Unlocking the role of finance business partners


Unlocking the role of finance business partners

Where to start?

Emerging technologies are changing how the work of finance gets done. By focusing on the right technologies and activities, and by investing in the right talent, finance can really unlock its added-value as a business partner. What 7 essentials should each organization embed in order to start unlocking finance’s potential?

Seven elements essential for successful finance business partnering

In an environment in which business demands are changing at such a rapid pace, companies should become forward thinking visionaries that help drive business performance. For finance, this means that it must continue to understand the core finance requirements, as well as the current realities of running a business. By utilizing a number of emerging technologies, focusing on the right activities and investing in the right talent, finance can really unlock the added-value as a business partner.

Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution for successful finance business partnering, there are some essentials that each organization needs to embed in order to start unlocking finance’s potential:

  1. Take a strategic view in redefining the finance brand: start with a vision. Where does finance aspire to be? In this vision, a clear outlook on the brand purpose of finance should be considered. A critical factor is tone at the top: ensuring sponsorship and support from leaders across the organization is crucial.
  2. Develop a well-defined operating and service delivery model: it helps to determine the optimal service delivery model and clarify roles, responsibilities and accountabilities. Where do finance resources currently spend their time? And what are gaps between current and future state?
  3. Simplify processes: by simplifying and radically standardizing transactional end to end finance processes and implementing global oversight and accountability (including policies, design, and continuous improvement) risks and costs can be reduced.
  4. Fix master data management: accurate and up to date information is needed to base decision making on facts and establish credibility. One of the key elements is to unify Master Data across functions and entities and fix master data issues directly in source systems.
  5. Rationalize reports and metrics: an increased volume of data does not necessarily mean better information. A good starting point is to rationalize reports and metrics to look at together with the business.
  6. Focus on the right activities – start small: understanding where finance has potential to make most impact together with the business is essential. For example, by identifying which initiatives are best suitable for advanced analytics. When implementing these activities, it is better to choose for an agile approach and start with 1 or 2 quick wins, which require low amount of effort and have high business impact.
  7. Invest in the right talent mix: finance needs to find the right people who can utilize the available data to develop insights. This requires starting to hire different people such as data scientists and storytellers.
Unlocking the True Value of Finance as a Business

What is finance business partnering and why is it important?

Finance business partnering can be generally defined as the role that finance undertakes to support and challenge the business, creating value by improving the quality of decisions and ensuring that a chosen business strategy delivers the highest value for the company and shareholders at a manageable level of risk.

How are emerging technologies impacting finance business partnering?

According to recent Deloitte research, emerging technologies are changing how the work of finance gets done. Many finance organizations have started to adopt cloud and analytics solutions, but still have large legacy systems in place that require a lot of money and effort to maintain. Manual workarounds and reconciliations provide no added value and slow down finance. Some of the new digital tools such as robotics, cloud and visualization, help in simplifying these systems. Other tools such as advanced analytics, cognitive computing and in-memory computing are designed to deliver new and different capabilities. For example, narrative language generation can supplement routine reports with narrative commentary using personalized text.

These technological advancements act as an enabler to broaden the scope in which finance operates. Finance responsibilities will shift to more insightful and interesting work focused on analyzing exceptions and continuously improving technology. This requires capabilities that can build and maintain information platforms and work with technologies to provide deep insight and answers to previously unimaginable areas.

Read more

Download the full article on ‘Unlocking the True Value of Business Finance as a Business Partner’ which was published in the Financial Executives International Daily.

More information on Finance Business Partnering?

Do you want to know more on finance business partnering? Please contact Stefania Angius at +31 (0)88 +31 882 88 6791

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