Role Review: Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A Analyst)
What is Financial Planning and Analysis:
The objective of a member of the FP&A team is to provide senior management with the
information they need to make operational, financial, and strategic decisions. In simple terms, the FP&A team are responsible for budgeting and forecasting – the planning side of accounting. This is done by analysing economic and business trends, reviewing past performance, anticipating future potential problems and obstacles but crucially, the FP&A team rely heavily on commercial and business information. As such, they work closely with the CEO, sales, marketing and operations teams.
A key difference between an FP&A Analyst and an Accountant is an Accountant focuses on the retrospective finances but an Analyst uses that information to plan future strategies.
- Some responsibilities include:
The timely and accurate completion of the financial models, annual budgeting and quarterly/monthly forecasts.
- Maintaining a robust reporting framework which gives senior management the ability to view Actuals vs Plan, prior year and forecast at relevant granularity throughout a month.
- Develop a strong relationship with the finance business partnering/sales and marketing team to ensure that the financial data being used is aligned with FP&A financials and methodologies.
- Understand potential risks and prepare scenario modelling.
- Involvement in ad-hoc projects such as M&A activity, market research
How to secure an FP&A role:
FP&A roles are highly competitive and sought after. It is rare that you would get an FP&A role straight out of university and some industry experience is generally preferred. Below are a number of ways to make that transition:
- Strong academic background
- Continuing further education (CFA/QFA)
- Modelling/valuations experience
- For FP&A roles, interviewers will look for:
- Enthusiasm and drive.
- In depth knowledge about the company, sector and market.
- Real interest in the industry.
- Excellent commercial and financial acumen with experience in understanding and breaking down complex data and processes.
If an Accountant was to gather financial accounting experience within an industry, getting a better understanding in how a company works and it’s financial operations will really stand to you if you want to get into FP&A. With this experience, they can use their knowledge and apply it to a move into commercial operations so experienced Accountants can use financial accounting as a stepping stone to increase their chances of securing a role in FP&A.
Future career prospects with this experience:
With a big focus on strategy and understanding the financial complexity of a business and it’s forecasts, you can progress into lead FP&A and subsequently CEO/CFO positions.
For a newly qualified FP&A Analyst (ACA/ACCA) – €55,000 – €60,000
With industry experience (1-2 years PQE) the range could be €60,000 – €70,000
Learn more from our Senior Consultant Nick McCarthy: Nick McCarthy firstname.lastname@example.org