We all know that finance is becoming more digital. As companies collect, manage and process more data, there is a growing demand for finance professionals to analyse and interpret it. FP&A professionals are helping organisations better understand economic and business trends, identify opportunities, and anticipate obstacles and potential treats. This has led the finance function to spend less time on basic budgeting and reporting responsibilities and relying on its FP&A teams to focus more on data analysis and recommendations to drive future growth.
Research shows corporate finance professionals risk falling behind in their understanding and adoption of emerging technologies when compared to their peers in other organisational functions. Skills for data visualisation and analysis to provide insights, solve challenges and uncover growth opportunities are in high demand – and will be for the foreseeable future. This means finance professionals must upskill in order to possibly transition, build resilience and remain relevant.
According to a recent survey conducted by Singapore’s NTUC LearningHub, A View from the Ground: Closing the Data Skills Gap in the Covid-19 Era and Beyond, both employers and employees found that the following data-related skills were both currently lacking and necessary: data analytics, interpretation for decision-making in business, and data visualisation. Furthermore, 87% of employees in the field were concerned that their careers would be affected if they were not proficient in understanding data, 68% were worried about falling behind their colleagues in terms of performance, and 64% expressed concern over becoming redundant.
This snapshot of Singapore speaks volumes on where the region is when it comes to the Industry 4.0, and the coronavirus pandemic has fostered even greater demand for the type of skills that make up the FP&A profession.
The critical importance of FP&A in a company
FP&A looks toward the future. The FP&A function in a company is critically important as it helps map out and ensure basic financial survival and future growth. Using quantitative and qualitative data, FP&A professionals provide upper management with data-driven advice on how to effectively utilize financial resources to increase profitability and optimise growth.
Why you should make the transition
As seen from the NTUC LearningHub survey, there is a demand regionally for FP&A professionals to fill the data analysis skills gap. Apart from having first-mover advantage, the FP&A career path offers a wide variety of opportunities and higher than average compensation as compared to the rest of the profession. With the proper skill sets and a natural inclination for work, professionals will be able to future-proof their careers as corporate financial analysts and establish themselves as assets for their organisation.
How you can make the transition
There are transferable skills from accountancy into FP&A, such as understanding cash flow and financials. However, accounting professionals who are being asked to take on FP&A tasks or to transition into FP&A fully will need to augment their current competencies. In addition to obtaining the Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis Professional Certification (FPAC), those who are considering making the transition should focus on improving their financial modelling skills; increasing their knowledge of the their company’s products and services, business and industry; and developing better soft skills, in order to ease the transition between functions.
AFP helps accounting professionals make the transition into FP&A every day. For more information, check out our free guide: Orchestrating the Mindshift: The Transition from Accounting to FP&A.