A step-by-step guide to how to become an FP&A Analyst
To be a successful FP&A Analyst takes part commercial acumen, part accountancy knowledge and part trend forecasting. It’s a mission-critical finance job, sitting between the engine room of any enterprise’s accounting department, and the more forward thinking business decision-making departments such as investments and strategic business development.
Developing a career as in FP&A in some regards parallels that of an accountant – the raw skill sets, finance knowledge and further education required are similar. However, there are a few things you can do to better prepare yourself for a career as an FP&A Analyst that will stand you in very good stead.
Please visit our job description page to find out more about the day to day responsibilities of an FP&A Analyst.
Step 1 – understand the pressures of the role
Similar to our article on how to become an accountant, having the requisite passion for, and knowledge of, financial systems, market dynamics, maths, stats and economics is vital when considering a career as a FP&A Analyst.
However, the crucial differentiator for an FP&A is in your ability to forecast financials, risk assess and work closely with non-financial departments in preparing documentation to support future financial decisions. This takes a particular type of financial talent who is both financially astute, but communicative and confident enough to translate financial parlance into consumable facts, ready-made for decision makers.
Step 2 – consider your work experience and education beyond university
To be an effective FP&A takes more than savvy budget balancing. It’s equally as important you understand the people behind the wider decisions, and how your reporting will impact future financial health, and therefore company prosperity, in the context of non-financial matters.
As we mention in our FP&A Analyst qualifications article, to meet the minimum requirements to enter an FPAC/FP&A course programme, you must have a bachelor’s or equivalent degree OR be currently enrolled in an undergraduate programme with a finance-related major (finance, accounting, economics or business).
Work experience, however, is vital in understanding end-user relevance – the human element of the role – and how business decision makers use the data and information collated by you. Finance looks very different away from a spreadsheet, and many other factors are at play that FP&As have to be aware of such as industry trends, socio-economic changes and, increasingly, sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance) goals.
Step 3 – what happens next?
FP&A Analysts can leverage the skills learned in an FP&A role to step into a position of authority in a wide range of specialisms, both financial and non-financial. Having a grasp on how you want your next career stage to look is vital in making sure you target your work experience and skills development in the right way.
FP&A Analysts can use their skills to pivot away from finance completely, for example stepping into business and strategic management, or moving into more specialist, high-impact roles like investments or CFOs. FP&As can expect to be highly sought after talent and will be paid well as a result: their mix of financial élan and adroit market knowledge makes them a rare, and necessary, business asset.
Find out more about life as an FP&A Analyst and other details by following the below links:
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