Transforming the role of Finance to become strategic business partners is a change journey that takes time and requires improvements across several dimensions.
Your starting point should always be to understand where you honestly stand today, in the eyes of your business leaders. Which role does Finance play today?
- Playing the role of Scorekeeper or Guardian does not drive value in the business. It’s not to say your Finance organisation isn’t adding any value – it is. But it’s adding ‘finance value’ rather than ‘business value’, and your business colleagues would typically see you as playing a more traditional accounting role.
- As you evolve the role of Finance up to Performance Advisor in our ‘Business Partnering Maturity Model’, your teams start to look beyond the finance boundary into the business, and are providing management information, along with business insight and analysis. This is the first stage of adding value to the business.
- If your Finance organisation is acting as a Business Advocate it’s now starting to play a genuine business partnering role – challenging and influencing business decisions as an active member of the key business management teams.
- And if the role of Finance in your organisation achieves the level of Strategic Partner in our maturity model then you are absolutely integral to the business management team. They wouldn’t consider making any important decisions without finance involvement, and the Head of the business looks to their Finance partner as their lieutenant or co-pilot.
What is the role of Finance in your business? Start with an open and honest conversation about which role your business leaders think Finance plays today?
Very often Finance teams think they are playing a more strategic role than their business leaders think.
In our experience, all too often the business leaders see Finance as playing the role of information provider instead of truly influencing business decisions or business strategy.
Having established where you stand today, you then need to work explicitly with your business colleagues to agree which role the business really needs you to play.
Where does Finance add the most value?
Some businesses warrant a Strategic Partner role from Finance, but not all companies need this.
The most important thing is to explicitly agree with your business colleagues which role Finance should play, and where the biggest gaps are today.
This sets the ambition and agenda for the change journey for your finance organisation to add more value to your business.
So Ask Yourself:
- How far are you along this journey today … really?
- What’s your ambition for the role of finance inside your business?
- What specific things need to change to transform the role of Finance in your company?