Are you looking to advance your career in finance?
This ultimate guide is the perfect resource for anyone interested in learning more about the financial planning and analysis profession. We provide comprehensive information on salary ranges, job descriptions, educational requirements, and career path planning so you can make an informed decision when it comes to pursuing a career in this field.
With our guide, you’ll be able to gain insight into what it takes to become successful in FP&A and understand how much money you can expect to earn and which positions are available.
As an FP&A hiring manager myself, I’ll also give you tips on how to stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of getting hired for the position that best suits your skill set.
Read on to learn how to accelerate your FP&A career path!
What Is FP&A?
Financial planning & analysis (FP&A) is a core corporate finance function that uses advanced financial analysis and forecasting to inform planning, strategy, and decision-making. It typically includes budgeting, strategic planning, forecasting, cost management, capital investment analyses, profitability analysis, pricing decisions, scenario planning, and cash flow management.
Roles In FP&A
The FP&A field offers a variety of career paths and positions, ranging from entry-level junior analysts to senior management.
As we walk through some of the most common FP&A roles and their salaries, remember that roles and salaries can vary widely depending on factors such as the individual’s experience level, the size and industry of the company, and the cost of living in the job location.
We are also providing just the average base salary. Many FP&A roles, especially those at big companies or in investment banking, will have a higher total compensation with bonuses, equity, retirement contributions, and other benefits that are important to consider.
1) FP&A Intern
An FP&A intern is a college student or recent grad who works with an organization’s finance department to gain experience while learning the fundamentals. For many professionals, this is where an FP&A career path starts.
Responsibilities typically include assisting with preparing financial reports, models, and forecasts, supporting budgeting and forecasting activities, aiding with monthly or quarterly financial closing processes, and reviewing and analyzing historical cost data.
This role provides an excellent opportunity for individuals looking to gain hands-on experience in financial planning and analysis, develop their financial acumen, and learn how to apply theoretical knowledge in practice.
The FP&A Intern is expected to be a full team member and contribute actively to the team’s objectives. After an internship, many companies offer permanent roles for junior analysts.
FP&A Intern Average Salary Range
Although unpaid internships exist, the typical hourly wage for a financial analyst internship is $25.00, resulting in an average annual salary of around $52,000.
FP&A Intern Years Of Experience
Typically, this role is filled by students or recent graduates with limited experience.
2) FP&A Analyst
FP&A Analyst, also known as financial planning analyst, is an entry-level role that plays a crucial role in an organization by providing senior management with the information, analysis, and forecasts required to make important business decisions. They help assess the financial implications of strategic choices and contribute to formulating the company’s overall business strategy.
Main responsibilities at the analyst level typically include:
- Business Forecasting: Develop comprehensive financial models to support decision-making. This includes forecasting revenues and expenditures and constructing annual budgets.
- Variance Analysis: Track the company’s performance against its financial plans. Analyze financial data to identify variances, understand their causes, and suggest corrective actions.
- Reporting: An FP&A analyst prepares detailed reports regularly (monthly, quarterly, annually) for senior management to review a company’s finances. Ensure these reports are accurate, timely, and actionable.
- Stakeholder Collaboration: Work closely with various organizational stakeholders, including operations, sales, and marketing teams, to gather necessary data and provide financial insights.
FP&A Analyst Salary
In 2023, the average FP&A analyst salary in the United States ranges from $70,000 to $94,000.
FP&A Analyst Years Of Experience
Generally, companies expect 1-2 years of relevant experience for the FP&A analyst role.
3) FP&A Senior Analysts
Senior financial analysts are pivotal in an organization, driving multiple projects and providing critical analyses to support strategic decision-making. A senior analyst usually has higher responsibility and strategic input than an FP&A Analyst.
Main responsibilities at the senior analyst level:
- Strategic Planning: Participate in the development and execution of strategic plans, supporting the company’s growth objectives.
- Budgeting and Forecasting: Building financial models, overseeing the budgeting and financial forecasting processes, and ensuring accuracy and timeliness.
- Financial Reporting & Analysis: Prepare comprehensive financial reports, including detailed analysis and commentary on business performance against key financial metrics.
- Business Partnering: Work closely with business units across the organization to provide financial insights and guidance supporting their strategic objectives.
- Process Improvement: Identify opportunities to improve financial processes and systems to enhance efficiency and accuracy.
FP&A Senior Analyst Salary
In 2023, the average base salary for FP&A Senior Analysts in the United States can range between $85,000 to $105,000 annually.
FP&A Senior Analyst Years Of Experience
An FP&A senior analyst usually has 2-4 years of experience in the field.
4) FP&A Manager
An FP&A Manager is key in guiding an organization’s financial direction and strategic decision-making processes. This leadership role involves overseeing the FP&A team and interfacing with other department heads to ensure alignment of financial planning with organizational goals. They typically lead a group of senior analysts or financial analysts.
- Strategic Planning: Drive the strategic planning process, ensuring financial plans align with the company’s strategic objectives.
- Budgeting and Forecasting: Oversee the budgeting, forecasting, and financial modeling processes, ensuring accuracy and timeliness.
- Financial Reporting & Analysis: Prepare comprehensive financial reports and provide detailed analysis and commentary on business performance against key financial metrics.
- Team Leadership: Manage the FP&A team, setting goals, providing guidance, and ensuring their career development.
- Cross-Functional Collaboration: Collaborate with other department heads to provide financial insights and guidance supporting exec.
