In my line of work, I often get asked about tips on how to transition from audit to FP&A.
The answer is simple, when working at a chartered accountancy firm, believe it or not, you develop a number of transferable skills that could make you an appealing candidate when interviewing for a role in FP&A. The trick is highlighting your relevant skills and achievements during the interview process.
Here are the top 3 tasks in every FP&A role and how it relates to your role in audit;
1. Actual performance against target & forecast and investigate variances; For this task, strong excel is very important, you should be able to pull data from multiple sources and compile it together and be able to deep dive on any variances to ensure you know the reason behind the numbers, in case you are asked by the CFO when presenting your findings. The key transferable skill here is the data gathering and investigative process, like audit, where you must gather information from multiple sources at your clients to ensure the business is compliant.
2. Stakeholder management skills; After identifying the variances, you will need to address any big variances with the relevant divisions. That means talking to the divisional heads, building rapport, explaining why you need the information and ensuring they make it a priority to talk to you. This is another great skill you learned in audit, dealing with multiple clients and asking them to release huge amounts of information on their business to complete your audit reports.
3. Identifying key financial performance drivers with appropriate commentary supporting the analysis; By now, you are ready to tell a story on what happened in the business. This is done by providing your insights on the key drivers for variances on budget vs targets, forward-looking commentaries that will support senior managers decision making. Like the audit report, this is about summarizing your findings and providing recommendations.
In addition to the above tasks, to ensure you are a standout candidate, prepare some examples that demonstrate your ability to do the following;
• Manage conflicting priorities
• Improve processes
• Learn and improve your skill set
• Think like an analyst
A career transition from audit to FP&A is not as hard as you think, it is just about highlighting both the transferable and softer skills you have that will allow you to succeed in the role.
If you have any questions on how to move from audit to FP&A, feel free to contact me on the details below.