Analysts Assemble: How to Create the Ultimate FP&A Team

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Finance Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Finance pros

Thursday, September 16, 2021

A top FP&A team can drive corporate performance within an organization as long as it's built with the right analysts and nurtured with innovation in mind.

Article 4 Minutes
Analysts Assemble: How to Create the Ultimate FP&A Team

Your financial planning and analysis (FP&A) team is at the heart of corporate success and is necessary in order to take advantage of the latest advances in technology. But hiring within the financial sector is becoming increasingly difficult, so organizations need to set themselves apart to recruit talent to their FP&A teams.

Despite the challenges, there are some steps you can follow to ensure you have people whose skills complement each other and create dynamic strategies.

1. Hire analysts from diverse backgrounds

Recruiting a diverse mix of people with different specialisms will help to create a strong team. Candidates that have experience in other sectors, as well as finance, are likely to display a more well-rounded approach to the implications of decisions and therefore bring added value to your organization. Varied backgrounds also increase the chances of obtaining staff with good people skills, which is vital for efficiently extracting information from different departments.

2. Look for innovators and thought leaders

Your FP&A team will need to adapt to industry changes and should be pushing innovation forward, but it requires individuals accustomed to this way of working. So during the interview process, pay attention to finance professionals who are used to learning new skills and keen to develop their career, as they’ll drive your company’s corporate performance as they strive to fulfil their own goals.

3. Employ self-managers

Employees who are adept at working without direct supervision and have a clear idea of the hierarchy of importance of tasks within their role will help to keep the FP&A team running smoothly. Self-starting and self-monitoring staff become assets to an organization especially when managers and leaders are called away, as they can continue to move on with their work without unnecessary delays.

4. Gauge analytical experience

Analytical skills are at the heart of any FP&A team and there’s no substitute for hiring people who have the necessary experience in the field. The ability to apply logical thinking to a situation and analyze a wide range of information must be developed over time and candidates with a proven history will become invaluable to your company. Be sure to ask for specific examples of all interviewees’ analytics in action as these will help you gauge where they’ll fit into the team and what they can bring to improve the corporate performance of your organization.

5. Nurture new hires from the beginning

When hiring new members to your FP&A team, don’t just look at what they already know, but the potential they can bring. Develop a culture of learning and guidance right from the beginning of their employment, then encourage one-on-one training and education programs that go beyond the traditional setting to create team members that are flexible and ready to take on the next big change in the industry.

6. Streamline financial reporting to empower staff

All interviewers look at the unique skills an individual can bring to the FP&A team, but all too often they spend a lot of their time doing tasks that could be carried out by reporting or forecasting tools. Streamline these elements of the role and your new hire can do more of the work they were brought in to do in the first place. Not only does this represent better return on investment to the organization, but will keep the new employee feeling engaged and empowered within their role.

7. Be prepared to work with individual departments

A successful FP&A team shouldn’t be working in a siloed fashion away from other departments. Instead, they should be prepared to approach all areas of the business to get the insight to accurately prepare individual budgets that reflect the situation on the ground. This way, the overall corporate budget will be more nuanced and effective once all the information has been collated into a whole.

8. Harness the power of strong communication tools

The FP&A team needs to clearly communicate its findings and strategies to the rest of the company in order to add value. Spreadsheets and presentations have been utilized for such tasks for a long time and still work, but ensuring everyone in the team is comfortable using data visualization tools is a more forward-thinking move. These tools facilitate understanding in business managers and should be an integral part of the arsenal team members turn to on a regular basis.

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