Business Partnering

Whilst there is undoubtedly a need to improve the financial acumen skills of many operational managers so they can make better and more informed financial decisions, training in this area is not going to realise it’s full potential without the proper support from Finance. With digitisation, the role of Finance is (or should be) changing. Transactional accounting and reporting is increasingly being digitised with far more emphasis on greater accessibility to reporting for all. So where is the value add that the Finance team can deliver? As one CFO put it – he wants his team to become ‘Indispensable Business Partners’.

At FTA, we work with both sides of the business. We work alongside Finance to get them more involved in supporting the financial acumen training, as well as work with them on their communication skills and commercial commentaries. Internal finance teams need to see themselves more as internal consultants and you cannot consult from behind a laptop!

Our work with various Finance teams typically involves a self-assessment on various aspects of internal consultancy skills before drawing up a development plan. One of the key skills that we employ in running Financial Acumen training for non-finance people has been the ability to make the complex simple. This is a skill that many finance team members need to learn if they are going to be truly collaborative business partners. They also need to really understand the business; how commercially aware are they?

Another skill which many often need to improve on is reporting – especially when it comes to commercial commentaries on business results. Their value add will be demonstrated through the provision of business insights. The digital tools are there so how are they harnessing all the data? E.g. If a commentary, as part of variance analysis, purely references the quantum of variances – which everyone can see – it adds no value! The reader needs the answers to the 2 questions – ‘Why?’ and ‘So What?’

So just as Force Field Analysis has taught us, we need to work on both sides at the same time so that Operations understand the language of Finance and Finance understand Operations.

Business Partnering can be very powerful when this happens!

Financial Fitness Test

So how do you rate your financial smarts? Let's put them to the test with this 3 minute quiz!