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Financial Planning and Analysis (or FP&A) has increasingly become more important, and FP&A roles more prevalent, especially in the last year in response to the COVID pandemic. Companies have begun changing their forecast financial modeling and scenario planning processes as senior executives want more assurance that they can withstand any future crisis.
Large firms have always had some form of strategic finance capability to fall back on. But for startups and scale-ups who have not yet invested in someone for that FP&A role, where do you start, and what kind of profile are you looking for?
In this infographic fact sheet, we take a look at the profiles of 75 FP&A senior management roles from tech and SaaS growth companies: where they are based, what degrees they graduated with, and what prior experiences they had. With this information, you should get a better idea of what makes an FP&A manager or VP and what skills and qualifications to look for.
What is FP&A?
What is the role of FP&A in a business and how does it contribute to its actual performance? FP&A is one strategy finance teams use to analyze the financial health of an entire organization. As financial analysts, FP&A professionals focus on forecasting, reporting, and analyzing data to set and meet financial goals. By using these techniques, an FP&A financial planner is able to assist SaaS CFOs and other executive leadership in creating better cash flow management, financial models, and forecasting plans for the company. This deep-dive financial analysis provides actionable insight, helping to achieve more accurate forecasting, budgeting, and financial planning.
If you are wondering which FP&A roles are in charge of analyzing financial data and creating budget models, it is the FP&A manager or financial analyst. Below, we will be looking at how an FP&A role differs from other strategic positions within a company.
How do FP&A roles differ from accounting positions?
One of the most common misconceptions is that an FP&A manager is the same as an accounting manager. However, these two strategic roles differ greatly and are both needed to support a company's overall financial goals. While both financial positions use financial statements in their work, how they analyze the data and what they do with that information separates them apart.
Accounting managers oversee the financial data of a company. Aside from creating reports, an accountant also provides feedback and suggestions based on the financial statements they have collected and analyzed. Where FP&A managers differ is that these professionals use the same financial statements to help with forecasting, budgeting, and planning initiatives. By analyzing a company's overall financial health, FP&A professionals can help senior management close any gaps in their financial structure, take advantage of financial opportunities, and ultimately set goals for the organization.
In simpler terms, accounting managers are more backward-looking while FP&A roles are forward-looking. With this information in mind, it is also important to note that both executive teams are needed to push the company forward.
Here are some quick takeaways on the FP&A manager role:
50% of respondents were FP&A managers and the rest were a mix of Head, Director, or VP. When it came to growing companies, however, FP&A role titles and responsibilities were not always aligned.
Depending on size and complexity, role descriptions varied and a Strategic Finance VP in a small company could be doing the same tasks as an FP&A manager at larger companies.
When selecting the participants, we wanted to capture the reality of where most SaaS FP&A roles are situated. Sensibly, that fell on the startup hubs in San Francisco, New York, and London.
The key takeaway was that corporate finance roles are becoming more remote, with the ability to competently fulfill the role objectives from a distance.
Most FP&A senior management were rooted in some financial planning experience (average of 4 years). Industry knowledge has also driven the work experience requirements in selecting a senior role, especially when it comes to building accurate scenario planning.
With more EdTech, HealthTech, and MobilityTech companies arising, growing opportunities have increased for engineers and professionals from the scientific space.
Within the full fact sheet, you will find more details like demographics, educational background and certifications, years of work experience, and salary ranges by location. Building an effective FP&A team begins with finding the right person to lead the charge.
Discover more about these FP&A roles by downloading the infographic, and get the search going for your business leader now!
If you are interested in revamping your company's Finance function, request a demo today to see how Abacum can help your finance department with the financial planning, forecasting process, and reporting.