What is the difference between Accounting and Financial Planning & Analysis?
The accounting department records and reports the financial transactions of the company which consists of sales, invoices, purchase orders, cash receipts, and disbursements etc. This department focuses on the details of “what” happened and ensures the financial transactions are recorded accurately and entirely. This allows accurate data to be analyzed by the FP&A Analyst, therefore, streamlining the process of information.
The FP&A Analyst is more concerned about the “why” behind the numbers, what is the cause that is affecting the numbers. FP&A professionals find the story hidden in the financial data to provide upper-level management the information needed to make strategic, operational, and tactical resource decisions. In short, the FP&A Analyst is investigating any change in the numbers, while Accounting records them.
What qualities should a strong candidate possess?
Great candidates for FP&A positions usually have a good understanding of business models and the flow of sales.They can easily pick up on what a business thrives on and the general drive of the customer base. These positions are incredibly diverse in what they ask of the employee, while one may require a more creative and innovative type, the other may require an attentive and detail oriented type. Accountant positions usually need someone who is more disciplined, consistent, and more “numbers” oriented. Understanding these differences between roles and the who fits best in companies is our specialty.