Business Partnering for Finance Teams

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 its full potential without the proper support from Finance. With digitisation, the role of Finance has changed. 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’.

Business Partnering roles can vary from one organisation to another. So we start with customising a comprehensive business partnering skills assessment, which we have developed, to ensure it covers the skills required in your Business Partnering position description. This is then administered as a self-assessment (or could be completed by managers) and the individual scores summarised in order to identify the areas requiring development. Our work with previous clients have shown that this can range from improving commercial commentaries on variance analysis, to handling difficult situations, to persuasion and/or influencing skills.

One of the key communication 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?

The Business Partners 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. We work alongside Finance to get them more involved in supporting the financial acumen training, as well as working with them to enhance their Business Partnering skills.

Business Partnering can be very powerful when this happens!


Virtual delivery

Whilst face-to-face delivery is always preferred, we can now design programs to be delivered virtually. A modular approach of 1.5 – 2 hour sessions is recommended, which allows for application of learning as topics are covered. Each session is designed to be highly interactive – for more details click here.

Financial Acumen Self-Assessment

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