Guide to Corporate Finance Job titles- distinguishing between accounting and finance
Given all the discussion and mixed information on corporate finance jobs, I thought I would start a discussion which lists out a variety of positions which could be considered CF, as well as some information of what the job really is. I'm always frustrated by corporations overusing the word finance (hell in many corporations all finance and accounting positions are classified as "the finance" division. Reading a job description I can always read through the BS for words like monthly close, journal entry, reconciliation ect..which always means accounting, regardless of job title. My favorite overused word , "analyst" often means you're not analyzing jack shit. At my company (F100 size, European HQ), there are literally only 2 jobs in all of finance that don't have any accounting. Business developement and my position as a demand/sales forecaster in finance decision support. This is partially because many true finance functions are done at the global HQ which is not in the US.
So here goes. i'm going to start out with a small list and add to it over time. Hopefully others will add job titles as well, and i'll aggregate all contributions until we have a truly comprehensive list. This could be a useful tool for those new to the field. Note that I'm structuring this without reflecting job level, since many (but not all) job titles can be at the Senior Analyst to Senior Director level. Thanks in advance for any contributions. Please put industry somewhere in your job title post, as their will be variety based on that, Pharma vs Investment Management for example.
- Sales Analysis (Pharma): responsible for monthly budget/forecast to actual analysis, revenue rebate balance sheet analysis, monthly sales trend projections (short term forecasting), consolidation of all sales forecasts and reporting sales info to management. Finance 30%/Accounting 70%; similar to FP&A
- Expense Management & Analysis, Controlling- managing sales force and all other Opex lines. Monthly accruals, monthly close process. reviewing all expenses as incurred. Performing forecasts of Opex. This is actually similar to many FP&A jobs (Glorified Accounting), not really in touch with the core drivers of the business, but less accounting than other positions. 20% Finance/ 80% Accounting.
- Treasury- cash flow forecasting and management. Bank account management. Reporting of cash positions to management. (Not Accounting, doesn't seem like finance either)
- Business Development Finance (Pharma)- valuation of all business opportunities, product & company acquisitions as well as joint ventures. In my firm, the word "deal" is used very loosly and as such, the job is less sexy than Corporate Cevelopment which focuses on company level acquisitions. Major focus on the less sexy product divestures. Typically, this group takes the sales forecasts completed elsewhere and plugs them into a DCF model to complete valuation. Due Diligence for all deal activity. Deal Sourcing. Typically manager level and up. 100% Finance
- Demand/Sales Forecasting, Finance Decision Support (Pharma)- Build bottoms up demand forecasts 1-5 year timeframe, incorporates pricing assumptions to complete gross & net sales forecasting. Scenerio analysis, decision analysis. Close to the business side of things. Extensive financial modeling and use of statistical projection techniques. Demand portion may be seperate function outside of finance at many companies. Often only manager level and up due to complexity. 25% Economics/ 75% Finance.
- FP&A- Forecast consolidation, forecast process planning and administration. General business analysis. Expense analysis. 50% Finance/ 50% Accounting.
- Business Unit Finance lead, Finance Decision Support (Pharma)- Mix of light forecasting, more focused on overall management of a brand P&L. Closely linked to the business. Presentation of forecast results. Explanation of all variances. Similar to FP&A. 100% Finance
- Management Reporting- Reporting of all financial data within Forecast Cycles as well as Actuals. Consolidation of Region financials. Powerpoint presentations. Liason between finance and upper management. 25% Finance / 75% Accounting.
- Cost Acounting- Inventory costing. Standard costing. Most analytical pure accounting position, often considered Management Accounting, less focus on financial reporting and more on operations. 100% Accounting (argueable).
- Legal Accounting: journal entries and management of most financial reporting inputs. Month end close. They own the trial balance. 100% Accounting.
- Technical Accounting & Financial Analysis: Writing technical accounting memos, researching new accounting pronouncements, balance sheet fluctuation analysis (this is the financial analysis part haha).
- Internal Audit- Internal Control reviews. Business control reviews. Significant travel and exposure to management, but often limited to financial reporting. 100% Accounting.
This list was simply the first set of job titles I could think of and specific to the Pharma Industry. Feel free to post and add additional titles, or supplement the descriptions above.