Accounting vs. FP&A manager: What's the difference?

In scaling companies, FP&A and Accounting Managers may be run by the same person, but the two essentially have very different responsibilites. Here, we break down the differences between each one.

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The titles of Accounting Manager and FP&A Manager are often used interchangeably or thought of as one and the same. But to be clear, they are two distinct roles in a company that approach financial statements differently, and that may have very different responsibilities and retribution based on their background and experience.

The Role of the Accounting Manager

The Accounting Manager comes in first with reports and records of the company's financial transactions including sales, bills, purchase orders, cash receipts, and disbursements. The role of an Accounting Manager is to develop a course of action for analyzing and reporting financial information, warrant that their company follows legal and regulatory requirements, and suggest improvements for business procedures.

Depending on their specific industry and company, accounting managers should also prepare annual budgets, track financial data, and make recommendations on financial decisions.

In addition to accounting skills, accounting managers must also have strong leadership, management, and communication skills.

Responsibilities:

These are some responsibilities accounting managers have in their day-to-day work:

  • Prepare, analyze, and review financial documents.
  • Assess staff performance and provide feedback.
  • Propose goals and a roadmap to follow in their division
  • Oversee financial information for their organization, including tax information, budget and cost reports, and audits.

The Role of the FP&A Manager

The FP&A Manager is in charge of business forecasting and corresponding budgets as well as performance-based analyses. They have to look for data trends or deviations in the company's financial records, and then comes up with strategies for improvement toward achieving its goals and to map out future goals and plans.

The FP&A Manager aims to predict future financial outcomes by considering economic and business trends, reviewing past company performance, in the forecasting process.

Unlike accountants who are in charge of record-keeping, financial analysts are charged with examining, analyzing, and evaluating the entirety of a corporation’s financial activities, and mapping out the company’s financial future.

Responsibilities

The FP&A Manager’s general responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating whether the company is optimizing their use of assets and investments.
  • Estimate the company’s overall financial health, mainly by using key financial ratios.
  • Collaborating with other departments to prepare budgets.
  • Preparing internal reports for executives to support decision making.
  • Creating, updating, and maintaining financial models and detailed forecasts of the company’s future operations.
  • Analyze historical results against budgets and forecasts, and performing variance analysis to explain changes in performance and make suggestions for improvements going forward.
  • Being able to identify opportunities for the company to expand or grow.

So who is more important? Well... both! Accounting Managers are more backward-looking while FP&A Managers are forward-looking. Both rely on each other for the company to move forward.

Each position provides different skills but they both have a place in the company. You don't need to choose between the two. With great communication and collaboration they can both be crucial for the company's success.

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With Abacum, we empower finance teams of high-growth tech companies to become true strategic partners in the organization by driving time-to-insight with powerful automation and seamless collaboration. Request a demo now to see the product live and start your own transformational journey.

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