Delivering greater business-value through effective Finance Business Partnering
For a leading global education and publishing company
Digital transformation was presenting new challenges and opportunities for this leading global education and publishing company. Industry dynamics were changing; creating greater complexity across the organisation’s various business models. As a result, the business was looking to their Finance Business Partners for answers to very different, often more complicated questions.
Finance Business Partners were well respected across the organisation. However, because many of them were still carrying out a mix of transactional and partnering activities they were not always able to respond to new requirements. The organisation was two years into their Finance Transformation journey and having moved transactional processes into shared services and outsourced arrangements it was an opportune time to review their Finance Business Partnering capability.
Deloitte were engaged to work with Finance leadership in each line of business to; redefine the future activities to be delivered by Finance Business Partners; understand the current capability gaps; and develop a roadmap of initiatives required to address these gaps. We applied our Finance Business Partnering framework, which helps clients define the partnering activities expected, to deliver the most value to the business and the enablers required to deliver these.
Our approach consisted of four key phases:
- Key Stakeholder engagement: We initially met with the CFO of each business to understand their perception of the maturity and effectiveness of their Finance Business Partnering capability. This perspective was then played back to their team for validation and challenge in the subsequent workshops.
- Finance Business Partnering maturity self-assessment: In advance of the workshops we asked the CFO and their team to complete a short Business Partnering maturity questionnaire which provided a high level view of some of their key capability gaps. These were then explored further in the workshop.
- Workshop facilitation and good practice insight: We facilitated workshops with the CFO of each line of business and their leadership team. Each workshop followed the same framework to ensure consistency but carefully considered Business specific requirements, challenges and Finance Business Partnering maturity. Deloitte insight into good practices was also leveraged throughout.
- Workshop follow up and recommendations: Following each workshop we developed a report for each CFO which detailed output from the workshop and our short and longer term recommendations.
A similar project was kicked off three years before and was not successful so there was natural scepticism across the CFO group. Each CFO was engaged with throughout the project to understand their expectations, agree objectives and obtain sign off on final deliverables.
Each business had unique requirements, challenges and varying levels of Finance Business Partnering maturity that needed to be considered. We addressed this by running separate workshops with each business, but by applying the Deloitte Finance Business Partnering framework we were able to achieve consistency in how current maturity was assessed across the Group.
Each CFO and their senior team were provided a collaborative environment that enabled them to assess and challenge their Finance Business Partnering capability and a framework that comprehensively mapped partnering activities to key areas of value.
The Group CFO was able to view the organisation’s Finance Business Partnering capability holistically and deduce the common challenges from those specific to each of the businesses. They could then prioritise initiatives that would be led from the centre and challenge each CFO on their own investment portfolios.
Ultimately the engagement allowed Finance to look at their Finance Business Partnering capability in a different way, one that focused on value and not process, and the roadmap provided them with a set of focused initiatives that if prioritised would enable them to deliver more effective Finance Business Partnering.