Strategic Finance Roles

B2Banker's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,180

For all of you monkeys working in whats deemed strategic finance (outside of Corporate Development as we've had plenty of discussion on that already), would really love to know more about your background and some of the projects that you work on.

The bulk of my career has been spent on the corporate banking side, providing bank capital to small businesses, middle market companies, and mega cap corporations across a variety of industries. My job specifically entails analyzing our clients from a financial/credit/cash flow perspective to determine credit worthiness in addition to structuring and executing the transaction (i.e. term loan, revolving credit facility, bridge financing). Over at least the past year, I have become much more client facing and interacting with VP of Finance / CFO type individuals and getting a better perspective into how our capital is being put to work. I've also provided financing (or attempted to but deal(s) were turned down by our credit committee) to companies in the middle of a strategic turnaround whether they we're growing by M&A, divesting assets, restructuring to achieve cost savings, etc.

Working on such transactions has really increased my interest in strategic finance roles where I could use the financial / analytical / capital structure tools I have today and work-in house in an analytical support role for the company's strategic direction. By this I mean using accounting and finance to not keep score of past performance (i.e. FP&A, consolidation, reporting, variance analysis) type work but rather 1) assist with capital raising and optimal capital structure and help work the banking relationships, 2) provide analytical support for strategic initiatives (expansion, divestiture, new product line, JVs, other partnerships), 3) help drive various internal improvement projects on finance side (cost savings, process improvement, etc), 4) field questions from investors and capital providers, coordinating across the company.

Curious if any of you monkeys work in such roles and what groups in a corporation will typically perform such tasks (sure it varies by company).

Comments (8)

Best Response
Dec 27, 2016

I work in Strategic Finance for a tech company.

Background
Education: BA Philosophy w/ Minor Business, MBA in Finance and CFA charter holder
Work Experience:
1. 8 years at a securities litigation firm where I ran their books, became their CFO and supported modeling for their M&A litigation practice

  1. 1.5 years at a regional bank running Profitability Analytics

Typical Projects: We are considered the center for excellence in financial modeling at the company. We typically work on major BD partnership deals, some M&A overflow, own the 3 year quarterly model forecast by region/product including presenting analysis to execs and the board and running "What If" scenarios.

Reporting: Joint reporting to FP&A and Strategy

    • 3
Dec 27, 2016
PiratesSayARRR:

I work in Strategic Finance for a tech company.

BackgroundEducation: BA Philosophy w/ Minor Business, MBA in Finance and CFA charter holderWork Experience:1. 8 years at a securities litigation firm where I ran their books, became their CFO and supported modeling for their M&A litigation practice

  1. 1.5 years at a regional bank running Profitability Analytics

Typical Projects: We are considered the center for excellence in financial modeling at the company. We typically work on major BD partnership deals, some M&A overflow, own the 3 year quarterly model forecast by region/product including presenting analysis to execs and the board and running "What If" scenarios.

Reporting: Joint reporting to FP&A and Strategy

Thanks for the data point. Interesting that you've done bank profitability modeling...from my experience its insane how each bank has a different way of looking at profitability and I've seen some really broken models compared to what we used at my BB. Some banks unfunded revolvers are more profitable than funded term loans, other banks you slap on some deposits on a LCR impacted unfunded revolver and it'll make it look like gold.

I've actually run across a few posting where one of the primary task is running the corporate model, receiving input from various departments, etc. Can you provide some more color on this part of the job - is this something you enjoy and would this be one of the more interesting tasks to work on the internal finance side? Does this lead to more management interaction and presentations to top management? Are you getting pulled into a variety of other projects (i.e. looped into acquisitions, strategic partnership, new product launch, etc.) since you have the best visibility of impact of these various initiatives on net income / EPS.

What are your least favorite parts of the job or aspects that are more mundane / process oriented. Do you do any month end close / reconciliation activities?

    • 3
Dec 27, 2016

At the bank we were going through the CCAR modeling so there was a big push to view profitability based on risk weighted assets and then assigning notional equity because we held more capital than required. But I digress and on to the topic at hand.

