More enjoyable: FP&A vs. Treasury

bernie madoff's picture
Rank: Baboon | 164

Anyone have experience in one or both that can chime in? Currently in FP&A now and it feels like a churn and a grind relatively often.

Thinking treasury might be a more enjoyable next step with a still fairly decent career path.

Thoughts?

Comments (29)

Aug 24, 2017

stick to fp&A

Aug 24, 2017

IMO FP&A has the better career path. with a possibility to get into a more strategic finance role or corporate dev.

Best Response
Aug 24, 2017

I've been in FP&A for 8 mos now, and I spent my college internship in treasury, so I have a little bit of experience in both, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

I'd say that FP&A is the devil you know: It is highly cyclical and basically the same at every company. This can be good because the experience is very transferrable, but it can be bad if you get bored of it.. But, the role changes as you have more power to call the shots and shape the forecast and participate in strategy meetings.

Treasury varies greatly by company. The company I interned for was smaller (~$5B), so the treasury and investor relations functions fell to one team. I got some awesome experience: I got to make models to value the offers from different banks who wanted to be the lead on our credit facility, I was invited to about a dozen lunches over the summer where the banks would bring in experts to talk about the economy, I got to be involved in the process of establishing FOREX hedges to limit our exposure to foreign currencies, I got to make the earnings call slides and help with the script, I got to accompany my boss as we took a research analyst on a tour of our distribution facility. All in 2 months. Hell of an internship.

It all depends on company size and team size. If the treasury and IR functions were separate, and if the treasury team was bigger, the job would probably entail a lot of reporting: reporting the daily cash position, reporting share repurchase activities, helping release funds to A/P, double checking inflows from A/R, etc etc. Boring boring accounting work. If the team is small, you can be exposed to everything, and the bankers will cater to the team a bit more since treasury is typically the "buyer" of various corporate banking services.

Bottom line. It all depends. Learn the specifics of your company's team, get a "day in the life", and evaluate from there.

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Aug 24, 2017

FP&A is more futuristic looking, but some places will have you do some accounting work too.

Aug 24, 2017

Maybe I'm jaded in my current FP&A role because of how much Accounting work we do and how manual all of our processes are.

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Aug 24, 2017

It is important to be mindful that there are a lot of different types of FP&A roles. Corporate FP&A (and related) roles are much more strategic and wide-ranging since you're looking across the full organization at a very high level whereas FP&A roles within a BU will be much more operational and can be structured much differently. By that I mean some FP&A roles only look at revenue or only at costs so you're not really managing a full P&L. You also may be only covering a single product, division, or region.

In my current role at the corporate level I'm pretty far removed from accounting and expect the regions/BUs to be coordinating with them. We only need to interact with controlling when we notice things that the BUs should have already flagged to us or taken care of themselves.

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Aug 24, 2017
trippycannon:

It is important to be mindful that there are a lot of different types of FP&A roles. Corporate FP&A (and related) roles are much more strategic and wide-ranging since you're looking across the full organization at a very high level whereas FP&A roles within a BU will be much more operational and can be structured much differently. By that I mean some FP&A roles only look at revenue or only at costs so you're not really managing a full P&L. You also may be only covering a single product, division, or region.

In my current role at the corporate level I'm pretty far removed from accounting and expect the regions/BUs to be coordinating with them. We only need to interact with controlling when we notice things that the BUs should have already flagged to us or taken care of themselves.

Good point. For reference I am managing costs for two commercialized products and it's quite a grind.

Aug 24, 2017

I spent my first year in the very same type of role and only recently moved into a corporate role. I do think that it is very valuable experience to have and a good chance to learn all of the systems, especially before a pure fp&a role. I found the positives to be much better hours (40-45 vs. 55+ and heavier during plan) with the negatives being a shallow(ish) learning curve, and less wide-ranging ad hoc work.

I was lucky to get asked to do some cool projects in my old role and I had a great boss that I learned a lot from so I had a great experience but I could definitely see myself hating the work if I didn't like the team.

Aug 24, 2017

Gonna vote Treasury

Aug 24, 2017
TippyTop11:

Gonna vote Treasury

Any particular reason why?

Aug 24, 2017

The Fp&A members of our portfolio companies have never left or done anything else. All manual processes and they are at my beckon call for Q # and monthly numbers. Sounds like a hamster wheel they can't get off.

Aug 24, 2017

What is your end goal here? What type of role are you trying to end up in?

Aug 24, 2017
Sil:

What is your end goal here? What type of role are you trying to end up in?

As ridiculous as this sounds on WSO I am looking for cushy, relatively stress free ~45 hours/week with the potential to make a nice middle class income.

I know FP&A can get me there but I'm looking into other opportunities especially as my company stresses rotating every 2 years or so.

Aug 24, 2017
bernie madoff:
Sil:

What is your end goal here? What type of role are you trying to end up in?

