Dear job seeker, manager, analyst,
I will keep this page short and to the point. Here’s what I have for you today:
In the eBook, you will find multiple great answers to each of the following questions:
- Why do you want to work in FP&A?
- What do you consider your biggest weakness in terms of FP&A?
- How would you ensure to get your message over to people who do not understand financial terminology?
- In your opinion, what are the current trends in financial planning and analysis?
- What are the most common challenges we face in FP&A right now?
- Have you ever worked on a project that was a failure?
- What was the best financial forecast and the worst financial forecast you have made in your career?
- What methodologies do you use while doing financial analysis?
- Describe a situation when you used logic to solve a problem.
- Describe the situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone.
- … and 15 other tough questions you may face in your interview for a job in FP&A, including tough scenario-based questions and practical exercises.
Check the sample to see how this eBook can help you:
Sample from the eBook
Q 5: What do you consider your biggest weakness in terms of FP&A?
Hint: You have several options for a good answer. First one is saying that you aren’t aware of any particular weakness that will restrain you from achieving great results. That’s exactly the reason why you opted for financial planning and analysis, and not for some other occupation which your degree or experience allows you to pursue.
Second option consists in picking an ability that is somehow important, but isn’t central for the job. For example, say that you are slow with MS Excel or SAP, that you lack efficiency when working with the software. Elaborate on your answer, saying that you are aware of your weakness, and that practice makes perfect, and you will improve your efficiency once you work with the software on a daily basis.
Third option is saying that you simply do not know. Surely, there are some things you can improve on, but you have to do the job first for a few weeks, to be able to tell exactly what your weaknesses are, what you should work on.
Last good alternative is picking a particular role in the FP&A team you cannot really have—for example the role of an “architect”—you lack experience for it, or the role of a “communicator”—you are great with data but freeze when you are supposed to talk in front of a manager (or a handful of managers). In this case, you can counteract it with your strengths in one of the other roles in FP&A, for example the one of an analyst.
– To be honest, I am not aware of any particular weakness that should interfere with my work in your FP&A team. I’ve read the job description carefully, I believe to understand what is expected from me in the job, and find it a perfect match for my strengths.
It is actually one of the reasons why I chose this career over management for example, because leading a team of people is certainly my weakness. Having said that, theory is one thing, and reality of the job another. Maybe I will find out quickly that I actually have some weaknesses in the field. If that’s the case, I’ll try my best to improve on them.
– To be honest, I cannot really tell. I definitely do not consider myself perfect, and I am sure that while I will excel while taking care of some duties, I will also struggle with some other. But I have to do the job first for a few weeks to see what I can improve on. Once I identify such areas, I will definitely try my best to improve on them.
– My biggest weakness in terms of FP&A is certainly communication. I freeze when I am to deliver a presentation in front of an audience, however small. What’s more, I am not the best when it comes to explaining difficult things in a simple way.
Having said that, I believe that I can still bring a lot of value to an FP&A team as an analyst, because working with financial data is definitely my strength. In my opinion, each FP&A team needs at least one excellent communicator, but not everyone in the team has to excel in communication…
Q 6: In your opinion, what are the current trends in FP&A?
Hint: They care more about your attitude than your knowledge—as long as you do not apply for some senior role in FP&A.
You do not have to go into technical details, naming particular software, cloud tools, or improvement to processes that we’ve used in the filed in the previous decade, and are now reinventing.
They just want to see that you care, they you are honestly interested in FP&A (when one is interested in any field, they will try to learn more about it), and also that you do not have this outdated attitude of a “bean counter”, but see FP&A as an integral part of an entire organization, having an impact on the decision making on the highest level.
Some trends you can mention are using big data in analytics, making the processes more flexible and dynamic, moving behind the standard accounting (fiscal) period—and forecasting for the future, and most importantly, playing that active role in the decision making process on the level of the entire organization.
– I am new to the field, so I may not be able to compare the past of FP&A, and its present and future as accurately as someone who’s been in the business for years. However, from the research I’ve done and informational interviews I had (while trying to understand more about FP&A), I got the impression that we are moving away from the traditional bean counting role, towards a more strategic role, actually using the data to help to influence the future of the company.
