product valuation, accounting and reporting standards, business process, etc.?  The answer, always the same and by large margin: Revenue Recognition (aka, Gross-to-Net).

I’m not sure if this is due to an overwhelming misunderstanding of the related end-to-end business processes, or the life of Pharmaceutical product, or what; but when I start to get into the deeper conversation with these folks, on where there pains truly stem from; they are not Revenue Recognition-related at all.  OK, so sure they are ‘related,’ as they lie within the same E2E process.  But these pain points are truly upstream business processes from not only the GTN process itself, but typically the entire Finance organization itself.  It is my experience that most common problem areas occur first within the Contracting or Sales and Marketing organizations and related business processes, and the effects trickle down into Finance.  It’s often not until we see something hit the balance sheet, that we flag an issue; and at that point, it’s in the hands of the revenue recognition or finance team, therefore, there lies the issue.

If the focus and emphasis, especially when it came to business process management, was forced more upstream and more cross-functionally, we would not only be able to more accurately pinpoint where our problem areas were, but also approach them as such.

Optimization = Automation

Now, I understand why the software vendors of the world would preach that to automate your business process, is to optimize it; their livelihood thrives on organizations buying into automation.  But to look at why this was more commonly assumed, I looked at countless industry articles and publications, definitions of the words themselves, thought leadership blogs, etc.  By definition, in regards to automation, it is quite simple: removing the human factor from a process; providing consistency, increased speed and reduced errors.

It wasn’t so simple, just looking at optimization by definition: an act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.  So, I just thought back to the endless automation projects I’ve been a part of, and distinguished between the two.  Automation can certainly be a part of optimization, but without considering things like business process management, documentation and control, E2E strategy, organization, one cannot simply be the other.  Automation can take you to a point, but it is optimization that truly makes the process better by providing something impactful.  Optimization adds a certain level of sophistication to the process that not only increases effectiveness and productivity, but also provides accurate information for decision making.  Here, it is easy to translate into a Q2C and GTN practical application: optimizing actuals management business processes will increase productivity of those processes, as well as provide accurate inputs for forecasting (P&L management).

Should be Assessed Process-by-Process, versus Holistically, E2E

This one gets me, really.  We have become masters of the phrase, or take on the phrase, ‘breaking down the GTN silos.’  But yet, we still launch initiatives and projects within our organizations governed and managed by only one function or group, without spreading out the stakeholders cross-functionally.  We still shy away from extending our regular or irregular information requests to upstream or downstream groups due to ‘fear of the unknown?’  We still write test cases, day-in and day-out thinking we know that the E2E business process really means, but in the end, we always miss someone or something and come up short at Go-Live.

But that’s OK, that’s one thing.  We are the leaders of our Life Science organizations and we can make mistakes and have misconceptions.  It’s when the publishers, thought-leaders and vendors have this misconception, which is not OK.  Why, I ask, would you attempt to assess or optimize an already ‘silo-ed process,’ silo-by-silo?  I mean, the question itself sounds funny to me; read it back to yourself and see if you agree.

I’ll say it as simply as I possibly can: if you look at only the pieces, you will struggle with the big picture, and inevitably miss something, if not everything.

Three Tips to Help Ease the Pain of your Gross-to-Net (GTN) Audit

6 th Feb
Leigh Anne Siino

And make your organization stronger, at the same time

No matter how prepared you may feel with your finance organization going into an audit period, you still always feel the need to stock your office cabinet with a bottle of extra strength pain reliever for the inevitable headaches, and long evenings ahead of yourself that week.  It’s inevitable; some account won’t reconcile, a report will drill into detail you and/or your team can’t explain and the system will fail right at that moment you need to reproduce a procedure.  Or the most likely scenario, your cross-functional counterparts over in Sales and Marketing or National Accounts or Contracting will take advantage of that last-minute deal on the internet and are on a flight to Key West by now, leaving you with a big audit agenda, and little audit help.  After all, who gets reception in Southern Florida?  Especially when it comes to questions about a price you gave a small wholesaler a year and a half ago that you didn’t realize never made its way to the Finance Exec’s desk to approve, let alone accrue or forecast for.