As ridiculous as this sounds on WSO I am looking for cushy, relatively stress free ~45 hours/week with the potential to make a nice middle class income.

I know FP&A can get me there but I'm looking into other opportunities especially as my company stresses rotating every 2 years or so.

Judging from your post history, I would honestly spend some time figuring out what you are trying to pursue career-wise. You already are in one of these "cushy" and "stress-free" jobs. The problem is that most corporate jobs are very routine, but that is partly why they only require 45-50 hours per week.

I do not have any experience with treasury, but an FP&A skillset transfer fairly easily among corporate finance. The projecting and detail-oriented nature of FP&A make it particularly useful for corporate development, corporate accounting, and general corporate finance.

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Aug 24, 2017

Why not look into fldps? Best of both worlds, higher pay, good possibility to move to upper management, etc.

Aug 24, 2017
BillBelichick37:

Why not look into fldps? Best of both worlds, higher pay, good possibility to move to upper management, etc.

Don't those typically hire out of an undergraduate or MBA program?

I'm not going back for an MBA :/

Aug 24, 2017

Undergrad. I think a few firms have roles for people with more experience but probably is less likely.

Aug 24, 2017

Option 3 is more enjoyable: being independently wealthy and traveling the world.

Sep 9, 2017

Tough, your asking to give advice on what YOU would prefer to work in. Can't help on that.

What I do know is that broad experience is valued to move up. If that is your goal, and you have been in FP&A for a few years I would say go for it. Learn something knew, grow your skills. If you end up not liking it I'm sure you could get another gig in FP&A.

Sep 10, 2017

It depends what you're looking for, but I think the right Treasury role at a midsize public company could expose you to much more interesting and varied work than FP&A. I did the latter for several years out of banking and was fortunate enough to be at a very new but midsized company (around 300-400 on the Fortune list) where I did a lot of M&A / corp-dev work in addition to routine, mundane forecasting, performance analysis and budget preparation. That's fairly uncommon among companies large enough that you'd actually want to work for: for the most part, more established firms will have a separate team for looking at deals; that's the case where I work now. I don't interact with FP&A much beyond getting updated baseline forecasts for my merger modeling.

Treasury, on the other hand, is often a catch-all term for anything corporate finance-related that doesn't fall under the auspices of accounting or FP&A. At the boring end of the spectrum, it means keeping an eye on liquidity and cash-management issues, and playing with the revolver as necessary. Beyond that, Treasury typically quarterbacks anything capita-markets reared. This means working with bankers on new issues, meeting with equity and debt investors and ratings-agencies. As you can imagine, this means the Treasurer (maybe less so his staff) has an important voice in high-level discussions around strategic transactions. Also, hedging is usually run out of Treasury and I've worked at several companies with sophisticated, multibillion-dollar FX and commodity derivative operations run in house. This entails everything from long-term exposure modeling to valuation of current positions and trade execution. Finally, as Dan_yo mentioned in his post, many companies (particularly in the <$10bn market cap range) have Investor Relations rolling up to the Treasurer in order to keep capital-markets functions under the same roof. I think the new Treasury guy we hired was fairly involved in putting together our Q2 earnings script after only a couple weeks on the job.

The caveat is that not all Treasury roles are created equal, and you probably want to nail down how your potential employer views your role during the interview process. There's definitely a fair amount of counting pennies in the more routine liquidity and risk-management responsibilities in the department. But having worked with the FP&A and Treasury functions at about half a dozen companies ranging from $400mm - $35bn in market cap, I think the latter will provide much more interesting and varied experience, not to mention a better career trajectory.

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Sep 10, 2017

At my former company ($2 bil in revenue) FP&A reported to the Treasurer who had an extremely big seat at the table for strategy. Current company (F500 several times as large) the treasurer title is just another title the CFO wears and they have a few people working in the group on routine stuff.

Apr 21, 2018

.

Nov 16, 2017

I don't have any FP&A experience but I can tell you I have absolutely loved my time within Treasury. I would add, though, my experience has been within Capital Markets. Our Treasury department has some pretty repetitive, mind numbing roles too so I would say (apologies if it's listed somewhere in the thread) that my suggestion would largely rest on the size of the company and the specific team within Treasury you'd be joining.

Out of curiosity, since I noticed this is an older thread, did you pull the trigger one way or the other??

Monkey see. Monkey Doo [Doo].

Nov 29, 2017
Che Rand:

I don't have any FP&A experience but I can tell you I have absolutely loved my time within Treasury. I would add, though, my experience has been within Capital Markets. Our Treasury department has some pretty repetitive, mind numbing roles too so I would say (apologies if it's listed somewhere in the thread) that my suggestion would largely rest on the size of the company and the specific team within Treasury you'd be joining.

Out of curiosity, since I noticed this is an older thread, did you pull the trigger one way or the other??

what types of roles within Treasury are typically more interesting?

how's Liquidity?

Nov 20, 2017
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Nov 29, 2017