What I imagine is that communication with other departments play a much more important role now, and also that instead of manually collecting and inspecting each transaction and record we use information systems to simplify this work, so we can focus more on analysis and forecasting, and eventually on providing recommendations for the management. As I said, however, I am new in the field, so I may not understand everything correctly, though I tried my best to learn as much as I could about modern FP&A…
– I’ve been in the field for long enough to witness the transformation we are going through right now. Outdated Excel-based systems are being replaced with more effective solutions, mostly in the cloud. Each year we utilize big data more and more in our analyses and forecasting, and, at the same time, they are becoming more flexible and dynamic.
Most importantly, FP&A is moving increasingly towards business, working with the business leaders much more than it did before, having a real impact on their decisions with accurate, data-driven analyses and forecasts.
The transformation is smoother in smaller companies and teams, but I hope that as a new FP&A Manager, I will manage to apply these trends on a large scale, and to the benefit of everyone, also in your FP&A department.
End of the sample
These were just two questions. You will find 25 in the eBook, including difficult behavioral questions, and some practical exercises (to polish your knowledge of financial analysis, in case you already forgot what you learned at school). But that’s not all.
To ensure you will get the job, I included in the book six principles you need to understand before you can ace your interview for a job in financial planning and analysis.
Without talking too much about them, let me show you another sample from the eBook:
Sample no. 2
Principle no. four: Show willingness to learn and adapt
Maybe you are the brightest analyst in the city. You have your own way of doing things, and are ready to take their FP&A department to the next level with your work. You are brimming with ideas, and cannot wait to put them to the test in the corporate environment.
However, this is not how it works in a corporate sphere—especially not in big corporations. You will receive an extensive training before being allowed to do anything at all.
They will teach you everything, explain you their processes in FP&A (unless they are hiring you to set up such processes, which is rarely the case), from collecting data to analyzing them and reporting on them—depending on your eventual role in the FP&A team, of course.
And you should obey, because their strategies have been proven by time, their sales and data analysis methods have been bringing money to the company for years on end, and perhaps also helped them to become the big company they are today…
Certainly they do not represent the pinnacle, the culminating point you can reach in your career, in whatever field. And once you have some successes and experience, and they promote you, and you will manage the entire FP&A team, you may come up with your own strategies and methods, and beat the results they achieve with their existing concepts.
But that’s not something you should talk about in an interview. Anytime they ask you about your attitude to work, sales strategies, attitude to training and mentoring, you should show humility.
You know that better managers, communicators, and analysts work in the company, and you want to learn from them. You have your skills, empathy, understanding for the business. But you are eager to learn, and to apply their most successful strategies to your work.
You may add a simple twist here and there, present a unique idea in a team meeting, or point out an interesting thing once in a while, but that’s it.
This is the attitude they seek in good job candidates. Remember………………….
End of the sample
And that’s it. I do not want to waste your time with lengthy sales pages, and imaginary discounts, or fake reviews, just like most other people do on their websites, while trying to sell you something.
You have read the samples, you know what the eBook is about, and surely you can tell whether it will help you or not.
I sincerely believe it will. And you can read it easily in three to five hours, it’s 19,000 words. Only things that truly matter, no secondary content.
Plus, of course, like with everything else we sell here on InterviewPenguin.com, you have a risk free sixty days money back guarantee. If you don’t like this eBook for any reason, or no reason at all, just let me know (email me at matthew[at]interviewpenguin[dot]com) within 60 days, and we will give you a full refund.
- Brilliant answers to twenty five difficult questions you may get in your interview for a job in Financial Planning and Analysis (including both entry level and managerial roles).
- Published in 2020, updated in 2022.
- Several sample answers to each question, so you can choose one that reflects your values and experience (including answers for people with no prior working experience; if you apply for internship you’ll always find a good answer in the eBook).
- Six principles of acing the interview, things you simply need to know in order to make the right impression on the hiring managers.
- Instant download, .PDF format (you can read it on any device (mobile, kindle, PC), and you can easily print it).
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That’s it. Your interview for an FP&A job does not have to be stressful, or difficult. You can interview with confidence, and give brilliant answers to all tough questions. Download the guide today, streamline your interview preparation, outclass your competitors in an interview, and get a great job.
Your personal job interview coach
P.S. Send me a message if you have any questions about the eBook or anything else. I try my best to answer all emails within twelve hours (matthew[at]interviewpenguin[dot]com). Thank you!