A Step-by-Step Guide to How To Become an FP&A Analyst
A successful FP&A Analyst takes part in commercial acumen, accountancy knowledge and 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 in FP&A in some regards parallels that of an accountant – the raw skill sets, finance knowledge and further education required are similar. However, you can do a few things to better prepare yourself for a career as an FP&A Analyst that will stand you in excellent 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 becoming an accountant, having the requisite passion for and knowledge of financial systems, market dynamics, maths, stats, and finance is vital when considering a career as an FP&A Analyst.
However, the crucial differentiator for an FP&A is your ability to forecast financials, risk assessment, and work closely with non-financial departments in preparing documentation to support future financial decisions. To translate economic jargon into facts easily ingested by decision-makers, one needs a certain kind of financial talent that is both financially astute and confident enough to communicate.
Step 2 – Consider Your Work Experience and Education Beyond the University
To be an effective FP&A takes more than savvy budget balancing. It’s equally important to understand the people behind the broader 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 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 you collate. 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 financial and non-financial specialisms. Understanding how you want your next career stage to look is vital in ensuring 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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