A global symbol of excellence, the Certified Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Professional (FPAC) designation establishes a set of core competencies for the corporate financial planning and analysis (FP&A) profession. It is the only credential that is specific to FP&A; it is forward-looking and assesses the ability to see the big picture.
AFP recently caught up with Junn Nguyen, FPAC, senior financial analyst at Illumina in Singapore, to discuss his decision to earn the FPAC, and how it has affected his life and career journey.
AFP: How did you get your start in FP&A?
Junn: I started my career as a financial trainee under a management program with General Electric. During my two years of the program, I had four short-term assignments with various functions within finance such as controllership, operations finance and FP&A. I started to gain experience with FP&A, and decided to pursue a permanent position in FP&A after the program ended.
AFP: What are two or three core aspects of your day-to-day job?
Junn: I own the regional FP&A process for APJ Commercial, so the core aspects of my day-to-day job include forecasting and first-line business support regarding deal structure and margin analysis.
With regards to forecasting, I am the bridge between the global FP&A team and regional commercial team, where I am responsible for keeping the regional forecast cadence robust and the forecast submission consistent and accurate.
With regards to deal analysis, I support the financial modelling for new deals, and provide advice and support in margin analysis, scenarios analysis, and other financial advice to preserve my company’s financial health.
AFP: What is something that you would like to do in the future in FP&A?
Junn: My experiences so far are with commercial teams. In the future, I would like to join the FP&A for other departments such as facilities or manufacturing plants to expand specific skill sets with different business partners.
AFP: Are there certain skills or training that help you in what you do now?
Junn: Microsoft Excel is very important for me to fulfill my day-to-day job. In addition, understanding information systems and knowing how to use BI tools are necessary for my success at work.
AFP: What skill are most important for you to add over the next couple of years?
Communication skills are critical as I follow my career path. My business partners are senior managers and directors within the company, and the ability to influence and inspire them is very important to me.
AFP: What is the most critical FP&A issue you are facing today, and can you share your approach to it?
There is so much uncertainty with the external environment nowadays, so FP&A personnel need to be agile and flexible with the constant change. My response to this issue is having a risk-balanced approach to forecasting, and always document assumptions in detail so that I can flexibly make changes to my forecast as the assumptions change.
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AFP: Why did you decide to earn the FPAC credential?
The FPAC credential is essential for people who specialize in FP&A, and my company provided me with the resources to follow the program. I knew the credential would equip me with the knowledge and recognition to further proceed with my career path focus in FP&A.
AFP: How has the FPAC credential impacted your life/career?
While I just received the FPAC credential, a lot of the knowledge I gained from the course helped me with the issues I face at work and in figuring out how to deal with them in more structured way.
AFP: Would you recommend the FPAC to others? Why?
I would recommend the FPAC credential to those who are determined in following their career with FP&A. There are not many credentials for FP&A professionals, and as FP&A grows within the complexity of the business world, this credential helps employers recognize the distinguished professionals. In addition, the FPAC credential helps professionals connect to others with the same passion so they can open their network and collectively refine FP&A as a critical function within corporate finance.
Learn more about the FPAC designation.