Here we go!
As part of our ongoing series “A Week in the Life” where we give you a real glimpse into the life of Corporate Finance & FP&A professionals, we bring you a week in the life of someone in a Finance Leadership Development Program (FLDP). We will take you through the FLDP salary, this person’s path to FLDP, and what a week in their work life actually looks like… (Check out our other “Week in the Life” Posts HERE)…. As always, if you want to get a leg-up in corporate finance or FP&A get started with our online courses today
A Week in the Life in a Corporate Finance Leadership Development Program
*Note … this is as of the first half of ’20, obviously salaries will change over time.
Job Title: Finance Leadership Development Program (FLDP)
Team Size: Varies each rotation. 1st rotation it was myself, my manager, his manager, and then the various shop finance leaders that rolled up into us as the HQ FP&A team. My current rotation is larger and more centralized with myself, my manager, 3 other full-time finance staff, and 2 IT/systems staff.
Compensation: $66K salary, $5K signing bonus, $4000 lump sum payment for relocation expenses OR moving contractor hired by company + $2000 lump sum payment
Company: Subsidiary within F50 industrial conglomerate
City / Region: Medium-market Midwest City
Work / Life Balance: Typical workweek is 40-50 hours. During quarter close or urgent requests such as building a presentation for the CEO/CFO, stretches of multiple 12+ hour days are possible. For quarter close most teams work weekends and holidays when necessary, ie 4th of July, New Year’s Day. Vacation system is “permissive time off” which means vacation days are not tracked from an HR/manager level, they are theoretically unlimited as long as your manager signs off.
Education / Experience / Path
Degree / Certifications: BSB with finance major from large state school with a respected business program.
Entry point to corporate finance: Multiple finance internships with similar industrial companies during summers in college.
Years of Experience in Finance: Approaching 1 year at first full-time job.
Career path: 2 summer internships during college at similar large industrial firms.
What does your job in corporate finance (FLDP) look like…
Overall Job Description: In my first role it was primarily a combination of tracking operational and finance metrics that were important to my business. I owned the creation of Powerpoint slides that were pitched monthly to Operational GM, as well as the weekly finance update to GM. Helped my manager work through our forecasts and owned a few quarter close reporting items. My second role focuses on compiling, tracking, and owning the financial metrics behind each new contract our business signs, additionally I support a lot of ad-hoc requests as needed as our group fields a lot of questions from corporate and our businesses CEO/CFO.
Additionally, alongside the “day job” aspect of our rotation, we are put in teams with 1-3 other FLDP members to work on a project usually focused around process improvement that we get to pitch to our business’s CFO.
What do you like about your FLDP job?
I love being part of a leadership program. Being hired into the company with a “hiring class” of 10-15 peers has enabled me to have a built-in network of like-minded, smart, and motivated finance professionals that I have developed strong work and personal friendships with. It has made helped make moving new city and company undoubtedly more enjoyable. Many times, I hear that new hires in finance jobs are the youngest person on their new team by 10-20 years and they struggle to find people to socialize with in and outside of work if they move to a city where they don’t know anyone else.
There are 2 key aspects that I wish were different. The first is that our company closes on a quarterly and “calendar-day” basis. This means that we are required to work on weekends and holidays after each quarter-end. This is the 3rd industrial corporate finance job I have had and my current company is the only one of the three that operates under the “calendar-day” system as opposed to the “work-day” system which allows for weekends and holidays to stay in-tact during close.
Also, I can’t understate how quickly FLDP members are given real, impactful responsibility. FLDP members are trusted and expected by their teams to jump in and own key responsibilities from the get-go and are regularly given increased chances to contribute if they prove they are developing the expertise to handle more on their plate.
What you don’t you like about your FLDP job?
Another item that might be more unique to my company’s FLDP program is that each rotation we are required to pass exams on various financial domains such as basic accounting, FP&A, Supply Chain finance, and Product Finance. What makes these courses so cumbersome to me is that they are 95% self-taught. Oftentimes after working an 8-10 hour day I would have to go home, eat a quick dinner, then spend the rest of my evening studying for an additional 1-3 hours. It could make for some long and tiring days. It’s particularly stressful during first rotation because if you do not pass the two exams relating to accounting concepts you actually get terminated, talk about anxiety!
The Day to Day
- I get to the office every day by 8AM, usually leave around 5-6PM depending on the rotation and what the team is working on. There’s typically some flexibility to get out a little earlier on Fridays.
- Work content varies by rotation. First rotation was very heavy into Excel, Hyperion, creation of PowerPoint slides. 2nd rotation has been less Excel spreadsheet gymnastics and more work in internal systems.
- My first rotation I spent the majority of my day collaborating with my direct manager working through building models and PowerPoints for forecasts and results. Additionally, I got to own working with the sites to compile their data for my financial update to the GM as part of his weekly team meetings. We spent a lot of time communicating with our site finance leaders over Skype and email and making sure that they know what we needed from them in order to complete our deliverables.
- In my current role I work more independently from my direct manager. I spend most of my time making sure I am up to date on all of the new contracts my business has signed and tracking/compiling the financial impacts of those. I spend a lot of time emailing with the sales/commercial teams who own the deals I track to ask clarifying questions and let them know if key data if missing. Additionally, since the team is larger, my manager lets me know what the rest of the team is working on during our twice-a-week one on one meetings and if my support is needed. I act almost as a support resource to the team as this group gets thrown a lot of ad-hoc requests.
- In each rotation roughly 20% of my time is spent working on my FLDP project which is almost always relating to process improvement. Working on this oftentimes entails Skype meetings with process stakeholders who may be offsite, building Excel models and reports on various datasets that we need to analyze, and creating Powerpoint pages for update meetings with our project leaders and the FLDP leadership team.
- A good number of fellow FLDPs work in my building since I’m located at the HQ office. I usually am able to grab lunch with them, away from desk for an hour which is a great way to break up the day.
- Once I leave work, I always try to check my workphone periodically in case of an urgent request from a higher-up. I have had to field a few questions or update slides in a Powerpoint ect after hours on occasion.
- Roughly 3-5 days a week I devote time after work/over weekend to studying material to pass each rotation’s exam.