Corporate FP&A vs. Division FP&A

Bankn's picture
Rank: Orangutan | banana points 336

I've got two job offers in hand. 1. Mid-sized pharma firm (growth history), product development (division) FP&A team. 2. Fortune 50 tech (mature), Corporate FP&A. I have 1 year of accounting/finance experience. Offer is low 60s+bonus for both.

My big question: What are some of the major differences between corporate and division FP&A? Where does corporate FP&A add value? I'm a little worried that the corporate FP&A position will be too general (consolidation, review, high-level analysis), not allowing me to sharpen my analytical skills; is that often the case? Is corporate FP&A often involved in strategy, modeling, and decision support?

Goal: Like most people, get in the position that is most likely to bring me to the corner office.

I have experience in divisional FP&A, but I'm a little unsure about corporate. Any knowledge would be great... Thanks.

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Comments (15)

Oct 10, 2012
Bankn:

I've got two job offers in hand. 1. Mid-sized pharma firm (growth history), product development (division) FP&A team. 2. Fortune 50 tech (mature), Corporate FP&A. I have 1 year of accounting/finance experience. Offer is low 60s+bonus for both.

My big question: What are some of the major differences between corporate and division FP&A? Where does corporate FP&A add value? I'm a little worried that the corporate FP&A position will be too general (consolidation, review, high-level analysis), not allowing me to sharpen my analytical skills; is that often the case? Is corporate FP&A often involved in strategy, modeling, and decision support?

Goal: Like most people, get in the position that is most likely to bring me to the corner office.

I have experience in divisional FP&A, but I'm a little unsure about corporate. Any knowledge would be great... Thanks.

In a word, "YES". You are correct in your assessment in corporate versus division FP&A. Corporate FP&A certainly "adds value", but they do so through mostly by consolidating the pieces that are submitted by "division" FP&A guys. Most of the value add here will be through driving automation and accuracy of time-sensitive processes. Believe it or not, some people actually prefer this. Additionally, since the corporate FP&A role is at a F50, I believe they will have more of an "assembly line" culture for FP&A, with analysts working on one small thing with little exposure to much else, so I highly doubt you will see any strategic modeling as an analyst.

I honestly believe that the mid-size company will give you better experience, but the F50 will probably be the better "resume opportunity" since it's a larger company.

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Oct 11, 2012
sayandarula:
Bankn:

I've got two job offers in hand. 1. Mid-sized pharma firm (growth history), product development (division) FP&A team. 2. Fortune 50 tech (mature), Corporate FP&A. I have 1 year of accounting/finance experience. Offer is low 60s+bonus for both.

My big question: What are some of the major differences between corporate and division FP&A? Where does corporate FP&A add value? I'm a little worried that the corporate FP&A position will be too general (consolidation, review, high-level analysis), not allowing me to sharpen my analytical skills; is that often the case? Is corporate FP&A often involved in strategy, modeling, and decision support?

Goal: Like most people, get in the position that is most likely to bring me to the corner office.

I have experience in divisional FP&A, but I'm a little unsure about corporate. Any knowledge would be great... Thanks.

In a word, "YES". You are correct in your assessment in corporate versus division FP&A. Corporate FP&A certainly "adds value", but they do so through mostly by consolidating the pieces that are submitted by "division" FP&A guys. Most of the value add here will be through driving automation and accuracy of time-sensitive processes. Believe it or not, some people actually prefer this. Additionally, since the corporate FP&A role is at a F50, I believe they will have more of an "assembly line" culture for FP&A, with analysts working on one small thing with little exposure to much else, so I highly doubt you will see any strategic modeling as an analyst.

I honestly believe that the mid-size company will give you better experience, but the F50 will probably be the better "resume opportunity" since it's a larger company.

I agree with everything said here. My F500 has a very assembly like line with FP&A with three levels. The "divsions" report to the "sectors" and the "sectors" report to "corporate". And the numbers just all flow upwards. I do the cash flow forecasting for one of the divisions as part of my current rotation and I essentially report my numbers to the "sector" analyst who deals with cash flow forecasting. The "sector" FP&A group then reports their numbers to corporate . I sit in at both the division level meetings and sector level meetings so I can go into more detail if the need to understand things from my perspective. And the different analysts all see different parts of the FP&A process. With cash flow being the only part of the process I see.

The sector analysts and corporate analysts all see more of the process then me, but they are as much data collecting as anything else. But, like sayandrula said, the name of the F50 is likely better for your resume.

Oct 11, 2012

Thanks for that. This corporate FP&A group is rather small, only about 5 people for a multi-billion dollar revenue division. So I feel like there will be less of an assembly line feel to the job.

Can in ask in addition, do you feel like this sort of high-level analysis position would be a desirable one early in my career. Especially when regarding exit opportunities, such as Sr. Fin. Analyst at another company or MBA?

