This is the first in series of posts we plan to do where we detail the life of someone that works in corporate finance. We aim to give you some real context for:
- the different types of jobs within corporate finance
- what people actually do in a given day, week, month
- how people got the job (what degree(s) they have, what experience, how many years have they worked)
- compensation and part of the country / world
- What they do or don’t like about their job
Today we are going to talk with our friend “C” who is a Director of FP&A at a Fortune 50 company!
Job Title: Director, Financial Planning & Analysis
Team Size: Total 20, 3 direct reports, 17 under them.
Compensation: $155K base 25% annual bonus (up to 2x payout multiplier) 22% Restricted share grant that vests over 3 years. Total of ~$250k+ year
Company: Fortune 50 Healthcare
City / Region: Southeast USA
Work / Life Balance: 8ish -5ish, occasional spikes around quarter end or AOP. Never anything on a weekend.
Education / Experience / Path
Degree / Certifications: BS Engineering, MBA from Top 25 Full-Time program
Entry point to corporate finance: interned after 1st year MBA program for F100, accepted full time offer upon graduation
Years of Experience in Finance: 18 years
Career path: 3 years sr. analyst, 4 years manager, 4 years sr. manager, 7 years Director
Day / Week in the Life
Overall Job Description: Majority of my time is meeting with people, whether my own management chain, my internal customers or my team. Trying to understand what problems exist, how we can help solve them, or presenting out solutions to problems.
What you like? I own the corporate capital budget, where the company invests its money internally. Helping to prioritize and invest in ROI projects. Helping to tease out value when a project seems like a great idea, but can’t tangibly define its benefits
What you don’t like? Bureaucracy associated with $100B+ company
The Day to Day`
Pre-COVID usual would be leave for work at 7:15AM, arrive around 7:30AM (the benefits of mid sized city living with suburban campus, 6 mile commute to work on surface streets). 7:30-8AM is web surfing, usually news, sports, weather, stocks. Nothing directly job related, but no social media stuff. This is just to get the first cup of coffee in, and get into a groove. See what’s happening in the world that might be relevant small talk.
8AM is usually a ‘stand up’ meeting for one or more of my customers. I support the CIO and 8 VPs in IT. Most do varying degrees of software development, so having quick meetings first thing in the day is a popular way of meeting. These last no more than an hour, are highly unstructured but give an opportunity for me to hear what problems they are facing (outage here, operations issues there) as it informs what burning issues we are facing. Also an opportunity for me to provide some quick reminders where relevant. These are virtual meetings, so I’ll multi-task my inbox when they start rambling off on technical stuff.
By 9AM everyone on the team has rolled in (some are 7AM early birds, some are 9AMers). I’ll usually walk the floor and visit with team of 20. Informal meeting with any/everyone 1:1 to see if everything is ok. See what bubbles up from them, but also an opportunity to share tactical info (this VP you supported said this, so expect someone from the team to reach out for support). That’s the value of the standups for me, helps my team get a jump start if they need to pull some prelim info before being approached and diving into details. The rest of my day is various meetings or desk work where I’m reviewing and providing feedback on work product from my team, helping my customers find the right person on my team to help, or jumping in on a fire drill to help out my team when they are bandwidth constrained.
There are 2 different cycle/cadences that we operate in, our customers cycle (supporting CIO) which is weekly, and our financial cycle (supporting CFO) which is monthly
The weekly cadence on reporting out on things that happened last week. Lots of project reporting related to labor burn rates, and providing insights where opportunities/risks might be. We also purchase lots of things, which are $millions, so the approval authority requires C-suite approvals. Thursdays gets the CIO approval, Fridays gets the SVP FP&A approval. My sr. analysts get to present the capital authorization requests. Great exposure for them and an opportunity to work on their presentation skills. Success is getting those approvals. If there are any follow-ups required that push back approvals than we consider that a failure on our part. It’s our duty to try and cover off on all the questions either exec would have before bringing it to them, or have real-time answers should they want to go deeper than
The monthly cadence includes close week, which is 4 days work, followed by forecast update about 2 days work. Depending on whether it’s month 1, 2, or 3 determines if there are additional reporting. Usually there are capex summary reporting or post investment reviews that need to go to BOD on the quarterly.
Success is measured by forecast accuracy for knowable variance on our budget items. While our business partners own hitting their financial metrics, we feel equal partners and equally vested in achieving those together. Success on the daily is measured by getting approvals on things we need to purchase to keep the business running without delay.