FP&A ANALYST
19
Jul

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.
 

Salary Range:

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

n.mccarthy@masonalexander.ie