Prepare for your Financial Planning Analyst interview. Understand the required skills and qualifications, anticipate the questions you may be asked, and study well-prepared answers using our sample responses.
The Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP, are a set of guidelines that financial professionals must follow when performing accounting tasks. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working with GAAP and can apply it to your work as a financial planning analyst. In your answer, explain how you’ve used GAAP in your past roles.
Answer Example: “Yes, I am very familiar with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. During my time as an intern at my local bank, I was responsible for creating financial reports based on GAAP. These reports were then sent to the company’s board of directors for review. I also used GAAP when creating budgets for businesses looking to obtain loans.”
This question is a great way for the interviewer to assess your knowledge of financial planning and how it works. Your answer should include a list of the different types of plans, what they’re used for and why they’re important.
Answer Example: “There are three main types of financial plans—budgeting, investment and retirement. Budgeting plans are used to track monthly expenses and income so that you can stay within your budget. Investment plans are used to determine how much money you should invest in different assets like stocks or bonds. Finally, retirement plans are used to calculate when you’ll be able to stop working due to the amount of money you have saved.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your ability to perform important financial planning analysis. Use examples from past experiences where you assessed a client’s financial needs and determined how to meet them.
Answer Example: “In my last role as a financial planning analyst, I worked with a couple who wanted to retire in five years. We discussed their current income and expenses, as well as their future goals for spending and investing. I used this information to create a budget for them that included how much they needed to save each month in order to meet their retirement goals.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with financial modeling and how you use it in your work. Use examples from previous roles to explain what a financial model is, what it does and how you developed one for a client or company.
Answer Example: “In my last role as a financial planning analyst, I was responsible for creating financial models for clients who were interested in investing their money. My process for creating these models involved gathering information about the client’s current financial situation and goals, then using that information to create a personalized model that showed how they could reach those goals. I also worked with other members of the team to discuss possible changes we could make to the model to help the client reach their goals more efficiently.”
This question is a great way for the interviewer to assess your knowledge of the industry and how you apply it. If you have previous experience in financial planning, share some examples of what you did and why it was important. If you don’t have any experience, consider explaining what you know about financial planning and why you want to work in this field.
Answer Example: “I am very familiar with the basic principles of financial planning. I have been studying the subject for several years now, and I am confident in my ability to apply these principles to real-world situations. For example, one of the most important principles of financial planning is budgeting. I have helped many people create effective budgets that helped them reach their financial goals.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your approach to financial planning and how you prioritize client needs. Your answer should include some of the most important factors to consider when developing a financial plan, such as income, expenses and savings goals.
Answer Example: “I always start by assessing my client’s current financial situation, including their income, expenses and assets. I then use this information to create a budget for them that includes realistic goals for spending and saving. Next, I help them set long-term goals such as buying a home or starting a business and create an action plan for how to reach those goals. Finally, I monitor their progress throughout the process to make sure they’re on track to achieve their goals.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your communication skills and how you would explain complex ideas to clients. Use examples from past experiences where you had to explain financial concepts to clients or other non-financial professionals.
Answer Example: “I once had a client who was interested in investing his money, but he didn’t understand how compound interest worked. I explained that compound interest is when you earn interest on your interest, which helps you grow your money faster. I used an example of a $1,000 investment that earns 5% interest annually for five years. After five years, the investment would be worth $1,105.50.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach your work and what steps you take to complete it. Your answer should include a description of the research process, including any software or tools you use to gather information.
Answer Example: “I start by researching the client’s current financial situation, including their income, expenses and assets. I then use this information to create a budget for them that includes all their current spending habits. Next, I look at their goals and objectives to determine which investments would be best for them. Finally, I compare the different options to determine which one will provide the highest return while still meeting their needs.”
Employers ask this question to see how you adapt to changing circumstances and ensure that clients’ financial goals are met. When answering, think of a time when you had to refocus a client’s financial plan due to life events like a divorce or death in the family.
Answer Example: “I recently had a client who was working toward buying a home within the next year. However, they decided to start a family and wanted to wait until after the baby was born to buy a home. I worked with them to create a new timeline for buying a home that took into account the new baby.”
This question can help the interviewer determine if you have experience with the type of work they do. If you have previous experience working with data and financial documents, share what types of documents you’ve worked with and how often you’ve worked with them.
Answer Example: “I am very comfortable working with data and financial documents. In my current role as a financial planning analyst, I am responsible for analyzing client data and creating reports based on that data. I also review client financial documents such as budgets, income statements, and cash flow projections on a regular basis. My experience working with these types of documents has enabled me to become proficient in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint, which are two programs commonly used in the finance industry.”