So yes, back to the idea of prepared; you thought this was covered by sending the audit dates and times and agendas and areas of accountability out to your internal business partners, because who isn’t as diligent as you, Mr./Ms. CFO?  Everyone else has probably pulled together all of the reports you’ve asked for, double checked the numbers, pulled contracts to back up selected transactions and planned a big breakfast for the morning they get to meet the auditors in the office on their first morning of the week….right?

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An Insider’s Analysis of the Heavily ‘Discounted’ and Quickly Emerging GTN Market for Generic Pharma

12 th Dec
Leigh Anne Siino

Event De-briefing: 3rd Annual Pharma/Biotech Gross-to-Net Accounting and Accruals Summit

At this year’s annual CBI Gross-to-Net (GTN)  Summit, there was a respective mix of financial discussions led by thought-leaders from highlighted (big Pharma-branded) manufacturers, Government Program (GP) and Health Care Reform (HCR) information sessions led by various SMEs, as well as different Vendor presentations providing insight into solving the GTN problems of the industry.  Attendees also encountered, from a purely financial and accounting audience, small amounts of information sharing and interaction during fits of avid note taking to bring back to their organizations. They also saw the steady burning of artificial light from company-issued laptops as employee’s struck as much of a balance as they could between listening-in and tending to their daily sales reports and journal entry postings.  Nonetheless, it was a very successful event in that all hot topics in the GTN realm were addressed, and by heavy-handed presenters with a wealth of knowledge; except for one very hot topic…Generic Drugs.

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‘Organizationally Speaking’ – How Cross-Functional Business Process Mapping and Effective Communication Can Add Value to your GTN Organization

14 th Oct
Leigh Anne Siino

It’s no secret in the industry that when it comes to Pharma Revenue Management, most companies are still operating in silos, with disconnected business processes, lack of cross-functional communication and an overall deficiency of knowledge by one group or all groups, of the core, E2E process.  It’s no secret that operating in such a manner causes your organization to run its operations inefficiently, leak revenue and potentially expose yourself to further financial risks; and quite frankly, turn a smooth month-end financial process, or forecasting season, into constant fire drill after fire drill.  Once you’re done chasing last month’s results, it’s the end of the next month already.  Any thoughts of looking forward, being proactive, tracking the current month, etc. are out the window: “Maybe next quarter.”  One more departmental performance metric you need to move out another quarter on your review form, while explaining to your superior, “We can’t get…  The numbers aren’t… The system will not… Their team didn’t…”

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The Gross-to-Net Standard: The Role of the Cross-Functional Organization (Part 2)

16 th Sep
Leigh Anne Siino

As we propose the ‘Gross-to-Net Standard,’ we must discuss the idea of ‘managing revenue through processes.’  There are two parts to this, process management and process governance, both to which an ‘organizational approach’ lend a heavy hand.  Let’s take a look at the players in the organization.

And as a finance executive, you are most likely sitting here with the idea that once you’ve proposed a revenue management solution to your management, one that will minimize revenue leakage, cut costs, allow you to report and function on a level you never have before and all the while pleasing auditors and corporate management, that your counterparts and their teams have no choice but to buy-in like you have, right?  Well, maybe so, at this point in time; but you will think differently after I tell you what will be required of your organization next and my observations about this very thing.  For additional, specific discussion on the topic of the organization’s place in business process management, stay tuned for a post regarding Cross-Functional Process Mapping.

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The Life Sciences Gross-to-Net Practitioner: The Current Landscape (Part 1)

10 th Sep
Leigh Anne Siino

An increasingly, hot topic among the life sciences industry is Gross-to-Net; and while the discussion is typically geared towards the various problems and pain-points surrounding it, revenue management finance professionals are hard-pressed to find one, standard working solution.  The Gross-to-Net Standard (GTNS) is a cross-functional, business process-focused, solution-based approach to stopping revenue leakage and implementing process improvement with a focus on internal controls and policy and procedure.  The GTNS also utilizes innovating analytics through subject matter expertise and leverage of existing technical tools used in maximizing profitability.  Its disciplined methods will save your organization time and money, while maximizing the potential and profitability of your revenue management stream.  In this article it is my goal to explain to what GTNS is, how it works and how it can improve revenue management practices and outcomes for your organization.

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