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Accounting to FP&A Possible?

I currently work as a corporate senior accountant for a mid-sized company. Prior to my current job, I worked as an auditor for 5 years for a small CPA firm. I have been a senior accountant with my current company for a year and I am now thinking to switch from accounting to finance. I just wanted to make sure that finance is a viable option for me. I love numbers but nowadays I just don’t enjoy accounting any more. I like driving improvements in accounting processes but dislike accounting rules/compliance. The one thing that bothers me the most about accounting is number crunching; I have no problem working with numbers and solving puzzles, but hate combing the desert with a comb trying to find pennies. But I really like the role of finance business partner where you engage with individuals outside of your department and merge operational data with financial information to help them with better decision-making. I did this a little bit in my current role but as an accountant. But I think I will get a better opportunity in FP&A field than in accounting. Has anyone felt the same way I did and moved over to finance? How is it? Is it difficult to move over to finance? I am so confused and have tried to search the internet for resources; people who have made the move, but I have been unable to find anything. Thanks in advance!

Answers

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

I made the move from Accounting to Finance about 5 years into my career and will say it was the best move I ever made. I found it somewhat easy to do from my accounting role by joining in projects with the sales / marketing / supply chain teams. I had a mentor years ago describe the move by comparing it to a jigsaw puzzle, in accounting you make the pieces fit while in finance you see the picture.

In working with other people who have also made the change from accounting to finance, I see one mindset that tends to trip them up and make a less successful. The Jigsaw puzzle analogy sums it up perfectly, individuals who were not able to move away from seeing the individual pieces to see that they created a picture had issues with the team / project they were supporting. Good luck!

Topic Expert
Alan Hart
Title: Consultant
Company: Pacific Shine Group
(Consultant, Pacific Shine Group) |

It is quite common to see people move from various roles in accounting to roles within the finance organization. In larger companies I've noticed that this move often results in accounting support or backup functions at first, before you can completely break fee from accounting.

The challenge that people face most is the need to interact with more people, departments and business units, so it helps to have an outgoing personality, something that is not always needed in an accounting role. The move to finance will also create great opportunities for the right person, and depending on the company and its culture, you can enjoy a much more creative environment than in most accounting departments

John P. Martin
Title: Analyst - Finance
Company: Own
(Analyst - Finance, Own) |

I agree with @Alan Hart. My experience has been that in a finance role, you do interact more with people in cross-functional teams (i.e. sales, marketing, legal, operations) which is necessary as you develop business partnerships, to achieve successful solutions with customers, projects and company initiatives.

(Currently seeking a new opportunity in the Silicon Valley)

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