Thanks...

Also, from what I've been told, the senior management looks to this team to provide analysis regarding operating results from the division. Many of the directors have been with the company 15+ years in this division. So, I'm thinking its got good exposure and movement opportunity. So long as I stay sharp.

sayandarula:
Bankn:

I've got two job offers in hand. 1. Mid-sized pharma firm (growth history), product development (division) FP&A team. 2. Fortune 50 tech (mature), Corporate FP&A. I have 1 year of accounting/finance experience. Offer is low 60s+bonus for both.

My big question: What are some of the major differences between corporate and division FP&A? Where does corporate FP&A add value? I'm a little worried that the corporate FP&A position will be too general (consolidation, review, high-level analysis), not allowing me to sharpen my analytical skills; is that often the case? Is corporate FP&A often involved in strategy, modeling, and decision support?

Goal: Like most people, get in the position that is most likely to bring me to the corner office.

I have experience in divisional FP&A, but I'm a little unsure about corporate. Any knowledge would be great... Thanks.

In a word, "YES". You are correct in your assessment in corporate versus division FP&A. Corporate FP&A certainly "adds value", but they do so through mostly by consolidating the pieces that are submitted by "division" FP&A guys. Most of the value add here will be through driving automation and accuracy of time-sensitive processes. Believe it or not, some people actually prefer this. Additionally, since the corporate FP&A role is at a F50, I believe they will have more of an "assembly line" culture for FP&A, with analysts working on one small thing with little exposure to much else, so I highly doubt you will see any strategic modeling as an analyst.

I honestly believe that the mid-size company will give you better experience, but the F50 will probably be the better "resume opportunity" since it's a larger company.

Feb 22, 2017

hi, I am in a similar situation right now. I accepted an offer from a F500 manufacturing company as my first job. The position is division FP&A under the "sector" like you described. I worked in "sector" during my internship, but the company assigned me to division as my full time position. I wonder what's their motivation behind this decision. Is it because I didn't perform well during the internship? or maybe they think I can actually learn more stuff in division?

Basically, I am curious what was your decision eventually. Looking back, how do you feel about these two types of FP&A position in terms of experience and exit opportunity, I will be really appreciated for some suggestions.

Oct 23, 2017

What would expense FP&A look like at a F100? Not forecasting revenues and I believe its more on the corporate side as referenced above. Would it hurt you not having that view into the revenue side?

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Oct 24, 2017
Jager:

What would expense FP&A look like at a F100? Not forecasting revenues and I believe its more on the corporate side as referenced above. Would it hurt you not having that view into the revenue side?

everyone i speak to says to avoid a expense only fp&a role.
it's better to be looking at revenue&expenses

Dec 10, 2017

5 years of expense only FP&A - then moved on to revenue+little expenses FP&A. So a switch IS possible - however, even at the corporate level - expenses only is hardly exciting.

Sep 17, 2018

Can confirm you should avoid expense only FP&A. Had that role for a company where the majority of expense was related to headcount. Not much analysis to do when the company freezes hiring and HR/hiring managers do most of the planning on new hires.

Sep 9, 2018

I've ended up going from FP&A to consulting to corporate development and now looking towards private equity. That's how it worked out. Jesus can't believe I posted that 5 years ago.

Sep 10, 2018

Interesting- which of the two jobs did you end up taking? Can you give a bit more color about your path, like how long you were in FP&A, what kind of consulting firm you jumped to, Corp Dev at what kind/size company, and any pivotal experiences along the way?

Thanks!

Sep 19, 2018

Hi - I'm also interested in the path you took if you don't mind disclosing. Currently in a hybrid corporate/division FP&A role for a little over a year, but work is getting extremely lackluster and I'm looking to transition out really soon, hopefully to a more strategy focused role (hoping corporate strategy, but might be hard for me to break in)

Oct 23, 2017

I went from division fp&a at a higher level to a lower role in corporate fp&a at a larger company. I definitely enjoyed the division work more. I helped manage a business and was a key influencer. At the corporate level you need to be very senior to have as much of an impact.

Oct 24, 2017

i work at very large global f100 company , at lower levels of corporate fp&A it's mainly consolidating and information gathering from the business unit fp&a, and even middle mgmt fp&A might still only interface with business unit fp&A and not the front office. At division level, there's more chances, as a lower level analyst to interact with front office to support them.

Oct 25, 2017

Thanks for your reply.

Do you think that being in more of a consolidation and summarizing role is a hindrance to gaining valuable experience? I believe you would get a good understanding of how the business operates but might miss out on some of the more analytical / data skills.

Also, coming from a corporate FP&A / consolidation role, what are your exit opps?

Oct 25, 2017