Business partnership has existed in one form or another for decades, but in recent years, the business world has seen a growing demand for effective financial counterparties with organizations of all sizes. Those working in a business partnership role need to have the right combination of data and communication skills for the relationship to work smoothly. Developing interpersonal skills as well as a deep understanding of the company`s overall vision and mission are potentially the greatest benefits a business partner can possess. As business partners, finance professionals today need a business appreciation of the company as well as leadership skills, team building, interpersonal relationships, presentation and other soft skills. Next, you will work on the key skills required for a financial counterpart. From my own experience on both sides of the partnership and my extensive work with executives, I have developed a roadmap that I often use in my workshops (see the table “Key competencies for a financial business partner”). The idea of a new sustainable role is not just a fantasy, a prediction or a self-serving deception. If you go to the job site Indeed.com or even the LinkedIn Jobs page, there is page after page that urgently requests the role. The financial business partner is a recognized beacon of business excellence who works as an internal consultant within a company to achieve results by promoting accountability. Raju Venkataraman, FCMA, CGMA, was Chief Financial Officer and Head of Strategy and Business Development for Disney in Southeast Asia before becoming a leadership coach and trainer of companies offering his services worldwide. He lives in Singapore.
To comment on this article or suggest an idea for another article, contact Sabine Vollmer, Editor-in-Chief of FM Magazine, at Sabine.Vollmer@aicpa-cima.com. Now, as a leadership coach and business trainer, I enjoy advocating for this partnership in workshops where I am often asked what skills a finance professional equips to be a good financial business partner. My answer is that it requires a number of new and improved skills and a change in the way we think. In fact, partnership overcomes the barrier between accounting and management to support business goals. So you go to the human resources department and try to explain what the company needs from this role. It is therefore not surprising that leaders need and seek an active partnership and collaboration of financial professionals who can understand the overall goals and strategies of the company, analyze financial and non-financial information and provide recommendations to support their decision-making. The leadership hats I wore at Walt Disney Southeast Asia (and in the companies I worked for before Disney) – including business operations, sales and distribution, general management, strategy and business development, and of course my favorite area, finance – convinced me of the difference such a partnership can make for the company and even for one`s own career. Being a business partner will increase your reach and you will be more dependent on others.
We will continue to recognize that the financial business partner represents exactly what businesses need not only now, but also in the future. It is only accepted with each new technological advance that leads to more complexity in companies. We know that the commercial need for these skills and capabilities is real. We also know that accounting roles are changing rapidly today. Depending on the industry and the specific role of a member of the finance team, some of these skills may be more important than others. We have just embarked on the path of Finance Business Partner and there is huge potential and change ahead of us. The expectations and requirements of finance are changing rapidly, and we need to be ready and respond with a set of defined skills and competencies that connect technical sense, technology and influence. A successful business partner will be able to show that they can analyze data; understand what both parties to a particular partnership need; can identify strengths and weaknesses in a business unit or in the enterprise as a whole; and set corporate and individual goals. “Finances expect to add more value to the business are increasing. Successful financial partners are seen as leaders who can influence a company`s decisions to maximize shareholder value and returns. Alan Flanagan, Deloitte A business partnership is a dual role that can provide a pragmatic financial vision that balances the management and operational requirements of a business unit. Promote financially sound operational decisions throughout your organization How would you even start writing a title for these role requirements and expectations? Senior Accountant? Too restrictive.
Project manager? Not technical enough. Treasurer? Too high a level. Financial analyst? Perhaps, but what about the leadership aspects? IT analyst? Not enough emphasis on industry knowledge. Where can one find an accountant with charisma or sales skills? As an example, a financial business partner who understands the broader goals of the business and appreciates the changing market landscape will be able to work with the CEO and business unit heads to determine the key success factors in each industry. This leads the financial counterpart to a common understanding of the key figures to be followed and their calculation. While leaders are pleased that the finance team continues to play the roles of operator (FP&A, core funding, etc.) and steward (compliance, controls, etc.), today`s leaders want finance team members to increasingly focus on being strategists (working with business people to support strategy formulation and decision-making) and catalysts (challenging the status quo). quo and opt for funding). and enterprise-level transformation). The brand licensing industry (where franchise characters are licensed to third-party private labels) has been pressured by a key customer to secure significantly lower royalties and more favorable terms for a contract renewal due to the growth in business volume over the years. As companies around the world grapple with rapid geopolitical, demographic, technological and competitive changes, partnering in the financial sector offers the opportunity to create a strategic advantage. Many companies are now embracing the concept of financial counterparties, with a recent Deloittes report showing that 91% of Irish CFOs plan to strengthen business partnerships in their organisations. Interestingly, 28% identified “talent shortages as a barrier to developing partnerships in the financial sector.” We need someone who can build respect, influence and strong relationships across the organization.
AND we need someone who can lead strategic projects and get results. AND we need someone who has a strong background in accounting. AND we need someone who has the ability and willingness to dive into data. AND we need someone who can explain accounting terms to non-accountants. AND we need someone who is naturally inclined to work between business units and departments to establish close relationships, real and active partnerships with operations and management. AND we need someone with a natural curiosity and a continuous improvement mindset who understands the skills and knowledge that are in demand today. AND we need someone who is comfortable with strategy formulation, negotiations and decision support. AND we need someone who understands data models, productivity tools, and business intelligence solutions. AND we need someone who can take the lead in business analysis. whether to optimize current data models and tools or to be able to recommend and implement new ones.
In the role, financial partners interpret the raw data and communicate it in particular to colleagues outside the finance function in marketing, sales, production; a role that puts them at the heart of the company. The task is to take the data fragments, organize them, assess their value, and then present the results to the relevant stakeholders in a meaningful way. The opportunity is to become the interface or “translator” between finance and language operations, tell the story and paint a compelling picture. Success in this role requires a mix of business acumen, analytical skills, the ability to build relationships, communicate effectively, and persuade. .