What does an FP&A professional do?

By Robert Half on 15 August 2022
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

The Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) team play a key strategic role in the direction and future success of an organisation. As a branch of the financial department, they work alongside accounting and treasury, reporting directly to the CFO.

While accounting is focused on accurate record keeping and treasury manages cash, debt, and equity, for FP&A professionals, their responsibilities lie in the financial planning, forecasting, and budgeting within the company.

So, if you have a talent for numbers and data analysis, a keen eye for spotting trends and risks before they happen and are looking for a rewarding and challenging career path, a role in FP&A could be an ideal fit for you.

Read on to learn more about what does an FP&A professional do, and how to get into FP&A in Singapore.

What does an FP&A Analyst or Manager do?

Depending on the size of the business, the FP&A function may be performed by a team, or by one or two individuals.

For most mid-size companies and above, a Financial Planning and Analysis Manager and an FP&A Analyst form the foundation of the team. Their work primarily involves digging into the company’s financial and business data to find meaning, insight and answers that will guide and inform the key business decisions that will drive growth and increase profit, both now and in the future.

Common tasks of an FP&A Analyst include:

  • Creating and analysing reports such as profit and loss statements
  • Cash flow statements and variance reports
  • Evaluate performance against forecasts
  • Uncover the variance between budget versus actual spend
  • Look closely at the level of profitability across the business and within individual departments
  • Study industry and market trends, plan budgets and forecast future performance

FP&A managers take this a step further, turning the data and insights into targeted and relevant information that can be shared with senior management to provide clear and actionable recommendations that will drive the short and long-term financial strategy of the organisation.

They will also work with department managers to build budgets and forecasts and provide the leadership team with models and detailed analysis of specific areas within the company, to highlight ways to increase revenue and lower costs.

Why is this function in high demand in Singapore?

In Singapore right now, FP&A is a rapidly growing sector, and suitable candidates are in high demand.

This is in part due to the recent shift in focus of the role, from what was once a largely reactive position to what it is today, a forward-thinking, strategic, and highly influential position that plays an integral part in the success of a business.

In addition, the insight FP&A analysts and managers provide allow companies to be agile, reduce risk, and make sound and swift decisions.

This is now more valuable than ever, as businesses constantly look for ways to improve efficiencies, and become more resilient to survive and thrive in the current challenging and uncertain times.

Related: Is being a Financial Analyst a good career choice?

Why is FP&A an important part of finance?

The FP&A team hold some key responsibilities that are essential to the success of the business.

The reports and recommendations they provide to leadership are critical in driving the strategic direction of the organisation and have a direct impact on the ability of the business to thrive, grow and achieve its goals.

Key to this is their ability to evaluate the current financial position, extract meaning from the myriad of data and turn this into actionable steps that will increase cost-efficiency and profitability on both a macro and micro level. The insights and direction this provides is invaluable.

Related: 6 interesting reasons to pursue a finance career in Singapore

How can a jobseeker build a career in Financial Planning & Analysis?

If you are a recent graduate, having the right tertiary qualifications is a must.

Relevant degrees that will set you up for success in FP&A include:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Business administration
  • Statistics

For those already working in the financial industry, there are specialised FP&A courses and certifications available that can help you stand out from the crowd and show recruiters and employers that you are serious about pursuing a career in FP&A.

On top of this, there are certain skills and strengths that are necessary for success in this field.

These include an aptitude for mathematics, a talent for data analysis, excellent attention to detail and advanced problem-solving skills.

High-level communication skills and a solid understanding of financial markets and the wider economy are also highly regarded.

Ready for a career in FP&A?

If you are ready to start or accelerate your career in the FP&A department, our experienced team of recruiters are here to help.

Get in touch with us on +65 3158 0978 for expert advice, guidance and support that will help you secure an exciting role in FP&A.

Are you a finance professional looking for your next career opportunity? As a leader in accounting and finance recruitment, Robert Half can help you find the right accounting role for you in Singapore.

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