FP&A – which stands for financial planning and analysis – is the part of an in-house finance function which supports operational, strategic and financial decision making at senior management level. Broadly speaking, financial planning and analysis consists of four activities which support the financial health of an organisation:
• Planning and budgeting.
• Financial planning.
• Management and performance reporting.
• Forecasting and modelling.
Sat within an organisation’s financial planning and analysis department, the FP&A Analyst role is an entry level to midweight position which involves providing essential advice to key decision makers within the business.
In a large business with many employees and a significant finance team, FP&A Analysts are likely to report to an FP&A Manager or a Senior FP&A Analyst, while in small organisations and start-ups, your boss might be the Finance Director or CFO. Either way, a large part of the FP&A role requires you to liaise with, present to and challenge members of senior leadership.
View the latest FP&A Analyst jobs.
FP&A Analysts spend much of their time analysing operational and financial data, building vast databases, and preparing reports for senior management. The key duties and responsibilities of an FP&A Analyst usually include:
• Liaising with senior management, heads of departments and other key leadership figures.
• Preparing financial and strategic plans for individual departments and the wider organisation.
• Building annual budgets and forecasts for different business units and consolidating into one master budget.
• Analysing past financial performance, preparing competitor analysis, and examining market trends along with commentary for management.
• Creating financial models to predict growth and forecast performance.
• Analysing previous budgets and forecasts and performing variance analysis to explain discrepancies.
• Evaluating new and existing projects, investments, and assets to determine their validity and appraise their value.
• Recommending improvements and use of financing structures such as debt and equity when appropriate.
The most common pathway for becoming an FP&A Analyst usually starts with an undergraduate degree in finance and accountancy. You could study a different subject, but a maths or finance related discipline will give you a competitive edge when it comes to applying for your first job.
If you have not been or do not want to go to university, you may find it more difficult to get into financial planning and analysis. You will likely have to start your career further down the ladder in an entry level finance and accountancy role and move your way up the ranks.
Once graduated, you will likely spend 1-3 years working in an accountancy firm or in the in-house finance team of a reputable organisation. Often, you will need to gain experience as a Finance Analyst or Management Accountant, for example, before moving into financial planning and analysis, however some larger organisations hire for graduate FP&A roles.
During this time, you may choose to study towards a professional accountancy qualification such as CIMA, ACA or ACCA. Having such a qualification will enhance your future employability prospects.
At this stage, you should be able to move into an FP&A Analyst role. For particularly competitive roles, an MBA or the Chartered Financial Analyst qualification could help you to stand out from the crowd, but these are not essential requirements for all positions.
Once you have built up your education and experience and spent a few years in an FP&A Analyst role, you might start to think about progression opportunities. Fortunately, a stable and linear career pathway exists for those carving a career in financial planning and analysis.
• FP&A Analyst (1-3 years of experience or a rare graduate role)
• Senior FP&A Analyst (3-5 years of experience)
• FP&A Manager (5-10 years of experience)
• Head of Financial Planning & Analysis (10+ years of experience)
According to our 2021 Audience Insight Report, FP&A Analysts earn £55,833 per year on average, which equates to a 15% rise since 2019. This sum varies depending on factors such as location, employer, industry and the seniority of your role.
Our Report also found that 42% of FP&A Analysts are offered a bonus on top of their basic earnings.
Ready to apply? At GAAPweb we advertise the latest FP&A Analyst jobs, as well as senior and management roles within Financial Planning and Analysis. View the latest vacancies and start your job search today.