Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) is one of the core duties of finance organizations. It’s also probably one of the more fun and interesting jobs. Usually, only large organizations see a need to assign people to financial planning and analysis full time. But as the volume and the complexity of financial data grows, so does the demand for more FP&A specialists.
Surging financial planning and analysis demand
That’s one of the key findings from a survey of nearly 1,000 senior finance executives. The analysts at FSN, a provider of thought leadership and research for finance professionals, conducted this survey and wrote a report about it. Over the last few weeks, most recently in an article about foresight, we have introduced you to their report titled “The Future of Planning, Budgeting & Forecasting.” This week, we’ll take a closer look at Chapter 2, CFOs and Heads of FP&A at Loggerheads.
Could the “F” in FP&A stand for forward-looking?
Financial planning and analysis is a niche field. It accounts for only a small percentage of senior finance professionals. As finance evolves, however, experts in this niche find themselves having to examine a wider range of data. Not only that, but they’re using more and more sophisticated techniques for modeling and analysis.
Also, at one time, they only had to explain why past events turned out the way they did. But, now financial planning and analysis experts are being asked for more. Decision makers want them to use predictive rather than historical analysis to provide forward-looking insights. The FSN report observes that “Within the finance function, FP&A is the only discipline that can present a picture of the future from which an organization can build their strategy.”
The FP&A specialists see this as a reason for their role to be a separate discipline within the accounting function. The survey found that 44% of the heads of FP&A strongly agreed with that idea. By contrast, just 18% of other respondents were in agreement. The difference is not huge. However, it’s significant and it suggests that these skilled practitioners may need a little more love from the corner office.
Learn more about how FP&A specialists view themselves
Discover what FP&A specialists think their roles should be in CFOs and Heads of FP&A at Loggerheads.