- Process Improvement: Identify opportunities to improve financial processes and systems, driving efficiency and accuracy.
FP&A Manager Salary
In 2023, the average salary for an FP&A Manager in the United States can range between $105,000 to $130,000 annually.
FP&A Manager Years Of Experience
They usually have 5-8 years of experience in the field
5) FP&A Senior Manager
An FP&A Senior Manager plays a critical role in a company’s financial planning and operational decision-making processes. They are typically responsible for overseeing all corporate projections and comprehensively analyzing technical, administrative, and strategic matters. They work closely with senior management to increase a company’s efficiency and profitability.
- Developing and maintaining key company metrics and KPIs.
- Preparing monthly and quarterly management reports, analyzing operating and financial results, and identifying key trends.
- Overseeing the company’s indirect cost and rate management, including cost allocations and financial analysis.
- Leading business forecasting and providing analysis to aid decision-making in all operational, business development, financial, and strategic matters.
- Partnering with departmental leaders to determine and implement financial strategies.
- Reviewing forecasts and budgets created by analysts and suggesting changes.
- Collaborating with business unit heads to estimate their likely revenue and expenses.
FP&A Senior Manager Salary
In 2023, the average base salary for an FP&A Senior Manager in the United States can range between $120,000 to $150,000 annually.
FP&A Senior Manager Years Of Experience
Typically, this role requires 8-12 years of relevant experience.
6) FP&A Director, Vice President, And Beyond
An FP&A Director is a senior role that holds a strategic leadership role within an organization. They oversee all financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting activities, providing critical financial insights to guide the company’s strategic decisions and business initiatives.
- Strategic Planning: Lead the strategic planning process, aligning financial plans with the company’s long-term strategic objectives. Also support business development.
- Budgeting and Forecasting: Direct the corporate planning cycles, ensuring accuracy, consistency, and timeliness across all business units.
- Team Leadership: Manage and develop the FP&A team, fostering a culture of continuous learning, collaboration, and high performance.
- Cross-Functional Collaboration: Work closely with other department heads, especially corporate development and executive leadership, to provide financial insights and guidance supporting strategic objectives.
- Process Improvement: Drive improvements in financial processes and systems, enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and the ability to deliver actionable financial insights.
FP&A Director Salary
In 2023, the average salary for an FP&A Director in the United States can range between $140,000 to $175,000 annually.
FP&A Director Years Of Experience
Usually, these professionals have 12+ years of experience.
Sources – Salary And Years Of Experience
Planning An FP&A Career Path
Building a successful career in FP&A doesn’t come overnight. It requires consistent effort, continuous learning, and adaptability. My own FP&A career has crossed industries and roles, and I have checked off almost every title above. I found that the following framework has been instrumental in my success and progress.
Long-Term Career Progression
Set clear career goals and revisit them regularly. Early in your career, you might focus on gaining a broad range of experience and building technical skills. As you progress to a more senior position, you might choose to specialize in a specific area of FP&A or aim for leadership roles.
Regularly seek feedback, be open to new challenges, and don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone.
Necessary Skills, Certifications, and Qualifications
- Educational Requirements: An undergraduate degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration is typically required. An MBA or a master’s degree in finance can provide an added advantage.
- Certifications: Consider obtaining certifications such as Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or FP&A certification by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP). These certifications demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the field.
- Technical Skills: Proficiency in FP&A software tools and systems like Excel, SAP, Oracle, Hyperion, etc., is crucial. Knowledge of data analysis and visualization tools like Power BI or Tableau can also be beneficial. Financial modeling skills are essential, especially in investment banking.
- Soft Skills: Strong analytical, communication, problem-solving, and attention to detail are essential in this role.
Industries and Sectors for FP&A Roles:
Financial professionals are needed across various industries, including investment banking, manufacturing, retail, IT, healthcare, etc. The key is to identify an industry that aligns with your interests, as understanding the industry dynamics can be a critical part of the job.
Networking and Building Relationships:
Active networking is crucial for career growth. Attend industry events, webinars, and workshops. Join professional organizations like AFP and participate in online forums.
Continued Professional Development:
Stay updated with the latest trends in financial planning and analysis. This could involve regular training, attending seminars, reading relevant publications, or pursuing advanced certifications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is FP&A A Good Career?
FP&A is an excellent career for those who are interested in the intersection of finance and business. It offers opportunities to develop a deep understanding of business operations, work with financial models, use advanced software tools, and network with other professionals.
Does FP&A Pay More Than Accounting?
The salaries for FP&A roles can vary depending on the industry, organization size, and experience. Generally speaking, FP&A salaries tend to be higher than those of accounting positions. Having an accounting background can serve you well in FP&A.
Does FP&A Pay Well?
Yes, FP&A positions typically pay well. Salaries can vary depending on the company, but in general, FP&A professionals, even at the FP&A analyst level, earn salaries that are above average for their industry. Bonuses and stock options may also be available to those in senior-level positions.
Do I Need An MBA For FP&A?
An MBA is not required to become an FP&A professional. However, having a master’s degree in business administration will give you an edge in the job market and can open up opportunities for more advanced roles, especially in investment banking or corporate development. Additionally, many employers prefer candidates with strong analytical skills, which can be developed through an MBA program.
Have any questions? Are there other topics you would like us to cover? Leave a comment below and let us know! Remember to subscribe to our Newsletter to receive exclusive financial news in your inbox.