This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you have the skills and abilities needed for this role. You can answer this question by listing some of the most important skills for financial planning analysts, such as problem-solving, communication and math skills.
Answer Example: “I believe the two most important skills for a financial planning analyst position are problem-solving and communication. Problem-solving is essential because it allows me to quickly identify issues and develop solutions. I also believe that effective communication is crucial for this role because it allows me to share my findings with others in the company.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your analytical skills and how you apply them to real-world situations. Use examples from past experiences where you analyzed a company’s financial health and made recommendations based on your findings.
Answer Example: “When assessing a company’s financial health, I first look at its balance sheet to see if it has enough assets to cover its liabilities. If not, I then determine if there are any ways to increase assets or reduce liabilities. For example, if a company has too much debt, I might recommend that they seek out investors or lenders to help them finance new projects.”
This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills and experience necessary for this role. Use your answer to highlight your comfort level with numbers and data, as well as any specific skills you have in this area.
Answer Example: “Absolutely. I’ve been working with numbers and data for over five years now, and I find it to be one of my strongest skills. In my last position, I was responsible for creating financial plans for clients based on their current financial situation. This involved analyzing data from their financial records, such as income and expenses, in order to create accurate projections for future spending. I also used numbers and data to create reports for management about our company’s performance.”
This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills needed for this role. Use your answer to highlight some of the most important skills for a financial planning analyst and explain why they are important.
Answer Example: “I believe the most important skills for a financial planning analyst are strong analytical skills, excellent communication abilities and an understanding of business processes. Strong analytical skills allow me to gather data from various sources, analyze it and make informed decisions. Excellent communication skills allow me to share my findings with others in the company and explain complex concepts in ways that are easy to understand. Finally, my knowledge of business processes allows me to ensure that any recommendations I make are in line with the company’s goals.”
This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the role and how it relates to financial planning. You can answer this question by describing the responsibilities of a financial planning analyst, including any specific tasks you would perform in this role.
Answer Example: “A financial planning analyst is responsible for analyzing client data, developing financial plans and presenting those plans to clients and senior managers. I find this role extremely rewarding because it allows me to help clients achieve their financial goals by providing them with personalized solutions.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your experience with financial planning software. This can help them determine if you have the necessary skills to use their company’s software. In your answer, try to highlight any skills or knowledge you have about financial software. You can also mention any specific software you’ve used in the past or would like to learn more about.
Answer Example: “I have extensive experience with financial software. I have been working as a financial planning analyst for the past five years, during which time I have used several different types of financial software. I am familiar with the different features offered by each program and know how to utilize them to create comprehensive financial plans for clients.”
This question allows you to show the interviewer how you use your financial planning skills to help clients. You can use this opportunity to describe a specific situation where you provided advice to a client, their family or company and how it benefited them.
Answer Example: “In my last role as a financial planner, I worked with a couple who was looking to buy their first home. The husband was working full-time while the wife stayed at home with their two children. They were unsure if they could afford a home, so I helped them create a budget and find ways to save money. We then used that budget to search for homes that fit their criteria. By following my advice, they were able to purchase their dream home.”
This question is a great way to see what the interviewer is looking for in an employee. It also shows you what areas of finance they know about and may help you decide if this company is the right fit for you. When answering this question, try to pick an area that matches what you’ve learned in your education or previous work experience.
Answer Example: “I would choose financial planning because I find it to be such an interesting and rewarding career. I love helping people achieve their goals and dreams by creating personalized plans for them. I also think it’s important to have a background in accounting since so many financial decisions are based on numbers.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you might handle conflict in the workplace. Your answer should show that you are willing to work with others, can compromise and are willing to learn from others’ perspectives.
Answer Example: “I would first try to understand their approach to financial planning and why they take it. If they were open to discussing their reasoning, I would ask them questions about their methods so I could learn more about them. If they weren’t open to discussing their approach, I would try to find common ground between our approaches and find ways to collaborate on the project.”
As a financial planning analyst, you may be expected to work on multiple projects at once. Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle stress well and remain productive when working under pressure. In your answer, explain how you manage stress in the workplace. Share a few strategies that have helped you in the past.
Answer Example: “I am a very organized person, which helps me stay on track with multiple projects. I also find that breaking down large tasks into smaller ones helps me stay focused. When working on multiple projects, I make sure to prioritize my tasks so I can get the most important ones done first. This helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed by all the work.”