Finance organisations must understand, and address, the common obstacles that present challenges to successful finance decision-support activities. They need the right leadership, strategy, technology and human capital.
As part of a nine-point plan for better finance business partnering businesses need to
- create the mandate for finance
- fix the information and data
- deploy finance talent effectively
Nine-point plan for better business partnering.
Create the mandate
The finance function can move into providing the enterprise with great decision support services. Three critical elements are required to gain and secure a sustainable mandate:
1. Create the right culture in finance: the finance function must have a strong internal reputation for stewardship and commercial insight. It needs to be fully integrated into the enterprise.
2. Secure commitment: the enterprise has to demand business partnering. Building this through a collaborative process takes time.
3.The finance function needs to consistently demonstrate the value it brings.
Fix the information
The finance function needs to focus on the enterprise activities that matter. It needs to identify valuable data points and leverage effective technologies to drive better, faster decision-making.
4. Measure what matters: target limited finance function through a root-cause analysis of the key enterprise metrics.
5. Simplify the finance technology landscape: cloud solutions offer hope to enterprise resource planning (ERP) fatigue and manual workarounds.
6. Sort the data: the finance function needs to rearticulate its information requirements.
Deploy the talent
The finance function needs different capabilities and a different mindset to meet the changing requirement.
7. Create effective structures: make sure the business partnering is the best fit for the prevailing culture.
8. Plan for the capabilities that matter: the CFO needs to adopt a longer-term approach to workplace planning.
9. Change the finance function mindset: the finance team needs to take calculated risk and be comfortable with uncertainty.
"The finance organisation must work with its business partners to convince them of its ability to provide the right insights to realise a much more integrated relationship. In a data-rich, entrepreneurial future, the opportunity for the finance function in extending its influence and leadership across the enterprise is very clear."
Provide the right insights
The finance function should address the challenge to provide decision support from three perspectives:
Leadership and strategy
Does finance have the appropriate business understanding and sponsorship to have its value-creation remit taken seriously?
Does finance have access to the technical tools and the capability to base its recommendations on timely, accurate and accepted information?
Can the finance organisation supply knowledgeable and capable resources to ensure continuous business partnering support? Can it cultivate the right mindset to do this effectively in a vastly changing environment?