Have you thought of becoming an FP&A professional? When I was studying for my accounting qualification,...
5 C’s of FP&A
FP&A professionals have various desirable attributes. This article looks at these attributes from a diamond perspective – cut, colour, clarity and carat – plus culture.
Cut – Collaboration
The cut brings out the best of the rest of the diamond’s quality. In the same way, a collaborative mindset means that an FP&A professional looks at the interaction between teams and brings in the relevant stakeholders. When planning, a collaborative FP&A professional will involve sales in the revenue discussion and if s/he is concerned with the necessary resources required to support this, s/he will engage sales and operations to ensure that there are sufficient resources to support business growth.
Colour – unbiased challenge
The nature of the FP&A role means an FP&A professional deals with volatility on a regular basis. However, one should not let professional scepticism overtake. One should promote the unbiased challenge. One needs to consider whether one is dealing with biased information. After all financial projections are built on a set of assumptions. It is important that one does not become overconfident. Overconfidence fuels bias. An FP&A professional should check the soundness of the assumptions. To combat this, an FP&A professional should keep an open mind and ask questions. One should make sure the best of any opportunity to get ‘one’s hands dirty’ and get to know the business. This helps to build a good rapport with stakeholders and to better understand the business. This enables FP&A to ask the right questions and take a more holistic view when preparing projections.
Clarity in communication
It is widely acknowledged that communication is a key skill in successful FP&A business partnering. The clarity in communication promotes greater understanding, reduces frustration and enhances professional credibility. Communication is two way. Listening is as important as speaking. One should pay attention to how the audience is receiving the message. Eye contact and body language can tell you if the audience understood and/or agrees with your message. Set your goal/intention upfront to ensure you capture the audience’s initial attention. Set out an elevator pitch and build in details as needed. This enables you to scale your message to your audience and time in a concise fashion.
Carat – credibility
The weight of an FP&A professional rests on how well an FP&A interacts with the rest of the business. A credible FP&A will instil trust with their business partner. FP&A acts as a trusted adviser to whom business partners can confide challenges and seek potential solutions
Globalisation is the norm. This does not only refer to the wide geographic span of the business but also to the cultural diversity of employees. Culture is not limited only to the ethnic or geographic background. The key is not to stereotype. Try to consider the other person’s perspective, this helps to build rapport. This enhances the ability to build a successful and long lasting working relationship.
These key attributes help to promote successful FP&A business partnering. By continuously improving them, an FP&A can achieve diamond quality partnership.
Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Warranty Group. The Warranty Group is part of Assurant.
The article was first published in Unit 4 Prevero Blog