With potential future income touching six to seven figures, and a phenomenal job growth rate of 12% through 2024, financial planning and analysis have turned into a lucrative career for many. With various programs available, most of us are confused about how to kick their careers in this field. In this blog, we present in-depth knowledge and guidance about beginning your career as a financial planning analyst that comes in handier with online programs in finance.
What is a financial planning analyst?
Financial planning analyst is a team within the finance organization of a company that provides senior management with a projection of its profit and loss (income statement) and operating performance for the immediate future and long term. These estimates inform the government on the effectiveness and progress of the company’s investments and strategic plans.
Financial planning analyst within the corporate finance hierarchy
All corporate companies have a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) responsible for managing the company finances. He has his own set of teams to help him with his responsibilities, which includes –
- Controller – Responsible for Accounting and Financial Reporting
- Treasury – Responsible for Liquidity, Capital Structure, and Financing
- Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) – Responsible for Forecasting and Budgeting
Key job responsibilities
- Conducts quantitative analysis of financial and operational data
- Develops and maintains financial databases by constructing and interpreting a wide range of data sources.
- Provides financial reports for internal use by gathering, analyzing, formatting, and exhibiting information.
- Assesses new projects and investment opportunities by comparing them with each other.
- Builds finances and forecasts for future company performance
If you’ve read this up until now and are still interested in pursuing a career in FP&A, then you should keep the following steps in mind before divulging yourself in an online program in finance analyst. Please keep the next steps in mind before you commence your career as a financial planner and analyst.
Study what the role Is all about
Most of the time, there is a gap in comprehending a corporate financial analyst’s role compared to many other financial functions, such as stockbrokers, accountants, and investment bankers. You need to learn in detail what the job entails before choosing it.
Corporate financial analysts operate within an organization, aiding in supporting management decisions by presenting actionable financial information. They monitor taxes, expenses, financial statements, and other details to decide where they make money. They develop projections and examine new chances to make a profit. That is what separates them from accountants working on recording data rather than forecasting, and stockbrokers finding possibilities for profits through the stock market.
Know Your educational requirements
Consider graduating in a related field, such as finance, accounting, statistics, business administration, or mathematics, which are all traditional paths into the profession.
But what if you have completed college and are looking to move into this profession? The most common method of transition into a financial analyst role is by obtaining an MBA from online program in finance.
It can be expensive, and hence careful research is required into entry-level positions. Doing one or two online program in finance can also come handy to understand if postgraduate courses or other industry courses could give you what you need.
If you belong from some financial or accounting background but do not have enough to bag the top roles, examine an online program in finance, like the Certified Corporate Financial Planning’ Analysis Professional credentials offered by the Association for Financial Professionals.
It can equip you with the education and credentials required for a corporate job, even for those without a business degree. Ultimately, the certification should boost your resume and help refine and focus your experience.
Prepare yourself for career growth.
Many corporate financial analyst professionals aim to reach the director level, who sits directly under a company’s CFO. But you will need to toil your way up to that level. Corporate financial planning analysts typically begin with a team consisting of three to four people who report to a senior analyst—the old analyst reports to the financial planning Manager.
After at least five years of experience, depending on the company’s size, along with training, certifications, and on-point projections, you will likely be promoted to the manager position.
When looking at roles, consider the various opportunities available at more established organizations compared to startups. More prominent companies have more complex financial data and hire multiple analysts to train young talent before increasing their responsibility.
Whereas new startups and smaller companies generally lack the proper hierarchy to create processes for financial reporting. Therefore, it is up to you to choose whether you will begin at an ambitious startup, rocket your way to the top, or select a more traditional course of working under professionals and learning your way up.
However, many resources can help you confirm whether this is the career for you. Apart from this blog, Google relevant sites and prepare for some online informational interviews to make a good sense of the job. Also, read up and boost your knowledge of the books written by well known and widely accepted finance authors.
Lessons for Corporate America offers Buffett’s insights into what makes a company financially secure and an Intelligent Investor by Buffett’s mentor Benjamin Graham. As with any other career, there are a lot of steps along the way. But these should likely help you to determine whether an FP&A career is right for you—and direct you on the path for success.