Research from ACCA and PwC shows two thirds of organisations need to embed finance business partnering further into strategy and decision making
Companies are being urged to look beyond the financial imperative as economies around the world look to kickstart as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Finance Insights – Reimagined, a new report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and PwC, surveyed more than 3,400 firms on the changing role of the finance professional and how they can influence companies’ future direction.
The report highlights the greater focus on the finance business partner (FBP): individuals, or a group of individuals, who are the conduit between finance and its stakeholders. It outlines how they can help companies navigate turbulent economic times.
Results show finance business partnering was a proactive role in organisations, a fundamental part of decision-making and strategy. However, only 37% reported that it was truly embedded and that the remaining 63% are compromising their agility to support and influence business decision-making at this critical time.
The report outlines the FBP will be more commonplace than other finance roles as a result of automation and process efficiency. It also envisages the role of the partner will become more strategic and collaborative to support operational decision-making across the organisation.
Clive Webb, senior insights manager at ACCA, says finance business partnering is a key consideration for firms seeking survival and a more sustainable future ahead of an impending recession.
He said: ‘There is a temptation in responding to the COVID-19 events, as organisations and economies seek to recover, that the sole focus is on the financial imperative.
‘This approach could ignore the dangers society will continue to face and may lead to narrow responses to broader issues that are connected to the financial performance. To respond to this, accountancy and finance professionals need to have a robust skill set and must show they can play an ever-important role in driving business performance.’
Mr Webb concluded: ‘The two most valued aspects in the role were the support of business strategy and the analysis of current performance; this suggests that finance professionals might not yet be achieving the forward-looking view on which the future of the finance function depends.
‘The six hypotheses generated in this report allow businesses, both large and small, to explore the opportunity for finance insights and the role of business partners in generating sustainable value creation.’
Brian Furness, Partner at PwC, underlined the importance of the six capitals identified in the report in future planning.
He said: ‘The six capitals - financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and responsible, and natural - which are outlined in the report, provide a unique framework to evaluate how any finance function is performing.
‘In response to COVID-19, and by using this framework, CFO’s will be able to make sense out of the current situation, and plan successfully for the future.’
- ends -
For media enquiries, contact:
About Finance Insights Reimagined:
The insights in this report are based upon several interviews and roundtables conducted with ACCA members and other interested parties and the results of a survey of 3,502 accountancy and finance professionals, including ACCA members and future members, contacts and clients of PwC and members of the Shared Service Forum based in India, which was conducted in February 2020.
Six hypotheses about the future development of finance insights are as follows:
The role of financial business partner will become more strategic and collaborative to support operational decisionmaking across the organisation
Oversight, guardianship of data integrity and standards will be an essential part of the role, including aspects of nonfinancial and external data as well as financial data
Effective business partners will increasingly focus upon evaluating and predicting performance against the six capitals; supporting the organisation’s overall purpose
Business partner roles will be more commonplace than other finance roles as a result of automation and process efficiency
A failure to evolve the skills of the business partner will render the effectiveness of the role obsolete
Self-service reporting and the emergence of AI and machine learning will free up business partners and take previous responsibilities out of their hands
Principle survey respondents were based in: United Kingdom, Malaysia, mainland China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mauritius, Republic of Ireland, Zimbabwe and Ghana.
About ACCA: ACCA is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. We’re a thriving global community of 227,000 members and 544,000 and future members based in 176 countries that upholds the highest professional and ethical values.
We believe that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society that supports both public and private sectors. That’s why we’re committed to the development of a strong global accountancy profession and the many benefits that this brings to society and individuals.
Since 1904 being a force for public good has been embedded in our purpose. And because we’re a not-for-profit organisation, we build a sustainable global profession by re-investing our surplus to deliver member value and develop the profession for the next generation.
Through our world leading ACCA Qualification, we offer everyone everywhere the opportunity to experience a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. And using our respected research, we lead the profession by answering today’s questions and preparing us for tomorrow.
Find out more about us at www.accaglobal.com