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Financial Planning and Analysis (or FP&A) has increasingly become more important, and FP&A roles more prevalent, especially this last year in response to the COVID pandemic. Companies have begun changing their forecast financial modeling and scenario planning processes as 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 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 from and what prior experiences they had. With this information, you should get a better idea of what makes a FP&A Manager or VP and what skills and qualifications you can look out for.
What Is FP&A?
FP&A is a strategy finance teams use to analyze the financial health of an organization. As a financial analyst, FP&A professionals focus on forecasting, reporting, and analyzing data in order to set and meet financial goals. By using these techniques, an FP&A financial planner is able to assist SaaS CFOs and other top-level executives 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're wondering who is in charge of analyzing financial data and creating budget models, it's the FP&A manager or financial analyst. Below, we will be looking at how a FP&A position differs from other strategic roles within a company.
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How Does FP&A Differ From Accounting?
One of the most common misconceptions is that a FP&A manager is the same as an accounting manager. However, these roles differ greatly and are both needed in order to support a company's overall financial goals. While both positions use financial statements in their work, how they analyze the data and what they do with that information is what 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 are able to help senior management close any gaps with 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 managers are forward-looking. With this information in mind, it's important to also note that both 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 a mix of Head, Director or VP. When it came to growing companies, however, 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 a FP&A Manager at a larger scale-up.
In 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 of San Francisco, New York and London. The key takeaway was that finance roles are becoming more remote, with the ability to competently fulfill the role objectives from a distance.
Most FP&A senior roles 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, more opportunities have come up 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 effective FP&A teams begins with finding the right person to lead the charge.
Discover more about these roles by downloading the infographic, and get the search going for your FP&A Manager now!
If you are interested to know more about the survey and gathered data, send us an email at email@example.com.