Canada FP&A career path advice needed please


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Hi everyone,

I am hoping to get some career advice here. I ve been working as an FP&A professional for 7ish years ever since my MBA and CPA graudation. I am in charge of the total company's forecasting, budgeting and mostly revenue anlaysis process. My ultimate goal is to become the CFO or VP of Finance.

In many cases, I am feeling myself short of core accounting knowledge especially when talking to the Controller at the company. I have never done any hardcore accounting before. With FP&A looking things mostly at the GL level, I am mostly struggling with understanding the subledge and how things are moving between P&L and Balance Sheet. I believe that this hinders my chance of moving up the corporate ladder.

I am wondering if there is any person who had the similar challenges like me and how did you work up from FP&A to the CFO position. Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,
 
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kirby

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You identified a key weakness and now you need a plan to address that. You could, for example, ask the Controller to explain the processes you need to understand. The Controller must be aware of your weakness in this area already so you are not telling the Controller anything new. So either the Controller will help you or not.If not maybe a more junior accounting person can help. Prior to that request, you should consider taking accounting courses, so you will be prepared and not waste the Controller's time.

Once that issue is resolved, you are in a better position for promotion. Also, the best CFO's have a deep understanding of the industry so consider joining an industry group specific to your company.
 
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There are immense career opportunities in the field of finance and accounting in terms of both professional qualifications and jobs. Talking about the professional qualifications, here's a list of accounting designations that'll help you advance your career and accounting business acumen:

1) Certified Public Accountant - US CPA is a wildly popular and recognized accounting designation in the US and other foreign countries. One of the 55 State Boards of Accountancy in the US provides the CPA certificate. The scope is vast and the content is crisp leading to jobs in various sectors and industries.

2) Chartered Accountant (CA - India) - CA is a renowned course within commerce folks in India. The certificate issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India - ICAI, is a 3 level exam spread over 4-5 years on an average that provides a deep understanding of India GAAP and other relevant subjects. The scope is broad in the Indian sub-continent, where professionals also choose to open up their own practice.

3) Certified Management Accountant - US CMA is a well-known course among the management and cost accounting professionals. The certificate issued by the Institute of Management Accountants - IMA, provides a deep understanding of managerial decision making and cost measuring concepts. It also includes an introduction to fintech subjects helping the professionals be industry and tech-ready.

4) Certified Financial Analyst (CFA - US) - CFA covers a ton of accounting and finance topics including market risks and investment instruments. The certificate is issued by the American CFA Institute. The scope is vastly in finance and hedge industries.

5) Company Secretary (CS - India) - CS course is another course famous among the commerce/accounting professionals in India. The course is built around the objective to have high caliber professionals facilitating good corporate governance.

In terms of jobs, you can work as:

1) Auditor -
An Auditor plays a crucial role in providing an opinion on the financials and the control system of a Company. Auditors are looked out for by the accounting firms (including the Big 4's) who provide audit services to the companies (both public and private). Going through the books of accounts, looking out for errors and frauds, collecting corroborative audit evidence, and putting all of these together to provide an integral opinion is a brief on how the auditors work. They are respected by companies and industries.

2) Finance, analysts, and treasurer roles - These roles put people in decision-making shoes, and their responsibility with recording books, making informed decisions, payment approvals, etc. becomes an important part of their job role. These roles are crucial for many mid-size and large scale businesses.

3) Accounts Payable (AP), Accounts Receivable (AR), others - These roles help an individual not only understand the accounting cycles at large but also be a part of them in keeping records, analyzing, preparing ledgers and books of accounts and communication of the same.

4) Business Process Analysts -
These BPA roles in the accounting field would require professionals to analyze the processes and accounting cycles already in place to see if they could be optimized for better efficiency and business outcome. Tackling and bringing down various business bottlenecks would be an important role in this case.

5) Cost and management roles - These roles would again put the individuals in decision-making shoes where they work on budgets and standards and other internal business decisions leading to informed decisions and practices in an Industry.

6) Fintech roles - Given that there are a ton of improvements and advancements happening with respect to Artificial Intelligence and Accounting information systems, there is a wide scope of individuals who can work closely with engineers to chart out the processes and systems so they build software and ERPs based on the ideas provided by the accountants. The main role is to understand a business and its accounting processes using which the accountants can derive knowledge and insight helping build the software.

7) Other roles and emerging opportunities - There are more opportunities bubbling up given the speed at which the industries and technologies are moving. Stay tuned for industry-relevant updates in days to come."
 

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