How to get in to an FP&A role if you've only done accounting?
I speak to many candidates with strong accounting experience who want a FP&A role but have no prior experience.
In addition, they are competing with many candidates in the market who already have the FP&A experience and with relevant industry background. Therefore, the question is how do they ever get into an FP&A role in this market? Here are some simple steps you can take if you want to gain more exposure in FP&A.
Take a hybrid role
Going in to a 100% FP&A role with only accounting experience will be a big risk not only for the employer but also the candidate because they don't have any experience and will need a lot of time, energy and training. Therefore, if you're able to move in to a hybrid role that allows you to do core accounting and get more exposure to budgeting, forecasting, analysis, business partnering this can groom your experience in FP&A.
Join a smaller to mid-size company
Generally speaking, the bigger the companies, the more segregated functions/ responsibilities are. If you are able to join a company where you need to be flexible and do a wider role that covers other aspects in finance including FP&A, this can give you more opportunity to touch upon FP&A and gain more experience.
Become more proficient in Excel
FP&A roles require to use many excel functions. The real power comes in combining these functions into complicated Excel formulas: Count, CountA, Countif, Countifs, VLOOKUP, Index and Match, Consolidate function, NPV, IRR, MIRR, ValueText.
Mid to long-term perspective
Many companies promote internal rotation or movement within the different finance functions. If you are able to find a company like this and perform well in the organization, you can use that as leverage to get into an FP&A role depending on the situation and opening within the company.
Sometimes taking an opportunity for a contract role in FP&A can give exposure to function not possible on the perm side. Although you take the short term risk of uncertainty, there are long-term benefits if you're able to do the job well. It can sometimes lead a perm FP&A role in the future.
Train yourself to become more commercially minded
FP&A roles requires a person to become more analytical and think more about how to grow a business by analyzing the numbers. How you can use numbers to advise your stakeholders to make the right decisions is an important skill set that can be trained. The more solutions you are able to provide to your company through FP&A, the more valued you will become to the company.