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FP&A Certification increasingly popular among finance execs for up-skilling and career prospects

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By Association of Financial Professionals | 13 December 2021

FP&A professionals can set themselves apart as strategic business partners with the right certification.

The finance profession has been altered. Automation and readily available digital technologies made critical the ability to manage and interpret data and to extract complex information — providing valuable insights into the decision-making process of the organization. In other words, financial planning and analysis: FP&A.

The FP&A function improves business decisions by allocating capital to its best use. Becoming certified in FP&A proves your ability to perform these functions accurately and efficiently and to identify, assess and adapt the processes as the business environment changes.

Today’s finance professionals must be prepared to take on strategic positions. Professional certifications such as AFP’s FP&A Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis Certification (FPAC) provide finance professionals with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to step to the forefront as financial experts, strategic and adept communicators, and trusted advisors to the business. 

Benefits of FPAC

FP&A professionals look beyond the statistics, making them uniquely qualified to reduce risk. They seek to make the numbers work in order to ensure that the comprehensive strategic planning, budgeting and forecasting decisions being made are aligned with the company’s objectives.

CFOs are looking for someone who can combine planning, forecasting and analytical abilities with the foresight to grasp the organization’s entire strategy. As financial specialists, strategic and effective communicators, and valued consultants to the organization, FPAC certification holders inevitably rise to the top.

According to a 2019 AFP Compensation Survey that compared the annual salaries of FPAC credential holders with non-holders, those with the FPAC earned more.

FP&A professionals need more visibility in the business world. Showing off their unique professional standards and differentiating their role from management accounting does just that.

Wilson Wong, FPAC, FP&A Analyst for TechSource Systems

Starting out in accounting but also possessing a background in IT, Wong saw an opportunity to move into the FP&A field. He has been at TechSource for four years, where he is currently the lead FP&A analyst, handling variance analysis, sales performance reporting, efficiency analysis, budgeting and forecasting and more.

Wong pursued the FPAC certification because he believed it would help him stand out in his professional career. Because there are no standards for FP&A in Singapore, Wong believed that possessing a relevant professional qualification would aid in his transition from accounting to FP&A.

I just had a promotion earlier this year, going from senior FP&A analyst to lead FP&A analyst. Now, the promotion wasn’t solely due to the certification, but I do feel that obtaining it was a big factor. I also had offers from other companies. But TechSource was looking to expand the FP&A team, and they made sure to acquire the right talent.

Wilson Wong, FP&A, FP&A Analyst for TechSource Systems

Junn Nguyen, FPAC, Senior Financial Analyst at Illumina in Singapore

Nguyen started his career as a financial trainee in a two-year management program with General Electric, during which he had four short-term assignments with various functions within finance, including FP&A. The experience Nguyen gained with FP&A inspired him to pursue a permanent position with that team after the program ended. 

Nguyen believes that FP&A professionals need to be agile and flexible given the uncertainty in the world today. Having a risk-balanced approach to forecasting, and always documenting assumptions in detail allows him to flexibly make changes to forecasts as the assumptions change. 

While I just received the FPAC credential, a lot of the knowledge I gained from the programme helped me with the issues I face at work and in figuring out how to deal with them in more structured way.

Junn Nguyen, FPAC, Senior Financial Analyst at Illumina in Singapore

Danny Shiu, FPAC, CTP, MOS, FP&A Consultant, Hong Kong

According to Danny Shiu, FPAC, CTP, MOS, FP&A professionals need more visibility in the business world by showing off their unique professional standards and differentiating their role from management accounting. For example, we focus more on forecasting and planning than looking at actuals, which are provided by accounting. We explain to management and investors “why it happened” and the impact to company’s short term and long-term financial targets. We also work with different departments every day, coordinating and consolidating information, like an information clearing house.

Participating in and supporting FP&A-professional bodies like the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) can increase exposure and help people understand the unique abilities FP&A professionals bring to the table.

Danny Shiu, FPAC, CTP, MOS, FP&A Consultant in Hong Kong

 As the field becomes more sophisticated, the FPAC certification will serve to identify the most qualified candidates. It also provides professionals with a way to easily identify others who share their enthusiasm, allowing them to expand their network and promote FP&A as a crucial role within corporate finance.

Find out more about the FPAC credential here.

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