Do you aspire to be the Chief Financial Officer of Google, Microsoft, Tesla or any other organization? I interviewed three Executives including two former CFOs to get their advice. These business leaders all spent several years in FP&A and credit this time as a critical experience in their ascent to the leadership positions that they eventually earned and thrived in.
I have previously written about 8 qualities which I believe characterize good FP&A performers. The article will explore what 2 of these – Curiosity and Creativity - can mean for Business Finance and FP&A in particular.
One of the advantages of working in the domain of FP&A is that it provides excellent opportunity to learn about many aspects of the business. This enables the individual to, not only do the job with a more solid ground, but to also get a better picture of what and how is done in the other departments. Additionally, working closely with colleagues from different functions increases one’s visibility in the organization. But how do you get started in FP&A?
How do we change this view that is prevalent in several stakeholders across businesses?
Most professionals working in the FP&A discipline have degrees in finance or accounting and previously worked as accountants or auditors. The transition from such backend core finance functions to a highly business focused partnering function is one that requires certain shifts in mind-set as well as skillset. Below is a discussion attempting to highlight some of the key ones.
Professional portfolios have always been the expected norm for creative, visual occupations, everything from computer-aided design, photography, artwork, interior design to runway models. Until recently, this was not an option for the finance professional, a non-visual occupation. Finance professionals have typically taken the approach to lengthy résumés, detailing employment history and outlining routine tasks performed.