The Transition from Accounting to FP&A
Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is growing more and more attractive to accounting personnel for good reasons. It has fewer regulations to follow, making it less of a bureaucratic maze, and, for the right person, the intellectual challenge of forecasting and planning and the opportunity to impact the direction of the company is appealing.
For those interested in transitioning their careers from accounting to FP&A, the 2022 FP&A Guide: The Transition from Accounting to FP&A, lays out the differences and steps needed to make the change. Learn what it takes to transition and how there are many skills needed to make it successful.
The FP&A Guide includes:
Our goal is to broaden the capabilities of both accounting and FP&A professionals as we all work towards the expanded success of the finance profession.
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The Opportunity in FP&A
For many years, a robust accounting function sufficed for many organizations concerned with preparing a budget, reporting the numbers, and filing SEC documentation. In recent years, organizations realized they needed staff with finance skills to improve forecasting and modeling and to work with the business. The maturation of the FP&A function has led to increased specialization and accelerated expertise on that team. This section also explores:
Learn more about the opportunities available in FP&A
The Objective Function
While both are under the CFO umbrella, transitioning from accounting to FP&A first requires the realization that they have different objective functions. Accounting’s goal is to create a book of record of financial transactions in a standardized way; FP&A’s goal is to apply its finance and accounting acumen to support decisions and drive business performance.
Find out more about the objective functions and how they compare
Finance and Business Acumen
The differing views between capital reporting and capital allocation are considered in three areas:
Technology and Data
Accounting’s tools and data are designed to meet its goal by getting data into the general ledger to establish the record, serve as the basis for financial reporting, and meet compliance objectives. FP&A needs that information as a foundation, then chops it up, adds operational and market data, and feeds various management reporting and information systems for alignment and action.
Learn more about differing technology and data
Personal and Team Effectiveness
Transitioning from accounting to FP&A requires comfort with risk, comfort with making recommendations and decisions knowing that the data is imperfect, facts change, and you may need to reverse decisions.
Making the Transition
There are a lot of valuable skills accounting professionals can bring to the FP&A role. Yet there’s also a lot they must learn. Find out how Rachel Yau, CPA joined an FP&A team and the skills she needed to be successful which included:
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