United States

Life sciences leaders discuss issues and finance best practices

Topics range from labor and pricing, to IPOs and lease accounting


Life sciences finance leaders from the pharmaceuticals, biotech and medical devices sectors gathered recently at the annual Finance & Accounting for Biosciences Conference to discuss a variety of issues affecting the life sciences industry. Key takeaway topics from the conference included the following:

  • Recruiting and retaining talent: In a tight labor market, life sciences companies are establishing dedicated recruitment functions within their organizations, leveraging highly skilled recruiting professionals, both internally and outsourced externally, trained in specific industry needs and an organization’s unique competitive landscape. In addition, proposing special incentives like employee referral bonuses or offering new hires student loan payoffs, sign-on bonuses, virtual workdays, career coaching, community engagement and more can be a recruiting and retention differentiator.
  • Initial public offering (IPO) planning: Taking a company public is an exciting milestone for an organization; however, it requires significant coordination planning. Companies ideally should start operating and reporting like a public company at least a year prior to the IPO kickoff, including performing annual audits and quarterly reviews.
  • Pricing pressure: According to the pre-conference survey, 60 percent of respondents indicated pricing regulation was an issue that “kept them up at night.” Pricing reform is a reality and middle market life sciences companies should anticipate the impact on overall operations.
  • Corporate tax reform: Life sciences companies have much to consider under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including alternative minimum tax considerations, updated research and development deductions and international tax needs. And, the law continues to evolve. 
  • Third-party risk management: While there are many benefits to working with third parties, there are also risks. Failure to properly manage these relationships can result in financial loss or expose an organization to further regulatory or legal challenges. Middle market life sciences companies must understand the risk factors involved with these relationships to proactively mitigate and manage them.
  • Lease accounting: Ready to adopt ASC 842, the long-awaited standard on accounting for leases? The standard is complex and could involve numerous corporate functions. Implementation may take many months so now is the time for life sciences companies to act. Implementation deadline is Jan. 1, 2019, for public companies and Jan. 1, 2020, for private companies.

Other conference highlights included an opening keynote panel on the art and science of the chief financial officer in today’s cutting-edge biopharma company, a women’s leadership breakout on mentorship and career paths, as well as a finance transformation session that focused on leveraging enterprise systems for improved transparency and enhanced decision-making.

RSM was a platinum sponsor for the conference, which was part of CBI’s financial series. For more life sciences industry insights, contact us and subscribe to our newsletter.



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John Lanza  LinkedIn
National Life Sciences Practice Leader