#148 How to Develop Your FP&A Skills with Catherine Marks

Catherine Marks, Is a finance professional with 20 years of experience. Most recently she was VP of Finance at Depop and Head of Group FP&A with Virgin Media O2. Catherine has joined GrowCFO as Finance Team Training Lead and is about to launch the inaugural GrowCFO FP&A boot camp.

The FP&A boot camp provides practical training that enables finance teams to take immediate action and immediately make a difference in their work. The boot camp isn’t about teaching theory. Instead, the training is designed to empower participants to apply what they learn and make an impact in their roles.

What is FP&A?

FP&A stands for Financial Planning and Analysis. It is a critical function within an organization’s finance department that focuses on budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis. The primary goal of FP&A is to provide insights and support to help organizations make informed financial decisions and achieve their strategic objectives. Here are some critical aspects of FP&A:

  1. Budgeting: FP&A professionals create and manage the company’s budget. This involves setting financial targets, allocating resources, and monitoring actual performance against the budget. Budgets are essential for planning and controlling expenses and revenue.
  2. Financial Forecasting: FP&A teams use historical financial data and current market trends to develop forecasts of future financial performance. These forecasts help organizations anticipate potential challenges and opportunities, allowing for proactive decision-making.
  3. Financial Analysis: FP&A professionals conduct in-depth financial analysis to assess the company’s financial health and performance. This may include analyzing key financial metrics, conducting variance analysis (comparing actual results to budgets or forecasts), and identifying trends or areas requiring improvement.
  4. Strategic Planning: FP&A plays a crucial role in the strategic planning process by providing financial insights to support the development of long-term business strategies. This includes evaluating the financial feasibility of strategic initiatives, assessing risk, and estimating the financial impact of different scenarios.
  5. Reporting: FP&A produces financial reports and presentations for senior management, board members, and other stakeholders. These reports often include financial statements, budget vs. actual performance reports, and financial dashboards that comprehensively view the company’s financial position.
  6. Decision Support: FP&A professionals collaborate with other departments to provide financial guidance and support for decision-making. This can involve analyzing the financial implications of proposed projects, investments, or cost-saving initiatives.
  7. Resource Allocation: FP&A helps allocate resources effectively by evaluating investment opportunities, cost structures, and return on investment (ROI). This ensures that resources are allocated to projects and activities that align with the company’s strategic goals.
  8. Risk Management: FP&A teams assess and mitigate financial risks by identifying potential threats to the organization’s financial stability. They may develop strategies to hedge against currency fluctuations, interest rate changes, or other financial risks.
  9. Performance Metrics: FP&A establishes key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure the success of financial strategies and operational performance. These metrics help track progress toward financial goals.
  10. Technology and Tools: FP&A professionals rely on various financial modelling tools, software, and data analytics platforms to perform their duties efficiently. These tools facilitate data analysis, scenario planning, and financial modelling.

FP&A is a multifaceted function within an organization that bridges the gap between finance and strategic decision-making. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring that an organization’s financial resources are allocated wisely, financial goals are met, and the company is well-positioned for future success.


Catherine explained that the FP&A boot camp is focussed on addressing the challenges faced by finance teams, such as data overload and lack of actionable insights that improve business performance. The boot camp provides toolkits to improve financial storytelling, business partnering, financial modeling, and budgeting and forecasting. 

Catherine and Kevin discussed the importance of the budgeting process and how it can be improved to save time and resources. They also emphasized the value of planning and the need to focus on leading indicators rather than just looking at past results. 

Kevin and Catherine discussed the availability of customized FP&A training for organizations and individuals. They also mentioned the launch of an FP&A competency framework that provides personalized reports and industry benchmarking to help individuals identify areas for improvement in their FP&A skills. 

Catherine discussed the benefits of an FP&A course, highlighting the active learning approach, valuable additional materials, and collaboration opportunities. Kevin thanked Catherine for sharing the information on the GrowCFO show.



Introduction to Catherine Marks (0:11)

Whats the big issue that the FP&A boot camp addresses? (2:20)

What do the boot camp workshops cover? (7:06)

Who is the boot camp intended for? (10:57)

The FP&A competency framework (17:21)

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