FP&A Manager vs. Accounting Manager: What's the Difference?

It's quite common for people to mix-up responsibilities of these roles, so we're here to clear it up.

Account managers and FP&A managers can be used interchangeably or be thought of as one and the same. But to be clear, they are two distinct roles in a company that approach financial statements differently.

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.

Accounting Manager 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 FP&A manager

The financial planning & analysis 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.

FP&A managers aim 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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Our financial planning tool is primarily for FP&A Managers but it doesn't mean that Accounting Managers won't benefit from it. In fact, for most scaling companies, FP&A and Accounting managers may be one and the same.

By automating your financial planning process, you're optimizing your time and efficiency to do more in both your FP&A and accounting roles. Interested? See how you can save up to 50% of time by requesting a demo.

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