It can be incredibly difficult to navigate the world of corporate finance and the different jobs within it. You will see so many different titles and roles… director, senior director, vice president, manager, senior manager, CFO, controller, senior controller, FP&A, analyst, senior analyst
The Standard Corporate Finance Information
If you do research to find an org chart or you go to some other finance sites you will generally see a bland org chart that shows the CFO with three direct reports; an FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) leader, a Controller, and a Treasurer. While I suppose this could be true at some companies, this gives a bit of a misrepresentation of the jobs that exist within Corporate Finance (i.e. Financial Management or Business Finance).
Here is a video we did to explain the org chart and the different roles… Additionally, you check out our video on corporate finance salaries and career trajectory to understand salaries for different finance jobs and the path to get to those roles.
Getting into the Details
At most large corporations there is a large finance department, and while FP&A leaders, controllers, and treasurers are often on that list. There are many more jobs that are out there. In fact, if you look at most large multinational companies (e.g. Fortune 500 companies), you will see the staff of the CFO is usually comprised of several divisional CFOs that have full CFO-type responsibilities just for one division of the full company (in some really large companies these CFOs could be responsible for $20B+ businesses). These divisional CFO jobs (who, by the way, can make > $1M per year at large companies) are the most frequent successors to being the overall CFO of the business. Beyond that there is often a CFO of the supply chain, there are jobs in Investor Relations, and sometimes other divisions like Risk or Commercial Finance that have a CFO-type role and reports into the overall CFO
Types of Financial Analyst jobs in Corporate Finance
Ok, so what does this mean. Well, it does not end there. There are huge numbers of finance analyst and finance manager jobs throughout organizations that don’t really fall into those FP&A / Controllership / Treasury worlds. Here is an idea of what different finance analyst jobs might be:
- FP&A analyst … As an FP&A analyst you might be specific even to one part of FP&A like cash, revenue, or expense. An FP&A analyst will do forecasting and budgeting, reporting, analysis, and more.
- Cost analyst … This job might be responsible for understanding all the elements of cost that impact the company. They may have to help identify opportunities to reduce cost and they may model different scenarios or potential cost reduction projects.
- Business Analyst / Product line analyst … This finance analyst works in one specific product or sub-division of a business and they are tasked with knowing details about that product & product line. An example here might be if you worked at Nike, you might be on the Nike Running product line and you would work to understand your assigned area or product within the Nike Running division.
- Shop analyst … this is like a product line analyst except you are assigned to a specific “shop” or “plant” for the company.
- Accounting analyst … This position is accounting heavy and might be focused on one area, whether that be an area of finance like cash & bank accounts or it might be assigned to a business area (again like Nike Running). This analyst will do things like make Journal Entries, reconcile accounts, and more.
- IT Finance analyst … These jobs are aligned to Information Technology and they help the IT team understand the effectiveness of their IT products (ROI), they may model / predict what new projects would return, and they may help allocate capital toward the best ROI projects.
- Corporate development analyst … These analysts model potentials deals for the company, think mergers & acquisitions, joint ventures, and more. An analyst in corporate development makes big complex models that are critical to get right so the business doesn’t make a bad decision.
- Treasury analyst … A treasury analyst could end up with a job with a concentration in a few different areas like being a credit analyst, or working on foreign exchange, or working with banks and external funding
This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather just to give you a feel for the breadth analyst jobs that are out there. Sure some of these tier into FP&A, Treasury, or Controllership, but you will find that in many large companies there are a significant number of analyst jobs that are basic “Product Line” or “Financial Analyst” or “Business Analyst” positions.
Management level Jobs in Corporate Finance
Similarly, there is a wide world of finance manage jobs that require a broad skillset and are well compensated. All these roles happen at different company levels. At the more junior levels a manager position may only have 3-5 direct reports working for them, in a divisional CFO role they may have hundreds of people in their organization. Here is what some of those jobs look like:
- Divisional CFO
- Product Line manager
- Director of FP&A
- Procurement / Sourcing manager
- Shop finance manager
- Accounting manager
- Director of investor relations
- Enterprise risk manager
- Corporate development manager
The breadth of jobs and responsibilities you might encounter in corporate finance is extremely varied and, in my opinion, and most people that haven’t worked in medium and large sized companies haven’t encountered it yet! As you look to enter corporate finance or you are navigating your career, it’s important to understand the variety of opportunities that are out there. Be sure to also check out our “day in the life” video to see what the day-to-day life of corporate finance professionals of all levels looks like. You will get information on compensation, background, career path, education, and more!