Asif Masani

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Bridging the FP&A Training Gap for Finance Professionals

Asif Masani


FP&A Professionals Institute

I n the world of finance, the significance of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) training cannot be overstated. It serves as the backbone of informed decision-making, strategic planning, and sustainable business growth. However, a conspicuous gap exists in the finance industry, where professionals often find themselves lacking the specialised skills required for the evolving landscape of FP&A.
Asif Masani, a trailblazer in FP&A, is on a mission to bridge the skills gap in the finance industry. Currently serving as the co-founder at FP&A Professionals Institute, Asif’s transformative journey began as an audit executive at EY, where he navigated the intricacies of audits for companies like ITD, Bharat Hotels, and Gammon. Transitioning to Citi in 2014 marked the initiation of his FP&A journey, showcasing not only proficiency but a keen understanding of the evolving financial landscape.
The turning point came during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Asif’s role as an FP&A consultant with Pfizer revealed the pressing need for specialised training in the finance sector. Riding the Edtech boom, Asif significantly contributed to the success of Coursera and led the FP&A function for India and APAC until January 2024.
Asif’s commitment materialised in the founding of FP&A Professionals Institute, with a clear mission: to empower one million finance professionals with essential industry skills. Actively shaping the future of finance education, Asif engages through YouTube videos, newsletters, LinkedIn, insightful books like the Amazon bestseller “All About FP&A,” and training programmes.
Noteworthy accolades, including recognition among the world’s top 20 FP&A professionals for three consecutive years (2022-2024), underscore Asif’s impact. Beyond ‘All About FP&A’, he authored over 100 blog articles and trained over 1,000 finance professionals through live and online courses. Asif’s second book, “Accounting to FP&A,” set to release in May 2024, adds a valuable resource to professionals navigating this transformative journey. In an exclusive interview with TradeFlock, Asif delves into his journey and strategies. 

What inspired your shift from audit to financial planning and analysis?

My transition from audit to financial planning and analysis was fuelled by a desire to shift from reviewing historical financial data to playing a proactive role in shaping companies’ performance. The strategic focus of FP&A aligns with my analytical skills, allowing me to forecast financial trends, guide business decisions, and contribute directly to organisational growth and success.

What challenges do you see in the current learning and development space, and how are you addressing them?

The current learning and development landscape is dynamic and digital, emphasising personalised and accessible education. A key challenge is maintaining content relevance and engagement. To address this, we leverage data and learner interactions to tailor programs. Incorporating adaptive learning technologies and gamification enhances engagement and retention. Aligning learning initiatives with career goals and industry standards is crucial. We’re developing a Certified Global FP&A Certificate Programme to meet these challenges and ensure our programmes stay at the forefront of industry needs.

In your FP&A expertise, how do you envision technology shaping the future of financial planning, analysis, and reporting?

Technology is set to transform financial planning, analysis, and reporting. Advanced analytics, AI, and machine learning will improve forecasting and decision-making. Automation streamlines tasks, allowing focus on strategic analysis. Blockchain enhances transparency and efficiency in transactions. Cloud computing enables collaborative planning globally. Overall, technology enhances efficiency and accuracy, empowering FP&A professionals to play a more strategic role. Proficiency in budgeting tools, financial modelling, BI tools like Power BI, and leveraging generative AI will be crucial in this evolving landscape.

What strategies have proven most effective in mastering FP&A skills for both yourself and the professionals you teach?

In my experience, a combination of online learning and practical application proves most effective in mastering FP&A skills. Learning is most beneficial when it can be directly applied. Our approach emphasises real-life scenarios rather than traditional textbook styles. Focusing on subjects like budgeting, forecasting, management reporting, data storytelling, and financebusiness partnerships ensures conceptual clarity and success. Networking with industry leaders for knowledge exchange and mentorship is crucial, as reflected in our regular invitations to guest speakers for our FP&A Professionals community.

What challenges have you faced in educating finance professionals, and how did you address them?

Staying abreast of evolving technologies and maintaining engagement in digital learning are challenges in educating finance professionals. We address this through continuous curriculum updates, real-world case studies, and technology integration. Interactive webinars and collaborative projects ensure learners stay motivated and can apply their knowledge effectively in their professional roles.

How do you see the FP&A industry evolving in India and APAC in the coming years?

In the forthcoming years, the FP&A industry in India and APAC is poised to evolve significantly, placing a heightened focus on data analytics and cutting-edge technologies like AI and machine learning for in-depth insights and forecasts. The demand for adept FP&A professionals in these technologies will surge, becoming pivotal contributors to strategic decisionmaking. The industry is expected to witness greater global integration, with professionals from India and APAC assuming crucial roles in multinational teams and influencing global financial strategies. Moreover, the increasing importance of sustainability and ESG factors will reshape financial planning, aligning with broader societal shifts towards sustainability.