Jamie Irwin, Executive Consultant for permanent finance at Finatal, has recently seen a spike in FP&A hires for PE backed businesses.
“Traditionally, a strong Financial Controller is the first hire on the CFO’s agenda, while the FP&A function is built out later in the investment cycle,” he says. For many businesses, particularly PE backed SMEs, a dedicated function for forecasting and scenario planning has historically been considered a luxury, with the role typically handled by the CFO themselves.
“Now, in the current circumstances, CFOs who have had an FP&A resource to lean on have said it’s been an absolute godsend,” he says.
“Otherwise, they’re sucked into the granular detail of the data and re-forecasting when really, they need to be focusing on the bigger picture scenario planning for their business.”
Having a commercially-minded resource that can drive a business partnering culture, and integrate the finance function with HR, marketing and sales functions, can be valuable for businesses revising and streamlining their hiring and marketing strategies, as well as for maintaining an accurate sales pipeline.
“These types of roles require someone who is both analytical and commercially-minded, able to communicate and visualise data and management information to both finance and non-finance stakeholders,” he says.
He recently placed two FP& A managers - one at a private equity backed managed services company, the other at a transport company. For both, this was their first dedicated FP&A hire. He is now in the process of hiring for a SAAS business, who have historically had the function and are looking to increase resource in the team.
“Supporting the CFO in cash forecasting and making adjustment to or even recreating the 3-5 year strategic plan has been key in the current climate. Additionally, working with HR with issues such as recruitment budgets and analysis into potential redundancies and furloughs has been essential,” he says. “FP&A is an integral part of future-proofing a business for the long term.”