Re: Corporate Model
It's interesting in that there is only a handful of people that see the company at this level cut between product and region, so I'm in elite company there. I enjoy the work that comes from solving problems that we forecast when we look at the model holistically. I've had the opportunity to put my stamp on the model in terms of best practices and creating efficiencies within the model itself. It also gives me exposure to the highest levels of the company - EVPs and CEO, so to answer your question yes I'm well known by top management. So it gives me tremendous exposure to top execs and how they think about and solve problems. Although the downside is that you can get burned if you are that close to the surface of the sun.

Re: Other Projects
Primarily new business ventures (we are going to partner with Company XYZ) let's create a model to see potential impact here in terms of users and economics to the company. I also help with framing the deal, what are points where we can give and take to optimize our margins. Our entire team is responsible for this since we have best in class combination of modeling and strategy; The entire team has a banking background except for yours truly.

Re: Least Favorite
Updated models can be a bit mundane as can tweaks to slide decks that tell the story. There can be lots of fire drills - an exec decides he/she wants to tell a story and we get pulled in because (1) we know the business inside and out and (2) the entire team has really good slide deck/story telling abilities. I do absolutely no work on book closing / reconciliation. We are purely strategic - we don't even pull our own data.

    • 3
Dec 28, 2016
PiratesSayARRR:

At the bank we were going through the CCAR modeling so there was a big push to view profitability based on risk weighted assets and then assigning notional equity because we held more capital than required. But I digress and on to the topic at hand.

Re: Corporate ModelIt's interesting in that there is only a handful of people that see the company at this level cut between product and region, so I'm in elite company there. I enjoy the work that comes from solving problems that we forecast when we look at the model holistically. I've had the opportunity to put my stamp on the model in terms of best practices and creating efficiencies within the model itself. It also gives me exposure to the highest levels of the company - EVPs and CEO, so to answer your question yes I'm well known by top management. So it gives me tremendous exposure to top execs and how they think about and solve problems. Although the downside is that you can get burned if you are that close to the surface of the sun.

Re: Other ProjectsPrimarily new business ventures (we are going to partner with Company XYZ) let's create a model to see potential impact here in terms of users and economics to the company. I also help with framing the deal, what are points where we can give and take to optimize our margins. Our entire team is responsible for this since we have best in class combination of modeling and strategy; The entire team has a banking background except for yours truly.

Re: Least FavoriteUpdated models can be a bit mundane as can tweaks to slide decks that tell the story. There can be lots of fire drills - an exec decides he/she wants to tell a story and we get pulled in because (1) we know the business inside and out and (2) the entire team has really good slide deck/story telling abilities. I do absolutely no work on book closing / reconciliation. We are purely strategic - we don't even pull our own data.

Are you in India or another low cost location?

Array

Dec 28, 2016

Are you in India or another low cost location?

No, I'm in Silicon Valley. Born and raised in SoCal.

Dec 28, 2016

How big is your team and what level is everyone at? How do responsibilities vary across level and how long is the typical promotion cycle? Would you be able to go into comp at the various levels? How do people that come in from banking or similar industries fare as far we keeping / increasing their base salary (understand that bonuses are lower).

Dec 28, 2016

(1) We are a team of 6 + boss. Boss is Senior Director, team is Manager to Director level.

(2) Senior Managers + Director interface more with Senior Execs and also provide guidance to managers. Dunno on promotion cycle as typical you might rotate out to a different group (strategy, corp dev...a couple others), aligning your rotation with a promotion is difficult but doable - so about every 2-3 years until you reach Director/Senior Director levels.

(3) Base is inline with AO 1 - 3: depending on the level you join (Managers slightly below AO 1, Senior Managers in line with AO 2, Director in line with AO 3). Bonuses are lower, 25% - 50% range, but you also get RSUs + annual stock refreshes. So total comp will be below IB, but hours are much better (50-60 hours/week).

    • 2
Dec 29, 2016
Comment
    • 1