The Strategic Role of Finance

The changing role of Finance
The transformation of finance – essentially driven by broader management, has seen a shift where finance and finance professionals are required to play a more proactive role in their organisations in order to drive performance and thus influence better bottom line results. Transforming finance professionals are required to engage more with the business and operate as finance business partners. Thus they are being developed into a more proactive role in their organisations.
The challenge for many finance professionals is to develop the skills, competencies and confidence to make the change.

New Mindset
If finance professionals are to play an increasingly value-adding business partner role in their organisations, then they will need to move out of the comfort zones of their traditional ledgers, ratios and financial jargon, and immerse themselves in broader business management perspectives. They must exploit the powerful management accounting tools and techniques that are available and use them effectively in driving business performance. Above all they must develop the confidence to be proactive and engage with non-financial business managers.

The transforming finance professional will increasingly get involved in strategy, planning, budgeting, forecasting and risk management. The traditional finance role has always seen the finance professional only involved in historically assessing the financial results but leaving the strategic aspects to the rest of the business.

This must change and Finance must recognise that they can play an important role in influencing an organisation’s strategy and planning initiatives which lead to the financial outcomes. This shift will see the finance professional play a major and contributing role in the budgeting process rather than merely collating numbers provided by other parts of the business. This will contribute to a much more proactive cost management perspective as well.

With the significantly changing business dynamics in the current business environment, the need for constant forecasting of financial outcomes is a must. Finance professionals must play an increasing role in working with the various parts of the business in order to more accurately forecast such financial outcomes as well as advise business managers on appropriate courses of action to optimise the organisation’s bottom line.

New tools such as business analytics can be exploited and thus the next generation of finance professional must be well aware of these new and emerging concepts.

 

Keys to Success for the Finance Business Partner
In order to maximise the effectiveness of the Finance Business partner role, four issues must be considered:

Leadership:
The senior management team must believe in the value of business partnering and promote it. The model will not work unless the chief executive supports it and ensures that business partners take part in all strategic decisions. If business partnering is hampered by a lack of organisational transparency, the leadership must address these issues. This can be done by ensuring that there is a robust governance framework to protect the integrity of information.

Organisational Structure:
Understand the impact of your organisational structure. This will determine the level at which business partners can be successful.

Information Management:
Organisations need to invest in their information management capabilities and ensure that the financial data is accurate.

Define the Role:
Tailor the role to the organisation. It is a truism that every organisation is unique, so business partnering means different things to different people. Depending on the sector and the organisational level of the business requiring support, there are generally four types of business partner role.

 

Proposed Training Course Content

 

Workshop Objectives:
The objectives of this workshop are to introduce participants to:

  • Current best practice in Finance Business Partnering
  • The change in mindset required to become an effective  Business Partner
  • A process to help identify what steps will be required to transition the Finance function to an Effective Business Partner

On completion of this workshop, participants will understand the behaviours required to

  • engage effectively with the business
  • add value to business engagements
  • influence business units to engage with faculty functions
  • support business units to deliver transformational growth