Operations Finance roles?

IAStudent's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 42

Interviewing with a large consumer goods corporation. Does anyone have an insight on what an operations financial analyst does? I know I'm not being too descriptive but just curious about the field.

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Comments (17)

Jun 1, 2017

Ops finance (sometimes called commercial finance) is generally a group that partners more closely with line-level managers to provide analytic support. Some examples of deliverables might include: developing pro forma financial models to support basic business decisions, reporting customer/location/salesmen performance versus benchmarks, identifying product-line/market growth opportunities, etc.

Good ops finance folks have the opportunity to move around within the finance/accounting functions or move into administrative business roles. I find those who start in these roles tend to be stronger FP&A candidates as they're generally more familiar with key drivers and challenges within the business.

I'll do what I can to help ya'll. But, the game's out there, and it's play or get played.

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Jun 2, 2017

Thanks for the response! Are you in ops Finance or were you in it before?

Best Response
Jun 3, 2017

I've worked within an ops finance group in the past (~$10B annual revenues), and currently am head of FP&A at a different company (~$1B annual revenues). I've structured my team into ops/commercial finance and corporate finance. Ops focuses on business/execution work while corporate focuses on strategic planning, investor relations, treasury, and generally more 'high-level' tasks.

I'll do what I can to help ya'll. But, the game's out there, and it's play or get played.

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Jun 4, 2017

Do you mind if I PM you a few questions?

Jun 2, 2017

I actually have a complete opposite view point as I have been in a Fin Ops type role.

Financial Operations to me, is basically invoice processing, a lot of process improvement and back office accounting type stuff. Billing can fall between it has well. I guess it depends on the company you're at. I would say at a massive corporation, Financial Ops will be similar to what I said as there numerous segregated groups even within Finance. With a smaller firm, it can be the best of both worlds doing an array of things.

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Jun 2, 2017

I see. Are you considered a financial analyst within your company?

Jun 3, 2017

More of a " Business Ops Analyst" but some groups had titles of Financial Operations Analyst.

Jun 4, 2017

No it's only an internship. Find alumni in the corp fin areas that interest you and reach out to them. This seems like an easy sell since you can say "I didn't like ops finance because...and I found out I'm extremely interested in...which corp fin can provide exposure to."

Jun 4, 2017

Not only is it only an internship, most companies value finance people that have that experience. If you do an FLDP type program at least one rotation will likely be in something similar because they want you to understand that part of how it works. In my aerospace company quite a few high level finance execs had spent a decent part of their career doing a project and operations based finance role.

Jun 4, 2017

This is slightly off topic, but when I was deciding between Big 4 and Corp Fin, one of the people I spoke with was a controller at a F100 tech company. He said that he often interacts with people from various departments (finance, marketing, etc.) and has had offers to internally transfer or at least help out with a department (kind of a trial hire deal). If you can switch from accounting to finance, I'm sure you can switch from ops finance to another area, provided you are a high performer and can demonstrate worth to your employer.

If all else fails, getting an MBA will help your case as well.

Jun 4, 2017

You aren't pigeon holded in any way, shape or form. You are way, way too young for that to occur. Just work hard and gain analytical and presentational experience for a couple years out of school and then apply for other opportunities in other areas of Finance, or Operations for that matter, that appeal to you. Management is pleased with those trying to broaden their experience and areas of knowledge/expertise.

Jun 4, 2017

You should be able to easily transition to another area. Supply chain finance isn't a huge area at my company but the people I know who have done it have easily transitioned into other areas.

Areas where you should worry about getting pigeon-holed:

1. Tax
2. Internal Audit
3. External Financial Reporting
4. Treasury
5. Pure accounting roles (AR/AP etc..)

Just about every other finance role should allow you to move around fairly easily. And even as a finance person doing a 2-3 year rotation in Treasury or IA is hardly a career killer. Procurement finance should easily allow you to move into FP&A, Pricing, MFG finance, or whatever else.

The last act is tragic, however happy all the rest of the play is; at the last a little earth is thrown upon our head, and that is the end for ever.

Jun 4, 2017

My research has indicated that BSchools -love- people with big tech firms on their resumes. Amazon's a little boring, and sure ain't no FB/Google/Dropbox, but it's no slouch, either.

Jun 4, 2017

I work for a f500 tech firm in their corpdev & strat group.

From my understanding, Amazon, like many tech companies, advocates people switching jobs every 1.5-2 years. This is pretty normal in tech. Assuming you do well in the OpsFin role you could try to transition to a more Corp FP&A type role at Amazon after 1.5-2 years. This type of job would definitely help you land corp fin jobs at any major tech firm sine Amazon is very well regarded in the industry. In terms of moving to strategy / corpdev, this is generally very tough to do in the industry if you don't have prior banking, consulting, or corpdev /strat experience. That said, Amazon is one the few places where I've herd of people in traditional corpfin jobs move to the corpdev team. If you are able to do this then it will open up other strategy / M&A jobs in the industry.

In terms of b-school, coming from a top tech player like Amazon is really good. However, it will depend on how you craft your story and talk about the work you did there, the impact you had, etc. I've known people in traditional corpfin jobs at my company and at other F500 tech firms that have landed at top b-schools so it's definitely doable.

Jun 4, 2017

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